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Jennifer Keesmaat's Toronto

MetroMan

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It's still very early in the game but with an anti Ford movement building and Tory's tepid response putting him in Ford's corner whether he likes it or not, Keesmaat has suddenly become very competitive. She has a movement to get behind and this will be a 1 on 1 race with no left of centre spoilers splitting the progressive vote as in past elections. It's also been 8 years of Conservative rule with Rob Ford's disastrous term and Tory serving as a suitable pressure valve but not being an inspiring figure to lead us through the dark Ford years ahead.

Having seen internal polls back in May when Keesmaat was considering entering the race, she was seen easily winning downtown but not making enough inroads in the outer city, allowing Tory to get re-elected. That's why she had opted to sit this one out. That changed yesterday as the movement to fight Doug Ford blew up. Tory is seen as weak, as a talker and not a doer. Tory's poll numbers had already fallen earlier in the week with the Danforth shooting culminating a second Summer of Gun and yet again when he mused about consolidating more power in the Mayor's office. Tory was no longer unbeatable. Then Ford's election bombshell happened and it's expected that Tory's approval ratings have plummeted. Keesmaat saw her way in and she took it.

Now, this thread is not an election thread — head over to the Mayor's race thread for that. This thread, like the other _________'s Toronto threads is a forum to speculate on what Keesmaat's Toronto would look like. What challenges would she face? What signature changes would characterize her Mayoralty?

Leaving aside the inevitable confrontation with Doug Ford's provincial government, a good place to start would be on fact based decisions. Keesmaat is a technocrat; she makes decisions based on the advice of experts and is an expert herself. She was a proponent of the Boulevard Option in the Gardiner East debate. That would certainly be at the top of her list. The Scarborough Subway could lose City Hall's support. Both of these would face resistance from Ford who could upload the Gardiner and the subway network. Ironically, the city would be off the hook from these expenditures.

I can imagine a Dutch approach to downtown street design with a big focus on complete streets and on Vision Zero. The cycling network would undoubtedly be expanded. Free from subway building (if Ford uploads it), would the City push for a streetcar network expansion? Would we see busy bus routes replaced by streetcars? An obvious place to start: the Dufferin bus.

What measures, big and small do you imagine Mayor Keesmaat undertaking?
 
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mjl08

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I think Keesmaat is going to have real difficulties connecting with Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York voters. In these areas, most voters are concerned with their taxes and whether or not their garbage gets picked up. Buzz words like 'middle density' and 'Vision Zero' will fall to deaf ears.

While I find her style refreshing, you can bet that her politically unwise decision to call for the succession of Toronto, and her 'last minute' decision to run for mayoralty, will come back to bite her campaign. John Tory will claim that he registered on day one, and not reluctantly.
 

MetroMan

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Keesmaat is a City Planner; she's intimately aware of all the moving parts of a city. Garbage pick up and other basic city services like water and hydro are all things she considers carefully when planning. I'm sure she can sell her ability to make these things run smoothly given her expertise. But this isn't an election thread. Her chances of winning can be debated over here. Let's discuss what her Toronto would look like if she does win.

Since you brought up garbage pick up, I wonder if she would want to bring that back into the city. There are more efficient ways to collect trash. Traditionally, we've had trucks drive by on a fixed route, regardless of the volume to be picked up. This forces us to maintain a fleet that can cover the entire schedule, wasting time and money. Smart sensors, computer models and electric garbage trucks are some of the ways to modernize our garbage collection and make it more efficient and cheaper to run. A technocrat like Keesmaat would likely look at those options.
 

sixrings

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I tend to vote Liberal. Although I did vote for Tory over Chow to take out Ford (maybe that was a stupid decision now that Torys policies are not much different than Ford just in a better suit combined with now Ford is our premier SMH) I would vote for Jennifer but I am skeptical that she will win. The anti ford sentiment simply isn't large enough just yet. If we had ford for a year maybe things would be different.
 

kEiThZ

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It'll be highly easy to paint her as part of the reason, transit hasn't moved forward. And that's exactly how she'll be attacked.

"War on the car." And all that too.

I'll be happy if she gives Tory a run for his money though.
 

steveintoronto

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First off, excellent topic surmise MM! Very well informed and written. I'd taken quotes from most of the posts above to answer, and realize they're mostly about Keesmaat's 'winnability'. For what little it's worth, TorSatar (to a selective group, doubtless) ran one yesterday, a very high response number, and JK scored 2:1 against Tory.

What's really tipping things are Ford's emasculating of Tory ("I told you"..."No you didn't"), and the defensive backlash against Ford for brutalizing Toronto. Who has the most balls to stand up to Ford? Ironically, the stunning woman. (And yes, I've got a huge crush on for her).

