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Mayor Watson urges Ford government to withdraw "strong mayor" plan

Tuesday's Speech to the throne confirms Ford administration will push for new governance model giving special powers to mayors of Ottawa and Toronto

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ontario Premier Doug Ford. "What we have in place now, while imperfect, does create a system of checks and balances between the mayor and council," said Watson in a statement Tuesday.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ontario Premier Doug Ford. "What we are doing now, though imperfect, is creating a system of checks and balances between the mayor and the council," Watson said in a statement Tuesday. Jean Levac Photo by /Postmedia

Don't do it

A message from Mayor Jim Watson to the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario, and possibly other cities in the future, as Toronto's plan for a "strong mayor" system pushes for armed local government.

``There is no need to give specific mayors more powers nor to veto duly elected aldermen. I think," Watson said in a statement on Tuesday after Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowswell read it. Speech to the throne in the Ontario legislature.

"What we have now in place is imperfect, but it creates a system of checks and balances between the mayor and the council," Watson said. Told. Local government vote on October 24th. "I have never asked for more authority. I urge the government not to proceed with this aspect of the Speech." It was confirmed that the administration would push for a new governance model that gives special powers to the mayors of Ottawa and Toronto.The PC ties their proposal to the housing crisis.

“A strong mayoral system will enable local government leaders to work more effectively with the state to shorten development timelines and standardize processes. , so that we can address local barriers to increasing the supply of housing.” said Dowswell, reading the throne speech.

"For city dwellers, these new powers are transport-oriented, working with local government partners to enable more people to live, work and play. It is particularly relevant because it expands the community footprint of the city and is close to the convenience of public transportation.”

On Wednesday, Local Government Housing Minister Steve Clark said, “Introduce legislation characterized as “an additional tool to build more homes faster”.

PC has yet to put on paper exactly what the mayor's strong rule will be, but Ford suggests that his model of governance gives the mayor veto power . You can block veto power.

The mayor's vote on the council now has the same weight as the ward councilor's vote. Each member gets her one vote on the motion. This means that if the mayor or city council members want to turn a proposal into policy, more than half of the council must agree.

In Toronto, re-election mayor John Torrey supports the idea of ​​a strong mayoral system.

But the idea is not very welcome in Ottawa.

Ottawa's mayoral candidates were not applauding the state's plans last month when rumors surfaced of a strong mayoral proposal.

Katherine McKechnie criticized the mayor's mighty plan as an "anti-democratic" move, while Mark Sutcliffe said, "Within the current system, our city needs We are ready to build consensus,” said Bob Chiarelli, touting his “open policy” and “track record as a consensus builder.”

Watson crunched the numbers and discovered what many would already know: he had extra powers to move votes through the Council.

"We found that the less powerful mayor wanted more authority," said Watson. “I am proud to work with members of Congress to pass approximately 98.2% of the Congress' votes over the last three terms without special authority.”

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