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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
An Open Letter to MP Carolyn Bennett on the Toronto Waterfront
17/01/2004

I sent this to my MP today:

Dear Dr. Bennett,

I was concerned to read the comments made by your colleague Joe Volpe that were quoted in the Toronto Star today. Here is an excerpt of that article, in which he discusses the plan to build a bridge to the Toronto City Centre Airport in order to expand traffic there:

Even though Prime Minister Paul Martin has said he would take his cue from city council, which voted to oppose the bridge in December, Volpe said, "We're not going to be bound, obviously, by legislation that comes from the city.

"When federal politicians say 'We'll take our cue from city council' we still have a responsibility to weigh what that means," Volpe said.

City councillors aren't the only ones who represent Torontonians, and it's important to distinguish between the wishes of citizens and the wishes of council, he said.

"Are members of Parliament elected by people from Mars? Or are they elected by the people of Toronto?" Volpe said.

It would seem that Mr. Volpe isn't clear about the wishes of the people of Toronto. I sincerely hope that his ignorance of our November 10 municipal election -- not to mention several public opinion polls and a city council vote -- is not widespread among the Members of Parliament that represent our community in Ottawa.

I would be surprised if you join MP Volpe in his confusion, but just to be safe, let me be clear about my own position:

  1. Bobby Kennedy Jr. expressed it better than I ever could, but simply speaking I insist on a clean, green waterfront for Toronto and that is entirely incompatable with an expanded island airport.
  2. Action on this issue is likely to determine not only my vote, but whether or not I get involved as a volunteer and organizer in the next election -- for or against you in St. Paul's.

Having faith that you stand in support of Toronto, please let me know how I can help you with this issue.

Sincerely, Andrew Spicer

P.S., By the way, today was the first time I visited your website in a while, and I was impressed to notice that you have converted to a weblog format. I commend you for this choice since I feel that it holds great opportunity for involving the public in government. I too have a political weblog and this letter will be there. I request the courtesy of a reply, and will honour your wishes as to whether your reply be kept private or made public. Thank you.

If you live in Toronto, please find your MP's email address here, and write to him or her, too. Recycle my letter if you want.

UPDATE, February 15: I haven't heard back from Dr. Bennett, and I don't expect I ever will.

UPDATE, February 26: Actually, MP Bennett just found this page through Google and emailed me. Suggested she didn't get the original, but does "agree the people of Toronto spoke loudly in the election of Mayor Miller".


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