TORONTO - It had to happen. There are too many municipal councillors with little or nothing to do, just as there are some really good ones – Maria Augimeri, whose involvement has been crucial in several issues championed by the Corriere Canadese, comes to mind.
Premier Ford, who has had personal experience with the exasperating dynamics at City Hall, decided, in Cromwellian fashion, that this condition has been too long for this City.
His solution? Introduce efficiencies by cutting the number of Councillors to 25 and infuse a much more energetic competitiveness in the Council Chamber. Eliminate the stagnation, gridlock, and erosion of physical infrastructure … It is a great “spin”, and may produce desired outcomes, but it requires faith, perseverance and persistence.
There is a practical political agenda unfolding. Doug Ford is laying down markers.
Municipalities are creatures of the Province under our Constitution, so he can do it. Many will argue that chaos and confusion will result because the electoral process is already under way, people have started to raise and spend money and so on. Process, procedure, consultation et cetera.
He acted as did Alexander when confronted with the perplexing Gordion Knot 2,300 years ago. The timing, however, elicited the predictable reactions.
This action, like others before it in this first month in office are more likely designed to show “who’s in charge” in this yard, Ontario. So, watch out.
I your name Trudeau? You owe us $200 million for your pet refugee program. You want carbon tax? Forget it without Ontario’s permission (p.s. it’s not coming). Build a pipeline? Ask Ontario first.
Is your name Tory? Did you not say your primary role is to advocate for Toronto by lobbying the Federal and Provincial governments for increased funding (a never-ending story)? You had better check with the Boss up the street. The Premier is in charge of the purse strings. He lives here.
Toronto City Councillors: remember how you were so high and mighty when you suspended, then Mayor, Rob Ford? Forget about considering your wards as personal fiefdoms. Cry me a river.
No, I don’t think Doug Ford, now Premier, is out to settle scores, even if it is tempting to infer that he cancelled the Chairmanship elections for the regions of Peel and Vaughan just to “deep six two political rivals”, former PC leader Patrick Brown and former Liberal Cabinet Minister, Steven Del Duca. There is no guarantee they would have won their races anyway.
It is more probable that he is looking at the last stronghold of Liberal support in the GTA and wondering why not rid himself (the federal CPC) of this potential nuisance. At the same time why not limit the infrastructure of the NDP caucus at City Hall?
The first few weeks of Ford government have been a newsgatherer’s heaven. Like him or not, everyone is talking about him.