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A Call For Cooler Heads in the St. Clair Debate

The campaign by supporters of the St. Clair private right-of-way proposal in the wake of the project’s delay by a provincial court finally received some notice from the local media. Among others, Star columnist Royson James noted the strong response he’d received this past week, and acknowledged the Boycott St. Clair campaign.

It is true that there has been a lot of anger back and forth this past week, and Royson makes a good point that the heated rhetoric could be the one thing that does real damage to the community over the long term. I believe his article singles out the Pro-ROW side more than it should, but now that the attention has been grabbed, and the project’s supporters have made themselves known, it’s time to dial down the anger. In the long term, it’s not constructive, and the City of Toronto cannot act one way or the other until it receives the full explanation of the court’s decision. Until then, we are all shouting without purpose.

After initially favouring the anti-ROW side in its focus on last week’s court decision, the Star has diversified its coverage, profiling both sides of the issue in this article and running an editorial that was outright in support of the right-of-way. This issue has also appeared on a number of blogs in the blogosphere, including Drae’s Web-Based, Log-Like Page, Andrew Spicer, Andrew in particular supports the right-of-way, but defends Save Our St. Clair’s use of a legal technicality to thwart the project, noting that the project’s supporters would probably resort to similar tactics if the tables were turned. There has also been an extensive debate between a right-of-way opponent and myself, which started angrily, but gradually cooled into an agreement to disagree, on the Boycott St. Clair campaign website.

Again, until the judges release the full text of their ruling, and the City of Toronto considers its response, there is little for supporters to do that hasn’t been done already, except put the issue on simmer instead of boil. The best advice at this point is to wait for this next step. Until then, defences of one’s position should be made in more reasonable terms than last week.

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