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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 6:53 PM
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Ford's attack on Toronto is good news

While Ford`s dictates of Toronto city council being cut by 40% in the middle of an civic election is scandalous, I think it`s good news overall.

The fact that it saves almost no money and clearly is a personal vendetta against his current and former rivals lays bare how our cities are nothing but fiefdoms at the mercy of provincial governments. If this had happened anywhere else in the country it would be relegated to local news but as with all thing when it happens to Toronto it makes national headlines and hence gets Ottawa`s attention. It reminds our population how pathetic our huge urban centres are treated in this country and how they are governed by a Constitution that was written 150 years ago when 80% of the country was rural compared to being 80% urban now. Ford's little gambit has FINALLY put our urban plights and lack of control on the front page where it belongs.

Despite how it could hurt Toronto, this maybe the best thing that has happened to the nation's cities in a very long time. This could turn out to be 'the straw that broke the camel's back' in regards to fundamental changes in how are cities are governed and lead to real change coming from Ottawa. Ford may be remembered as the best Premier our cities have had since Confederation.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:02 PM
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It depends on how much farther down the rabbit hole Ontarians are pulled by their right wing. Basically - is Trump the anomaly, or was Obama? 20 years from now, if Doug Ford turns out to have been the beginning of a shift in Ontario toward right-wing corporatism and authoritarianism, then having urban issues on the front page right now won't matter much. German newspapers talked about their democratic, progressive constitution a lot in the 1930s too.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
This could turn out to be 'the straw that broke the camel's back' in regards to fundamental changes in how are cities are governed and lead to real change coming from Ottawa. .
Does Ottawa even have the legal power to change the way cities are governed (under constitutionally entrenched provincial authority)?
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  #4  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:13 PM
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Does Ottawa even have the legal power to change the way cities are governed (under constitutionally entrenched provincial authority)?
No.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:15 PM
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No.
That's what I thought.

A province has the legal authority to abolish all of its municipalities if it wants, and run all local affairs directly from the provincial legislature.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:16 PM
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I would say more that reform of municipal governance is a possible silver lining, not a foregone conclusion and not a good reason to randomly disrupt things.

I also wonder if the municipal-provincial dynamic is as bad as people suggest. The reality is that people in metro Toronto basically have to approve of any provincial government that gets elected. This is true of most of the large metros in each province. Some provinces have gotten stuck in a weird state where rural areas get disproportionate voting power and hold the balance of power too often, but I don't think Ontario is like this.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:18 PM
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The barrier to entry level politics grows with each decision of this nature. Politics is becoming the territory of the elites, which has to be the biggest concern of all.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:20 PM
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I would say more that reform of municipal governance is a possible silver lining, not a foregone conclusion and not a good reason to randomly disrupt things.

I also wonder if the municipal-provincial dynamic is as bad as people suggest. The reality is that people in metro Toronto basically have to approve of any provincial government that gets elected. This is true of most of the large metros in each province. Some provinces have gotten stuck in a weird state where rural areas get disproportionate voting power and hold the balance of power too often, but I don't think Ontario is like this.
If we're talking about City of Toronto (416), it has what 22-25 MPPs, so it can't really decide Ontario elections all by itself, and holding the balance of power might happen from time to time but it's not a sure thing. It only voted in a few Doug Fordites, and yet they still won.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:39 PM
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
I would say more that reform of municipal governance is a possible silver lining, not a foregone conclusion and not a good reason to randomly disrupt things.

I also wonder if the municipal-provincial dynamic is as bad as people suggest. The reality is that people in metro Toronto basically have to approve of any provincial government that gets elected. This is true of most of the large metros in each province. Some provinces have gotten stuck in a weird state where rural areas get disproportionate voting power and hold the balance of power too often, but I don't think Ontario is like this.
Not in Manitoba where 32 of the 58 seats (I think) in the Provincial Legislature are located within the city limits.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:56 PM
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kwoldtimer is quite correct, cities are exclusively within the domain of provincial governments. Of course, Ottawa has no problem picking on provincial governments when it`s politically expedient to do so.

Healthcare is also 100% under provincial jurisdiction but it is very much Ottawa that sets the healthcare agenda. Amazing how the provinces are willing to forfeit some of their powers when Ottawa`s largess is at stake. Ottawa could do the same with infrastructure spending. It could all of a sudden change the rules about cost sharing by putting in it`s current 40% but instead of the remaining being split by the provinces and municipalities, it could declare the cities, for example, only have to pony up 10% of the remaining costs stating, quite correctly, that the cities don`t have the taxing powers to raise the infrastructure revenues that the provinces do. All of a sudden Ottawa`s infrastructure largess is on the line and, like healthcare, the provinces yield to Ottawa`s demands of more urban independence and taxing powers. The same goes for transfer payments which Ottawa funds yet the money is spent on social/health/education services that are strictly under provincial jurisdiction.

Time after time the provinces defend their jurisdiction UNTIL federal dollars are at stake and then they have shown consistently that they are willing to capitulate to Ottawa`s demands. No provincial politician is willing to have to make massive cuts to public services when they know it will kill them in the next election just tp prove a point. As with all politicians, their convictions are transitory when their political lives are on the line.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:06 PM
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If NYC can prosper with 15 city reps, we can manage fine with 25. 47 is on the high side, but personally I'm indifferent. I'm more concerned with Doug Ford and John Tory increasing the power of the Mayor, to create super mayors like in big American cities. Our system seems to be doing a good job, but then an experiment like that may work better. I'll wait and see to pass judgement.

