Thursday, November 7, 2013

Old Toronto & East York Have Been Shut Out During Ford Mayoralty

Nothing about Ford's substance abuse & possible legal problems has changed the basic problems at the heart of his governing which make him a destructive presence corroding the basic social fabric of the city.  He fundamentally and deliberately seeks to divide the city against itself to win elections.  As he campaigns continuously, it is not just a question of running ugly capaigns and then seeking to heal the rifts once in office, it's what he really wants to do, and has done thus far in his Mayoralty.

To see the most glaring instance of this, which pervades the entire system of Toronto's government let's ask how the Mayor, and this Council have allocated the key committee and commission/board roles during Ford's term.  We'll look at the Executive Committee (closest thing to a cabinet in Council), the Budget Committee, and the Councillor members of the TTC Commission and Police Services Board, which represent the two biggest cost items in Toronto's budget.  These bodies make the most important decisions as to how Toronto governs, funds, transports & Polices itself.  Here's the result, tracked by Council ward (some Councillor are on multiple things, and this includes both past and present members of these bodies):
Major council roles, Dec 2010-Oct 2013

Notice the complete lack of any coloured markers in the wards representing the pre-amalgamation cities of Toronto ("Old Toronto") and East York.  Entirely shut out.  This is what the next Mayor, a new Mayor, has to fix.  We cannot go on like this.
  • I use the "Community Council" groupings to decide what former city a given ward falls under. Some wards, like say 26 span more than 1 of the pre-amalgamation cities.
  • I'm not the first to do this sort of post, but I am trying to extend further that excellent analysis.  I do rely on the information from that post.  
  • In 2012, Council dismissed Ford's original TTC board and put their own up. Those members are not represented in this map, but in fact adding them would not change anything as no one from Old Toronto or East York is amoung the new board.
Not all of this is Ford's fault, but it is clear that this is deliberate on his part.  Council for their part, has not rectified this complete shut out from the committees of greatest import, despite multiple opportunities with even 1 token appointment to anything.  In fact, just recently, to fill a vacant Executive Committee slot, some on Council tried to get downtown Councillor Adam Vaughan appointed but failed to win a majority and instead, Ford put the brand new, unelected "caretaker" Councillor for Ward 3, Peter Leon on his executive.

Maybe pushing an unwelcome adversary onto the executive is not the way to rectify this, but clearly if council wanted to ensure every region of the City was represented, it could have put one on the new TTC board, for example.

So? Miller Snubbed the Suburbs Just the Same!

No, he didn't:

Key council roles, actual or offered, 2006-2010

This is for Miller's second term, where he was confortably re-elected with a strong majority of the electorate.  Yet every region of the city is represented in Council's key posts. In particular, every former city is represented on Miller's executive committee.  Does this mean Miller was a great Mayor and we should just re-elect him?  No. It just means it doesn't have to be like this under Ford.  Winning the Mayor's chair does not require trying to divide the city.  Ford has chosen to be this way.  Here's Miller's 2006 election map:

Ok, that was Miller's re-election when he was quite popular.  What about his initial election, a very competitive race against John Tory?

Yes Miller's support was stronger downtown, but he did pretty good in some other less urban parts of the city.  Now here's Ford's map:

Other than Karen Stintz in ward 16 (a "North York" ward), not a single councillor from a ward won by Smitherman got any of the key council roles.  Far from seeking to heal this rift (one which of course pre-dates Ford) he reinforces it. By all indications, barring his substance problems derailing his 2014 campaign it will be more of this. 

Many focus on Ford's various offensive comments, like blaming cyclists for getting hurt in accidents, or saying that the "downtown people have enough subways" despite the clear and obvious overcrowding problems on the Yonge line south of Eglinton station. These sorts of downtown-bashing comments are representative of his views, but pale in comparison to literally locking out over 30% of the people of the city from any voice in the most important governing bodies.  This is representative democracy and of course the result of this is going to be a disproportionate emphasis on the areas of the city that are overrepresented in decision making bodies at expense of those shut out.

Quantifying the Lock Out

While Ford's map displays obvious regional favouritism, Miller's map would seem to somewhat favour Old Toronto.  It does, but some numbers would be helpful, here's the raw number of key roles alloted to councillors from each former city under Ford and Miller's 2nd term:

That's somewhat helpful, York and East York are quite small compared to others, it's hard to tell which areas are represented proportionately to their populations. Let's compare each former city's percentage of the total population, and the percentage of these key roles they got by Mayor:

So, as you'd expect, Ford has frozen out Old TO and EY, and given the extra spots to the more suburban former cities. How does Miller's chart look?

Ok, Old Toronto is somewhat overrepresented, but the supposed "downtown" mayor was pretty fair to the 3 suburban former cities. Scarborough even comes out a little ahead.

Let's stack these up, each administration saw certain areas over and underrepresented, who does worse?

There's just no contest.  Miller's "most excluded" city, Etobicoke does a hell of a lot better than the two cities Ford locked out completely.  If Miller did favour Old Toronto, he didn't favour them as much as Ford has privileged Etobicoke, Scarborough and York (York is kind of skewed by Frances Nunziata).  

Some of these is just natural.  Miller is on the left so he's going to somewhat prefer Councillors of a similar persuasion on his key committees.  Ford is on the right, and will feel the same. Right leaning councillors will tend to be suburban.  Left leaning ones more urban.  Yet it shouldn't be allowed to go this far.  Stephen Harper put a major city candidate into the Senate and his cabinet just to ensure some kind of urban representation after his party didn't win any seats in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver in 2006.  No Ontario cabinet would skip having a northern or south-western member if the Premier could possibly avoid it.  Yet there's no sign that Ford even had talks with any Old Toronto councillor to see if they could come to an understanding that would let them work together.  Miller had a Scarborough councillor turn him down for a seat on the Executive.  It happens, but it is important he offered it (even though he had other Scarborough Exec members).

There are of course other metrics of inclusiveness than geography. Ford's current executive now infamously doesn't include any female councillors despite this council having record (but still unacceptably low) numbers of them.  But region is a pretty vital one so long as we govern ourselves by a single member district council, instead of say, some kind of proportional representation party system.  Councillors will favour their wards in their decisions.  That's their strong incentive.  Letting this kind of disparity occur is going to lead to unhealthy outcomes.  To the extent that Ford has deliberately allowed and caused this to happen, is all the more reason why he cannot be Toronto's next Mayor. We need a Mayor for the whole city, not just their favourite parts.  

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  1. This is excellent.

    What I would like to see is a TRUE breakdown of the Ford/Smitherman/ Pantalone election. Sure, Ford won wards, but many of them NOT by majority. Remember, Ford did not win an overall majority. So, it would be interesting to see a map listing the wards wherein Smitherman and Pantalone combine to edge out Ford. That would certainly get rid of the supposed truism that there is a Ford "majority" across the city.

    1. It so happens I looked into that question. Ford won the following wards with plurality support: 17, 23, 25, 26, 31, 42. I think he still won the majority of wards by majority, but at the end of the day, 53% of voters picked someone else.

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