Coun. Karen Stintz says the mayor has no apparent plan for improving transit in Toronto and it is time for her colleagues to consider ways of bringing an important part of that debate to council.
Her comments come just a day after the mayor’s executive committee voted 6-4 in favour of deferring consideration of a report from the city manager on revenue tools the city should consider for funding transit expansion.
"I was disappointed that six of my colleagues are preventing a very important issue from being debated by council and we need to deal with that," Stintz said in an interview with CBC News on Wednesday.
Stintz said it is her "expectation" that the report will come to council and be fully debated.
Furthermore, Stintz called the deferral a "very irresponsible move for the people who have elected us to represent them."
At Tuesday’s executive committee meeting, it was Ford who moved to defer the item.
"This is completely ass-backwards how we’re doing things," he said, when asking the committee to support the deferral.
'Hell will freeze over'
Ford also said he doesn’t support the revenue tools, which he views as taxes.
"If the province wants to move ahead and be heroes and implement new taxes, go ahead," he said.
The mayor said it was "guaranteed" that "hell will freeze over before I support any of these new taxes."
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, one of the executive committee members who voted against the deferral motion, said he wasn’t pleased that the province appears intent on using revenue tools.
"[Premier] Kathleen Wynne has said she’s going to listen, but at the end of the day, she’s going to act on her own," he said at the Tuesday meeting.
He compared the situation to parents who offer their children a choice of dinner when the decision has already been made to serve liver.
"And so you're going to ask them, but you've already got the liver out and you're already going to serve them liver. And it doesn't matter how much ketchup you put on it, it's not going to taste very good," Minnan-Wong said, drawing a few chuckles from those attending the meeting.
Time to get serious
Stintz is not the only councillor who believes the city needs to be in the driver's seat when it comes to planning its transit future.
"It's clear to me that we have to get serious after how we’re going to face transit planning into the future, so this is no time to duck the question," Coun. John Parker said Wednesday.
Coun. Josh Colle said the city should be making decisions itself rather than having something imposed upon it because it did not take steps to assert its views.
Ford has said that councillors who support using revenue tools to pay for transit will be targeted in the next municipal election.
When Stintz was asked Wednesday if the mayor was on the wrong side of the transit expasion debate, she said that "with Mayor Ford it seems like we are on a train to nowhere."
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