The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, reporting on remarks by the mayor at tonight’s budget meetings in North and East York:
“Obviously people want a zero-percent tax increase. I’ve heard it from all over,” [Ford] said, though only one of the dozen speakers he heard had said so. Challenged, Ford said the majority of people who have called or emailed his office have supported the tax freeze.
Asked whether the meetings were therefore a waste of time, he said: “I am listening. I’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, more than any previous government has, to go out and listen to people, and not make them come downtown for two days.”
Holding consultations across the city is a good thing, but the mayor’s phrasing here is interesting. “Not make them come downtown,” he says, as if that’s a major inconvenience for everyone.
The insinuation there is similar to the argument some G20 apologies made (after that bit of fun) when they asked why anyone would go downtown that weekend, knowing what was going on. Some people seem to have trouble believing that ‘downtown’ isn’t just a place where people go to work or do touristy stuff. It’s a place where people live.
What I’m saying, I guess, is that while I think holding meetings in different parts of the city is only a good thing, keeping at least one consultation session at city hall would have been kind of nice for all the respect-deserving taxpayers who live downtown.