Following a “leak”, Premier Doug Ford recently confirmed that the Mayors of the City of Toronto and the City of Ottawa would be given “strong mayor” powers by his newly re-elected government. This announcement, coming “out of the blue” (there was no mention of this as a promise during the Premier’s recent election campaign) is little more than an idea until the necessary legislation is introduced into the Legislature. Until then we don’t know the details of the “strong mayor” proposal.
Nevertheless, the announcement was warmly received by Mayor John Tory of Toronto, and perhaps less warmly by Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa. However, in the time since the July announcement, the idea has received an increasing amount of media attention, most of it criticism and skepticism. The most frequent reaction is, “why is this measure necessary?” A good question indeed, at least in the case of Toronto. Mayor Tory has been able to win just about every vote that he wanted to win as the Toronto Star’s Shawn Micallef notes “with his endless political capital and control over council that makes other mayors jealous.”