The “Gang of 10”—Councillors Partridge, Whitehead, Collins, Jackson, Skelly, Conley, Brenda Johnson, Pearson, Pasuta, and VanderBeek—are are on the verge of committing the most atrocious decision any of them have ever made as City Councillors. They are prepared to turn down a provincially funded LRT system, a billion dollar investment in our city. Their inaction will sell Hamilton's future short, and it will be motivated purely by a fear of losing votes in a looming election cycle. The LRT dialogue has been too polite. In light of its potential failure, I’m shifting gears. Bluntly, while I am not saying LRT opponents are trying to destroy this city, I am saying that they broadly fall into three camps: business owners located along the route; victims of “fake news”; or anti-transit ideologues who shudder at the sight of a bus. This trio of folks is pushing the Gang of 10 to turn down a direct $1,000,000,000 investment from the province in Hamilton's infrastructure. Of that money, 80% of the spend, eight hundred million dollars, would go towards infrastructure investment. Turning down the only large pool of provincial funding available for such municipal investment is fiscally unsound!
Eight hundred million dollars for brand new roads, sewers, hydro, and street lights, will disappear in the blink of an eye. This investment will allow us to avoid spending taxpayer dollars on providing quality infrastructure in the future. Mere distaste for transit is not a reason to dismiss fiscal prudence; Not only is this investment fiscally prudent, but countless studies have shown the need for a world-class rapid transit system. It is mismanagement of the worst kind.
But these cowardly Gang of 10 are too frightened to lead. Rather than imagining a bright future for Hamilton, these councillors are only dreaming of their easily won re-election victory parties
A line must be drawn somewhere. A councillor afraid to lead with the whole city's best interests truly at heart is unfit to be a Councillor. This is about the ability to show leadership, about doing things for Hamilton's civic future and not just your own political career.
Leadership is about guiding opinion. It’s about standing up and doing what’s right, even if it means challenging your own self-interest. It’s about being aware that doing the right thing may not always win you the popularity contest.
When the Gang of 10 walks into City Hall, more concerned with their careers than doing what’s right for our city, that’s not okay. They must put their efforts into making this desperately-needed investment in jobs, infrastructure, and transit succeed by educating residents in this city about this ambitious project.
Hamiltonians elected our councillors to lead and govern effectively. Watching the inaction of the Gang of 10 is proving to the residents of this city that they are unwilling or unable to do the job we elected them to do. Killing this billion-dollar investment out of fear for their political futures is short-sighted, cowardly, and fiscally incompetent. If they choose to reject this investment, it will be clear that we, the citizens, have to set up and lead where they’ve failed. This lack of leadership cannot continue any longer.