Alberta municipalities support Toronto in its battle against Ontario government

The resolution, passed by 75 per cent of delegates at last week’s conference of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, calls Ford’s move to cut the number of Toronto wards from 47 to 25 in the middle of an election campaign a “disrespectful attack on municipal government.”

Delegates worry Toronto council cut could set precedent across Canada

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's move to cut the number of wards in Canada's largest city has prompted members of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association to pass a resolution supporting the city of Toronto. (Cole Burston/Canadian Press)

Alberta municipalities are offering symbolic support to Toronto in its battle with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government over the size of its city council.

The resolution, passed Friday by 75 per cent of delegates at a conference of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, calls Ford's move to cut the number of Toronto wards from 47 to 25 in the middle of an election campaign a "disrespectful attack on municipal government."

The resolution states the enabling legislation sets a bad precedent for provincial-municipal relations across Canada.

"The concern is that our own provincial government has the very same power and that puts us into a dangerous parent-child relationship," Calgary Coun. Jyoti Gondek told delegates.

"The domino effect is the very big concern here. The decision against Toronto stands to topple municipalities everywhere."

The resolution also supports the call by Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, in his role as the chair of the Big Cities Mayors' Caucus, for a summit to discuss making municipalities equal partners with the federal and provincial governments.

The original resolution included a clause for AUMA to consider becoming an intervener in any future legal action taken by the City of Toronto. But that section was removed following an amendment passed by delegates. 

"To act as an intervener in a legal case in inter-municipal relations between a government and a city in a different province, I don't believe is a great use of our resources," said Hinton Coun. Dewly Nelson.

Gondek argued in favour of a possible court intervention because  court decisions from Ontario could set a precedent in Alberta.

The Toronto municipal election will go ahead on Oct. 22 with 25 wards.

On Sept. 19, Ontario's Court of Appeal stayed a lower court ruling that struck down a provincial bill to cut the size of Toronto city council. 

Ford will be in Calgary on Friday to join UCP Leader Jason Kenney for a protest against the carbon tax. 


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