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Transit Debate Crib Sheet: Key Votes and Reaction Roundup

Rob Ford and some allied councillors as a press conference after the transit vote yesterday.

If you missed the play-by-play of yesterday’s transit debate, we’ve put together a summary of all the key facts, figures, and reactions to get you caught up.

The Proposals That Passed

This is based on a binding Memorandum of Agreement the City signed with the province in 2009, with a plan to build several light rail plans in Toronto.

The omnibus motion introduced by TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) calls for:
  • Construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, with the central portion of the line underground and the outer portions of the line at grade (i.e. street level)
  • Construction of the Finch West LRT from the Spadina subway to Humber College
  • Conversion of the Scarborough line from RT (which is at the end of its lifespan) to LRT from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue, with an extension to the Malvern Town Centre as funds become available
  • Directing TTC staff to work with Metrolinx to put together reports on the feasibility of the following future transit projects: extension of the Sheppard subway west from the current Sheppard Station to the current Downsview Station; extending the Sheppard LRT to the Toronto Zoo; extending the Bloor-Danforth subway from Kennedy north-east to Scarborough Town Centre; extending the Eglinton LRT to Pearson Airport; construction of a Downtown Relief subway line

Result: Passed, 25-18

In a separate motion, Stintz also addressed the vexed question of Sheppard transit. It was originally slated to be an LRT but Rob Ford has promised to build a subway instead, relying largely on private sector funds. Stintz’s motions therefore suggests that council:

Establish an expert advisory panel regarding transit on Sheppard Avenue. It will report back to council no later than March 21, 2012, and its goal is to determine the most effective means of delivering rapid transit to the greatest numbers of riders along Sheppard within the scope of funds currently allocated (emphasis ours). Participants will include: representatives from Metrolinx, the TTC, the Toronto Board of Trade, the Sheppard BIA, and the Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance; former mayor David Crombie; and director of the U of T Cities Centre, Eric Miller. Stintz’s motion also called for Rob Ford’s transit advisor, Gordon Chong, to be included in the panel; as of press time, he hadn’t confirmed whether he would take part.

Result: Passed, 28-15

How Councillors Voted

On the main motion, regarding the recommitment to building three light rail lines:

Maria Augimeri
Ana Bailão
Shelley Carroll
Raymond Cho
Josh Colle
Janet Davis
Glenn De Baeremaeker
Sarah Doucette
John Filion
Paula Fletcher
Mary Fragedakis
Mike Layton
Chin Lee
Josh Matlow
Pam McConnell
Mary-Margaret McMahon
Joe Mihevc
John Parker
James Pasternak
Gord Perks
Anthony Perruzza
Jaye Robinson
Karen Stintz
Adam Vaughan
Kristyn Wong-Tam
Paul Ainslie
Michelle Berardinetti
Gary Crawford
Vincent Crisanti
Mike Del Grande
Frank Di Giorgio
Doug Ford
Rob Ford
Mark Grimes
Doug Holyday
Norm Kelly
Giorgio Mammoliti
Peter Milczyn
Denzil Minnan-Wong
Frances Nunziata
Cesar Palacio
David Shiner
Michael Thompson

Absent: Ron Moeser (who is ill); Gloria Lindsay Luby (on vacation)

Complete results for the voting on all of yesterday’s motions are available from the City.

Rob Ford’s Reaction

The Province’s Reaction

Statement released by Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, shortly after 8 p.m. last night:

Earlier today, City Council met to debate the future of public transit in the City of Toronto. As a former Regional Chair and Mayor, I have always respected the will of council, as a whole, to come to a position regarding public transit priorities.

Over the past few weeks, Torontonians have been party to a healthy debate about the future of public transit. For many, public transit is a necessity—it’s how employees get to and from work, how seniors get to and from their appointments and how students commute to school.

Throughout the debate, the McGuinty government has maintained a clear stance—we wanted the City to come to a common position so that we all could focus on building much-needed transit infrastructure.

Now that Council has endorsed a position, we have asked Metrolinx to consider the impacts on current transit planning and report back to us as quickly as possible.

