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Federal Election 2019: Where the Parties Stand on Public Transit

ATU Local 113 is encouraging Sisters and Brothers to Vote Public Transit in the upcoming federal election on Monday, October 21, 2019 by learning more about where the major federal parties stand – and supporting candidates that seek to improve and expand Toronto’s public transit system.

ATU Local 113 recently attended Transport Futures: Federal Election Transportation Debate where the New Democratic, Liberal and Green parties of Canada outlined their visions on a wide range of topics related to transportation in Toronto, as well as across the province and Canada. While many details are still to be released, likely through the campaign, this debate helped Torontonians better understand where the parties stand on key issues of importance to public transit in the city.

Ben Spurr, the Toronto Star’s transportation reporter, moderated the two-hour debate at The University of Toronto that covered: roads, rail, transit, air, marine, taxes, funding, financing, leadership and governance related to their management. Participants included:

  • Adam Vaughan,  Liberal Party of Canada candidate for Spadina – Fort York
  • Diana Yoon, New Democratic Party of Canada candidate for Spadina – Fort York
  • Tim Grant, Green Party of Canada candidate for University-Rosedale

The Conservative Party and The People’s Party chose not to participate.

The federal candidates present were generally supportive of ATU Local 113’s positions on public transit.

  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3s): All parties admitted there are issues with these projects as they are inherently risky – and often prioritize profit over people.
  • “Ontario Line”: All parties agreed that Toronto should lead its transit planning, and that Premier Doug Ford’s new transit map lacks detail and ultimately sets the city back. Instead, Toronto should move forward with the Downtown Relief Line.
  • Permanent and Stable Transit Funding: All parties agreed this funding mechanism is key to transit improvements and expansion. The Greens, however, argued it should not be tied to the gas tax, as gasoline is a ‘diminishing resource’ that will ultimately be phased out. The Liberals spoke to their record for lengthening commitments to 10 years. The New Democrats spoke to the importance of this funding so municipalities rely less on helping private companies generate profit.

Other ideas discussed included electrifying vehicles, fare-free public transit and ending ‘transit deserts’ and ‘missing links’ in the current system.

ATU Local 113 is encouraged to see these candidates participate in this event and thoughtfully discuss key issues of importance for public transit. It’s unfortunate the Conservative Party of Canada failed to show up for this important discussion. The Local is thankful to Transport Futures for organizing the event.

Read more about the debate in the Toronto Star and watch more on City News.