Provincially enforced amalgamation and the greenbelt were great moves,
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:09 PM
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One of the policy points of mayoral challenger (and former chief planner) Jennifer Keesmaat in the upcoming election is to secede from Ontario and form a separate Province of Toronto. I'd support that, though it seems highly unlikely that it would ever receive the necessary constitutional amendment to do so.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistercorporate View Post
If NYC can prosper with 15 city reps, we can manage fine with 25. 47 is on the high side, but personally I'm indifferent. I'm more concerned with Doug Ford and John Tory increasing the power of the Mayor, to create super mayors like in big American cities. Our system seems to be doing a good job, but then an experiment like that may work better. I'll wait and see to pass judgement.
I think that most of the criticism is related to the timing and the motives behind the legislation. That criticism appears well founded.

On the other hand, I think there are reasonable arguments both in favour and against the substantive changes being proposed.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:14 PM
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I don`t think most Torontonians are losing any sleep over fewer politicians at City Hall. They look at a bunch of counsellors who are gripped with inertia while the city continues to struggle with critical issues especially housing and transit...…….people don`t see how things could get any worse.


I think the issue is how it was decided in the middle of a civic election, appointing Regional Government leaders to take revenge on old political allies, and why Toronto was singled out. The reaction would have been far more muted if it took place AFTER the upcoming election and if all municipalities {large and small} in the province also had to cut their representation by 40%.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
One of the policy points of mayoral challenger (and former chief planner) Jennifer Keesmaat in the upcoming election is to secede from Ontario and form a separate Province of Toronto. I'd support that, though it seems highly unlikely that it would ever receive the necessary constitutional amendment to do so.
That is a proposal so ambitious in scale that it makes one wonder if Ms. Keesmaat has any idea just how grand it is. The prospects of such an amendment being adopted by the House of Commons, the Senate, and two thirds of the provinces (making up at least 50% of the national population) seem... remote.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:15 PM
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I think that most of the criticism is related to the timing and the motives behind the legislation. That criticism appears well founded.

On the other hand, I think there are reasonable arguments both in favour and against the substantive changes being proposed.

Yep. Toronto City Council has always been a bit of a gong show, and so a reduction to 25 wards in line with provincial/federal electoral ridings actually has the potential to make Council operate a little more smoothly.

However, the lack of transparency on this, lack of professional & democratic input, timing (in the midst of an ongoing civic election), and seemingly vindictive motives are all very problematic.



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That is a proposal so ambitious in scale that it makes one wonder if Ms. Keesmaat has any idea just how grand it is. The prospects of such an amendment being adopted by the House of Commons, the Senate, and two thirds of the provinces (making up at least 50% of the national population) seem... remote.

The only way I can see it happening is if the mayor campaigns on a referendum for provincehood (as opposed to provincehood itself, magically happening). If the majority of Torontonians support that, the upper levels of government would be pretty well obliged to respect it (we certainly have an established precedent on referendums over secession in Canada...).
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mistercorporate View Post
If NYC can prosper with 15 city reps, we can manage fine with 25. 47 is on the high side, but personally I'm indifferent. I'm more concerned with Doug Ford and John Tory increasing the power of the Mayor, to create super mayors like in big American cities. Our system seems to be doing a good job, but then an experiment like that may work better. I'll wait and see to pass judgement.


NYC has 51 city Councillors, but also functions in a much different way than Toronto's municipal government. In addition to Council, many local decisions (including those related to the city budget) are handled through Community Boards, of which there are 59. So I'm not really sure you can make an apples to apples comparison here.

I'm not opposed to exploring different mechanisms of governing in Toronto including more local autonomy given to the former municipalities. Fairly indifferent to the exact number of Councillors as well. But this is absolutely not the proper way to go about it.
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  #18  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:23 PM
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That is a proposal so ambitious in scale that it makes one wonder if Ms. Keesmaat has any idea just how grand it is. The prospects of such an amendment being adopted by the House of Commons, the Senate, and two thirds of the provinces (making up at least 50% of the national population) seem... remote.
And as a result, is a big liability for her candidacy in that it makes it look a bit frivolous.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:24 PM
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The only way I can see it happening is if the mayor campaigns on a referendum for provincehood (as opposed to provincehood itself, magically happening). If the majority of Torontonians support that, the upper levels of government would be pretty well obliged to respect it (we certainly have an established precedent on referendums over secession in Canada...).
I agree that a referendum would help (in terms of creating some political pressure). But it would be even more complex than the Quebec secession issue (which is, itself, highly complex). The Constitution Act specifically provides that the creation of new provinces requires satisfaction of the 7+50 formula (whereas an amendment which only affects one province [lots of potential arguments over that particular issue] only requires the House of Commons, Senate, and that particular legislature to agree.)

Its not impossible but it would be a decades-long project.
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Old Posted Jul 31, 2018, 8:39 PM
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Why would Toronto cede the leadership of our largest province which we increasingly dominate and hold many headquarters. It sounds rather myopic, I'd like to hear her reasoning, should be interesting.
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