"Our whole caucus believes in better local government": Ford to Tory
Premier Doug Ford has penned a reponse to John Tory in regards to the Bill 5 - the Better Local Government Act, after the Mayor asked Ford "to consider putting the process on hold."
On Thursday, Tory addressed a note to the Premier, which in part read:
"I have made my own position clear - it is unacceptable and unfair to change the rules in the middle of an election. I believe the 2018 municipal election should proceed according to the legislation that is currently in place including the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Elections Act. [...] In light of the 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."
Ford's response came through late Friday afternoon, saying his PC government will not back down. It also made no mention of a referendum.
In part, it reads:
"I believe, and in fact our whole caucus believes, in better local government. And that's why we're going to reduce the size and cost of Toronto City Hall - so that decisions can be made quicker while services can be delivered more efficiently and effectively. An oversized council makes it almost impossible to build meaningful consensus and get things done. As a result, infrastructure crumbles, the housing backlog grows and transit isn't built. This one change will streamline decision making at City Hall, while at the same time saving the City of Toronto over $25 million. Funding that can be redirected to other important priorities, such as the fight against guns and gangs."
The letter also states:
"Toronto has 25 federal MPs, 25 provincial MPPs and should have 25 Toronto city councillors. The act will be fair to current candidates. It will extend the nomination deadline to September 14 and allow current candidates the opportunity to choose where they want to run."
On Saturday, NEWSTALK1010 asked Ford's spokesperson Simon Jefferies for clarification on whether the nomination deadline has already been extended. Jefferies says that will happen if Bill 5 passes. He also said the deadline to apply to run for mayor will not be extended because the changes to ward boundaries would not impact the mayoral race.