TORONTO—Toronto mayor John Tory moved to file an emergency motion for a referendum following an announcement by Ontario premier Doug Ford to cut the number of city councillors from 47 to 25.
At a City Hall press conference Friday morning, Tory addressed that proposal saying he had talked to Ford about the processes surrounding the “stunning” and “massive” change.
He said that in his conversation with Ford, he welcomed a “proper public discussion” on how the city of Toronto is governed.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 27, 2018
“Let’s put this question to the people,” said Tory, adding that he will be moving a motion to find a way to hold a referendum, including the question of reducing city councillors on the voting ballot on Oct. 22.
“We would live with the result, whatever it is, but at least it will be the people, all of them who choose to vote, who will decide,” he said.
The proposed legislation was met with responses on both ends of the spectrum; some were unhappy with the sudden change and some called it a long time coming.
Make no mistake, city process was a sham. The numbers were a fraud. 25 wards worked for Trudeau & Wynn, it’s going to work for us. https://t.co/Wm0V85sFlb
— Justin J. Di Ciano (@JustinDiCiano) July 27, 2018
Ford said that he ran on a commitment to restore accountability and trust, promising to reduce the size and cost of government in his campaign.
“We will be introducing legislation, that if passed, will dramatically improve the decision making process at City Hall,” he said at a press conference Friday morning.
He says more politicians is not the answer, no matter who the mayor is.
“To put things into perspective,” Ford said as he compared Toronto with the city of Los Angeles, “with almost 4 million people, [Los Angeles] has 15 city councillors.”
He said that the new boundaries will be effective in time for the fall election and that they will improve the decision-making process.
Having fewer politicians will save taxpayers $25 million, said Ford.
His proposed legislation will also put a pause on elected regional chairs in York, Peele, Niagara, and Muskoka, which Ford called another layer of politicians. In these regions, the Ford government wants to return to the pre-Liberal structure.
To accommodate those currently running in the municipal election, the Ford government plans to extend the nomination period until Sept. 14, but the election date of Oct. 22 will not change.
“I was there when we would take 10 hours to make a decision,” Ford said on his time as a Toronto city councillor.
“We have 44 people trying to make a decision, that can’t make a decision. They all have their own little interests and nothing gets done,” said Ford.