Former Premier Mike Harris’s experiment to amalgamate Metro Toronto and the surrounding municipalities into the City of Toronto ("megacity") has failed miserably. After 15 years, the social and economic fabric of the megacity has been gravely compromised, pitting the priorities of the suburbs against those of the downtown. This has created an ongoing lose-lose situation for all communities inside the City of Toronto and does not bode well for the future.
The amalgamation was forced upon us, despite a municipal referendum in 1997 in which over three quarters of voters rejected the megacity.
“Not a single municipality affected was in favour of the merger,” wrote Mitchell Anderson, in his recent opinion piece in the Toronto Star. “And all but one joined a legal challenge opposing it. The amalgamation bill was rammed through the Ontario legislature in one of the most bitterly contested battles in provincial history with opposition parties tabling 13,000 amendments over a two-week period in an ultimately futile filibuster.”
Billed as a way to save local governments lots of money, Barry Hertz of the National Post wrote on the eve of the 10th anniversary of amalgamation, “Promised savings of $300-million per year never materialized. Staff is up, not down. The city employs 4,015 more people today than it did in 1998.”
It’s time to correct the wrongs of the past so that each municipality can best determine how to serve its unique needs – socially, politically, and economically.
We are asking Premier Kathleen Wynne to re-open this issue and review all the avenues available for de-amalgamation of our beloved communities.
Please sign and pass along!