Following the announcement by Doug Ford’s government to halve the size of Toronto City Council, residents of the Queen City share their concerns.
According to the Prime Minister, this cut in council positions will save about $25 million over four years.
Toronto will however become the city where each councilor will represent the largest number of citizens in the country. An average of 109,000 residents per councilor, spread over 25 boroughs. Rather than the 61,000 Torontonians for 47 districts currently.
Roxanne Dubois lives east of downtown. According to her, this new law will automatically reduce access to elected officials, particularly because of the diversity of communities that reside in the city.
It’s a big city, we have all kinds of realities that are represented. If we reduce the number of elected officials, these realities will be less heard and I fear that they will even be erased.
Roxanne Dubois, Toronto
The same goes for another Toronto girl, Janet Rudd. There was not really a consultation session with the public , she regretted.
Mayor John Tory echoed the announcement on Friday, the day Ford announced. Consultation is essential to serve Torontonians, he believes.
For Laura Tulk, a resident of the Beaches neighborhood, this is a vindictive move by the Progressive Conservative government to a city that did not vote for Doug Ford in the last municipal election.
She wonders, however, how Ford plans to save millions of dollars, as advisers will now be fewer in number with greater responsibilities. According to her, they will probably need more employees to manage everything.
I can not imagine how this will save money, as with fewer councilors, the remaining elected officials will need more staff to provide their constituents with the services they need and need.
Laura Tulk, Toronto
Little recourse for Toronto
The lawyer Audrey Mayrand reminds that this is not the first time that this occurs. Other governments had already done this in the past.
There are cycles like that, where we go to bigger and bigger municipalities and we try to reduce them. In Quebec, the Bouchard government did the same thing, it reduced the number of municipalities by a lot. The Harris government had also made similar moves. It remains to be seen whether it is the right idea at the moment to do so , she says.
But according to her, the city’s hands are tied. According to the Canadian Constitution, municipalities are indeed creatures of the province, and the Ontario Legislature has every right to create, abolish and even administer them.
On the other hand, the tradition is that citizens are consulted before any major change.
The municipalities, as such, if there were a decision to change the law, would not have much use. Recourse is rather political, like convincing elected officials to do otherwise.
Audrey Mayrand, lawyer
Premier Doug Ford was not available on Saturday to respond to White Pine Tribunes’s interview request .
Andy Roberts is a seasoned journalist with nearly 9 years experience. While studying journalism at Ryerson, Annie found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to White Pine Tribune, Annie mostly covers provincial and national developments..