Toronto PC MPPs could lose seats over spending cuts: Tory
Antonella Artuso
May 21, 2019
May 21, 2019 2:01 PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford, left, and Mayor John Tory. (Toronto Sun files
Ontario Progressive Conservative MPPs should not put party loyalty ahead of their constituents’ interests when it comes to spending cuts, Mayor John Tory says.
In his latest letter to Premier Doug Ford, Tory said the city is facing tax increases or cuts to core services in response to provincial funding cuts made after the city’s 2019 budget was passed.
“Certainly, in the City of Toronto, I think that a lot of these MPPs who got elected by fairly narrow margins have to be very considerate of the views of their residents who they represent who I don’t think bought into these kinds of cutbacks that affect them or their neighbours very directly and very negatively in terms of the kind of city we’re trying to build here,” Tory said Tuesday.
The mayor formally requested the Ford government reverse “unilateral, retroactive cuts” of $177.65 million.
“Over the past month, notices issued by your government have indicated cuts to Toronto Public Health, child care, paramedics, and our share of the provincial gas tax dedicated to TTC upkeep and repair,” his letter to Ford said. “Many of these cuts also affect other cities in Ontario, although for some reason not yet explained, Toronto received harsher treatment.”
The province has acknowledged that Toronto’s public health unit will be funded at a lower ratio than other public health units but disputes the overall funding-cut numbers provided by city staff.
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Ford, a former Toronto councillor, has said that it is well within the city’s capacity to find efficiencies, and has noted that the auditor general found Toronto paid private contractors to water and prune tree stumps.
The city would be willing to meet with the province to go over the budgets of both governments to find efficiencies but this year’s cuts should be halted, Tory said.
“The city manager has been clear that … we will not be able to make up this difference with efficiencies alone this far into the fiscal year – if your government proceeds with these cuts, the city will be forced to cut core services or raise taxes,” Tory said in his letter.
The mayor, who was at an event in support of child care services Tuesday, said the “way of life” in Toronto is put at risk by these cuts.
“We don’t want people forced to move out of the city and give up their homes because they can’t make their mortgage payment because we’re not supporting them to have child care,” Tory said.