Why Doug Ford’s ‘strong mayor’ plan turns into a law of the jungle


Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford was re-elected in June, creating a large Progressive Conservative government. However, although his chief interest would be in state affairs, his long-standing interest in municipal government had not diminished in the slightest.

Ford was a member of the Toronto City Council (2010-2014) when his brother Rob was mayor. He ran for mayor of Toronto in his 2014 election and lost to John his Tory. His PC in Ontario at the time He would have run again in 2018 had his leader, Patrick Brown, not stepped down. As Prime Minister, he reduced the number of seats on the Toronto City Council from 47 to 25, cut wasteful municipal spending, and signed the Tory and his three-stop Metro Line 2 extension.

Now he is trying to change the power structure in the cities of Ottawa and Toronto with a US-style “strong mayor” plan.

This is not a new idea for Ford. In fact, it’s far from it.

“I believe in a strong mayoral system, like America. A mayor should have a veto power … so he has enough power to stop Congress,” he said. Said Globe and Mail interview on February 17, 2011. “A mayor should be a mayor. After all… the mayor is responsible for everything.”

Ford knew that among many local government politicians, the mayor had only one vote. “We need 23 votes to pass,” he said in a council of 45 people.He backed the mayor-preferred council, emphasizing that “100% … the mayor has a veto,” and that “the mayor [Richard] An example of a strong mayor who “gets things done”

Ten years from now, Ford’s majority PC government could easily pass legislation to implement an American-style “strong mayor” plan.according to some reportsthe mayor prepares and submits the city’s budget, appoints a chief executive officer, hires and fires all nonstatutory department heads, and has the ability to override zoning bylaws. PC uses the model of several US cities to allow a two-thirds majority vote of city council members to override the mayor’s veto power.

Is Ford’s ‘strong mayor’ plan a good idea or just a weak sauce?

Having a strong mayor has its advantages. Civil servants are at a political level similar to, for example, the Prime Minister of a province or the Prime Minister of Canada. He or she can manage the day-to-day operations at City Hall and ensure that specific political directions are met. As with the occasional grandstanding effort, the impact of one issue or niche councilor is minimal. There will also be a veto to oppose any policy he or she feels does not make sense for the city.

But while I support the prime minister, I have never supported the “strong mayor” plan. It leaves too much power in the hands of one politician, the mayor, and further reduces the role of city councilors.

While it’s fine in theory to have a “strong” mayor politically over a “weak” one, the cities of Toronto and Ottawa are far left-leaning. Voters typically elect city councilors and mayors who fit this very narrow political ideology, such as Liberals, New Democrats and Greens. There were right-wing mayors, such as Larry O’Brien (Ottawa) and the aforementioned Rob Ford (Toronto), but they were few in number.

Outgoing Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is a former liberal MPP and Cabinet member. He built a climate change master plan togreen city” and spent billions on light rail transportation defendant Not being completely transparent about the briefing (which he denies). He made over billions of dollars for several years (and is still on the way) smart track plans for rapid transit rail services; and Good feeling gun control and Citywide Handguns prohibited.he support It’s a “strong mayor” plan in principle, but we still want to consider legislation.

City councilors, even those on the left, therefore serve as imperfect but occasional checks on local government processes. They still have the ability to overturn some vetoes in a “strong mayor” city, but their role turns into a largely meaningless, taxpayer-funded seat warmer. It is irresponsible and politically illogical.

It doesn’t make much sense to have a “strong mayor” plan with a significantly weakened city council. This is not the best or most democratic way to reform these archaic institutions and improve accountability for both cities.

My hope is that Prime Minister Ford considers some of these intangibles before making Ottawa and Toronto mayors more powerful.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Michael Tove


Longtime newspaper columnist and political commentator Michael Taube was a speechwriter for former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.