And that unmistakable physical and academic attractiveness of Keesmaat is going to score her a lot of votes. Like it or not, especially for the 140 character crowd, that counts hugely.

On the "secede" issue, anyone familiar with constitutional matters in this nation knows that to be impossible. What is possible is a new City of Toronto Act, with special status, far beyond what's been the case with the present joke. The present TO Act is like hanging sparkly adornments on a battle cruiser. It's the Municipal Act in all but name. Any unique clauses can be overridden purely by Order in Council.

What JK can do is marshall outrage such that it compels QP to listen and act, and accord Toronto unique powers that can't be over-ridden, save for a Superior or Supreme Court decision.
 

MetroMan

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Yes, I think a new City of Toronto Act is the more reasonable option to pursue but I wouldn't rule out secession as "impossible". In fact, not only does our constitution allow for it and lay out the required steps, it has happened already — and recently. In 1999, Nunavut seceded from the Northwest Territories. It turns out we actually have the right ingredients to make it happen at this very moment in time.

1. We have a reason: Ford is bullying Canada's economic engine.
2. The Federal government is Liberal and has come out in support of protecting Toronto.
3. All but 2 provinces in the country are centre/left. We need 7 provinces to agree.

In more practical terms, Keesmaat should be championing the idea of the Federal govt. granting a new status to cities. It's within the Federal Govt. powers to change the language that says that cities are a "creature of their provinces". Cities should be given more autonomy, at least where their elections and self governance are concerned and probably given the power to raise money through their own taxes. The threshold from town to self governing city could be delineated at a certain population size.

So, I'll add that to the likely moves a Mayor Keesmaat would make: more autonomy from the province and/or self governance for Toronto. This is a goal that could be achieved within her first term as it's become urgent given the Ford assault on our city.
 

JGHali

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I think Keesmaat is going to have real difficulties connecting with Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York voters. In these areas, most voters are concerned with their taxes and whether or not their garbage gets picked up. Buzz words like 'middle density' and 'Vision Zero' will fall to deaf ears.

While I find her style refreshing, you can bet that her politically unwise decision to call for the succession of Toronto, and her 'last minute' decision to run for mayoralty, will come back to bite her campaign. John Tory will claim that he registered on day one, and not reluctantly.
First, it's secession not "succession". Second, suburbs are not monoliths but they are areas of lower turnout (see https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/Who_Votes-final.pdf). I don't think arguing for more autonomy is altogether radical - does anyone in Toronto have an "Ontario" identity really?

In more practical terms, Keesmaat should be championing the idea of the Federal govt. granting a new status to cities. It's within the Federal Govt. powers to change the language that says that cities are a "creature of their provinces". Cities should be given more autonomy, at least where their elections and self governance are concerned and probably given the power to raise money through their own taxes. The threshold from town to self governing city could be delineated at a certain population size.
I agree this should happen, but Section 92(8) gives provincial legislatures exclusive power to make laws in relation to "municipal institutions in the province". When it comes to elections and questions of self governance, however, I'm not sure what the implications will be for trying to change the rules *during* an election.
 

steveintoronto

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In fact, not only does our constitution allow for it and lay out the required steps, it has happened already — and recently. In 1999, Nunavut seceded from the Northwest Territories.
Before this labours in misunderstanding any further in this string, I've got to set this straight so that we can concentrate on finding what *can* be done to promote a degree of autonomy for Toronto. It's a very valid discussion, but we've got to get this right.

Cross post from the Muni Election string:
Federally it would take an act of parliament and 2/3rds of the Canadian Population to support it. What that means is all of the provinces west of Ontario and Quebec would need to support it. If they did we could theoretically secede but if we did it would open pandoras box.
You're completely missing the point as to how this has nothing to do with a *city seceding from a province*! There was no change to the Constitution or one needed. It was an Act of Parliament, plain and simple:
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/N-28.6/FullText.html?pedisable=true&wbdisable=true

There is no such mechanism for Parliament to extend same to a part of a Province, since provincial integrity and powers are guaranteed under the BNA Act and other sections of the Constitution.
Territorial Government in Canada
Under Canada’s federal system, the powers of government are shared between the federal government, provincial governments and territorial governments. The territories — Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon — are governed by their respective governments, which receive their legislative authority (the ability to create laws) from the federal government. Ottawa has given territorial governments authority over public education, health and social services, and the administration of justice and municipal government. More and more of these powers have been handed down from the federal government in a process called devolution. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada is the federal ministry responsible for the territories.

