Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday July 28, 2018
Doug Ford defends unilateral moves to slash Toronto council, axe regional chair elections
There’s a new sheriff in town.
Brandishing his political clout, recently elected Premier Doug Ford is unilaterally slashing the number of councillors at Toronto city hall and cancelling democratic elections for regional chairs in Peel, York, Niagara and Muskoka.
Ford’s disruption of civic elections on Friday triggered an eruption in municipal politics across the GTHA. In one surprise development, Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s outspoken former chief planner, entered the city’s mayoral race and will take on John Tory.
Tory, for his part, is calling for a referendum on the size of Toronto’s city council.
from 47 members to 25 and is dealing a body blow to a political enemy, Patrick Brown, his predecessor as Progressive Conservative leader, who was a front-runner for the Peel post.
Those hopes dashed, Brown immediately registered to run for mayor of Brampton against Linda Jeffrey.
But Ford, who never discussed his plans during the June 7 election campaign, signalled that he is more powerful than any municipal leader and suggested civic governments could effectively be run from Queen’s Park.
“We’re going to get things done. We’re going to run city hall a lot more efficiently than before,” the premier told reporters 12 hours after the Star revealed his sweeping changes.
“No one has ever said to me: ‘Doug, we need more politicians,’ ” said Ford.
“In fact, it’s the opposite. People tell me that we have too many politicians making it harder to get things done, making it harder to get things built, making it harder to deal with the real problems we face,” he said.
Ford, a one-term Toronto councillor while his late brother, Rob Ford, was mayor from 2010 to 2014, said he was fed up with the “hours and hours of endless debate . . . all of it taking place on the taxpayer’s dime.”
“It’s clear that the size of government is just too large.”
City wards will mirror provincial and federal riding boundaries if the legislation, which will be tabled Monday, is passed. (Source: Toronto Star)