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The McGuinty government’s revamped City of Toronto Act is the gift that just keeps on giving. Could the Daltonites have ever imagined how, by granting the city more taxation powers, they were extending city councillors more than enough rope with which to hang themselves?
Yesterday’s dust-up among Toronto councillors, following the announcement of budget cuts by City Manager Shirley Hoy, made for great television but did nothing to assure thinking Torontonians that we are not headed for a scenario, such as in New York City in the 1970’s, when that city’s bankruptcy was embarrisingly clear for the world to see.
I don’t think the Star overstates things in its headline today “City cuts quality of life“.
Local politics – yes in Montreal, too 🙂 – is often quite ugly and unsophisticated. Poltical thespians on council – and there’s surely no need to name names – are usually very parochial, thinking of the relatively few, talk radio-listening voters and developers in their wards who put them into office. They focus on lunch being served at City Council meetings and free parking for councillors, latching onto populist outrage and milking it for all it’s worth. As if cutting these would put another subway train on the rails.
It all amounts to a dumbing down of local government when what is really needed is councillors – not just the mayor who, unfortunately, is showing signs of fatigue right now – to speak (and think) about the whole city, its future and its livability.
Update: The Star’s Christopher Hume places the blame, at least in part, on the few voters who turn out for municipal elections. It’s well worth a read!