A simple solution that could both keep Leaside intact and minimise disruption is to stick with two wards per riding on which the current boundaries have been based since 2000. This federal election is using new boundaries based on the 2011 census, which give Toronto 25 ridings, up from 22.
Premier Wynne has already said that Ontario will adopt these same boundaries, with some minor exceptions in northern Ontario, before the next provincial election in 2018. The city could easily do the same – simple, logical and easy to understand.
Under those new riding boundaries Leaside stays whole within Don Valley West.
The new city report considers the idea of following riding boundaries but doesn’t include it among the proposed options for reasons that are not made clear.
It would mean 50 councillors, up from 44. Some people are reflexively against adding more politicians. One councillor per riding?
“Twenty five councillors would be too few,” says Councillor Jon Burnside, noting that “most of the concerns that people care about and contact their representative about are municipal issues, so it would be too great a workload for just 25.”
So back to the two wards per riding idea – essentially the status quo.
“I haven’t said I oppose more councillors,” Burnside says, “but if they went that route the mayor should have more than one vote. He or she needs the equivalent of three to five votes, because they’re the ones that truly have the mandate on large, city-wide issues. Not one person from Leaside asked me where I stand on the Gardiner, for instance. So the mayor somehow needs more power than just one vote.”
Visit www.drawthelines.ca for the full report, and for the consultation schedule once it becomes available.