So if we’re to believe Ontario Premier Doug Ford, he’s receiving plenty of calls from Ottawa calling for a smaller city council with fewer politicians. Frankly, making a call for fewer politicians is a cheap political ploy, one Mayor Jim Watson has made himself in the past – a campaign promise he may live to regret if Ford sets his sights on Ottawa.
Is it possible to cut city council, here or elsewhere? Sure. Absolutely.
What isn’t possible in Ottawa is to cut the the number of politicians and expect the same level of response from your elected representative and their staff. And it seems even more impossible to cut the number of councillors in Ottawa and preserve the special community of each ward.
This isn’t the time to talk about what a mistake amalgamation was. Yes, it was a mistake.
If you’re talking about cutting councillors in any sort of equitable fashion, how do you balance the special wants and needs of the urban, suburban and rural wards? You simply can’t look at Ottawa as a pie and cut it into equal pieces. No one wants that. And it would never work for you – the taxpayer.
Look, simply cutting city council is clearly possible, but if you’re looking for a city council that responds to your concerns about snow plowing, garbage pickup and dog poop in the park, forget about it.
And those are just the basics. There are bylaw infractions, noise, parking, fences – the list is really endless. Yes, you should go through the bureaucracy, but they’re not elected to represent you. Cutting councillors can only mean your concerns end up in the deep cesspool that is an overworked bureaucracy. And of course, ward duties are only part of what city councillors do. They also represent the city as a whole, and that comes with huge responsibilities.
If you look at the details of the individual wards, you’ll likely be surprised at the differences. There are incredible disparities in not just the population of the individual wards – but the geographical size.
Take this tweet from @Catherinemckenney who represents the downtown Somerset ward.
For Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt, that’s nothing but a dream. That would take him days to do! He represents a huge geographical area that takes up a huge part of the city. And within that ward, there are several distinct communities.
So sure, complain to Ford if you want.
Just don’t expect to have anyone there on the other end of your concerns if your wish to cut councillors comes true.
If you want, cut all your councillors and just see what kind of representation you get.
It’s that simple.