Ford's in control and local government's a mess. It's time for party politics at Toronto City Hall - 2019-07-02
Let's face it, civic governance in Toronto is a mess. Though city council isn't entirely at fault, neither is it blameless. And with a man like Doug Ford in control at Queen's Park, there's not much Toronto can do.
That's why the time is right for political parties to enter the municipal arena. Historically, the idea has been dismissed out of hand. For some reason, local democracy is assumed to be different than democracy at the provincial and federal levels — that it should be more idealistic than practical. But the argument that a ragtag council of independent political operators can provide a city like Toronto with the leadership it desperately needs is clearly nonsense. City Hall is not the agora and the pressure to get things done has never been greater. Indeed, over the next 10 years Toronto has a $40.6-billion backlog of approved infrastructure projects, many of which will never happen because they have not been funded. Then there's maintenance forgone: parks need $1.85 billion; schools $4 billion; social housing $1.3 billion; the TTC $33.5 billion ….
Despite the urgency, however, just 41 per cent of the electorate voted in the municipal election last October. For various reasons, Torontonians are indifferent to their civic government. That's why incumbency and name recognition matter more than any other factor in a local election, including a councillor's track record.