Yesterday's Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star both had articles announcing some public hearings into the Toronto budget. However, the online versions didn't tell the whole story, and I'm very happy a friend tipped me off to what is actually going to happen at these hearings. (Actually, on re-reading the online news, I should have been able to figure it out. And this later article makes it all clear.)
As explained in the print version of the Star's article, these won't be regular public hearings in which people can give little depositions about whatever is important to them. These will be workshops. 250 citizens will attend each three-hour meeting. First, they will hear a presentation about the budget, and then they will be broken into small groups to work things out. I expect -- but don't know -- that they will be given a rough outline of the budget where they need to negotiate some compromises to make the thing balance.
I was already planning on attending the sessions -- as part of my Toronto Budget Project -- but I'm glad my friend filled me in on the details. Otherwise, I thought you just had to register to be a speaker, and there would be plenty of room for viewers. Instead, everyone is going to be participating, and everyone needs to register.
There are 6 sessions in all, with the first one on Saturday the 17th. The downtown event is already fully booked, but as of this morning, the others all had room. They're in North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke. Called 416-338-0338 to get hooked up. It was quick and easy.
I'll be at one of them, and will let you hear about it. It seems like a good first step -- both for the city, but also for me as I try to learn about the process...