The Canadian Taxpayers Federation will share its thoughts on Bill 5 as part of the court challenge to cutting Toronto city council in half. The CTF will be an intervenor in the Aug. 31 legal challenge, arguing that council should be reduced to 25 seats from 47, in part because of the cost savings that will come with the move.
“Trimming Toronto’s city council will save taxpayers over $25 million and make city hall more effective, and we’re going to bring a strong case to the court on behalf of taxpayers,” said a statement from Christine Van Geyn, the CTF’s Ontario director.
However, the $25 million in savings is over four years — it is not annual — and the number does not include the $2.5 million estimated by the city clerk in additional costs Toronto will incur from the late-stage changes to its election.
The legal battle will also see submissions from the City of Toronto, which voted on Monday to fight Bill 5, and council candidate Rocco Achampong, who initiated the legal fight, and two groups of voters and council candidates.
NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa is calling on the government to immediately resume Indigenous curriculum writing sessions, in part to fulfill recommendations contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In a letter to Education Minister Lisa Thompson, Mamakwa, a member of the Kingfisher First Nation and the MPP for the new riding of Kiiwetinoong, makes the case for the importance of Indigenous content in Ontario's education system.
"Last month, your government cancelled planned Indigenous curriculum writing sessions throughout the province, a major misstep on the road toward reconciliation that calls into question your government’s commitment to important calls to action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)," the MPP's letter begins.
Curriculum development sessions were cancelled on short notice in July, and the move was condemned by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. The government defended the action on the grounds that it was seeking out was to implement initiatives in the most cost-effective way possible.
In his letter, Mamakwa – one of the three Indigenous MPPs in the current legislature – also made a personal argument about why developing Indigenous is important.
"As a person who went to residential school myself, it troubles me that Ontario children may not learn about the traumatic experiences of many thousands of Indigenous children who suffered as a result of Canadian policy and law. Minister, delaying or cancelling Indigenous curriculum development will set progress towards reconciliation in this province backwards. Incorporating Indigenous content in our schools is vital to fulfilling Ontario’s commitment towards reconciliation."
Toronto Mayor John Tory made a re-election promise Wednesday that the city, under his leadership, will match $25 million in funding over four yearsto combat guns and gangs in Toronto.
Tory said he would spend one-third on neighbourhood police officers and two-thirds on recreation spaces and employment supports for young people.
“The safety and security our residents enjoy is what has always distinguished us from other large urban centres and I’m determined to keep it that way. I am committed to keeping Toronto safe,” he said.
However, Tory also noted the city has already committed to matching the province’s funding for this year and the city's money is already flowing, while it awaits the portion of the province's $25 million allocate for this year.
The announcement came after Tory and the premier's staff exchanged harsh words on the issue of guns and gangs Tuesday.