A provincial request to Metrolinx to hand over information about the business case for the UP Express was once again blocked by Liberal members of the committee that could order it. They likely fear there is no business case, and the report will embarrass the government.
Liberals Mike Colle and Mitzie Hunter clintoned their way into a committee filibuster by saying, more or less, “Define ‘market’ exactly” again and again for 40 minutes when Rosario Marchese asked Metrolinx to produce the market study. A representative sample:
What is a market study? Is it a look at the impact and the reaction and the response by people living in the old town of Weston as relates to the air-rail link and the local BIAs there, the residents and the BIAs and what their uptake will be on the potential ridership etc.? Do you want all the background information undertaken by all the examinations of the impact this would have on Weston? Because there was a very complex situation there where there used to be a net grade crossing, and they have now had to go with a tunnelling alternative. So it’s been a very, very difficult transition in that determination of putting some tunnelling in the old town of Weston that the local residents and the local small businesses wanted. Is that part of the market study? I don’t know….
This kind of grad-school metaphysical crap-talking has been going on for months as the committee tries to block the release of the documents that, we can assume, will embarrass the government right before an election. Colle and Hunter were helped by the Chair of the committee who ran down the clock so that the motion couldn’t be passed.
The Liberals, having faced the gas plant scandal, must be worried that their plans to build an expensive money-losing train for the 1% will cost them seats. As well it should.
Marchese brought up the committee wheel-spinning at Queen’s Park—and instead of taking the moral high ground, went after Glen Murray, the Minister. Marchese asked what Murray was afraid we would find in the report. Finding that went nowhere, he asked the Minster to crack his whip on the committee—and got a filthy misdirection and character assassination from the Minister instead of an answer.
Your humble correspondent is a civil servant. His wife is a civil servant. YHC knows the good work that government can do. And this is not the good work of government. This is repugnant, unprincipled, cowardly opacity and self-protection. This is the work of an unfit government using process to protect itself from facts.
When it prevents this report—or any report—from public scrutiny, this government is saying that its seats are more important than the truth. The government is saying that it doesn’t trust you, its employer, to judge it by the facts.
Laura Albanese, our MPP, sits on this committee. She has done nothing to further the filibuster—or to end it.