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The Toronto City Summit Alliance Letter
The Toronto City Summit Alliance -- described in the Globe and Mail as "an influential group of former Ontario premiers and business and community leaders" -- has written a letter to Prime Minister Chrétien calling for new funding in support of the city. This is a great thing. I'm glad that people of influence are standing up for the city and asking for support from higher orders of government. We certainly need it. The plan calls for
1. Long term funding for urban transit/transportation; 2. Sustainable funding for other urban infrastructure; 3. Long term funding for affordable housing and extended funding for transitional housing; 4. Funding support for research and innovation; 5. Support for Early Childhood Development and low-income families 6. More integrated planning and adequate funding for immigrant settlement, and 7. Support for arts and culture, particularly Toronto's national treasures
Even better, news today indicates that next week's budget very well may deliver on some of these requests. The Toronto Star reports that
Sources say the Feb. 18 budget is expected to include more than $2.5 billion in aid to Canada's cities.
So, my thanks go out to the Toronto City Summit Alliance. At the same time, I do wonder about them a bit. It is very timely to put pressure on the federal government just before a budget, and I fully support this move. Let's hope that they also apply pressure where it is most deserved, Queen's Park. It is, after all, the provincial government that has created our wonderfully "efficient" megacity government. It is also the Harris / Eves team that shed traditional provincial responsibility for concerns such as social housing, public transit, and welfare, and dumped these costs onto the city's property tax payer. I hope to read the Toronto City Summit Alliance's letter to Ernie Eves in the coming month or so. If I don't find it, I would hate to be left wondering whether the letter was never written because the alliance is co-chaired by John Tory and David "Downloading" Crombie.

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