“It’s a war on cars.” – Doug Ford, April 25, 2012
LITTLE PORTUGAL – A battle hardened general peers through his binoculars and scans the horizon. To the untrained eye, it’s just another urban streetscape: painted lines, traffic lights and parked cars. But in the apocalyptic stillness, the general smells danger. He lowers his binoculars and barks “Incoming!”
Just when it seemed the carnage, pain, horror, tragedy, grief and gut-wrenching loss were over, the events of the past week have made one thing crystal clear: Toronto’s War on the Car is back. First, Metrolinx resurrected the transit plan devised by discredited union shill David Miller. Then a radical faction of “centrist” councillors suggested drivers start paying road tolls. And finally, the city’s chief medical officer suggested lowering speed limits by 10 kilometres per hour. Hostilities have begun anew.
But this time, the city’s persecuted SUV minority is fighting back. This time, a volunteer militia of small business owners, Bay Street fat cats and phys-ed teachers are answering the call. And they’re being led by none other than city councillor Doug Ford.
And just as General Ford predicted, the midday calm is torn asunder by an enemy incursion. A streetcar, travelling west on Dundas and carrying a payload of as many as 255 freeloaders and parasites sucking off the public teat. Behind the streetcar, General Ford spies just what he'd feared: A line of cars languishing in a brutal snarl. The General barks out more orders. “Chevy Malibu stuck in traffic! Two o’clock! “
And with that, Ford’s elite corps piles into his black Lincoln Navigator and roars down a side street, the climate-control and smooth ride belying the danger that surrounds them. Screeching to a halt in front of the Malibu, a triage team pulls the unconscious driver out of his seat.
“He’s lost fluid!” a medic blurts out.
“He’s listening to Matt Galloway talk about diversity,” an intelligence officer reports.
“Just an honest guy on a sales call,” the angry general says, fighting back tears. “He tunes in to CBC to get the traffic update, and next thing you know he’s getting lectured by some Swedish cycling guru who hates cars.”
But not for long. A crack demolitions squad attaches a small C4 charge to the radio and with a small explosion, Matt Galloway and his liberal agenda are silenced – at least in that car.
General Ford pulls out his field canteen and pours some cold Tim Hortons double-double into the Malibu driver's mouth. He revives. But no sooner is he back behind the wheel than he points ahead and says, “What about the streetcar?” It has barely lurched 10 feet.
“Hooo-ah!” the general shouts.
And with that, an elite unit begins its advance on Dundas, commando-crawling underneath parked cars. They reconnoitre in front of the streetcar and deploy extra-strength double-sided stickers on the tracks, which General Ford has special-ordered from his family business, Deco Labels and Tags. “These babies are powerful, boys,” General Ford warns through a megaphone. “If you got one stuck to your forehead and tried to pull it away, you’d rip your own head off.”
Moments later, 37 tonnes of battle-ready streetcar is stopped dead in its tracks.
Victory. Or is it?
“Hard to know for sure,” the philosophical general says as he listens to the latest field reports on a Canadian Tire walkie-talkie. On Sheppard, a bus is taunting drivers by driving below the speed limit. A cyclist on the Danforth has just sworn at a lady in a Mercedes. “At any one moment, it’s impossible to know who’s ahead and who isn’t,” General Ford says, a phenomenon he calls “the fog of war on the car.”
But this battle, surely, is won. As the cowardly streetcar driver retreats into a coffee shop, General Ford steps into the oncoming lane and waves the waiting traffic past. Cars gleefully whiz by, the rev of their engines an ode to their drivers’ joy. After the last of them has disappeared into the distance, General Ford and his men raise their hands in the air and shout, “Wolverines!”
Special to The Globe and Mail