Signal Weekend Newsbrief: Sept 23, 2018
What happened at city hall this week
Toronto city council will have 25 wards. Premier Doug Ford’s government bill to cut Toronto city council to 25 wards was deemed lawful on Tuesday, following a Court of Appeal decision to stay the previous lower court decision that upheld the planned 47-ward structure and deemed the bill unconstitutional. The judgement comes after almost two months of rapid change for Toronto’s upcoming election on Oct. 22. Toronto’s election was originally to have 47 wards (three more than the 44 wards that had existed since 2000) until Ford announced his government would be cutting council from the planned 47 to 25 wards. Tory maintained this week that none of this needed to happen had the Ford government been forthcoming about their plans. Meanwhile some councillors were still aghast at the plans for a smaller council; one even calling it “dreadful.” (Read the story and timeline of events)
Election update – ward races heat up. There are now four weeks until the Toronto election on Oct. 22. All candidates have now registered to run (the final day for candidates to register or withdraw their candidacy was this past Friday). The full list of who is running where is available on the city’s website. The the boundaries changed to the same as federal/provincial ridings. Check out our simple guide to figure out what you need to know to identify the ward you’re in and who’s running.
Visual culture in Toronto. This week, Mayor John Tory made an announcement on his commitment to arts funding, if he is elected. While he would not commit to increasing the $25 per-capita target (he promised to do this with the arts community in the spring of 2019). He said increasing the target was important in order to increase funding for the culture build investment program from $330,000 to $660,000 which will support the non-profit cultural sector (2018 recipients include Canadian Music Centre, Caribbean Tales Inc., Crow’s Theatre, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT), Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Open Studio, Riverdale Immigrant Women Enterprises, and Toronto Artscape Inc). Tory also said he wants to increase street art partnership grants to $1 million to bring street arts to neighbourhoods across the city. In a statement sent on Sunday, mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat said she would double per-capita investment in arts and culture to bring it in line with other Canadian cities but did not say how it would be funded. Tory said that if elected, 2020 will be the year of public art in Toronto, with the aim to have new public legacy artworks across the city. Keesmaat also has a vision that extends away from downtown, but hers is five new “culture hubs.” Art wasn’t the only news about visual culture in the city this week. Another application for a digital billboard on the Gardiner Expressway was turned down by the Sign Variance Committee at city hall. Outgoing Councillor Janet Davis spoke at the committee against further monetizing the value of the properties in Etobicoke, saying, “This is our space. Public space. It should not be full of commercial messaging and bright distracting digital signs.” (Read the story)
In other news… (Sept. 20, 2018) Toronto.com’s David Nickle, Right of centre politics has deep roots in Etobicoke; (Sept. 21, 2018) National Post’s Nick Faris, “What happened to Seth Rogen’s voice? TTC stopped playing divisive transit PSAs after just one month”; (Sept. 22, 2018) The Toronto Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro “Rob Ford confidant Sandro Lisi running for school trustee in Etobicoke,”
On deck for the week ahead: Monday morning is the Mayoral Arts Debate hosted by ArtsVote located at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Tuesday afternoon is the Global News debate.
How the change in council seats is affecting the man’s man’s man’s world of city hall politics
This Newsbrief is by Arianne Robinson.
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