By Brenda Thompson, Founder and Chair of STA
We knew this was coming.
Despite some folks claiming the “Scarborough Subway” is happening, we have always known that this politically-motivated proposition would be tested over, and over, and over again. In the face of this repeated resistance, the Scarborough Subway Extension’s staunchest supporters have predictably played the same tired card: It’s downtown elites that are trying to keep Scarborough from the subway that it deserves!
We are now accustomed to this trope, but it reached a new level when Ward 38 Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker insulted the Chair of Scarborough Transit Action at a meeting of the Glen Andrews Community Association. When Brenda Thompson voiced her objection to the subway extension, De Baeremaeker dodged substantive engagement by asking, “Are you from here?”
As De Baeremaeker, along with MPP (and Minister of Economic Development and Growth) Brad Duguid, try to perpetuate the “Scarborough versus downtown” divide that they helped fabricate, it seems that Brenda Thompson’s part of Scarborough no longer counts.
What about Sheppard Avenue East and Progress Avenue? Is that area part of Scarborough? Had it not been for a breach of procedures that undermined the RT conversion, there would be a rapid transit station being constructed at that intersection right now.
What about Scarborough Village, Kingston Road, and Morningside? If we were not still talking about pouring billions of dollars into a tunnel with one station, we could be funding rapid transit to dramatically improve travel in these priority neighbourhoods. But according to the worldviews of De Baeremaeker and Duguid, these neighbourhoods are not part of Scarborough.
Let’s make explicit what Scarborough means to De Baeremaeker and Duguid: People who live in detached houses, and who travel mainly by car.
We learned a lot by trekking along the side of St. Andrew’s Road – great location to talk transit, by the way – to attend the Glen Andrews meeting. Even though Duguid and De Baeremaeker present themselves as “Scarborough’s transit champions”, it seems that they are most interested in serving thosewho worry about dust, “traffic,” the expropriation of a few houses, and a parking lot at Scarborough Town Centre.
Instead of bringing a transit network to Scarborough, these faux transit champions are pushing a new plan: Trying to waste even more of our money and time on a proposition designed for homeowners who drive cars.
Whereas we are told to sit down, shut up, and stop delaying progress any time we question the absurdity of the Scarborough Subway Extension, De Baeremaeker and Duguid don’t hesitate to propose delays if it keeps their base happy.
And what of people of Scarborough who actually take the TTC?
Well, we keep clunking along on the Scarborough RT. Instead of upgrading the RT to an LRT that extends to Malvern, we get divisive rhetoric and poorly conceived propositions with inadequate funding. Even worse, we are actually the ones using transit in Scarborough, but we are accused of being “downtown elites”.
To Glenn De Baeremaeker and Brad Duguid: Given your performance over the past three years, we do not expect you to share our position about transit. We get that. But we are not okay with you pretending we do not exist.
We are Scarborough residents and we refuse to be misled. We want a LRT network that takes us, and everyone else in Scarborough, where we need to go.