There must be some amused apparatchiks at the Ontario Legislature. These are the conservative ones in the premier’s office, charged with keeping Doug Ford out of harm’s way. To them, harm’s way is any commitment to give money to the city of Toronto. You tend to think of Toronto as some sort of orphan after Olivia Chow was elected mayor earlier this year. There is no question but former mayor John Tory was treated as the son Doug Ford had never had—treatment such as Chow does not get.
You have to admit that Doug Ford was hardly rooting for Olivia to be the last person standing out of 102 candidates for replacement mayor. The very fact that Ford had agreed to a working group to find funds for Toronto could be the full extent of his being agreeable for this year. In the meantime, Olivia Chow is bicycling herself to work every day at city hall—in high hopes that someone above her pay grade will pay attention to her calls to senior governments for funding.
At her frequent news conferences, Chow takes a positive attitude. Her big plans for Toronto require a big budget. She keeps her hopes alive. While the municipalities are creatures of the province, there is no guarantee that the conservatives consider her pleas to be worthy of their attention. The premier has told her she needs to raise taxes. He wants her to take the blame for the increase.
Did you notice recently in the list the media produced to show which municipalities were meeting their commitments on housing starts that Toronto was well ahead of the game. The province promised municipalities who met their targets would get extra funding. She is well within her rights to demand some of that prize money.
The situation with the federal government is different as it is more of a moral issue. Toronto is the destination that many immigrants want and subsidized housing is the only answer until these immigrants have been established in a job with decent wages. The feds also have people awaiting hearings on their immigrant status that need emergency housing and the city cannot continue to pay their bills.
Quite frankly, Olivia has put herself in a lose-lose position. She might as well increase taxes as well.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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