Toronto launches petition demanding Ford government reverse funding cuts – CBC News

Toronto launches petition demanding Ford government reverse funding cuts - CBC News
Mayor Tory urges Torontonians to directly pressure Ford government MPPs over cuts
The City of Toronto has launched a petition demanding that the Doug Ford government reverse its funding cuts.

According to Toronto's calculations, the cuts revealed in Ontario's spring budget will amount to $177 million in 2019.

The city claims the reduction will jeopardize several core city services, including student vaccinations, school breakfasts and subsidized child care spaces.

Ford and Blaine Higgs have both been vocal in their opposition to the tax, which the federal government imposed earlier this year on provinces that didnt have their own price on carbon.

"I urge all Toronto residents to sign the petition so we can send a message to the province," said Mayor John Tory at a news conference on Wednesday morning.

Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, left, shakes hands with Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe during a media event in Saskatoon, Thursday, October 4, 2018. (Liam Richards/ The Canadian Press)

"While I wish we could have avoided this next step, I believe it's important to engage the people of the city in our efforts to stop these cuts."

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is set to meet with his New Brunswick counterpart today to discuss a number of issues, including their shared opposition to the federal carbon tax.

More than 4,100 people signed the petition within the first six hours of its launch, city spokesperson Brad Ross told CBC Toronto.

Ford and Higgs are also set to talk about interprovincial trade and the 2019 Summer Meeting of Canadas Premiers when they meet in Toronto.

Why Doug Fords line-by-line spending reviews are a farce

The city and the Progressive Conservative government have sparred over the funding cuts since they were revealed in the province's first budget this spring.

"I think that mix of messages alone is enough for the tech world or the tech community in Toronto and in Ontario to be concerned … If you're a tech company that's thinking about where to start up or you're somebody who's thinking about where to invest, you're look at Ontario now as sort of having a more uncertain environment than it did."

Toronto officials have warned that, in addition to a loss of services, the cuts may also lead to an increase in taxes to overcome the shortfall.

Ford appeared at the conference one day after Prime Minister Trudeau made the case to attendees Monday evening that Canada has immigration to thank for its thriving technology sector. The four-day conference is being held in Canada for the first time and is set to take place in Ontario for the next three years. 

The Ontario government responded to those concerns on Tuesday with an offer of $7.35 million to help municipalities and school boards conduct third party audits of their budgets.

"Ontario is unequivocally a top destination in the world for the best talent and companies pursuing AI and the Vector Institute will continue to work with the province to help maintain Ontario's  leadership position," president and CEO Garth Gibson said in a statement.

Premier Doug Ford said Toronto, and other municipalities, can find savings by cutting waste from their books. He suggested municipal governments could aim to reduce spending by four per cent, which is the target Ford has set for provincial budget savings.

"Our government was elected with a clear mandate to fix the financial mess left behind by the previous Liberal government. We are calling on our municipal partners to work with us to get our province off the path of bankruptcy," wrote Ford's press secretary Ivana Yelich in an email to CBC Toronto.

"If the mayor decides to cut breakfast programs and childcare subsides, or raise taxes, rather than find savings, that is his decision."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was met with a chorus of boos and sparse applause as he took the stage at the Collision tech conference in Toronto on Tuesday — the same day that news broke that the province slashed $24 million in artificial intelligence research.

While the creation of a petition is unusual, it isn't the first time Toronto has taken this route.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

In 2008, then-Mayor David Miller revealed a city-backed petition calling for a nationwide handgun ban.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

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