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Three ideas – maybe it’s time

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

  1. When travelling on any of the 400 highways as you enter the GTA, there are at least three lanes of traffic in each direction. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the curb lane posted at 100 to 110 km/hour at least, the next lane at 110 to 120 km/hr, and the next at 120 km/hr? If this were the case, more people might put there vehicles on “cruise control,” and road hogs who travel in the passing lanes, but never pass anyone could be ticketed more easily for not obeying the posted lane speed limits. As recently mentioned in this paper, red light cameras are proposed on Ritson Road at Bond Street, Stevenson Road and King Street, Simcoe Street and Conlin Road, and Simcoe Street and Rossland Road. Also installed will be automated speed enforcement, also know as photo radar, which captures the speed of a vehicle through a camera. I’m all for photo radar, especially on the 400 highways if it concentrates on drivers who travel too slowly. I often see traffic congestion as a result of slow vehicles in the passing lanes and anyone who travels our 400 highways, I am sure would concur. It annoys me to no end, when I see a driver merging at Whitby, as I have often seen, and going directly into the fastest lane, but never achieving 120 km/hr.
  1. In regards to the recent gun occurrences in the GTA and in particular a headline from a few weeks ago, “Six charged in Toronto after police seize semi-automatic rife,” which included three teens, it really makes one wonder. Why would anyone need to have a semi-automatic rifle other than to kill or commit serious crimes? Can it be that the penalties for possession, especially for a semi-automatic rifle, cannot be deterrent enough? If we do not soon place even more strict jail time for these criminals, it may soon lead to many more folks actually buying guns in order to protect themselves. I believe this is already the case in many parts of the United States. My brother in the Oakland area had a gun in his nightstand and a rifle under his bed for protection. He also had two dogs and surveillance cameras hooked up all around his property. When is enough, enough? I pray we soon see a decrease in gun possession and the resulting violence – but stricter laws may need to be put in place before this can happen.
  1. Is democracy broken? I believe so, and it desperately needs to be fixed. The first problem may be campaign finance and political funding. The power of money in politics poisons everything – literally in some cases. It is well known that the National Rifle Association in the US contributes enormous monies to politicians who support their cause. The dirtiest companies must spend the most on politics if they are not to be regulated out of existence, so politics may come to be dominated by the dirtiest companies. Banks designing dodgy financial banking charges, pharmaceutical companies selling overpriced drugs, retail companies exploiting their workers, accountants designing tax-avoidance packages – all have an enhanced incentive to buy political space. The system buckles to accommodate their demands.

Recently I saw an idea for reforming campaign finance, which is brutally simple. Every party would be entitled to charge the same small fee for membership (perhaps $25), which would then be matched by the state, with a fixed multiple of perhaps four times. Any other political funding, direct or indirect, would be illegal. This would also force parties to re-engage with voters. The corruption of our politics by private money costs us hundreds of times more than a funding system for which we would pay directly. In the past, corruption has led to financial crises caused by politicians’ failure to the U.S. to regulate the banks, environmental crises caused by the political power of the dirtiest companies, and lucrative contracts for political funders.