U.S. Models for “Strong-Mayors”
In an effort to justify their changes to municipal powers in Ontario, the Ontario government is holding up cities like Chicago and Los Angeles as well as London, England as models for a “strong mayor system.” The claim is that the mayors in these cities have “strengthened roles and additional administrative and executive powers in developing budgets, and some have the opportunity to veto certain items.”
First of all, the entire U.S. municipal system, especially for the cities in question, is different from what exists in Ontario. Secondly, the clash of authorities in the United States between one level of government and another and the attempts to control municipal powers in big cities, which include very powerful police departments to put down dissent and oppress the people, is one arena in which the civil war is playing out in that country. Is this what the Ford government wants for Canada?
To cherry pick phrases in the most decontextualized manner to justify providing mayors in Ontario cities with new executive powers is not just self-serving and nonsensical but shows there is a hidden agenda. The phony comparison is used to disinform the population and divert it from finding out what this hidden agenda is. One way the government is attempting to distract attention from the aim of adopting the use of prerogative or police powers as the new normal is to make the debate one of whether Toronto or Ottawa should or should not be like these U.S. cities. The fact that Canada’s so-called democratic institutions have broken down and the ruling circles have resorted to the use of police powers as a new normal is not to be discussed. A key point the government focuses on in discussing the U.S. cities is that the mayors in those cities have the power to set the budget.
It is important to establish what is pertinent and what is not in order to get to the heart of the matter.