A Dec. 5, 2017 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Mississauga is starting to think past its suburban status: From LRT construction to waterfront development, the city appears to be surpassing Toronto when it comes to vision, writes Christopher Hume.”
I have been written previous posts about the contrast between Mississauga and Toronto, when it comes to citizen engagement.
In particular, I have spoken of the closer match, in Mississauga, between rhetoric and reality, with regard to citizen input on planning decisions related to the waterfront and other matters.
You can find such pasts posts easily enough, by searching for terms such as “Mississauga” or “Jane’s Walk” at the internal search engine at the website you are now visiting.
I believe that Mississauga and Toronto also show a strong contrast with regard to the distinction between evidence-based practice, with regard to decision making at the municipal level.
One can say that many people, in both Toronto and Mississauga, speak highly of the value of evidence-based practice. Both municipalities are strong on rhetoric, regarding this concept, but Mississauga is some steps ahead, with regard to ensuring that the reality matches the rhetoric.
I say this based on what I have seen and heard with regard to projects that City of Mississauga Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey, and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crosbie, among others, are involved with.
I say it as well with regard to the Scarborough Subway, which Toronto Council insists on going ahead with, even thought the available evidence indicates that an LRT in that part of Toronto would work much better, in terms of value for money and end-results.
I spent quite a bit of time, recently, by following – on YouTube – the December 2017 debates at Toronto Council, with regard to the Scarborough Subway and other matters related to transit issues in Toronto.
I was aghast.
I found it hard to believe that Toronto citizens continue to elect politicians who are – with a few notable and exemplary exceptions – so lacking in acquaintance with, and so lacking in the capacity to take into consideration, pretty well anything to do with evidence-based practice.
The same people get re-elected, with few exceptions, at the City of Toronto. The results are predictable.
The past is another country
I live in a borderland area. I live right close to the border between Mississauga and Toronto.
Downtown Toronto, where I have lived many years ago, as well as Scarborough, where I have also lived many years ago, is in many respects another country to me.
It has been observed – I most recently came across this concept in a quotation in a book about the history of Nazi Germany, by Richard J. Evans – that the past is also another country. The latter quotation was from a British novelist, which Evans quotes, if I recall correctly, in the preface to the second book in his trilogy about Nazi Germany.
The second book is about the years when the Nazi Party was in power, in the period leading up to the start of the Second World War. I am very impressed with Evans’ work as a historian – again, as I have noted elsewhere at this website.
So, the past is another country, and for me downtown Toronto is another country; it goes without saying that Mississauga is also another country, given that I do not live in Mississauga.
The past is not past
On the whole, I like to think of myself as a “foreign correspondent” – a concept that I have also explored elsewhere at this website.
Some related concepts that come to mind concern still other ways to look at the past.
William Faulkner has noted, in still another quotation that I’ve mentioned at this website, that the past isn’t dead, and it’s not past, either.
So, what do the two quotations, about the past that I refer to, concern?
They concern the fact that the past is a foreign country in the sense that we can only approach the past from the perspective of the present moment. We need to use our imagination to picture situations and mindsets, and a broad range of circumstances, that were different in the past, in contrast to situations and mindsets that exist now.
The reading of fiction, non-fiction, and of texts in the borderland between fiction and non-fiction, all require what?
They require the exercise of one’s imagination.
Reading has to do with picturing things that are typically not there (not there, in the sense of being physically in front of us, as we read) but that must, instead, be imagined. Reading is generally about picturing things – imagining things – in our minds.
When we say the past is not dead, and is still with us now, we are saying that what we experience in the present moment is closely connected to how things were set up in the past. I refer to things such as the creation of nation-states, and the outcomes of wars.
Such creations and outcomes happened long ago in the past, but they directly impinge on us even now.
We use imagination to picture the past, and we use imagination to picture the present moment as well.
In the part of Etobicoke where I live, a former mayor achieved great success in getting residents to vote for him. I did not vote for him, but a majority of residents, in the neighbourhoods where I live, voted for him enthusiastically. He appealed to people’s imaginations. He served to channel people’s anger, about a lot of different things – including about “those people in downtown Toronto.”
To vote for such a purpose, one had to be caught up with a carefully crafted, and highly imaginative, approach to the channelling of anger.
One had to imagine that Rob Ford was the person who would set things straight.
My post is coming to an end
Well, enough of that. What else can I write about?
So, I can conclude on this note.
As I have explained previously, Mississauga has a sense of coherence and cohesiveness that Toronto lacks. Toronto as it currently exists is a product of a Province-imposed amalgamation process, which occurred, as I understand, in 1998.
The amalgamation has created a dysfunctional form of civic governance and decision making. How does one get out of such a situation? Will the past stay with us forever?
Mississauga in contrast has not gone through such an externally applied amalgamation process.
You can see the difference, when you watch on YouTube, or attend in person, the Council meetings of the respective municipalities.
In conclusion, I’m pleased I’ve had the opportunity to sit down at my laptop this morning.
The above-noted Toronto Star article, which I have not yet read, and which I was pleased to come across on Twitter, is what got me started on this brief writing project.