What are the Differences between Provinces and Territories?
Authority to Govern

The main difference between provincial and territorial governments has to do with the separate roots of their authority to govern. According to the Constitution Act, 1867, territorial governments are under federal control and therefore do not have the same status as provinces. Provincial governments, for example, receive their legislative authority from the Constitution, while legislative authority in the territories is delegated (or handed down) by the federal government in a process known as devolution. Federal law allows the territories to form elected councils, which are given powers similar to provincial legislatures, including authority over public education, health and social services, and the administration of justice and municipal government.

Constitutional Change

Since legislative powers described in the Constitution are divided between the federal government and the provinces, changing those powers requires a constitutional amendment (see Constitutional History and Constitutional Law). Since the territories fall constitutionally under federal control, changing the powers delegated to territorial governments can be achieved through an Act of Parliament. Similarly, the creation of a new province requires constitutional amendment, while the creation of a new territory only requires an Act of Parliament.

Territorial governments are not included in the amending formula of the Constitution. Beyond representatives in the House of Commonsand Senate, who may vote on constitutional change, territorial representatives are not involved in the process of changing the Constitution. Each territory has one seat in the House of Commons and one seat in the Senate.

The Constitution Act, 1982 provides each province with the power to amend the constitution as it applies in their province; however, assent of the House of Commons and Senate is also required. Since territorial constitutions are federal statutes, only the federal Parliament can amend them.

[...]
https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/territorial-government/

Feel absolutely free to quote a legal means for Toronto to secede from Ontario. I'd be delighted...
 
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steveintoronto

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I agree this should happen, but Section 92(8) gives provincial legislatures exclusive power to make laws in relation to "municipal institutions in the province". When it comes to elections and questions of self governance, however, I'm not sure what the implications will be for trying to change the rules *during* an election.
Yeaahhh....let me make a guess, and a number of media stories have directly alluded to this:

At least Caroline Mulroney, if not others (Caroline is astute in legal and constitutional matters) immediately flagged this idea, and stated to Ford: (gist) "Have you no idea of how likely this bomb is to blow up not only you, but the rest of us too, let alone others, if you do this? The way to do this, at the very least, is to have a panel of expert counsel to examine the legislation, case-law, and the expected challenges in court, let alone the time frame to do it in" And Ford grunted, something about "Squirrel!" and went out and did it anyway.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in some of the offices at QP right now...

It's a very open question as to the ramifications of this...save for one: Jennifer Keesmaat just got anointed!

Now here's a lady that can 'appoint a panel of counsel' to *academically and systematically* come up with answers. And to really go out on a limb? One of the first to phone to congratulate her will be Caroline Mulroney.

They might end-up working together...
 
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Northern Light

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I think there's 2 things to differentiate here, in Keesmaat's Toronto.

Her platform vs that which she could gain majority support from council for; and if required, the backing of Queen's Park.

I think the easier part of her platform would be TO Core. More than any other civic document that has her fingerprints all over it.

Cherry picking a few key elements in Great Streets, and Parks sections would be logical, do-able and really outside of QP's scope.

Deliver the new University Avenue and Yonge Street, + QQEast w/LRT ; then pick a couple of signature greenspace initiatives.

On the Gardiner, I don't know if she could nix the hybrid; though as Mayor she could get the money pulled from the budget to deliver it. That might only give us status quo.

She would clearly back transit, not a challenge in so far as the new Premier is even onside w/Relief line..... presumably she would find money for more service and maybe enhanced station appearance.

Where I'm less clear is what her signature might be on the social side or the broader operating budget.

Even David Miller struggled to get council behind above-inflation increases in property tax, though he did get the vehicle tax and LTT through.

I expect we'd see her more likely to work w/the left of council, ergo somewhat higher taxes and spending, but how much and on what I'm not as certain.
 
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TransitBart

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Ihat measures, big and small do you imagine Mayor Keesmaat undertaking?
She'll get eaten alive and should. I would tend to back a person with the balls to stand up for the city. She will sound like a shrill voice in the wilderness. This is a hail-Mary pass, a big distraction, and nothing good for the city. As it turns out, our gentleman mayor has already asked Mike Layton about his balls.

Methinks Ms. Keesmaat has a thing to learn about the cut n thrust of politics. She could end up as someone's lunch.
 

steveintoronto

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She'll get eaten alive and should. I would tend to back a person with the balls to stand up for the city. She will sound like a shrill voice in the wilderness. This is a hail-Mary pass, a big distraction, and nothing good for the city. As it turns out, our gentleman mayor has already asked Mike Layton about his balls.

Methinks Ms. Keesmaat has a thing to learn about the cut n thrust of politics. She could end up as someone's lunch.
Keesmaat is anything but "shrill". Quite the contrary.
 

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