When Doug Ford unilaterally shrunk the size of Toronto City Council, mayors from across Canada condemned the move. We now need the federal government to work with the provinces to ensure that cities have more independence in decision-making and receive a greater share of overall tax revenues.
At the moment, Toronto only receives 9% of all taxes collected from Torontonians by all levels of government. By contrast, cities like Paris, San Francisco, London and New York have legal authority and much greater financial resources than does Toronto.
The problem goes back to when Canada was founded in 1867. At that time, cities were an afterthought. Many Canadians are surprised to learn that they have no legal right to vote in municipal elections. That right is held by provincial governments. In many ways, Toronto and other 21st century cities across the country, remain in 19th century handcuffs.
In the 2015 federal election, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities concluded that the Green Party had the strongest urban platform of any federal party. In this election, we’ve gone farther with our endorsement of charter city status for any city that requests it.
As your local Green candidate, I have served on the steering committee of Charter City Toronto for the past year. It is an exciting project that has the potential to serve as a model for providing cities across Canada with the constitutional protection and financial resources they need to thrive.