It's been only a few weeks since Doug Ford was sworn in as premier, but he's already made big waves throughout the province and is now going full attack-mode on Toronto, unveiling a plan to cut the number of elected city councillors from 47 to 25 while throwing the October 22 municipal election on the back burner.
"People care about getting things done, they don't care about politicians," Ford said while calling Toronto the "most dysfunctional political arena" in Canada. He said that having fewer councillors will improve the city council decision-making process and will save taxpayers $25 million over four years.
He also cancelled the regional chair elections in Peel Region, where former PC leader Patrick Brown was running, in York Region where former Liberal cabinet minister Steven Del Duca was running, alongside Niagara and Muskoka regions too.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has publicly said he is not impressed with Ford "meddling" with an election that is already underway, stating that "you just don't change the rules in the middle of the game."
Throughout the provincial election Ford vowed to decrease the size and cost of the government, freeing hiring in most departments, but did not indicate that he was talking about Toronto City Council when mentioning the cuts. His platform contained one single mention of Ontario's capital city, proposing $5 billion in new subway funding and to upload the responsibility for underground transit lines to the provincial government.
However the federal government will do whatever it takes to protect Toronto from the Ford government's "vindictive and destructive" actions, Liberal MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Affairs Adam Vaughan said.
Some even think that this is Ford taking revenge out on Toronto, which did not vote him in for mayor and many of whom did not vote in as premier, by reducing the size of council and cancelling elections. These people think that a smaller group will lead to more decisions made in a quick manner — but these decisions will not be representative of the city as a whole and citizens will suddenly find it harder to have their voices heard.
Ford took the time to push back against the city and assert that during his consultations, he did not receive the same response from Tory.
"Not only did we speak to him once, we consulted numerous times — our staff — and we never had this reaction … I'm not too sure where the mayor's going with this. He knows less politicians is good," he said.
Currently councillors represent approximately 59,000 people each, but when the council is cut nearly in half, they'll be representing upwards of 120,000 citizens each, making their jobs much more difficult than now.
People are quick to point out the likes of LA, Chicago and NYC, all of which supposedly have less councillors than Toronto, except they don't. Los Angeles for instance has 15 councillors and a mayor, but has 97 neighbourhood councils and Chicago has 50 councillors, an elected mayor, clerk and treasurer. Other cities are relatively on-par with Toronto in terms of the amount of representatives they have, but critics are attempting to blind the public with false information.
“We have 25 MP’s, 25 MPP’s and 25 school trustees. Why do we need 47 councillors?” Ford complained.
📸: Max Pixel