Toronto, in case anyone was still wondering, is no city to be trifled with.
Mayor John Tory made this crystal clear Monday afternoon, when he emerged from a meeting with Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa in his City Hall office. Tory had the home court advantage, and he used it — oh, did he use it.
Sousa stood beside Tory and listened, as Tory explained to the media just how badly Sousa’s boss Kathleen Wynne had damaged the city’s relationship with the province, when she turned ‘round and refused permission for the city to impose tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway.
He then went on to note how unhelpful the provincial government has been otherwise — failing as it has to adequately fund or provide for public housing, adequate transit expansion, and waterfront redevelopment.
Tory went on to note the painfully obvious: that Wynne’s Liberals are not the only game in town. He would be speaking with the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservative Party about what things they might offer Toronto if elected in 2018. And if Premier Wynne thought she might curry favour in the 905 … well, she might want to find other ways than, for example, extending the Yonge subway into York Region.
Tory made it clear that Toronto would have none of that, until there was money for the not-yet-funded Downtown Relief Line.
It was a study in contrast to the way that Tory welcomed another Liberal politician — federal Employment, Workforce, and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu — the very next day. Arriving with word of funding for youth employment programs, Tory uttered not a word of criticism, and when asked by reporters, delivered fulsome praise to the federal government. Justin Trudeau’s rather more popular government is working with the city on transit, housing and other issues — and is set to deliver a budget that Tory believes will offer more of the same.
Ottawa, at least from our Mayor’s point of view, knows how to treat a city.