Read my Statement on Bill 39

The Ford government is introducing Bill 39 which gives Toronto mayors much more power. Read my response to the bill. 

The Ford government’s Bill 39 poses a serious threat to democracy in Toronto and Ontario. It will impose a style of governing on our cities that is unprecedented – allowing a minority of Council to impose legislation against the wishes of the majority of elected representatives. Nowhere in the world is there a system of democratic government where such minority rule exists.

This has become a Ford government pattern; in 2018 when Toronto Council was cut in half, and this summer by granting unnecessary new powers to the Mayor. But with Bill 39, Ford is poised to do much worse than threaten our democracy – he is poised to upend it.

Over the 25-year history of amalgamated Toronto, City Council has made many important decisions, often done so with very close votes:

  • Council rejected plans to ship garbage to the Adams Mine in northern Ontario,
  • said no to a waterfront casino,
  • preserved the Port Lands Flood Protection Plan
  • saved 800 affordable City homes from a fire-sale sell-off
  • stopped the sale of Toronto’s water system
  • blocked massive program cuts proposed by Mayor Rob Ford

A majority of Councillors prevented the closure of public library branches, the privatization of Toronto’s long term care homes and stopped the closure of Riverdale Farm. Many of you may have been part of the groundswell of concern that helped City Council make the right decisions.

Our current Mayor has said he will not abuse these powers and only use them to achieve important city-wide goals for the public good. However, it’s not hard to imagine how, in the hands of the wrong individual, they might become a terrible weapon. That’s why all five former Toronto Mayors have come out against it. It is all too easy to envision this provincial government expanding its priorities from land use and housing, to target public services, policies, and City assets.

Thank you to the hundreds of residents who sent messages of concern to City Council. We had our first meeting yesterday where I presented a petition signed by 674 Ward 14 residents asking Council to oppose the Bill and protect our local democracy.

You can sign Progress Toronto's petition online here.

This fight will continue – because our democracy truly matters.

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