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diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2002-01-17 (02:03:00)
In which our plucky young hero gets political again.

The Toronto Star reminded me this week why I am still a Rest Of Canadian.

Their latest crusade is for fairness for Toronto. Apparently, those of us in the provincial hinterlands (which begin, it seems, somewhere around the former city limits of North York) spend all our time kicking dung off our boots, throwing our homeless people to packs of hungry wolves, and scheming to deny Toronto its fair cut of the great steamy pie that is Canada.

Now, there's nothing new in any of these complaints. They were, in fact, just as annoying when they came out of Calgary in the 80s and the rallying cry was "Let those eastern bastards freeze in the dark", or when they came out of Quebec in the 90s and the rallying cry was "Oui et ça devient possible", or when they come out of Newfoundland and the rallying cry is "Hey, remember Codco, wasn't that funny?"

Being underappreciated is the Canadian national habit, puffing up your chest and patiently explaining to the heartless and idiotic vipers who make up the rest of the country that you'll take your basketball and go home the national sport.

More tax revenue, the Star has often informed us, flows out of Toronto into the coffers of Queen's Park and Parliament than flows back into the city. We are told this is an outrage. That's why the Toronto Star, in addition to campaigning for fairness for Toronto, is clamoring for the capital gains tax to be revoked and a flat tax to replace the current progressive income tax system. Their editorial board can imagine no bigger outrage than millionaires paying more in taxes than burger flippers and getting no expanded privileges for it.

Oh, wait. I am making up things that never happened again. Imagine my chagrin.

Of course, the comparison is more than a little sarcastic. The rich have always helped lift the poor along in any society with a progressive tax system. (Hell, they'd even help do it if we had a flat percentage tax; 5% of a million dollars is still more than 5% of ten grand.) The Star has never stood in the way of this. It's always been the other, shoddier paper that made the case for lowering taxes on the rich, for giving the rich more of their money back, for working to guarantee the rich profit more from society than the poor. But soaking the rich to help the less fortunate is one thing when you're soaking Izzy Asper, and quite another when you're soaking Metro Toronto.

I'm not saying the Star should be happy that it's Toronto the Good that is being dinged to comfort the afflicted and cure the sick in Medicine Hat the Okay and Sackville the Tolerable and Hamilton the Not Actually A Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland. We love Robin Hood because we always picture him stealing from someone else and giving us the gold; it's never fun when the thief is at our door.

They might, though, have a bit better grace about it than they've shown so far. Toronto is still Canada's largest and wealthiest city, gifted with a great culture, fine architecure, and some of the continent's best citizens. I still sting every time I visit there and have to go back home. I'd move there in a heartbeat if I could, and someday I will do just that. But if nobody likes a sore loser... we like a sore winner even less.

Toronto, don't be a sore winner.

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