Toronto’s Mayor John Tory didn’t mince words this morning when he spoke with the CBC, to discuss the continued encroachment of the Ontario government on the city’s municipal affairs.
“They are doing these things out of the blue that are going to effect people’s lives,” said Tory, speaking on a recent decision by Doug Ford’s government to cut funding to Toronto’s child care, a move that will cost the city $84.8 million this year.
It will also jeopardize more than 6,000 daycare spots in Toronto.
Tory said he’d call his relationship with Doug Ford’s government as “uneven, unpredictable” and “volatile,” as sometimes they have open communication, but other times decisions just come down the pipeline with no warning.
He said the child care decision came via a memo and was a surprise to his office.
“It is about deep cuts to actual provision of child care to families in the City of Toronto,” he said.
“Why does this government insist on taking programs like this that are necessary for a healthy prosperous city....and just one after another, do these things?,” said Tory, adding that the province’s cuts seem to disproportionately target Toronto.
Cuts to child care is one decision on a list of provincial policies that are set to impact Canada’s largest city. Discussions about how to use the Ontario Place space and whether to include a casino ruffled feathers with Torontonians who want a public space, meant for those of all ages.
In April, the Ontario government announced $1 billion would be cut from Toronto public health over the next ten years. City councillor Joe Cressy said those cuts to funding would impact “disease prevention, water quality testing, immunization monitoring and surveillance, prenatal support, overdose prevention, food safety regulation... and more.”
At the time, Tory called the decision a “targeted attack” on Toronto.
Ontario is also currently in the process of uploading the Toronto subway expansion to the province, a negotiation that Tory says is going fairly well and where communication lines are open.
“At least we’re sitting at a table and we’re having discussions,” he said.
“In the case of these other cut backs....it’s out of the blue,” said Tory.
In terms of child care and health care, Tory told Galloway that his government is currently trying to convince the province otherwise.
“It’s time to take a hard second-look at these things,” he said. “They are certainly trying to have their way on a number of issues.
“We’re not going to stand by and put up with this thing going on without any discussion.”
As the battle continues for funding for city programs, do you think the Ontario government is correct in making these kinds of cuts? Share your opinion in the comments below!