Doug Ford pressures Justin Trudeau to help Toronto

Premier Doug Ford says Toronto needs to “get its fiscal house in order” and Ottawa needs to step in to help the cash-strapped city, as Queen’s Park has done.

A day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the election of incumbent Mayor Olivia Chow – but warned there would be no new federal funding for the city – the prime minister insisted the province had already contributed too much to Toronto. Have given.

“I find it ironic on the part of the prime minister when we put in $235 million and the Fed has never done anything,” Ford said Thursday, referring to provincial money transferred to Toronto to help cover 2022 pandemic costs. “

Despite the city’s request, which has a budget shortfall of $1 billion, Ottawa did not match the provincial share.

“I find him very rich. In fact, we’ve invested $3.3 billion in the City of Toronto,” he told reporters in Brantford.

This is the total amount of the city budget that is maintained by the prime minister directly from the province.

In Mississauga on Wednesday, Trudeau, whose Liberals represent 24 of Toronto’s 25 federal territories, said “provinces need to act now to support the cities that are under their jurisdiction.”

“We will continue to be there as a partner, as a federal government,” the prime minister said.

“But we will not be able to replace the province with the importance of fiscal responsibility, in the areas where they need it and have the means to continue making significant investments in their cities,” he said.

“Of course it’s a conversation I had with Olivia last night and we’ll continue to work on that question.”

For his part, Ford also said that City Hall needs to tighten its belt.

“What I recommend to the City of Toronto… You have to get your financial house in order. You can’t spend taxpayers’ money thoughtlessly,” said the premier, who presides over the most spending government in Ontario’s history.

His Tories presented a $204.7 billion budget in March, 29.1 percent more than former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne did in 2018.

“You need to organize it. We did it, I did it. They can do this. There should be a will,” he said.

Asked about Ford’s comments, Chow, who was elected on Monday, said: “My experience is the city budget has been cut drastically, but never say never – if there are savings, I’m happy.” I’ll consult.”

The incoming mayor emphasized that she plans to build a constructive relationship with Queens Park.

“Certainly, I will seek the support of Premier Ford and we will have a lot of conversations between now and September,” she said at City Hall.

Ford, who endorsed third-place candidate Mark Saunders in Monday’s by-election, called Chow minutes after his victory was confirmed – as did Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark and Labor Minister Monte McNaughton.

With a by-election in Scarborough-Guildwood set for July 27, the Tories, who hold 12 of the city’s 25 provincial seats, are conscious they will have to work with Chow.

In Scarborough-Guildwood, the elected mayor received 30.5 percent of the vote, while Liberal mayoral runner-up Ana Bailao received 28.4 percent and Saunders 9.9 percent.

Robert Benzi is the Star’s Queens Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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