John Deverell Archives

Is Toronto a perfect democracy?

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CityCaucus.com presents a new guest editorial from John Deverell, a retired Toronto Star journalist and a past president of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild, as well as Treasurer of Fair Vote Canada.

democracyToronto, Canada’s largest city, has some megacity problems and little willingness to examine them closely.

Mayor David Miller suggests the difficulties are obvious and the solution simple. As in most cities broad responsibilities (which in Ontario include social assistance and public housing as well as public transit) are overwhelming the city government’s narrow capacity to tax and spend.

Miller says Ottawa and the provinces should simply raise and send buckets of cash to Toronto and every other cash-strapped city in Canada. He never explains why the senior governments will want to tax so the city councils can decide how to spend.

Looking past that perennial obstacle, many also wonder whether the Toronto city government is capable of managing wisely even its current $8 billion budget, let alone the requested additional billions from on high. Miller himself has argued that that Toronto Council lacks any overarching vision, that most councillors are parochial by habit, and that they should surrender many of their prerogatives to a strong executive Mayor such as himself.


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