It’s the last week of August, it’s hot and hazy, and at this time, in these conditions, original thoughts hardly come cheap or easy. What does a columnist do in this situation? Dip into the mail bag, of course!
Many of you read these words weekly and feel that simply posting in the comments section isn’t enough to get my attention, so you reach out to me directly through my apparently universally known email address. Some of you are very nice, and others just want to write to tell me how wrong I am.
The emails I’ll address below were extremely cherry-picked by me for let’s call them “reasons”.
First, I want to follow up on last week’s column about fighting to get more regional transit.
“My Projects Director noticed your article in Guelph Today regarding the regional transit problem. Believe it or not, we had Guelph already planned for our network. GO Transit employed me in the past, and I knew the ridership, but I was concerned whether the public would support a private carrier, especially since our prices will be slightly higher than GO Transit.” – J.S.
J.S. works for an upstart transit service that is looking to expand, and they're looking for a signal from Guelphites that they might be interested in a new express bus service from Guelph to Toronto, and if that’s successful, they’re also interested in creating other services to and from Guelph. So what about it? Might you guys be interested in something like that?
“As a senior male, planning any trip downtown has to include access to washroom facilities. A reality for many other citizens of course as well. The timing of bus service back to where I live, if the washroom service is not reasonably available, would put a brake on any decision I might make to go downtown and just be there to shop, eat, meet up, whatever.” – J.M.
Sometimes our readers have pearls of wisdom like this, which frankly, I didn’t consider. Off the top of my head, I can only think of four locations downtown where there is some reasonable public washroom accommodation that doesn’t require you to be a customer, but there are still big hurdles like operating hours for those buildings.
The weird part is that creating more public washroom space downtown used to be a big issue about a decade ago, especially in the context of the downtown entertainment district, but we just don’t talk about it anymore. Do people need to pee less now? Perhaps this is something we should revisit in a future column.
“Not sure what is elitist about driving a car. I don't see you commenting on elitists drivers who stop at stop signs and watch bicyclists pedal through stop signs and lights. What about bicyclists who bike on sidewalks and barely miss people walking on sidewalks.” – D.S.
This was from a column I wrote about the traffic situation at a certain drive-thru at Gordon and Wellington, and I wanted to clarify: It’s the drive-thrus I was calling elitist, not drivers. Drive-thrus tend to be open later that in-restaurant dining, they seem to get preferential service, and they often won’t serve you if you’re on bike or on foot. Sorry, but that is elitist.
To address the second point, I do not support the idea of cyclists on the sidewalk, but I do understand it. The selfish driving habits of Guelph drivers have been well-documented: they turn where they want, they speed when they want – and I confess, there are some roads in this city that I won’t ride on for the sake of my own sanity.
The sad part is that these roads are the most direct way to get anywhere in town because the people who have laid out the roads in Guelph, from 1827 to this very minute, were all very mad indeed.
“The political Left and particularly the mainstream media in Canada continues to lie, propagate, and be dishonest how Trudeau and the Liberals have failed to keep Canadians safe. Maybe it's time to stop acting smug and believing you're morally superior because you're on the left to those who want their lives back.” - R.K.
This was in response to a column I wrote in the spring about the anti-lockdown protests downtown, which seemed to, paradoxically, win me just as many darts as it did laurels. It’s always fascinating for me to see my opinions processed through the partisan lens, especially when I don’t think there is one.
I wanted to mention this last email because it lets me address the current election and political situation. I’m not sure if Prime Minister Trudeau is purposefully dishonest, but I do think he’s cynical. He’s cynical with a smile, and last week’s announcement of 10 federally mandated sick days on occasion of the Liberals’ re-election 18 months after the start of a global pandemic is kinda proof of that.
But there’s a constituency out there whose political identity is tied to an intense dislike for the man. Not to ideas, not to alternatives, just one man who will only ever be the leader of our country for a brief time. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Politicians look at polls, and polls determine political direction, so if you want to change the game attack the issue, not the man.
As for the smugness and moral superiority, sorry, that’s kind of my brand. Thanks for reading!