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Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Road Not Taken - HOV lanes on the 404

Dear Editor, Motorists & Min of Transpo,
cc Prime Minister Dalt-ie

I cruised down the 404 about 4:15 this afternoon from Bloomington to Sheppard and observed the strangest thing - a new roadway, the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane with a high-tech, swooping subterranean ramp to the 401 west at the end of it, so wildly underutilized that Frost's poem's title jumped into my head "the Road Not Taken"

As you know, the 404 southbound was under road construction and lane renovation for ages over the past few years as it was widened and re-configured to accommodate more lanes, new s/bound "to 401" & "to DVP" streams of lanes as well as the s/bound HOV lane (now n/bound too) and all the bridge and cloverleaf modifications that were also necessary.

Oh how we crawled up the 404 each evening from Sheppard or Finch up to the 407, or #7, or 16t, or Maj Mac (or sometimes all the way north) as the volume of traffic from 401e, 401w, DVP, Sheppard, Finch & Steeles all piled into the crush making its way up through the ever-changing lane configurations and bumpy pavement. And we watched a similar tangle going the opposite way.

Enough about the 'pain' - it's all done now.

But ... it's no better!

Alone in the car I did not venture into the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on the extreme left - nor did many drivers.

It appears that most of them were jockey for position (from as far north as Steeles) to get in the 'proper lane' as they approached the DVP/401/404 daily (and often all-day) schmozzle. Crazy nut drivers were using on-ramps and off ramps at Finch and Sheppard to jump out and around and back into the packed lanes headed 'to 401'.

Others, caught-off-guard, or 404 newbies were sitting stopped, or slowed to a crawl with their plaintive turn-blinkers on (as regulars zoomed around them) furtively looking, helpless hoping that they'd find a place of entry into the solid double line headed for the 401.

And of course the me-first, I'm-special, traffic-idiots were out it full force, running up beside the bumper-to-bumper 'to 401' lanes until just before the physical lane dividers and then jamming on the brakes to squeeze themselves in at the last minute - causing domino-effect near-crashes and ripple-effect congestion up the abutting lanes on both sides.

Meanwhile the HOV lane was pretty empty.

A perfectly good s/bound lane to 'bypass the 401 schmozzle' or head lickety-split onto the 401 west via the custom-crafted, under the old ramps, super-duper, new HOV ramp - virtually empty, just about nobody using it.

All that money, all that construction, all that promotion about carpooling and hardly anyone is using it.

All that money, time, energy etc etc to create this new lane, to smooth out the traffic, but it's not being used - we might as well have not bothered and saved all that money, construction mess, aggravation etc because we've got the same number of net lanes as before.

Same story for northbound except upside-down, backwards or in reverse (depending on your thought process).

Rethink this.

Put time limits on the lanes as is done on Don Mills Road and Eglinton East HOV's

If carpooling and dedicated bus lanes are the reason for creating these 404 HOV, fine, increase the load-limit to three people if you want, but limit the HOV to ONLY its rush hour ie am for south and pm for north.

Let's face it there's no significant amount of carpooling going to happen or to be encouraged off-peak.

Let's use that hard-fought lane capacity 18-20 hours of the day & night, preserve that greener-than-thou dream of driver, social-engineering by reserving a special time for it each and every rush hour and let the taxpaying-traffic use the whole road the rest of the time.

Re: Phil Green - Despotic Leaders

Hi Phil,

You learn something every day!!
" now-defunct parliamentary convention that served to draw the line between executive and legislative powers. When the Prime Minister appointed an MP to Cabinet, he had to resign and run in a by-election, as did the PM himself. Constituents voted to sanction the granting of executive power to the MP."

Fantastic piece! Congrats on getting such a comprehensive article presented.

I think we're on the same path, but striving for slightly similar objectives




Couple of points re: Despotic Leaders, Comment FP11, NatPost Sep25/07

The line between the Executive and the Legislative is one we desperately need to re-draw.

III EXECUTIVE POWER

IV LEGISLATIVE POWER

If we do not re-establish (and make it widely well-known & understood) the difference in role, hierarchy & authority between constitutionally established offices that are part of the Executive and which other offices (largely created by convention and 'new' traditions) are part of the Legislative power we will continue to be NOT following our as-written BNA/Constitution and will perpetuate the 'despot-creating' mess you describe AND might as well stop bothering to pretend we have a written constitution.

I was unaware of the now-defunct convention that required the PM & MP's to re-run in a by-election to obtain popular endorsement of their move to the PRIVY COUNCIL ie not Cabinet.

This makes perfect sense since the 'elevated one' was now donning a second hat (becoming part of the S.11 Executive as an advisor to the Governor General) AND swearing a new oath, thereby accepting a primary allegiance to a new 'lord', one much higher in authority than the local consituency ( i.e. to the 'Governor' whose views {along with the views of his Executive Council & Legislative Council} were not always aligned with the views of the assembly in the ol'Responsible Gov't days)

That we know longer follow the "ascendency by-election" convention is no surprise ...especially once Wm L Mackenzie King officially merged (I say usurped, as step one of his 2-part revenge on Lord Byng's refusal of King's 'advice') the powers of the Privy Council by simultaneosly appointing his Principal Secretary (today's Sect'y to Cabinet) as Clerk of the Privy Council via Order In Council PC1940-1121

Once King controlled the Privy Council (stripping the GG of independent advice) and officially took over the Privy Council's committees (Treasury Board et al) the Cabinet became the Privy Council and the Legislative power had virtually taken over(again usurped) the Executive. Step two was King's successful campaign to have 'a Canadian' (read toady, that I appointed) as GG.

