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dave meslin @meslin
, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. Eight years ago I produced a graph showing how Toronto's post-amalgamation population size, in comparison to the number of City Council wards, leaves us with a crisis of under-representation:
2. This is the commentary that accompanied the graph:
3. Now our Premier wants to cut that representation in half, turning a crisis into a nightmare.…
4. This is what the chart will look like, if Doug Ford implements his proposal to bludgeon our Council:
5. Some are comparing our local council to provincial or federal govt, saying "If they can manage with 25 seats, why can't Council?". The answer is simple: Queen's Park and Ottawa are partisan legislatures, where elected members have almost zero influence. Every vote is whipped.
6. City Council is the opposite: Every vote is a free vote and Councillors are expected to represent their constituents each and every time. Municipal government is designed explicitly to be closer to the people, with two-way feedback happening in-between elections.
7. Doug Ford was rejected by 66% of Toronto's voters when he ran for mayor in 2014. Then, just a few weeks ago, his party was rejected by 60% of Ontario voters. Yet he's now is a position of power allowing him to dominate both the legislature and council, with an iron fist.
8. Our democracy is on life-support. A leader who claims to be "for the people", yet was actually rejected by a majority of those people, is moving ahead like a bulldozer to erode democratic representation even further. We need to fix our broken system. We deserve so much better.
9. One of the most overlooked angles of @fordnation's attack on #TOcouncil is how it will affect the cost of local campaigns - and the resulting impact on incumbency / inertia.
10. Currently, it costs around 40K to run for Council, which of course serves as a barrier for new voices. But with a 75% rebate from the city, it's a manageable sum to raise. Hard, but doable.
11. Under @fordnation's plan, the cost of campaigning will jump to about $80K. 💰 😭 This will benefit incumbents who already have fundraising lists as well as candidates who represent a wealthy demographic, while making candidacy almost impossible for anyone else.
12. For a City Council that is already disproportionately white, male, professional and home-owning, the proposed changes will make our local political culture even more exclusive and elite. Ford says he wants to topple the 'insiders', but he's actually cementing their dominance.
13. The issue of campaign costs is yet another example as to why City Council wards can't be compared to provincial or federal ridings. If you decided to run for MP next year, and won a party nomination, that party's local machine would fundraise for you. But...
14. ... if you decide to run for City Council this year, you'd have to raise the $40K on your own. Under the new proposal, you'd have to raise $80 - on your own. So many potential candidates will simply shrug their shoulders and not even apply. That means less choice, for us.
15. This attack is part of a long and consistent erosion of our local democracy. Just in the last decade we've seen term length increase by 33% (which benefits incumbents) and fundraising periods cut in half (which also helps incumbents). That's why our Council is stagnant.
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