To the editor,
(Editor’s note: The following two letter are excerpted from an email exchange between industry veterans Gerry Manley and Peter Pellier. The first letter below is Manley’s.)
Neither Doug Ford nor his brother Rob, God bless his soul, ever came to the aid of the taxi industry when they were City of Toronto councillors.
This showed me and all other industry members the Fords had no intention of helping us. This was especially apparent when you consider that Rob sat on the L&S Committee for four years knowing what the taxi industry issues were and did nothing to level the playing field.
That obvious disdain for our industry membership from the Fords culminated when Rob became Mayor, was in a very strong position to help the taxi industry, yet still sat back and refused to assist us.
Our issues have repeatedly been brought to the attention not only of the City’s Mayor, councillors and staff but all three major provincial political parties, all provincial ministries and their staffs. Especially over the past four years since Private Transportation Companies started showing up in our marketplace, none of these governments or their staff have offered any constructive assistance while our industry has gone down the drain so don’t look for help provincially in their upcoming election or in the City of Toronto’s impending election either.
If our membership can’t see this pattern of government neglect, a situation which has been ongoing slowly but surely for six decades now, they truly are doomed.
The answer you will most likely receive from provincial candidates is that taxi licensing comes under municipal authority, not provincial powers, which is true.
What you may not be aware of is that the Province can intervene, if it so chooses, to rectify an injustice, which obviously is occurring in all municipalities that have allowed companies such as Uber into their taxi marketplace. The fact that our municipal governments have failed to come up with bylaws that are fair for all is sufficient grounds for the Province to act but it has chosen to do nothing.
Since all municipalities, other than the City of Toronto are governed under the authorities of the Ontario Municipal Act, an intervention is clearly available.
Even though the City of Toronto Act (2006) gives this municipality self-governing rights, the Province, even considering the City’s powers, could intervene and make changes if it so wished Ð since the Act came into being, the Province has in fact intervened and made changes limiting the City’s powers in certain areas.
I again will submit the idea to our membership to get behind a court case that at least gives you a chance to recoup some of your financial losses and quit hooking your hopes to the shooting star of effective political or bureaucratic resolutions, which have never, nor will they ever, come to fruition.
Gerald H. Manley
Well stated!! Years from now, historians will record that senior governments left taxi industries across Canada dangling in the wind. Their complete and utter failure to intervene on our behalf against a rapacious corporate entity is the principal reason cabbies have suffered such considerable financial losses.
That said, members of local councils must assume a burden of responsibility for the current state of affairs, given the fact they, too, turned their backs on us when needed most.
Quoting the 18th century poet, Alexander Pope: “To err is human; to forgive divine.” Suffice to say, forgiving Mayors Tory, Crombie et al for what they did, or rather, failed to do, will take some time. Not that they could give a damn.
Peter D. Pellier
To the editor,
In the future, we are told, the only option for the taxi-riding public will probably be driverless taxis. Would you feel comfortable in one of those?
Whether I like it or not, as technology continues to reconfigure the workplace, the singular entrepreneur will find it harder and harder to earn a living.
Where this world is heading, in my opinion, is back to the feudal system where the few rich owned and ran everything and the rest were serfs.
The middle class will disappear leaving the vast majority of the population to survive on the scraps the rich throw us.
I know it sounds bleak, but if you observe, the shift of wealth to the so-called one percent is already underway and most people in the middle class are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
The metamorphosis will of course not happen overnight, but the future does indeed look bleak for the ensuing generations as there is only so much room at the top.
It’s important that all of us work together to resist this downward economic spiral, challenge our governments when they enact legislation that is harmful to the public interest and continue pressing for genuine, democratic reform.
Gerald H. Manley