With a gratefully compliant toady as GG and that toady with no independent advisors the GG's s55 powers to withhold Assent or Reserve Bills, as an individual (carefully read s.12, particularly vis a vis s.13 - NB s65-66 for Lt Gov's) Wm LM King (and his Rt Hon successors) had indeed become King/Queen/Monarch of Canada - as long as he could stay in power in the House of Commons.


THIS WAS THE OPPOSITE OF THE INTENTION (pls excuse my lack of keyboard emphasizing skills).

This brings me to my next point on your wonderful piece on the plebiscite to pretend to be offering Ontarians a chance to choose mixed-up party-first & party-only voting .

The 1265 Mother of Parliaments & the "splendid old-growth branches" of Parliamentary Conventions.

Notwithstanding the parliamentary history & experiences of Britain & the UK, In my view, Canada was formed as a "new thing" ie with a Constitution similar in principle but in no way exactly the same. 1) GB has no Governor General as local proxy for the Monarch-in-Council. 2) GB is?/was a unitary state, not a federation - no provinces, distribution of powers. 3) GB had no Quebec Act 1774 to deal with (Roman Catholic church + french language)

Canada was formed in light of the French experiments, the 13 Colonies experience (both their Constitutions weak centre {I still get a chuckle out of Article XI} replaced by strong centre) and the politico-economic-mercantile-military realities for GB of post 1837-8 Rebellion, post 1840 Act of Union, British North America & the post civil war USA.

In my opinion, Canada's 5 level governance system was expressly created to prevent a loss of the colonies from the British orb (if possible at little cost and/or bother) plus while under GB control, to maintain a high degree of influence/leadership/control (s. 56 -the 2yr Disallowance power) over any incremental steps a local Canadian demagogue (or despot) might initiate to break with the plan that Great Britain had for Canada's evolution into a 'better version' of the USA .


Sovereignty - vested in the Monarch


Executive

Monarch-in-Council
holds veto over everything

Governor General
-holds all Monarch powers, on pleasure, currently also Commander in Chief on pleasure
-holds veto over everything from Legislatures/Assemblies
-can decide as an individual, with or without advice, and/or advice and consent of Privy Council

Privy Council
independent advisors to GG
appointed by GG
no need for election

Legislative

Senate
land ownership & net worth qualifications

Commons
source of PM's power

People - not mentioned in Constitution 1867
No property rights in Canada, Crown owns everything (grants limited, transferable and will-able "interests" called fee simple for land holdings)



Another key difference (briefly noted above) is the express differentiation between the s.12 'as an individual' decisional/executive powers of the GG and the s.13 'by and with advice' of Privy Council role of the same person as GG-in-Council.

The Monarch of Britain had been constrained to an "in-Council" role by the "gradual usurp(ations of) the Crown's executive power" which limited the King/Queen to the "to be consulted, to encourage & to warn" position that today's QEII blithely admits to holding.

The s.13 GG-in-council role is akin to the Monarch's position vis a vis Her/His GB Privy Council but the decisional/executive powers granted to the s.12 GG as an individual are far greater than the Monarch (albeit with the Briish Monarch-in-council above the office of GG)

If a 1867 GG withheld Assent to a bill ... it was finished (try again if you want, but no appeal mechanism to the GG decision)

If a 1867 GG reserved a bill ... good luck persuading the GB Privy Council

If a 1867 Lt Gov withheld or reserved a provincial bill ... go lobby the Dominion Privy Council

If a 1867 GG-in-Council disallowed or did not signify a reserved provincial bill w/in 1 yr (s.90) ... it was finished ... try again if you wish, but no appeal, as above)

NB The vitally-significant, but never-tarried-upon aspect of the 1982 changes is that " by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same ", the Privy Council released the Monarch from their "advice & consent" strictures but ONLY AS FAR AS CANADA is concerned.

The phrase "No Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the Constitution Act, 1982 comes into force shall extend to Canada as part of its law." and the whole (bogus & faulty) patriation process (with its condition-ridden Charter and impossible Amending formula) couldn't/didn't/dared not remove the Monarch from the top of the power totem, but it surely did remove the GB Privy Council from the mix (QEII is probably so used to the process She would not vary from her normal procedures .... but in all things Canadian, She need not do so.

Case in point - to bring to common knowledge a) this 1982 bit, b) the Monarch's disallowance powers & c) reverse a ludicrous piece of legislation, I'd hoped to get a petition going to ask HRH to disallow the Civil Marriages Act prior to the 2yr deadline of July20,2007 - but no one jumped on the bandwagon)


Sorry for the wordiness and jumping around

Bottom line

The 'de facto' government (that we're all familiar with watching perform as it wishes and not was we might wish) is NOT following the as-written 'de jure' Constitution.

What we have de facto is a self-made (party machine made ) hybrid that has none of the intended safeguards and is operating with out principles, without consistent policies, disregarding Canada's similar in principle traditions, in short botching everything for everybody (debt, enviromnent, fishery, forests, courts-gone-wild, morality gone wild etc etc) EXCEPT themselves and their party-buddies.




another time perhaps

Party control & the Canada Elections Act & Election Finances Acts

True purpose of Senate as reprentatives of the 'propertied class' draw equally from all the 3/4 Divisions/Regions (why else the complicated property & net-worth provisions for s.23 qualification and s.31 disqualification AND a separate Oath)

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