Demeaning Democracy: Turning Doug Fords Attack on Toronto into a Movement for Democratic Renewal

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1663 ... September 10, 2018

Demeaning Democracy: Turning Doug Ford’s Attack on Toronto into a Movement for Democratic Renewal

An Open Letter About Bill 5 Better Local Government Act

Dennis Pilon, Roger Keil, Bryan Evans and Greg Albo

We, the undersigned group of scholars and teachers, deplore the autocratic and arbitrary reduction of ward representation for Toronto city council contained in Bill 5 being rushed through the Ontario Legislature by the just-elected Doug Ford-led Conservative provincial government.

There are numerous problems with this initiative – both in terms of policy and process – that cannot be squared with democratic values or procedures.

As policy, reducing the number of city councilors will not make for better representation or government or cost reductions for the city, as the Ford... government claims. Indeed, as we saw with a similar cynical reduction of MPPs by a previous Conservative government, reducing the number of politicians did not lead to any cost savings, but merely shifted where money was spent in a poor and half-hearted attempt to respond to constituent demands, and had the effect of weakening local influence and centralizing more power at Queen’s Park and the Premier’s Office.

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