Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday June 28, 2023
Ford Steps Away from Toronto’s Game Console
The recent election of Olivia Chow as Toronto’s mayor-elect marks a significant shift in the dynamics between Queen’s Park and city hall. As Premier Doug Ford steps away from the control console, his influence over Toronto’s affairs is likely to diminish. This change presents both challenges and opportunities for the city as it embarks on a new chapter under Chow’s leadership.
During the election campaign, Ford openly expressed his opposition to Chow’s candidacy, endorsing a rival candidate and warning of dire consequences if she were to be elected. However, now that the election is over, Ford has pledged to work with Chow and find common ground on key issues.
This willingness to collaborate, regardless of political affiliations, is a positive step towards fostering cooperation between the provincial and municipal governments.
One area where Ford and Chow can potentially find agreement is in addressing the need for affordable housing in Toronto. Chow’s proposal to build 25,000 rent-controlled homes aligns with Ford’s support for affordable and purpose-built rentals. By working together, they can leverage their shared goals to make progress in tackling the pressing housing crisis in the city.
However, challenges loom on the horizon. Toronto faces a significant fiscal shortfall, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Ford urges Chow to get the city’s finances in order, it is essential for the provincial government to recognize the unique challenges faced by municipalities and provide necessary support. Finding a balance between fiscal responsibility and ensuring adequate resources for essential services will be crucial for both Ford and Chow.
One contentious issue that may strain the relationship between Queen’s Park and city hall is the redevelopment of Ontario Place. Chow opposes Ford’s plans, which include a luxury spa, a waterpark, and relocating the Ontario Science Centre. Ford, on the other hand, sees the redevelopment as an opportunity to transform Ontario Place into a world-class destination. Balancing the preservation of public spaces with the need for economic development will require constructive dialogue and compromise.
The success of Chow’s mayoral tenure will depend not only on her ability to navigate these challenges but also on her approach to governance. It is crucial for her to build bridges and maintain open lines of communication with the provincial government. While disagreements are inevitable, it is essential to find common ground and work towards shared goals, such as improving public transit, enhancing infrastructure, and creating opportunities for economic growth.
As Premier Doug Ford relinquishes control over Toronto’s affairs, the dynamics between Queen’s Park and city hall are poised for a change. With Olivia Chow assuming the mayoral role, there is an opportunity for a fresh approach and renewed collaboration. While challenges lie ahead, including fiscal constraints and divergent views on key issues, finding common ground and prioritizing the best interests of Toronto’s residents should be the guiding principle for both Chow and Ford. By working together, they can set a positive precedent for intergovernmental cooperation and pave the way for a prosperous future for the city. (AI)