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'Canada's Trump' Shocks Toronto With 'Revenge Plan'

Ontario Premier Doug Ford aims to cut city council in half
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2018 12:00 PM CDT
Doug Ford is sworn in as premier of Ontario during a ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, June 29, 2018.   (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – A man who's been called Canada's Donald Trump has shocked Toronto by vowing to slash its city council in half. Just elected in June, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the proposal Friday: "We're going to run city hall a lot more efficiently than before," he says, per the Toronto Star. "No one has ever said to me: 'Doug, we need more politicians.'" The Progressive Conservative leader and former city councilor also compared Toronto's political process to "a comedy show," saying he'd had enough of "hours and hours of endless debate." His plan, which requires the provincial legislature's approval, would cut Toronto from 47 to 25 councilors and raise the approximate population per councilor from 58,000 to 109,000, the Globe & Mail reports.

Opponents accused Ford of trying to cripple the city's progressive wing and rejig a political body in the middle of municipal elections. "You don't change the rules in the middle of the game," says Toronto's normally sedate mayor, John Tory, who called for a referendum on the plan. Others saw Ford trying to crush political opponent Patrick Brown—a former PC leader whose race for a regional seat would be dashed—or pit incumbent councilors against one another out of revenge. The proposal also roused Jennifer Keesmat, a popular former chief planner, to run for mayor before the signup deadline Friday, the Star reports. "There are times when we need to stand up for our city," says Keesmat, who tweeted that Toronto should secede from the province. "Now I have had a chance to sleep on it," she writes. "Secession." (Read more Toronto stories.)

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