toronto city council

Toronto once again calls for referendum and pause on council cut

Toronto City Council is still fighting for its life, with the latest attempt coming in the form of an open letter to the premier, penned by John Tory

In the letter, the mayor pleads with Premier Doug Ford to "hit the pause button" on the cuts to council that would reduce the number of councillors from 47 to 25. Tory insists in the letter that the process has ignored common sense and democratic norms. 

"It is unacceptable and unfair to change the rules in the middle of an election," Tory writes. "In light of this lack of any public consultation, I urge you to consider putting the process on hold to allow for a referendum so we can let the people speak."

The mayor, speaking on behalf of council, does not ask the province to abandon Bill 5, but rather to postpone it until the public can weigh in.

With the announcement of plans to cut council, some councillors sided with the province. However, a vote to oppose Ford passed on council 24-17. 

The Ford government has been pushing the bill through as quickly as possible. Just this week, the party announced plans to fast-track the amendments, introducing a motion to bypass the committee stage (which also allows the bill to bypass expert and public consultation). 

"Something as fundamentally important as an election –a primary mechanism of civic democracy –should not be changed without public input and in the absence of a clear process or robust understanding of public impacts and costs," Tory writes in the letter. 

He also added that pausing the process, and allowing democracy to work, is a "sign of strength" for the premier. 

"I would respectfully suggest that the legitimacy of your government’s position dramatically increases if supported by a legitimate process. It is always better to do something right as opposed to doing it quickly."

Regardless of your views on the bill, who doesn't love a little shade being thrown once in a while? 

Lead photo by

Jason Cook


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