Daddy Knows Best: Doug Ford’s Approach to Democracy

In Ontario, provincial-municipal relations are a bit of an on-again, off-again thing. It’s like a family relationship that goes through times of peace and times of war – but no matter what, you know you’ll still see the other person at the next family gathering.

Today marks the beginning of another dark era for provincial-municipal relations in Ontario.

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Does Toronto need a "strong mayor"?

Toronto Mayor John Tory wants to take Premier Doug Ford up on his offer to create "strong mayors." Tory (like most mayors) would like to have more power -- and who can blame him. The public expect their Mayors to be able to take swift action, particularly in times of crisis, and our system of local government doesn't often work that way.

But before we start ripping up the City of Toronto Act or Ontario's Municipal Act, perhaps we should first understand what the term "strong mayor" actually means.

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The Incumbent Advantage

Running for mayor is never easy, but it's a heck of a lot easier if you're the incumbent.

The research is clear: incumbency is a leading predictor of success in municipal elections. Incumbents have many home field advantages including stronger name recognition, a history of service with constituents, a greater depth of knowledge on policy files, established media and community relationships, and experience with campaigning and governing.

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Canada’s Mayors Speak: A Survey of 105 Mayors

In January 2018, urban mayors across Canada participated in a survey administered by Public Square Research in partnership with the Mayors Project. Canada’s mayors were asked about their backgrounds, their jobs, and the issues facing their communities today.

No surprise: our mayors had lots to say!

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Do Canadians Think Mayors Are Powerful?

In October 2015, Ipsos Public Affairs surveyed more than 12,000 Canadians about their perceptions of mayoral power in Canada.

Survey respondents were asked whether they agree with the statement, “Canadian mayors have the power to make things happen in their communities.” Responses were measured using a Likert scale (a list of options designed to capture the intensity of a response).

The overall finding was that Canadians, generally, believe that our mayors have the power to make things happen in our communities.

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