Ford's cuts are falling heaviest on Toronto - 2019-05-06
When Premier Doug Ford cut Toronto's city council in half in the middle of last year's municipal election campaign, the Star said it amounted to "spitting in the face of the city and its voters." Little did we know that was just the opening salvo in what's turning out to be a sustained campaign by the Ford government to undermine the city's authority at every opportunity and single out Toronto for specially harsh treatment as it pares back provincial spending.
The latest blow came last week with a customarily out-of-the-blue announcement that the government is reverting back to the old Ontario Municipal Board rules on how development disputes in the city are decided. This comes only two years after the Liberal government set up another body, called the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, to better respect the right of city planners and council to shape how the city develops. Now, once again, developers will be able to fight any application that the city had turned down, no matter how much consultation and planning the municipality did — and even when the decision that council made on a project followed all provincial policies.
It amounts to reverting to the old system that left the city largely a bystander in its own development. As Councillor Josh Matlow puts it: "They've gone back to a free-for-all for developers."