Tory calls relationship with Ford "uneven" as disagreements continue over Toronto Public Health

Despite Ontario's premier requesting Toronto's mayor stop using 'misleading' numbers regarding Toronto Public Health cuts, John Tory continues to stand by the city's math. 

"We're just going to carry on," John Tory said Wednesday, a day after a letter from Doug Ford to Tory was made public. 

"You continue to use misleading numbers that falsely raise the threat of Toronto cutting back on certain public health programs and services," Ford said. 

In light of the debate over Toronto Public Health, Tory described his relationship with Doug Ford as "uneven." 

"I just think it's the way sometimes they go about these things," he said, contrasting the sudden change to Toronto Public Health funding, to the ongoing consultations regarding the TTC upload. 

"If they'd had a process in place over the last number of months to do just that, then I suspect we could've come up with some ways in which between the two of us we could have found some ways to save some money," he said. 

Ford's letter followed Tory's on Monday to the PCs 11-Toronto area MPPs detailing how the cuts will affect their constituents. 

He also continues to use the city's numbers, backed by city manager Chris Murray, that the impacts mean a $1 billion cut over 10 years. 

The province has argued Toronto is in a financial position to handle the changes through recent surpluses and being able to find efficiencies. 

"I think anyone who has managed a budget would know that there are always opportunities to do things better," Ford said. 

The immediate impact has also been disputed, while the city has challenged the PC government to open up its books.

But the mayor is also challenging Ford and his government's legal reasoning of the funding changes. 

"The Health Protection and Promotion Act is abundantly clear that municipalities are responsible for funding public health. That fact is important context that is absent from your letter," Ford said. 

Tory responded by saying the province has been funding programs -some at 100 per cent - for years. 

"How come all these other governments got hoodwinked into paying over the years for even a majority share of this?" he said. "If it looks like a cutback, if it walks like a cutback, if it quacks like a cutback, then it's a cutback." 

"And even now are saying they'll pay for 50 per cent." 

Some TPH programs are funded at a 100 per cent level, while others are at 75, but the province is eventually proposing to shift over time to a 50-50 split. 

Despite both Tory and Health Minister Christine Elliott saying they're both willing to sit down and talk, the mayor confirmed Wednesday there are no scheduled talks between the two. 

Elliott revealed last week on NEWSTALK1010 that the province would directly take over some of the work that had been administered by TPH. 

The province is also mulling over the idea of providing one-time funding to mitigate the changes to this year's immediate budget, but it won't be as much as the $33 million the province says will impact TPH this year. 

The city has pegged this year's cut to TPH at around $65 million. 

"We need to have a discussion with the City of Toronto, I'm perfectly prepared to sit down with Mayor Tory about that," Elliott said Tuesday.