Ontario government just cut $20 million more from Toronto Public Health
Ontario's PC government continues to slash and burn through Toronto's finances with the announcement of another $20 million in Public Health cuts, bringing the total amount of money being pulled from next year's budget to $106 million.
Toronto Mayor John Tory (along with everyone else in the city) spoke of this most-recent cut today ahead of what's expected to be a marathon City Council meeting — a meeting that, coincidentally, lists the impact of 2019's provincial budget as its first key agenda item.
"City Council request the Province of Ontario to reverse the $177.65 million dollars in unilateral, retroactive cuts to the City of Toronto’s 2019 Budget," reads the motion, which also recommends that council "convey its willingness to meet with the Province of Ontario to discuss both governments' budgets and the impact of retroactive, in-year cuts to the residents of Toronto."
"These are unprecedented times for our city and all cities across the province," said Tory to reporters at City Hall, noting that the city never knows when Ontario Premier Doug Ford will announce more cuts and that the process has become "destabilizing."
Tory, who in the past has labelled Ford's heavy-handed cuts a "targeted attack" on the City of Toronto, spoke more to the issue of provincial cuts during an impassioned speech at council just minutes ago.
"These are unprecedented times for our city and all cities across the province," said Tory when presenting his member motion
Impact of 2019 Provincial Budget on the City of Toronto.
"We are faced with retroactive cuts by the government of Ontario to the budget that was already approved earlier this year," he continued. "It is clear that these cuts will hurt families. Real peoples' lives will be made harder if these cuts proceed."
Today is an important day at City Council where we will be discussing the provincial budget and the $177.6 million pressure it creates on the city's finances this year, four months into our fiscal year. pic.twitter.com/qUR3fw3bAe— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 14, 2019
Tory proceeded to call the PC government's actions illogical, inexcusable, nonsensical and unfair, among other things, while answering questions about his motion.
When asked if he felt that this was the first time a provincial government had acted in such a way toward Toronto, Tory said the following:
"I do find that this chapter, which involves unilateral, no-consultation, retroactive cuts, and cuts that are imposed more harshly on Toronto than anywhere else beyond anything that you could imagine, in terms of just really going about doing something that's going to extract maximum harm from us. I don't mean 'us' in the sense of council, I mean our people that we represent."
Nobody hates Doug Ford more than John Tory.— 🦔 sash 🦔 (@sasha_cresswell) May 14, 2019
Councillors continue to debate the motion as of 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Ford and his cabinet are at Queen's Park today defending their sweeping cuts to the province's education system.
Yesterday during Question Period in the legislature, Ford himself called the Toronto Board of Health a "bastion of lefties" in response to a question from NDP leader Andrea Horwath about his harsh municipal funding cuts.
"As a matter of fact, we put them there," said the Premier, referring to his time as a Toronto city councillor. "Tory took the same strategy we did. Put all the lefties in one corner in Toronto health."
Premier Ford calls Toronto Public Health a “bastion of lefties” says they spend ridiculous amounts of money - like a competition for condom packages. Province and City in war over cuts to public health which Toronto pegs at $1 billion over ten years #onpoli pic.twitter.com/igPCamYSJ9— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) May 13, 2019
"Dear Premier Ford, measles is not a partisan issue," wrote Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy, who chairs the board of health, in response to Ford's comments.
"In towns and cities across Ontario, the people have spoken. It's time for you to reverse these short-sighted and harmful cuts to public health."
During today's council meeting, Cressy asked Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa if Ford's cuts could lead to deaths.
"Given the nature of the programs and services that we provide, I do not believe it is hyperbole to suggest that there is risk to the lives of Torontonians," said de Villa to Cressy, "If public health is underfunded."
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