It is never wise to publish a hard prediction, but I will eschew convention and make one anyhow: The government under Premier Doug Ford will accidentally build the Ontario Line into the lake.
It is inevitable coming from the government that, last year, printed stickers that didn’t actually stick to warn gas station patrons about the federal carbon tax. Then, earlier this month, it began circulating new license plates that become illegible after the sun goes down. I can only assume, therefore, that the Ford government will follow by either cutting the ribbon on new long-term care beds for which it will forget to order mattresses, or build its prized Ontario Line in the wrong direction after someone mistakenly scans the map upside down.
In past and present, when confronted with its peeling stickers, washed-out license plates and faded dreams, the Ontario government will insist its products have previously gone through rigorous testing. Indeed, when asked Tuesday about reports that the new license plates cannot be seen in the dark, Minister of Government and Consumer Services Lisa Thompson responded by saying Ontario’s new plates “are actually very readable,” which is as true as saying Ontario’s new plates are actually made of cottage cheese and/or that the Ford government’s savvy team of political strategists are public relations masterminds.
Anyway, according to Ms. Thompson, the new, street-racer-approved Ontario license plates still constitute an improvement on “the flaking and peeling Liberal plates,” which, in some cases, would become unreadable after years of use, as opposed to the new ones that become unreadable from the time they are made.
To the government’s credit, however, it did change its tune the following day (ostensibly after consultations with reality and rigorous testing using human eyes) and conceded that yes, there is a problem with visibility regarding the new license plates and noted that the province will be working with the manufacturer to fix the issue.
What this all suggests is that there is a higher-than-zero chance that Ontario’s ambitious new transit plan – which was Toronto’s Downtown Relief Line until the Premier scratched off “Mayor John Tory” and penciled in “Doug” – will be accidentally be built underwater, right into Lake Ontario.
The first sign that something is amiss will be when a lost boring machine suddenly washes up on the coast of Rochester, N.Y. The U.S. Coast Guard will then examine the machine to try to figure out where it came from, but unfortunately, by then, the identifying sticker would’ve already peeled off (little did they know, it peeled off shortly after it was applied). Eventually, authorities will make the connection and phone up Queen’s Park to come fetch its missing machine.
It will be at that point that the government will realize that the entire north-south portion of the Ontario Line was accidentally just built south, with eight stops entirely submerged and leading out in the water to nowhere. The trains, which will only be operational once, will cruise merrily past Queen’s Quay, beyond which they will become waterlogged and sink to the bottom of the lake. Look out, quagga mussels – there’s a new invasive species coming to Lake Ontario.
Back on land, the government will assemble a hasty news conference to respond to reports of missing trains and angry and exhausted passengers swimming up to Cherry Beach, There, the minister of transport will assure reporters that the Ontario Line trains were subject to rigorous testing (not rigorous testing underwater, mind you, but rigorous testing all the same) and that the plans for the transit expansion were reviewed dozens of times.
Anyway, the minister will add, “The previous Liberal transit line was noisy and disruptive. Ours is unobtrusive and remarkably quiet.”
Eventually, though, the government will have to concede that it didn’t actually intend to waste money on a useless transit line that will have to be replaced. Pressed for further explanation, the ministry will reluctantly reveal than an Ontario Line project manager – likely a second or a third cousin of former Ford chief of staff Dean French – inadvertently scanned a map of the city upside down because he thought the “blue part” at the top simply represented the PC-loving vote-rich 905 region. A common mistake, really.
And so, in the end, a fleet of broken trains, useless tracks and wasted hours will be thrust into the province’s “do-over” pile, which is already flush with unsticky stickers, unreadable license plates, the government’s initial autism program overhaul, the plan to retroactively cut municipal budgets, the plan to cancel construction on a French-language university and scheduled cuts to the province’s legal aid system – among other things. Really, though, when it comes to this government, what’s one more mulligan?
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