Frank Touby —
City staff are correct in challenging the Uber “taxi” cellphone application’s use in Toronto. Mayor-elect John Tory is wrong in advocating we need to get in step with the times in this regard and essentially cease to regulate the taxi business.
If that’s the case, why not let people who like healing set up an online shop. Let’s allow developers to inspect and then approve their own buildings as free
from construction flaws. Hell, let’s permit restaurants to serve any meat that meets with consumer approval. Rat can taste like beef if it’s ground into a burger. Or like chicken if it’s batter-fried; or curried up and plopped onto rice.
“It is time our regulatory system got in line with evolving consumer demands in the 21st century,” Tory said in a news release touting the Uber app which lets unlicenced individuals use their own cars to pick up passengers and drive them to their destinations.
Consumer demands aren’t sacred, despite Tory’s private-sector experiences as a boss over Rogers corporation, a federally designated oligopoly.
In this case the regulated oligopolies are city-licenced cab companies. They’re regulated to provide safe travel as part of Toronto’s government mandate. They’re oligopolies because that’s the reward for fitting into an oprational strait-jacket solely designed to protect the public.
It’s why we have a mayor and city council, along with a herd of bureaucrats, to proclaim and effect the legal and ethical responsibilities of government.
People who claim to be “conservatives” often demean the role of government to protect the public, touting the deception that business is interested largely in providing good products and services.
Businesses hire public-relations and advertising flacks to promote that self-serving myth. They are interested in the bottom line. Period.
And there is nothing wrong with that. So long as we expect that and regulate their activities on behalf of the public it all works out.
That’s what government’s all about. Otherwise we’d have a fascist state like Mussolini created in World War II Italy where government and oligarchs are in bed together.
I don’t really believe John Tory wants that. I think he’s too humane. He’s just travelling in some of the wrong circles.
It might be cool that a creative high-tech company invented an app that has found a lot of users worldwide.
But we mustn’t allow it to degrade the city’s mandate and responsibility to regulate public transportation providers in Toronto.
Uber has no place in our transpiration and the city should rightly prohibit it. So should the province, which has even more power to outlaw such threats to public order with unlicenced and essentially unsupervised individuals acting as public transit operators.
We need a by-law making it a municipal offence to take passengers for pay unless licenced for such tasks by the city.
And Queen’s Park needs to add greater legislative teeth, making such acts a criminal offence.