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An Inside Tory Look at Toronto Amalgamation

Via the latest Carnival of Canucks (hosted by David Janes this week), I found an interesting entry on Toronto amalgamation by Barton Wong at Enter Stage Right.

Barton was at a Conservative Party meeting and hitched a ride back to Toronto with a former Toronto City Councillor...

It was only when the councillor began talking about what happened with amalgamation, that the colour rose in his cheeks and he began speaking in rather agitated tones. What he told was a horror story of organizational mismanagement and political expediance. What became frighteningly clear from his narrative was that the Mike Harris government was using the amalgamation of the various municipal government(s) of Toronto as a test-case for all its other planned municipal amalgamations around the province because, well, essentially they had no idea how to go about doing it.

Details on this incompetent implementation follow, which is why you should go read the whole article. But the bottom line was that the disorganizaton of the restructuring "left a giant opening for corruption to occur". You can say that again.

Why was Toronto amalgamation rushed in without proper planning, against both public and expert opinion? Hint: It wasn't because Mike Harris really, really liked big governments. It was because amalgamation meant downloading was possible, and downloading meant he could have a big tax cut and still balance the budget (well, with a little help from the sale of assets like the 407) and get re-elected. It didnít matter what happened in Toronto -- we weren't the targeted swing ridings.

Anyway, now that we know downloading isn't fair or sustainable, can we reverse it? And now that we know amalgamation cost more than it saved, can we have a refund?

Dalton, it's tough that you have to clean up someone else's mess, but when can you look into this? We have a budget that won't balance.



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