Why Toronto will survive ward-cutting just fine

A seismic political change from 20 years ago could offer some pointed lessons

The bombshell that was Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario Tories’ decision to cut the number of wards in Toronto with an election campaign underway is not the first time Toronto has seen a large political change. Judging by past experience, the city will be just fine.

The latest controversial move slashed the number of wards from 47 to 25, leaving many feeling frazzled as we approach an election slated for Oct 22. However, this whole situation is similar to something that happened to Toronto 20 years ago: the amalgamation of its six municipalities.

Amalgamation is still considered once of the most controversial decisions in Toronto politics. At the time, former mayor John Sewell led a group of those opposed. According to The Toronto Star, 76 per cent of voters were against the move.

Many of the arguments for the suggested benefits of amalgamation are similar those behind the proposed benefits of ward-slashing: saving time and money.

Governance is not what makes areas in Toronto such as East York what they are. It’s the people who make it such an interesting and diverse city.

Post-amalgamation, East York has retained its working-class roots and charm. In fact, that was its second amalgamation. East York and Leaside amalgamated in 1967, making it Canada’s first borough. If the community can stay fairly undamaged through two amalgamations, it can certainly handle Ford’s ward-cutting.

Over the years, this city has gone through numerous changes. This is just another one to add to the list. Despite the fears of many, Doug Ford is probably not going to declare war, or anything of the sort, on Toronto .

Yes, this landmark change comes at an inconvenient time, but once Toronto pushes past the adjustment period, everything will more than likely go back to being okay. It has before.  After all, Toronto has always been a city driven more by the people than the politicians.

About this article

Posted: Oct 2 2018 1:53 pm
Filed under: Opinion