GUELPH POLITICAST #374 – The Problem (?) With Government

We’re coming up on the end of the first year of the Ford government’s second term, and it’s been a highly consequential year if you work in one of Ontario’s 444 municipalities. At times, it felt like there was an announcement every week about some change to how cities conduct oversight or run their own planning processes. It’s enough to make you ask, “what will happen next?” and last week we got the answer.

It’s called Bill 112, the Hazel McCallion Act, and it will turn the three municipalities in Peel Region into three independent entities: Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. On the surface, this kind of makes sense; Mississauga is Canada’s sixth biggest city, and Brampton is the ninth; on the other hand, interfering with Ontario cities has seemed to be the Ford government’s raison d’etre, and now it’s being done in the name of solving the provincial housing crisis.

Housing is supposedly the reason for a lot of these changes, from Bill 23 to the dissolution of Peel Region. It’s the idea that government red tape is getting in the way of more housing starts, and if more government equals more red tape, then getting rid of government should make it easier to get houses built. Is the tangled web of municipal governance in Ontario really the source of all our housing troubles?

We put this hypothesis to the test this week with Andrew Sancton, a professor emeritus of Political Science at University of Western Ontario. He’s going to talk about the history of municipal governance in Ontario, and how we ended up with regional governments in some places. He will also talk about whether or not the time has come to give cities more autonomy, and what may come from the pending review of the other regional governments in Ontario, even after they already did one.

So let’s talk about the supposed problem with local governance on this edition of the Guelph Politicast!

Bill 112 has passed first reading but there’s just two weeks left in the spring sitting of the Legislature, so it may not get passed before the house rises on June 8. The Government of Ontario has set the date of January 1, 2025 as the first day of an independent Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. An announcement will be coming soon about the appointment of regional facilitators to assess other regional governments.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, StitcherGoogle, TuneIn and Spotify .

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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