Friday, July 19, 2013
Toronto councillors vote against cutting council size
Councillors voted 25 to 13 Thursday against cutting the size of council from 44 to 25 seats but not before getting an earful from the Ford brothers about why there are too many councillors.
Mayor Rob Ford tried to get colleagues to vote to cut council to match the 25 federal Toronto ridings in time for the 2014 election in response to a petition request from the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.
Ford argued taxpayers want “less politicians and more action.”
“I have never come across one taxpayer that wants more councillors, numerous (taxpayers) want less councillors,” Ford told council. “They look at this as dysfunctional.”
He argued City Hall would be more efficient with just 25 councillors.
“Right now we have 44 councillors and it is chaotic,” Ford said.
The mayor — who campaigned on cutting council in half — said under the City of Toronto Act council has the power to reduce council immediately.
Councillor Paul Ainslie successfully got council to vote in favour of rejecting the petition and instructing legal staff to defend the city’s position at the Ontario Municipal Board if the coalition makes good on a threat to drag the city there.
Ainslie stressed the city is already undergoing a ward boundary review — which council just approved last month — that’s set to be done in time for the 2018 election.
“That is the proper process to be taking place,” Ainslie said.
Councillor Doug Ford said some councillors oppose the cut because “they’re scared they’ll lose their jobs.”
“A lot of them couldn’t get a job paying $100,000 — let’s call the facts the facts,” he said.
“That’s why they’re terrified, folks.”
The Ward 2, Etobicoke North councillor accused colleagues across the political spectrum of “protecting their nest.”
“All the lefties chirping behind me, they want to get that gravy train going again,” he said.
Toronto Taxpayers Coalition president Matthew McGuire wouldn’t rule out taking the city to the OMB over Thursday’s council decision.
“We’re disappointed by council’s inaction,” McGuire said.
As councillors squabbled over another issue after the cut vote failed, Speaker Frances Nunziata argued they were showing why council needs to shrink.
“You see, that’s why we have to reduce council because of the way we act in here,” she said.
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