An exasperated Mayor John Tory is dismissing issues over his extraordinary new powers as mere “political theatre” of no curiosity to common Torontonians.

“I feel that, within the time of a number of crises, those that repeatedly select political theatre can be very harshly handled by elections going ahead,” Tory stated of vocal critics of his new-found means to overpower the bulk will of metropolis council.

Folks he encounters at occasions throughout town don’t appear to care in regards to the invoice, lately handed by Premier Doug Ford’s authorities at Tory’s request, that lets him move sure bylaws with the help of eight of 25 metropolis councillors, he stated.

“ who talks to me about Invoice 39? No one! They speak to me about housing, they speak to me about group security — no person talks about (robust mayor powers). No one!” Tory instructed reporters Wednesday.

He has stated he’ll use that energy solely to push housing and transit initiatives, and solely after getting enter from metropolis workers and making an attempt to forge a council consensus. He has cited opposition to elevated housing density, together with from some suburban councillors who usually help him, as the explanation he privately requested Ford for the minority-power rule earlier than the Oct. 24 civic election.

Later Wednesday, some Torontonians took to social media to say that they do in actual fact care that the mayor is getting minority-rule powers which, political specialists have instructed the Star, don’t appear to exist in some other main legislative physique within the democratic world.

Luke McPherson, a Toronto instructor, instructed the Star he objects to the truth that the provincial legislation ties Tory’s new powers to still-undefined “provincial priorities.”

“The concept that our metropolis priorities could be aligned with provincial objectives with out correct illustration of Torontonians is basically regarding,” he stated. “Elevated housing density is a noble purpose in my thoughts, however what comes subsequent …?”

“I feel anybody in a democratic place that might help these new powers is unworthy of them.”

Tory’s feedback got here earlier than the beginning of metropolis council’s December assembly the place councillors enacted sweeping housing reforms, together with legalizing rooming homes citywide, with out Tory having to resort to his highly effective new weapon.

His council colleagues, a majority of whom are on report opposing the change that can considerably scale back their powers, later turned their consideration to Invoice 39.

Tory sat silently as they peppered metropolis clerk John Elvidge and metropolis solicitor Wendy Walberg with questions in regards to the propriety of the brand new powers and the way they’ll work.

Each officers declined to reply some questions, saying the Ontario authorities has not but launched laws that can spell out precisely how the powers can be utilized, together with what constitutes a “provincial precedence.”

Walberg did affirm that the mayor’s means to move bylaws with minority help “is just not one thing we’ve seen” wherever else, and that Tory should give council discover in writing earlier than making an attempt to wield that energy.

“The mayor’s function as head of metropolis council has expanded significantly,” Walberg stated, including that, if litigation ever arose between Toronto’s mayor and metropolis councillors she, as authorized adviser to council, could be in “a battle state of affairs.”

“I’m going to counsel we should always cross that bridge if we come to it,” she instructed council, which is able to resume debate on Invoice 39 on Thursday.

Greater than 6,000 Torontonians opposing the brand new powers signed petitions that have been tabled by councillors at their November assembly. Invoice 39 additionally got here underneath hearth from all 5 dwelling former Toronto mayors, who name it an undemocratic energy seize “alarming within the excessive.”

The Ford authorities has strengthened Tory’s powers twice. The primary invoice in September granted the mayor a veto over council choices, the ability to nominate some senior civil servants and higher management over metropolis budgeting.

The measures are in step with “robust mayor” powers loved by many U.S. cities together with Chicago, however with the bizarre tie to provincial priorities.

In November, Ford introduced that the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa may also be capable to move bylaws with simply over one-third council help.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe has stated he doesn’t want the brand new powers and received’t use them.

David Rider is the Star’s Metropolis Corridor bureau chief and a reporter masking metropolis corridor and municipal politics. Observe him on Twitter: @dmrider


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