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Doug Ford's Transit Transformation: A Look at Metrolinx Makeover
In a stunning twist of bureaucratic brilliance, Premier Doug Ford tasked his first Progressive Conservative transportation minister with a mission that would make even the most seasoned politicians scratch their heads. This task? To bring the provincial transit agency Metrolinx to heel and re-evaluate its role entirely. Yes, because why settle for simply managing public transit projects when you can embark on a quest to fundamentally review and potentially overhaul an entire agency?
You see, the mandate letter for then-minister John Yakabuski, written back in 2018, was like a treasure map of political chaos. It included instructions to "fundamentally review" Metrolinx and decide if "any institutional changes are needed." Because, clearly, the agency responsible for billions of dollars and millions of commuters was just too predictable.
But wait, there's more! Premier Ford wasn't content with just shaking up Metrolinx; he also wanted to upload Toronto's subway system into the provincial fold. Because why let the city deal with its own subway when you can micromanage it from the provincial level? It's almost as if they wanted to make sure Toronto's subway became the hottest political potato in town.
Now, the contents of this mandate letter were kept as closely guarded secrets, presumably hidden in a vault, surrounded by laser security systems. But Global News, ever the intrepid investigator, managed to obtain and verify the letters from sources not authorized to publicly release them. Kudos to them for their daring journalism.
Opponents and critics claimed that the Progressive Conservatives were creeping control over Metrolinx, slowly but surely making it dance to their political tune. Sources close to Metrolinx even suggested that the government had been "picking away" at the agency's ability to communicate with the public, which is always a great sign of a transparent and accountable government, right?
But that's not all. Premier Ford also had a soft spot for the private sector, especially when it came to public transit. His mandate letter encouraged the use of private capital to build subways and even suggested finding developers to buy air rights above subway stations. Because nothing says efficient public transit like luxury condos above subway platforms, right?
And let's not forget about Highway 413, or rather, the conspicuous absence of it in the mandate letter. This controversial highway project was missing in action, despite being a lightning rod for criticism. It's almost as if they realized it was a bad idea and decided to conveniently forget about it.
In the end, this mandate letter reads like a satirical masterpiece of political maneuvering. It's a reminder that in the world of politics, the absurd can become the norm, and the ordinary can become the extraordinary. So, hold on to your subway PRESTO card, folks, because in the world of Ontario politics, anything is possible, no matter how fundamentally absurd it may seem.