As time is of the essence, we look to the Mayor and Council to move forward together and help us build public transit, in accordance with the five principles that reflect the public interest and the mandate given to Metrolinx as previously outlined. These principles are as follows:

1. Any project paid for by the Province must achieve sound regional transportation objectives.
2. Provincial funding for rapid transit projects in Toronto is fixed at $8.4 billion (2010$). The Province and Metrolinx need to demonstrate ownership and control in accordance with provincial accounting rules, in order to amortize the investment.
3. Any penalties related to contractual commitments or the loss of investments that result from changes sought by the City are the City’s responsibility.
4. Costs related to delay must be assumed by the City.
5. The plan should minimize impacts on traffic to the extent reasonably possible.

Now is the time to move forward. What matters most to Torontonians is that we get shovels in the ground and deliver transit in Toronto.”


  • Pocketpool

    Get your hands out of your pockets gentlemen…

    • Charles Melvin

      At least we know whose hands are in whose pockets ;)

    • Bruce Gavin Ward

      it should be apparent that there is a gentle’woman’ leading this charge!

      • Anonymous

        No one ever accused Frances, the fifties dominatrix, with the thigh lenth plastic boots of being a gentle anything.

  • Anonymous

    It will be interesting to see which councillors who voted with Ford on this will repudiate his publicly stated intention (after losing the vote) to ignore council’s will. I have written mine, an abject Ford lackey (shame-facedly standing behind Rob on the podium), to please do so.

    • Chris

      Well, the classier right wingers have already conceded defeat. Even Minnan-Wong, probably the lappiest of non-Mammo lapdogs, has said he doesn’t agree with council, but council has the final word.

      It’s pretty much the Fords, and perhaps “Giorgio” (George) versus everyone else.

      • Bruce Gavin Ward

        ‘nonsense’; Georgio “always” sides with the winners; whoever they may be.

        • Anonymous

          “I must get in front of my people, so I can lead them!”

  • Craig Morris

    There are many people citing Ford calling the meeting “irrelevant” after the meeting. However, it was my understanding that this was actually during a brief recess between Ford and Stintz presenting their cases and the actual vote. All this being said it was a ridiculous statement and after his pathetic publicity stunt on the SRT last night, I think he’ll cave to council sooner than later or cry trying ;)

    • Anonymous

      No; he said it during a press conference once the votes were in and the meeting ended.

      • Craig Morris

        Fair enough. I still stand by the rest of my comments.

      • Bruce Gavin Ward

        and that amounts to a “contempt of Council” [and the people of Toronto who they represent].

        • Caligula Jones

          No more than this vote is a contempt of Mayor and the people of Toronto who he represents, right?

          • Anonymous

            No, but it would be if the mayor had won the Council vote, the other side said it was irrelevant (after engaging in heated debate all day long), and that they would go over the mayor’s head and appeal to um… I dunno, Zeus?

  • Anonymous

    How the TTC Commissioners voted:

    Karen Stintz, TTC Chair FOR
    Peter Milczyn, Vice-Chair AGAINST
    Maria Augimeri FOR
    Vincent Crisanti AGAINST
    Frank Di Giorgio AGAINST
    Norm Kelly AGAINST
    Denzil Minnan-Wong AGAINST
    Cesar Palacio AGAINST
    John Parker FOR

    How do we get rid of the Rob Ford lapdogs on the TTC commission?

    • Caligula Jones

      You elect a different mayor in three and a bit years.

    • Anonymous

      You mean legally?

      • M Gold

        Another Special Council meeting could do it.

    • Anonymous

      You get council to remove the mayor’s power to appoint members to commissions. To do that, as we now know, you need 2/3 of counsellors to agree to put it on the agenda for a normal meeting, or have a simple majority call a special meeting. Once the council has done that, committee appointments can be made by council as a whole.

      • Anonymous

        It was pointed out somewhere else that, due to a rule change made last April, a majority of council are required to remove/appoint a committee chair. So Stintz may be at the TTC a bit longer than the Mayor would like. Of course he can still pack the board with his little finger puppets, and they can dutifully vote as a mindless zombie bloc according to his deranged whims, at least until council changes that rule as well.

  • Anonymous

    I realize that Karen Stintz is getting a lot of praise around town, and it obviously took guts to stand up to Ford. She deserves praise for that. But before we deify her, can we regain some perspective?

