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CanadaEdward Keenan: Doug Ford has done what no one else could: united Toronto city council

19:35  15 may  2019
19:35  15 may  2019 Source:   thestar.com

Ford’s cuts are falling heaviest on Toronto

Ford’s cuts are falling heaviest on Toronto When Premier Doug Ford cut Toronto’s city council in half in the middle of last year’s municipal election campaign, the Star said it amounted to “spitting in the face of the city and its voters.” Little did we know that was just the opening salvo in what’s turning out to be a sustained campaign by the Ford government to undermine the city’s authority at every opportunity and single out Toronto for specially harsh treatment as it pares back provincial spending.

Even the staunchest right-wingers on Toronto city council are opposed to Premier Doug Ford ’s budget cutbacks, writes Edward Keenan . It was actually Doug Ford who first got his own family into politics by joining a Doug Holyday campaign in 1994. Stephen followed his old man onto council , and

During Toronto city council ’s first meeting after the 2010 election, then-mayor Rob Ford slashed councillor office budgets in a symbolic act of penny-pinching. At this week’s first council meeting since the 2018 election, total office budgets increased despite political slashing by Premier Doug Ford

Edward Keenan: Doug Ford has done what no one else could: united Toronto city council© Cole Burston A motion from Toronto city council urging Premier Doug Ford's government to reverse its cuts to the city passed 25-1 on Tuesday. Only Ford's nephew voted against it, writes Edward Keenan.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Premier Doug Ford has recently taken to characterizing those who oppose his massive retroactive cuts to Toronto Public Health. It’s just a “bastion of lefties” wasting “ridiculous amounts of money,” he said this week.

Let us, then, venture into this bastion to see these lefty spendthrifts in action, at Tuesday’s Toronto city council meeting, where a motion from the former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, Mayor John Tory, was being debated. The motion called for the province to reverse the cuts immediately.

Edward Keenan: In the war against Doug Ford, public opinion is the strongest weapon John Tory has

Edward Keenan: In the war against Doug Ford, public opinion is the strongest weapon John Tory has And so, we’ve reached the point in our city and province’s long-running real-life political drama — call it Game of Throne Speeches — in which the warring factions of Toronto’s six kingdoms realize they desperately need to band together to fight the Great War. Premier Night King has made it increasingly obvious he is intent on essentially reducing the city’s government to rubble — halving its membership and rewriting its governance, robbing it of authority, slashing resources deeply on multiple fronts and in multiple ways that get right to the quality of life of residents.

1 :59 Doug Ford moves to invoke notwithstanding clause regarding Toronto council cuts. “There was a set amount of money one could possibly spend in this election which did not exceed a certain Why does Doug Ford think he can get away with this? It’s time for John Tory to come clean on his

Ford had argued that slashing the size of the city council would improve its decision-making ability and save million. No one else ,” he said of the electorate. Asked if he was concerned that using the notwithstanding clause for the first time in Ontario’s history to deal with the number of seats on a

Councillor Stephen Holyday, of Ward 2 Etobicoke Centre, rose to speak.

“Nobody should be surprised, I’m one of the first councillors here to openly admit that I’ve questioned many programs in the city. And I question them fundamentally,” he said.

Indeed, he is a second-generation small-government skinflint. His father was for a long time young councillor Rob Ford’s mentor and only ally, and shared with the late mayor the opinion that almost no government spending was good government spending.

Edward Keenan: Doug Ford has done what no one else could: united Toronto city council© Bernard Weil Etobicoke Councillor Stephen Holyday, who is perhaps council’s most consistent vote against program spending of almost any variety, says the city is getting "shafted" by the province's budget cuts.

Stephen followed his old man onto council, and has hewed closely to the family ideology, steadfastly opposing bike lanes, LRTs, the King Street Pilot, road tolls. He’s said and made clear through action that his priority is keeping “government costs contained.” He publicly supported Doug Ford’s cut to the size of city council last year in the middle of the election. He is perhaps council’s most consistent vote against program spending of almost any variety.

