Saturday, January 9, 2010

Recipe for the Iron 407 Pound-it-Thru Cake

In the spirit of Jonathan Swift, this is a special recipe for all those who live along the Georgetown corridor for the Iron 407 Pound-it-Thru Cake. A New Year's summary of the events of the past year, it is also a recipe for disaster. This is not just a 'Modest Proposal', it represents $50 billion of taxpayers money used unwisely to devalue our health and homes through shortsighted choices for unsustainable transit infrastructure.

Take this time during the prorogation of Parliament to tell your MPs what you think of this plan- they have time to read their emails. Until March 5th, in fact.


  • Tier 4 'clean diesel' with extra special, scientifically engineered ultrafine particulate matter
  • 3 air monitoring stations (cost: 3 x $500,000 = $1.5 million)
  • 8 railway tracks
  • MP40 Tier 2 diesel locomotives for the Georgetown and Lakeshore corridors
  • Platinum Catalytic Converters for these locomotives so that they can be retrofitted to become Tier 4 (if no catalytic converters available, develop 'clean diesel')
  • Hybrid Diesel Multiple Units for the Air Rail Link (specially engineered, as only electric are being built internationally to meet environmental standards)
  • 10 km, 5.5 meters high of concrete wall (in total)
  • Private land along the rail corridor
  • Old growth forest along the tracks, to be destroyed for the additional tracks
In 1996, ask Minister David Collennette to write a secret memorandum of agreement with SNC-Lavalin and Infrastructure Ontario to create an Air Rail Link, like London's Heathrow Express. Ensure there are no other competitors for this Request for Proposal.

Sign the contract without taxpayers' consent. Hide it carefully behind the Freedom of Information Act so that taxpayers cannot question your future modus operandi based upon its commitments.

Create an arm's length provincial transit agency. Name the transit agency 'Metrolinx' and buy out GO Transit. Use diesel technology because GO has experience with diesel trains, although the rest of the world, both developed and developing, uses electric trains.

Devise a blueprint called 'The Big Move'. Tell taxpayers that this new, massive diesel rail corridor is 'getting cars off the road' rather than adding a significant number of transit corridors for carbon emissions and pollution. The residents are OK with clean, quieter electric trains- but diesel it must be.

Kick off all municipal representatives, including Mayor David Miller, from your Board of Directors. They are too concerned with the health and welfare of those who live in Toronto, and are slowing your rail expansion down with concerns about constituents.

Replace the old Board of Directors with a new, friendlier Board of Directors who have a corporate agenda to support the memorandum. This job must be done quickly before anyone finds out. Thank goodness you have the newly fast tracked Transit Project Approval Process to hasten the Environmental Approval process!

Now you are cooking! Ignore all international and local directives for sustainable electric rail corridors- you have an old pre-climate change agreement to fulfill!

Ensure that you appear to be consulting with the communities about their concerns about noise, vibration and pollution. Realize that corporate consultation is the 'new counter-insurgency' to quell your opposition. Consult, consult, consult. Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Nod your head and cluck your tongue when over 450 caretakers and children attend a Clean Air for Little Lungs Stroller Parade to express concerns about their future health on July 20th at Queen's Park.

Divide and rule by lining the rail corridor with pamphlets saying that the Medical Officer of Health was wrong - there will be no impact on the health of those in the 'strike zone' and near the 'cancer spots'. This is because the environmental impact of one carcinogen which causes leukemia- 1,3 butadiene- has been slightly changed by US EPA standards. This is your chance to publicly discredit the Medical Officer of Health.

Hide behind a curtain when over a thousand residents of this corridor walk along the length of this corridor as a 'Human Train' to protest at Whistle Stops at each of the twelve neighbourhoods along the route.

Spin basic facts with the provincial and federal Ministers of the Environment such as 'largest and most frequently used diesel corridor in the planet' to ensure their approval process. You get it!

Take the half-baked plan out of the oven - you can go ahead, and build your train tracks now, with far more tracks than you need. Destroy old growth forest along the tracks because it is in your way. All transit expansion is sustainable expansion, and how dare these 300,000 people live in an at risk, lower income transit corridor and expect to breathe or sleep between 5:30 am and 12:30 am? 5 hours is more than enough.

Build three air monitoring stations at $500, 000 each to monitor the affects of pollution. Provide a report to the Minister of the Environment on Bad Air Days. They can let the community know when there have been official smog days due to 'clean diesel' well after residents have acquired asthma.

Apologize to the 76 schools, 96 daycare centers, and 4 hospitals who are disturbed by the air pollution, vibration and noise of your diesel trains. You could had stopped to pick them up had the trains been electric, but when you studied electrification thirteen times, it was just too expensive. Much of the money has already gone into consultancy fees, after all.

Ooops! The highways have backfilled with more cars, and there are 60 more smog days a year. It is really not your problem anymore.

Walk away from this project. Hand the maintenance and running costs to the taxpayer, and the profit to the private company, SNC-Lavalin.

Well done. Another proud day protecting the environment in Canada. After all, Canada has won 6 Fossil of the Day Awards at COP15 from the Climate Action Network for the highest per capita Greenhouse Gas Emissions at 23 tonnes per person. You have done your duty to ensure our role as international leader in climate change.

In 15 years, revisit this Iron 407 at the taxpayer's expense, and rebuild the corridor as electric. Oil is $250-$400 a barrel, and it has become just too expensive to run. Just another public private partnership gone awry.