This week Toronto Mayor John Tory sent a letter directly to Premier Doug Ford urging him to hit "pause" on his unannounced plan to force city council to downsize from 47 to 25 members.
"Something as fundamentally important as an election — a primary mechanism of civic democracy — should not be changed without public input and in the absence of a clear process or robust understanding of public impacts and costs," his letter said. Tory's letter continued by calling for the premier to retract his actions to allow for a referendum because the issue was not raised during the campaign by any party.
The letter is more aggressive and was a surprising move on Tory's part, who is seeking a re-election this coming October. Though he downplayed the chances of a legal challenge against the province, there is still a chance that this matter could go to the courts.
For the coming election, the city had planned to increase the number of wards in the city from 44 to 47, based on extensive public consultation and the plan to cut the number of members is based on Ford talking with a small amount of Toronto-area voters.
“While I voted against increasing the number of councillors, I at least respected the fact that the recommendation was the result of an extensive process including the public," wrote Tory in the letter. In contrast, he continued, the proposed changes to the City of Toronto and Municipal Election acts are being pushed without any public consultation or talk with stakeholders, including Toronto.
City Council is having a special meeting on August 20 to discuss legal implications and options of the changes.