QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Municipal Affairs critic Jeff Burch released the following statement in response to the release of further details of the Ford Conservatives’ plans to review Ontario’s regional municipalities:
“Ford is once again meddling in municipalities. Ford has already tabled a scheme to Swiss cheese the greenbelt and remove important drinking water protections, and now it looks like he’s unilaterally pursuing amalgamation.
The last time Doug Ford meddled in municipal governments, we saw the Conservatives abruptly axe more than two dozen local elections, including three regional chair elections. Ford was so intent on settling old scores with his political foes that he even wielded the notwithstanding clause as the Conservatives ran roughshod over these local democratic processes.
The Ontario NDP is deeply concerned that the Ford Conservatives are planning to use the regional review as a pretext to impose amalgamation on municipalities. The premier’s job is to respect the will of democratically elected local governments and work with them, not attempt to override their wishes and control their regions.
The last forced amalgamation was under Conservative Mike Harris. Harris’ amalgamation came with a massive wave of service costs and new cuts for people to bear – including cutting off the province’s support for transit and for affordable housing.”