Ontario premier Doug Ford needs to stop taking advice from his dead brother. We hear that he is thinking of giving the mayors of Ottawa and Toronto powers similar to those of the U.S. ‘strong mayors.’ Ford seems to get all of his ideas from séances.
The older brother, Doug Ford served as a city councillor in the four years that his younger brother Rob was mayor of Toronto. With the younger brother’s use of crack cocaine and then falling ill with the cancer, that ultimately killed him, it was a turbulent time in Toronto City Hall.
It was assumed to be ‘get even’ time when the elder Ford became premier and one of his first acts was to cut the number of Toronto councillors from 47 to 25. This was despite the fact that the election was already underway.
Doug Ford, coincidently, was based in Chicago for his father’s label printing company during part of the reign of Richard M. Daley as Chicago’s super mayor. Ford never got the label business off the ground in Chicago but he should have understood why the Ontario approach to mayoralty is more challenging than the American system.
I have never known a mayor in Ontario who did not complain at one time or other that they only have one vote on council. What you need as mayor is something most good mayors—such as Toronto’s John Tory has—panache.
As chief magistrate of their community, our mayors are well-paid greeters and honours dispensers. The smarter mayors use their appointment privileges to strengthen their clique and to get objectives through the council agenda. The lazy ones leave the heavy lifting to the city clerk and often have to settle for a single term.
The most annoying problem that our mayors face is that they have to go ‘hat in hand’ to the senior levels of government to get the money required for large expenses such as subways and other high debt load projects.
Toronto is one of the five major cities in Canada recognized as a Charter City. That means it gets additional funding sources in addition to property taxes. Yet, as is always the case: The more you give them, the more they want.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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