Jeff Gray -- the Globe and Mail columnist who writes "Dr. Gridlock" -- has a column out today pointing out that many Torontonians are witlessly passing money along to an organization that actively lobbies against their interests.
Unfortunately for you, your $63.13 annual CAA membership fee pays for more than emergency roadside assistance. It pays for CAA lobbyists to tell government officials that they should spend billions more building expressways and use gas taxes only to benefit motorists, not to help pay for public transit.
The Central Ontario CAA seems to have never met an expressway plan it didn't like. It has even endorsed a preposterous multibillion-dollar scheme to build a multilane expressway on a causeway 1.5 kilometres out in the middle of Lake Ontario that would ferry traffic from Scarborough and Durham Region into the downtown.
Even weirder, many local environmental and public-transit activists remain members of the CAA. Even Dan McDermott, executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada's Ontario chapter, is still a member. And he no longer owns a car.
For a while I've had the idea that I should pass out leaflets in the Beaches area pointing out to people that if they are CAA members they are supporting the same group that wants to build a freaking offshore highway past their beloved Beach. But, I guess I have been too busy. Anyway, now Jeff Gray has done part of the job for me.
In any case, I entirely support the campaign urging Torontonians to quit the CAA! Canadian Tire offers a perfectly good alternative: The Canadian Tire Auto Club. When you ditch the CAA, be sure to tell them why.
Here's another excerpt from the Globe column:
The Toronto Environmental Association's Gord Perks, whose wife is a CAA member, says the group is almost always lobbying against the things he fights for. "They pop up everywhere you can imagine, as opponents to promoting cycling, promoting pedestrianism, promoting better public transit," Mr. Perks said.
"They always wrap it in the guise of what they call 'balanced' transportation, but you never see them show up at city council and ask for more money for public transit."
He said the CAA has long been much more than a tow-truck service and is now "the principal advocate in Ontario for building roads, building highways, and ignoring the social and environmental costs of that kind of transportation system."
Quit the CAA! Not only are they hardcore highway lobbyists, they go too far and endorse insane proposals.