The Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Big City Mayors’ Caucus Chair Don Iveson issued this statement in response to the Province of Ontario’s intention to invoke the “notwithstanding clause” of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to pass legislation cutting the size of Toronto City Council.
“To see a Canadian province invoke the Notwithstanding Clause to change the size of a city council, in the middle of an election campaign, is unprecedented. On behalf of FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus, I am offering full support to the City of Toronto’s efforts to protect local democracy.
“Canadians are now stuck in a Constitutional debate, when we have not even tested the limits of how governments can work together within the Constitution. The levers to modernize the relationship already exist.
“Certainly, there is nothing unconstitutional about sitting down together to talk about solving problems, funding cities mandates directly, and creating a forum where municipal governments address our nation’s challenges with their provincial and federal counterparts as equals. It just takes political will from every order of government.
“Mayors are pragmatists. Every day, municipal governments are delivering city-based solutions to national challenges, from economic productivity to public safety. And increasingly, Canadians expect us to share the lead on emerging challenges—from stemming the opioid crisis, to building innovative economies, to settling new Canadians in our communities.
“It is time for a mature, modern conversation about how we work together to make life better for Canadians. Canada’s mayors are ready.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population.
For more information, please contact:
FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org