comments 2

Toronto Councillor Spending

There’s been a lot of noise lately around outgoing Councillor Kyle Rae throwing a going away party funded by his office budget to the tune of $12k. Blowhard Councillor Rob Ford introduced a motion in Council to make him pay it back, and Council Speaker Sandra Bussin ruled that the spending was OK.

If Mr. Rae had spent the money on some other kind of community event, I doubt anyone would have questioned it. The problem is the perception that he’s wasting scads of taxpayers money, thumbing his nose at you and me on his way out, funding an event marking his own departure.

On the other hand Rob Ford is famous for hardly spending a dime from his office budget, and there’s got to be something wrong there too. I don’t think most people expect our municipal politicians to spend no money. I think the expectation is that they a spend a reasonable amount of coin and spend it well and thoughtfully to enhance their communities.

On a functional council, this stuff should be self-policing and there really should rarely be cause for it to be newsworthy. Mr. Rae ought to know better. With a stronger and balanced Council, there wouldn’t be a need for characters like Ford to keep them in check.

I maintain my position that the more new blood on Council after the Toronto municipal elections in the fall, the better off we all are. Vote for your local underdog.

2 Comments

  1. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    It is difficult to get too upset over the $12,000. Torontonians have elected a council which set spending rules that make this sort of thing OK and I would guess that only a small fraction of what many would call questionable expenditures are ever the subject of scrutiny. If you put public funds in the hands of individual politicians you have to expect that some will not spend the cash in a reasonable way. You are correct though when you suggest that the answer is to change the people who made those rules except that so often the politicians get changed and the new batch is just as bad. Or worse.

    • One of the challenges in Toronto is that it is very difficult to unseat an incumbent. Voter turnout is very low and often the only name people recognize is the name of the seated Councillor. And also, the pickings are slim out there. I understand a number of councillors are retiring this year, and some are running for mayor (so unless they drop out of the mayoralty race, they’ll not be able to compete for a councillor spot – so we’re bound to get some new blood.

      On the whole, my observation has been that the current cast of characters have not been very effective. I’ve seen a number of examples in the last year of unprofessional behaviour, not to mention plenty of questionable decisions made.

      As for the mayoralty race, geez I don’t know….

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