Tuesday, October 18, 2005

TheStar.com - City on `cusp' of creative rebirth

Actually, this isn't one of Honderich's guest columns,

Honderich on Toronto's creative rebirth

but rather a report on an address he made touting the importance of 'creativity' to the future of the city's economy. You can tell it isn't a Honderich column because it isn't full of short paragraphs consisting of solitary staccato sentences.

Nonetheless, from the reporting, the typical Honderich type nonsense 'shines' through:

The time has come for Toronto to throw off its shackles of self-doubt...

he says. Well - perhaps Toronto would have less self-doubt were the economic strategy being pursued by its leftist elite (of which Honderich is a charter member) not simply to spend like drunken sailors while hoping for Santa delivers large wads of cash in neat piles beneath the tree each year.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Honderich calls for - guess what - more spending:

In order to fuel it, however, the city needs to enrich its investment in public education and the arts; foster a creative spirit and insure governments are creatively organized; spend more on arts on a per capita basis; establish sustained funding from all levels of government; envisage a civic agency to foster the creative process and draw on other cities' creative successes.

Now what Honderich seems to have overlooked is that the cities where art as purely art has flourished have had other sources of cash to fund the artists. Leaders and patricians in Florence and Venice funded the Michaelangelo's and Da Vinci's using cash from industry and trade.

A better strategy for Toronto is to attempt to reinvigorate itself as the location in Canada in which to locate head offices. [Other growth areas could be medicine and higher education - although these are held-back due to tight state control. ] This will require real belt-tightening at City Hall - perhaps a 3 year wage freeze and a staffing reduction of 5% for starters. The city might also ask its unions to help fund some infrastructure projects. A 5% 'tithing' on TTC wages would give the commission about $400 million for capital projects each decade.

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