COLUMN: Agar – Fighting for common sense from government

- June 26th, 2012

You can’t always get what you want

by Jerry Agar

When the phone rings at 1:30 in the morning, it is not likely to be good news.

I don’t think that is when the Nobel Peace Prize people call. (Not that they would call me, but good luck to you.)

This time it was my son, home from university and working for the summer in the kitchen at a great restaurant.

He’d missed the last bus. The over-night buses don’t run in our neighborhood.

I went to get him. What else would I do?

Oh, that’s right, I could start demanding the city run all-night buses to my neighborhood, so that you could pay taxes to support an expensive, empty bus being on hand whenever my son needs it. Then I could stay in bed.

Consider: The TTC, in planning to add 15 express bus routes by 2014, revealed this will add $11.4 million to operating costs, but bring in only $3.6 million at the fare box, for a loss of $7.8 million.

That’s during the day. Night buses would be more expensive.

Remember last July when the city was looking for ways to balance the budget and the idea of cutting some night buses was suggested?

Oh the humanity!

The Sun reported TTC Chair Karen Stintz questioned the idea.

“Cutting the service would hurt riders who need the service to get home and who would be hard-pressed to cover the cost of an alternative, like a taxi,” she said.

That taxpayers are hard-pressed these days didn’t seem to be a consideration.

Daily, we read stories about someone lobbying for more of the cost of their personal needs and desires to be off-loaded onto someone else.

Or, nightly, in the case of the rioting students in Montreal, who would rather while away their summer evenings throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars than go to work to raise the 80¢ a day the government proposes to hike their extremely low tuition rates next year.

This sense of entitlement exists despite the fact Quebec’s per-capita debt is the highest in the country and fifth-highest in the developed world.

If Quebec ever separates, it will immediately become Greece, going from needing transfer payments to foreign aid.

At a meeting discussing the future of Ontario Place, a parent pleaded to keep the water park open — despite the fact there is a bigger, better one at Canada’s Wonderland — because her daughter likes to go there.

The place was closed because it was losing $20 million a year.

That was of no apparent concern to this parent, and others, who cannot see past their own desires.

This parent wants her child to go down the waterslide, and seems to think the $20 million is somebody else’s problem.

It would be cheaper to buy the family a pool, although I wish I hadn’t said that because now they’ll want one.

Remember when it was suggested some of the under-utilized libraries in Toronto, which has a surplus of them, could be closed some of the time? Remember the hue and cry that went up from people who didn’t want to walk an extra block or two? Costs be damned.

Anyway, I promise not to lobby for overnight bus service in my neighborhood.

My son is fixing up his bicycle.

— Agar is the 9 a.m. to noon host on Newstalk 1010

Categories: Contributor Columns

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