Since he was elected in 2018, Doug Ford has passed laws that chip away at local democracy in Toronto and in cities and town across the province. Over and over again.
Now he has passed a shocking law that effectively cancels local democracy in the city.
It allows Mayor Tory and only 8 of 25 councillors to pass laws the province wants them to pass--even if the other 17 councillors vote no.
This is profoundly undemocratic and dangerous.
If Toronto had a constitutionally-protected City Charter as we propose, Ford would not have been able to do this. Period.
A City Charter would give Toronto control of its own governance and over strictly local affairs. We need to start work now to put a Charter in place as soon as Doug Ford and his party is voted out of office. There will be other premiers like him.
That's the message we want to give Toronto councillors, direct and in person. We have asked them to meet with us to hear our ideas out.
Will you write to your city councillor and ask them to meet with us?
HOW TO WRITE YOUR COUNCILLOR
1. Copy and paste the letter below into an e-mail. (Or write your own.)
2. Sign it.
3. Give it the subject line: Please Meet with Charter City Toronto
4. Address it to your city councillor.*
*Councillors e-mails follow this pattern: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't know your councillor's name? Click here.
Please meet with Charter City Toronto. They have good ideas about how to protect our city from anti-democratic provincial laws like the Strong Mayor Act.
Their proposals would give Toronto the status, authority and money it needs to transform the city from a creature of the province into a strong government in its own right.
Three million people deserve a strong democracy that allows them to run their own affairs. A City Charter is a step in the right direction.
(your name here)
Charter City Toronto's letter to councillors:
Toronto is facing an unprecedented provincial assault on its democratic institutions. Many city councillors and citizens are working furiously to oppose these moves. We believe we can help.
We’re seeking to meet with you to explain how our Charter City project fits into this fight to defend and improve local democracy in Toronto.
We formed Charter City Toronto in 2018 after Doug Ford unilaterally slashed Toronto city council in half in the middle of an election. We knew that a majority party determined to “reform” local democracy could not be stopped while in power, so we took the long view: how to elevate Toronto’s status within Confederation to prevent such attacks from ever happening again. Urban, financial, political and legal experts helped draft our ideas.
• the negotiation of a City Charter that would give Toronto (and other large Ontario cities) the constitutional status, clear decision-making authority, governing structures and revenues they need to work and
• a single-province constitutional amendment to prevent changes to these Charters without the consent of the city.
Since your election, your work—and the city large--has been upended by the province’s “Strong Mayor” legislation, all the immensity of the city’s financial crisis and the many far-reaching impacts of Bills 23 and 39.
How would a City Charter have helped?
A constitutionally-protected Charter, which describes how Toronto is governed, could not be unilaterally changed by the province. Doug Ford and Steve Clark would have been required to get permission from city council, local voters or both. A Charter would also set out a new and more sustainable revenue
regime for the city that cannot be unilaterally rescinded by the province.
Such a Charter and amendment are not impossible to achieve. It takes only a request from city council and willing partners at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill. Doug Ford and the Conservative Party will not be in power forever.
Our proposals have widespread support.
These urbanists, politicians and citizens endorse our proposal.
NDP, Green and Liberal voters support us overwhelmingly, as does a sizeable majority of PC voters, according to a recent EKOS poll.
The NDP and Greens backed our proposals in their 2022 provincial election platforms.
A majority of current city councillors think our proposals should be seriously considered, according to a Charter City Toronto survey and two council votes in 2018 and 2019.
We can’t wait for a more sympathetic provincial government to get this underway, because the work to produce a City Charter can’t be completed in a single political term. City discussions must begin now to lay the groundwork for a proposal to be brought forward when the time is right.
If not a City Charter, how do we avoid being pushed around by future provincial governments who have little regard for local democracy? Where is the path to greater financial self-sufficiency? How do we become masters of our own house instead of stray dogs at the provincial door, continually abused and begging for scraps?
Will you please have your staff e-mail or call us to set up a meeting in January?
Many thanks; we are looking forward to working with you on this important project.
The Charter City Toronto Steering Committee
Doug Earl Tim Grant Beth Levy David Del Grande
Robin Howarth Jen Evans Peter Simon