More Workers' Power, Not Strong Mayor

More Workers' Power, Not Strong Mayor

2 min. read | By Corey David

Until recently, for a motion to carry at Toronto city council, a majority vote is required. But with the Better Municipal Governance Act, mayors like Toronto’s John Tory now can pass bylaws with the support of just one third of council. It gives the mayor powers to veto budgets, committee decisions and By-Laws.

More Workers' Power, Not Strong Mayor
More Workers' Power, Not Strong Mayor | © Kiri Vadivelu

Council will require a 2/3 vote to overcome the mayor’s veto. This Act passed, despite reservations, identified in an open letter from the majority of Toronto’s city councilors. Does this negatively impact local democracy? Might it help to achieve its stated purpose — quickly getting house-less persons into homes?

The Municipal Socialist Alliance contends that the threat to democracy is greater than the chance that the Act will result in less homelessness. The Act takes power away from duly elected City Councilors, giving it to the mayor and his supporters. It allows the mayor to appoint managers (who may be his cronies), rather than council choosing from well trained public service employees.

The Better Municipal Governance Act is not necessary. Indeed, its risks far outweigh any benefits. There are better ways to reduce homelessness. Stronger rent controls, building more social housing, stopping speculative purchases, even expropriation of vacant units would contribute to reduction in the number of unhoused people. This could be accomplished without the legislation that transforms the municipal government into a body with fewer checks and balances, more open to cronyism and abuses of power. The MSA is committed to more power for working class, racialized and impoverished residents, including by means of a participatory budgeting process based on local popular assemblies with the power to shape city finances.

For more information, please contact
Municipal Socialist Alliance
Call: 647-986-1917
[email protected]


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