City of Toronto Services Review

City's request for feedback on services both encouraging and scary

In case there was any doubt that the the 2012 budget was going to be an absolute cutfest, a recently launched City of Toronto website seals the deal. One part of what will be an extensive public consultation process on how to deal with the $774 million hole facing the City, the site's twofold purpose is to provide information about City services and to solicit feedback regarding which ones residents value the most.

This is a good idea. At this point, significant cuts are inevitable, so involving the public in the process makes sense. How much weight will be accorded to this feedback, on the other hand, remains to be seen. Given this government's track record when it comes to public deputations, it's not hard to imagine that this might be a big PR stunt.

It is, however, disappointing that the eight scheduled public discussions appear to be limited in terms of space. While all of them are currently still open for registration, it'll be interesting to see how quickly they fill up and what, if any, strategies will be put in place to accommodate those who miss the cut. Can't we find bigger spaces to host these things? Or a format better suited to bigger numbers?

Putting skepticism aside (at least for now), it only makes sense for the public to take this opportunity to participate. With so much on the line, you could make the argument that it's more important than that most basic form of democracy — voting. And, at least as far as the survey goes, you don't even need to leave your home.


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