    Right wing media is going on about how she is looking to take leadership of the anti-Ford caucus on council, which is beyond absurd. This issue aside, Stintz has done A LOT of Rob Ford’s heavy lifting especially as TTC chair. According to Matt Elliott’s chart, prior to this she was a 92% Ford nation voter. The fact that she broke with Ford on this speaks more to how resistant Ford is to arithmetic, and that she isn’t entirely devoid of common sense.

    Let’s not forget that just *last week* she led the charge at the TTC committee to undermine the council vote to restore TTC funding by reallocating that money away from the restoration of bus service.

    If you aren’t a Rob Ford fan, you can’t let one issue detract from the fact that Karen Stintz has been one of his greatest enablers. Let’s keep that in mind before we anoint her the second coming.

  • Nowhere3

    They should’ve asked him if he knew what a subway was, because an underground LRT it is not.

  • Nick

    I don’t even get what Ford is going on about in his response. Subways? Eglinton was and is going to be an LRT (all of which or part of which was underground). And what taxpayers want? Well, 24,000 names of them were on a petition presented yesterday in favour of the original LRT plan (incl. Finch West) versus a couple hundred for Ford’s subway plan. And the put-upon people of Scarborough who will now “only” get two rapid transit lines instead of two gold-plated ones? Well, what about the residents of Finch West who are packed on crappy busses? Get a grip, dude.

  • Scott

    Look at the people standing behind and supporting the drunk clown.

  • Charles Melvin

    Take away the ethnic flavour and the Ford Bros. are a lot like the Mario Bros.; obsessed with tunnels. #Fordnation #TOCouncil

  • Anonymous

    It’s all just so ridiculous — Ford going on about subways and vision when everyone knows he only buried the trains because he is unbelievably pro-car and wants them out of his windshield. Plus, there was no actual “subway” under discussion except Shepherd — if you want to die on the cross for subways, do it for the downtown relief line, for crying out loud. At least the buffoon mayor has been exposed in front of the entire city as an uneducated fool, which I guess is a plus.

    By the way, I’m hoping that the Stubway panel realizes the best thing to do with the funds would be to tunnel west to link up to Downsview and become a BRANCH of the Y-U-S. Either that or convert the thing into an LRT tunnel (high-platform, but could be done). Nothing else makes sense.

    • Anonymous

      The LRT vehicles on order need a bigger tunnel than the subway to allow space for overhead wires. Sadly, we can’t extend the Sheppard LRT into the Sheppard subway’s tunnel.

      Also, if the Sheppard subway extended across to Downsview, then operating it as a branch U-S portion of the YUS is bad idea. You would codemn it and the U-S extension to have half the frequency the system alllows. Plus, people going downtown would still change at Sheppard-Yonge

  • Anonymous

    I think the final vote was 25-18…but they had to do it three times because so many of the councillors were confused as to which way they voted.

    • Anonymous

      On the main proposal, it was (that’s what we have above). The proposal about the blue ribbon panel was voted on separately, with slightly different results.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s worth mentioning that yesterday’s vote brings home the importance of pressuring city councillors with calls and emails.

    I called and emailed Jaye Robinson’s office yesterday, knowing that she was a potential swing voter. I was told that she was supporting the Stintz motion. But she then voted in favour of the mayor’s deferral motion, which alarmed me.

    I contacted as many friends as I could to contact her office after that.

    She was one of the last speakers at the end of the day yesterday, and was barely coherent – she seemed totally frazzled, and expressed her wish that she had more time to decide. She never did actually say how she was going to vote, but what she did say, in the absence of more time to decide, was that she was voting according to the feedback she was getting from her constituents.

    She ultimately voted for the Stintz motion, and against the mayor. And she did this as a councillor whose ward is directly affected by the Eglinton LRT.

  • Chemical_echo

    I dont understand the reasoning behind looking into the feasibility of extending the Bloor-Danforth line from Kennedy to STC.
    With the motion of replacing the SRT having passed, and with it already stopping at STC, why even look into a subway that is just going to follow a new-ish LRT?

  • Hamish W

    Ah, relative sense, and Schadenforde at the same time…

  • Anonymous

    I see Ward 6 member Mark Grimes ducked out of the photo-op after voting with the Ford brothers to halt the “war on cars” and to squander billions on pie in the sky.

    After bailing out the Leafs practice rink to the tune of some thirty-eight million dollars of tax payer funds I’m not surprised at anything they do now.