Ontario Premier Doug Ford says Toronto Mayor John Tory should be focusing on fighting guns, gangs and crime in his city and not worrying about having fewer city councilors.
As the Toronto Sun reports, instead of trying to keep the number of city councilors from being reduced from 47 to 25, Ford told Tory in an open letter that the elected officials should be using their time on more important issues like the city’s rampant crime and growing homicide rate. (RELATED: Ontario’s Doug Gord Slashes Toronto City Council Jobs)
“I implore you, along with Toronto city council, to address this critical issue at your meeting on Aug. 20 and add funding for guns and gangs to the city council agenda. The people of Toronto, and by extension Ontario, need and deserve to feel safe in the city and our great province,” Ford wrote.
Ford was offering his advice after hearing that the council is planning a special session “to discuss the Better Local Government Act, which recently was passed and received royal assent.” The act slashed the number of Toronto city councilors almost by half.
The premier suggested it would not be time well spent because the legislation passed this week and any challenge to the law would require an effort on behalf of the mayor and council that would be better invested in trying to reduce crime.
Ford, who ran in the recent provincial election as a populist conservative, is often at odds with the liberal mayor of Toronto. While Tory is asking the federal government for a handgun ban in his city, Ford recently pointed to the Chicago experience and said handgun bans don’t stop criminal gangs from obtaining firearms.
“Mayor, I submit to you that the citizens of Toronto cannot wait for funding to help fight guns and gangs,” wrote Ford. “Already in 2018, Toronto is on pace to have the deadliest gun-related homicide rate in years. This is unacceptable, and requires immediate action from all levels of government without reservation. I strongly believe that this issue requires rapid and decisive action from the City of Toronto and the federal government.”