Premier Ford's cuts to Toronto Council and other updates

Friends,

I know many of you are angry, like I am, at Premier Ford's announcement that he plans to reduce the size of Council from 47 to 25. This undemocratic action from the provincial government is effecting our City's future without consulting us, the residents, on how we want to be governed. I can assure you, Council is moving forward with every means available to reverse this proposal.

Residents of our City deserve a say in how their municipal government is organized. For over two years the ward boundary consultation process "Draw the Lines" held community consultations, meetings with stakeholders, and forums with community groups. Toronto residents shared their desire to have a City Council that more effectively represented our growing population. The resulting 47-ward recommendation was endorsed by City Council and upheld at the Ontario Municipal Board and the Ontario Superior Court. Now, the Premier is erasing years of work and consultation to push through his own agenda.  No matter your view on the number of Councillors, unilaterally altering an election mid-campaign is simply undemocratic and wrong.

At Council on July 30th we voted to send City legal to fight this proposal in court. We also put forward a request to the province that a binding referendum is held. There will also be an emergency City Council meeting on August 20 to update the City on the legal proceedings. Unfortunately, until then, a lot is still up in the air. Our City Clerk directly stated at Council she does not have the ability to hold an election on October 22nd if nominations close on September 14th, as the advance polls open on October 6th.

While July 31st was supposed to be the last date I can send out a newsletter, that rule was also changed to allow communications to continue until the end of August, if nominations for the new ward boundaries are reopened. Please note also that I can no longer send out mass emails or hold town hall meetings. We are living in confusing times, and I will try my utmost to keep you informed on how we are moving forward.  We are allowed to continue to update our websites, so visit ward13.ca for more information as it becomes available.

Danforth Shooting
This past week has been a tough one for our city as we share our grief at the loss of life from last Sunday's shocking attack on the Danforth.  My heart is with the survivors, including those who were injured, those who witnessed the event, and those who continue to live and work in Greektown.  My sympathies also lie with the family of the gunman, who have had and will continue to face a difficult path.

Graphic Images
As mentioned in my last newsletter, I put forward a Member's Motion at City Council on July 23, 2018 requesting Transportation Services review the sidewalk bylaws and consider enforcement options available. I am thrilled to share the motion passed without debate. The motion can be viewed here. Thank you to the hundreds of residents that have sent their support, shared a link on Facebook, and have worked diligently to remove these harmful images from our streets.

South Kingsway and Bloor Traffic Safety Community Meeting
Last night, Tuesday, July 30th, I hosted a Community Traffic Safety Meeting about the intersection of South Kingsway and Bloor. City Transportation Staff as well as Toronto Police's 11 Division were represented at the meeting. The meeting was very well attended by residents even though it was a lovely July evening! Given the immediate attention that this intersection is due, I thought it was best to have the meeting as soon as possible rather than waiting for the school year to start in September. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and share their insightful comments and observations. As was mentioned last night, City Transportation Staff will be bringing on a Consultant who will study the intersection as well as the surrounding area, taking into account residents' comments and concerns. Transportation Staff will then report back to City Council as early as January 2019 on recommendations.

Kind regards,

Sarah Doucette
City Councillor, Ward 13