By Natalie Alcoba
With Mel Lastman at Toronto’s helm again, the city will face a crisis in the way services are delivered, say members of a recent postelection debate at Ryerson.
The panel, made up of Royson James of The Toronto Star, CUPE representative Anne Dubas, MPP for Toronto-Centre Rosedale George Smitherman, Toronto city councillor Kyle Rae and Angela Bishoff, wife of mayoral candidate Tooker Gomberg, met in the Rogers Communications Centre on Nov. 23.
Rae was particularly critical of Toronto’s incumbent mayor, arguing Lastman doesn’t know just how much the quality of services such as garbage pickup and emergency services have decreased since the city amalgamated in 1998.
“Mel doesn’t recognize the services provided today are far inferior to the services of the old city of Toronto,” Rae said.
He stressed that restoring these services should be a priority and said a tax cut, which many councillors are pushing for, is out of the question.
The antics that played a role in the recent municipal elections were also present in the debate. Smitherman targeted James for his unabashed support of Mel Lastman, while Bishoff complained about the lack of mainstream coverage for her husband, Tooker Homberg.
She says the media tainted voters’ perception by claiming early in the campaign that there were no credible candidates to challenge the mayor.
Other issues discussed included Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Olympics, waterfront development, homelessness and transit funding.