Toronto can't cut or tax its way out of provincial cuts — and so the fight is on

Toronto can't cut or tax its way out of provincial cuts — and so the fight is on After weeks of back and forth, the bean counters at Toronto city hall have finally been able to attach a number to the municipal funding cuts resulting from the provincial budget. The damage? Nearly $178 million — and counting. So what happens next?

Doug Ford said the city will save million by cutting the number of councillors, though Wiseman: The province can do anything it wants to municipal government as it has done in the past when The provincial government can even do away with the city of Toronto . The people would still be there but

Doug Ford has announced he will run for the leadership of Ontario?s Progressive Conservatives.The former one -term city councillor and runner-up to John Tory in the 2014 Toronto mayoral race gathered reporters Now we just get more of him. Edward Keenan writes on city issues ekeenan@thestar.ca.

“But I opened up the public health budget agenda item, because I thought that it was important to read and understand how all the numbers work. And I asked the medical officer of health some high-level questions about how does this all fit in.

“A couple things jump out at me. The provincial subsidy to Toronto Public Health is $183.5 million. It’s no small figure. Sixty-five million of that (the impact of the provincial cut in 2019) is very, very material.

“I contrast that to the net expenditures of Toronto Public Health,” he said — the amount the city contributes — “and their whole proposed operating budget was $64 million. So according to the staff’s number, the cut is larger than the amount we even give to Toronto Public Health,” he said.

“I’m quite willing to have a conversation about the different services that are in Toronto Public Health, but the conversation has to include understanding what exactly is ours to deliver by rule, and perhaps by rule of the province, and understanding what exactly those cost to deliver, what are the ones council has set and created on its own. And are those within our control to make changes? Perhaps, but there’s going to have to be a long process, through the budget committee.

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Premier Doug Ford said over and over again that important decisions require consultation with the But you announced massive changes to the makeup of Toronto City Council right in the middle of an For example — what about all the candidates who have raised money and paid out of their own

cuts to Toronto city council , Premier Doug Ford made several questionable statements Monday. Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba wrote in striking down the legislation, nor did it explain how The city ’s legal team told council that the law could be challenged on constitutional grounds.

“Where I have a big exception, is to change the funding mid-year. I mean this is baked in, $183 million worth of funding. And to rip $65 million out of them, I mean we’re getting shafted.

“I don’t know how we’re going to make that. I don’t know if anybody in this room knows how we’re going to make up that gap as proposed. It seems to me it’s just not practical and couldn’t happen that way,” he said.

“This is a very, very serious thing,” he said. “We’re in an untenable position,” he said. “That is just not an acceptable process, to switch things right in the middle of the game, and we need to send that message that it’s not workable the way that it is,” he said.

When Tory’s motion came to a vote, it passed 25-1. Those voting with Tory against Premier Ford included Holyday, as his speech indicated. They included Mark Grimes of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, who Rob Ford used to affectionately call “The Midnight Mayor.” They included Denzil Minnan-Wong of Don Valley East, who was a Progressive Conservative candidate for MPP under Doug Ford’s leadership in last year’s provincial election.

Council votes to oppose Ford's new housing plan amid concerns over affordability, reduced revenue

Council votes to oppose Ford's new housing plan amid concerns over affordability, reduced revenue The new plan, heading through the legislature as Bill 108, aims to tweak more than a dozen pieces of legislation to cut red tape, speed up housing approvals, and make housing "more affordable" for both would-be home-buyers and renters. But in a new report, chief city planner Gregg Lintern and city manager Chris Murray said there is "limited evidence" the legislation would make it easier or faster to build. "There are no tools in Bill 108 that address head-on our affordable housing challenge," Lintern later told council.

Some bastion of lefties this is, opposing the provincial plan for public health. It includes, apparently, the entire ideological spectrum of city council. It includes everyone, it seems, except one person — one lone supporter of Doug Ford’s cuts to public health spending. Who’s that?

A blood relative of the premier. His nephew, Michael Ford.

Edward Keenan is a columnist based in Toronto covering urban affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @thekeenanwire

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