As is the PC government’s style since 2018, especially when it comes to municipal matters, a surprise announcement with major implications for at least two cities was announced as part of the throne speech on August 9th. It wasn’t in the PC election platform (because they didn’t publish a platform) and there wasn’t even the pretence of consultations ahead of the announcement of a finalized plan to legislate.

That announcement was the plan to introduce ‘strong mayors’ in two Ontario cities – Toronto and Ottawa – with the possibility that Hamilton could follow shortly afterwards.

Prima facie, it’s an idea worth at least discussing. Strong mayors exist in some of the world’s most famous cities, and Ontario’s ‘weak mayors’, some might suggest, are not so much weak and entirely lacking in power to do the job the public believes they are elected to do.

But are the PC’s plans well thought out? Or even slightly thought out?

To discuss the implications and motivations, we are joined by André Côté, Head of the Secure and Responsible Tech Policy program at Toronto Metropolitan University. He also runs a mission-driven consulting firm that has worked with numerous clients on urban policy issues, as well as higher education, technology and public finance. Recent cities projects included a Canadian Urban Institute design lab for the new federal Housing Accelerator Fund; an Evergreen strategic foresight project with the City of Calgary; and supporting the Sidewalk Labs public consultations on behalf of Waterfront Toronto. These roles follow stints working for both the political and non-political sides of the government of Ontario, and as a manager at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG).

The result is a fascinating discussion of what makes cities tick, and whether the, er, Great Minds that produce policy for the provincial government have complex ulterior motives, or are producing legislation without much of a clue about how it is likely to work in practice.

This episode of The 905er is brought to you by our sponsor:

South River Brewing.  Listen to this episode to see how you can save money on your next order by visiting the link below:

South River Brewing

It takes money and time to create two podcasts a week. We love doing what we do, but please consider supporting us if you can so we can keep improving, and keep paying the bills.

Why not buy us a coffee?

Or you can support us by becoming a patron for a month, for six months, or forever. See Patreon listeners also get to hear our episodes without commercial interruptions.

Thanks to our existing patrons! You can join them at Supporting the 905er with a monthly donation enables us to do this podcast, to make it better and better, and to make sure it reflects your priorities. Please consider joining our growing team.

Nicholas Paul: sound editing.

The Quadrafonics: fantastic opening and closing tunes!