December 2, 2022

Tuesday’s throne speech confirmed the Ford authorities would plow forward with a brand new governance mannequin offering particular powers to the mayors of Ottawa and Toronto.

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Don’t do it.

That’s the message from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to the Ontario Progressive Conservative authorities as Premier Doug Ford muscle tissue into native authorities armed with plans for a “sturdy mayor” system for Ottawa and Toronto — and probably different cities sooner or later.

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“I don’t see a necessity to offer sure mayors extra powers and veto energy over duly elected councillors,” Watson mentioned in a press release Tuesday after Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell learn the throne speech within the Ontario legislature.

“What we now have in place now, whereas imperfect, does create a system of checks and balances between the mayor and council,” mentioned Watson, who isn’t in search of re-election within the Oct. 24 municipal vote. “I’ve by no means requested for extra powers and I’d urge the federal government to not proceed with this side of the throne speech.”

Tuesday’s throne speech confirmed the Ford authorities would plow forward with a brand new governance mannequin offering particular powers to the mayors of Ottawa and Toronto. The PCs are tying their proposal to the housing disaster.

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“Sturdy-mayor techniques will empower municipal leaders to work extra successfully with the province to scale back timelines for growth, standardize processes and deal with native boundaries to rising the provision of housing,” Dowdeswell mentioned in studying the throne speech.

“For city populations, these new powers can be particularly related because the province works with its municipal companions to increase the footprint of transit-oriented communities so extra folks can dwell, work and play close to the comfort of public transit.”

On Wednesday, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark is introducing laws characterised as “further instruments to construct extra properties quicker.”

The PCs haven’t but put down on paper precisely what the sturdy mayor guidelines can be, however Ford has recommended the governance mannequin would offer veto energy to the mayor, with two-thirds of council having the ability to block the veto.

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At present, the mayor’s vote on council holds the identical weight as ward councillors’ votes. Every member will get a single vote on a movement. It means if the mayor, or any council member, needs to show a proposal into coverage, greater than half of council must agree.

In Toronto, Mayor John Tory, who’s in search of re-election, has supported the thought of a powerful mayor system.

Nonetheless, the thought hasn’t been met with a lot fanfare in Ottawa.

Ottawa’s mayoral candidates weren’t lauding the province’s plans when phrase squeaked out final month in regards to the sturdy mayor proposal.

Catherine McKenney criticized the sturdy mayor plan as an “anti-democratic” transfer, Mark Sutcliffe mentioned he was “able to work throughout the present system to construct the consensus our metropolis wants,” and Bob Chiarelli promoted his “open door coverage” and his “file as a consensus builder.”

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Watson crunched the numbers and found what many would already know: he hasn’t required additional powers to maneuver votes by council.

“I’ve discovered that weak mayors need extra powers,” Watson mentioned. “I’m proud to have labored with members of council to move roughly 98.2 per cent of council votes over our final three phrases with none particular powers.”

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