john tory

This is why people in Toronto are hating on John Tory pretty hard right now

With the provincial election now over and no recent announcements from the Ontario government about new highways, lockdowns or the like, it seems that Premier Doug Ford has been a little safer from the public's usual wrath these days, though the same can't be said for Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Tory is facing more censure than usual right now for a number of reasons, with the city's mayoral election coming up in just three months.

First, there was his move to amend the city's routine ActiveTO closures, which were a boon for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the pandemic.

The initiative closed down segments of roadways like Lake Shore Boulevard to traffic on select weekends while businesses were shuttered and residents had fewer reasons to get out of the house.

Support for the program meant it got extended far past lockdown days, but Tory said last month that he was changing it up due to an outpouring of complaints from drivers, as well as the return of major summer events that would mean hellish traffic if such arterial routes were closed.

After much debate on the topic, the mayor decided to reserve the regular closure of Lake Shore in particular to just "limited special" days, with peak period congestion now back to pre-health crisis levels and travel times on certain roads doubled when Lake Shore was closed.

Despite the reasoning behind the decision and the fact that other routes will still remain a part of ActiveTO moving forward, people have been up in arms, citing Tory's lack of interest in climate change, and a missed opportunity to better use public space and encourage non-car transportation.

It also speaks to the car-centricness of Toronto by design, as well as in North American culture generally when compared to places elsewhere in the world that are known for their phenomenal public transit and cycling infrastructures.

Residents are also taking issue with Tory's long-standing connection to the Rogers family, especially after the recent network outage that all but brought the city to a complete standstill.

Many feel that Tory's role in the Rogers family trust, a promise he made to the late Ted Rogers," is a conflict of interest, something he had to declare when city council was recently speaking about the outage's impacts on the city and future steps. 

One conflict he didn't declare, though, is the fact that among the events he cited as reasons to end ActiveTO are Blue Jays games at the Rogers Centre.

An integrity complaint has now been filed against the mayor for not noting this conflict when discussing and voting on the fate of the program.

It's also worth mentioning that the Rogers gig pays him a hefty $100,000 annually, something people aren't too pleased about and argue impacts his decision-making.

Tory's comments yesterday in support of police who have been criticized for ticketing speeding cyclists in High Park are now the cherry on top for those who are already angry about the whole ActiveTO issue.

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