Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Stick of Everlasting Will

We’ve all heard the saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely – but maybe the mayor of Canada’s largest city has forgotten this saying.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has already secured more power than most mayors from his political bosses at the provincial levels, yet he’s determined to grab even more power.

Miller, has put forward a request to the province of Ontario to allow him even more powers than he currently has. He has already managed to manipulate the province into allowing him to add additional taxes, to cover city run services, through the recent City of Toronto Act. Miller’s logic here, was because the province took away funding through the so-called downloading of provincially financed services to the municipalities, municipalities required more methods of generating revenue to pay for these services.

However, other municipalities seem to be doing fine – and they haven’t created any new taxes to fund similar services in their backyards.

Now, Miller is asking for amendments to this act, which will essentially create a two-tired political system at the municipal level. He’s asking the creation of two levels of power in city hall – the executive branch and the regular branch. The executive branch would have complete say in all rulings at council. This would ensure that no matter what the other members of council say or do, Miller’s word would be the final say.

Well, not exactly. It would be Miller’s word and those few individual councillors he personally chooses to join him on the executive branch of council.

This two-tired level of council smells of a power grab from an already highly empowered mayor.

We’ve all wanted our own way – be it at work, at home, or in various other activities. Sometimes we get what we want, sometimes we don’t. That is life. But Mayor Miller wants to ensure that no matter what others think, his way will always prevail.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Canada was a democracy, where politicians did what was best for their constituents and not just for themselves? Don’t we the people matter?

If Miller gets his way – again – then this paves the way down a dangerous road towards divided city councils, run by totalitarian dictator-like mayors across the province. Once the precedent has been set, other towns, villages and cities across the province no doubt will jump at the chance. Wouldn’t you?

If someone gave you a magic stick, and said if you waved it three-times while recanting a magical phrase, you’d be guaranteed to always get your way – wouldn’t you take the stick?

Mayor Miller has the stick, and he’s asking the province to give him the okay to recant that magical phrase. For the sake of democracy everywhere, let’s hope the province doesn’t.

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