Extra, Extra: The Unsustainable Budget Strategy, the Bloated Police Budget, and the Accidental Paul Godfrey Scoop


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Extra, Extra: The Unsustainable Budget Strategy, the Bloated Police Budget, and the Accidental Paul Godfrey Scoop

Every weekday’s end, we collect just about everything you ought to care about or ought not to miss.

Budget Chief Gary Crawford at a November 2015 council meeting. Photo by David Hains.

  • The budget chief’s proposal for the City’s budget gap features unsustainable funding strategies while some previously agreed upon initiatives go unfunded. The mayor is committed to a residential property tax revenue increase of no more than 1.3 per cent, which created a funding gap of around $90 million. At budget committee today, Gary Crawford (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest) proposed a series of motions that indicates what will get funding and what won’t. Earlier TTC service on Sundays, more reliable streetcar service, and no price increase on extra large garbage bins make the cut. But bus maintenance and TTC track safety do not receive requested funding. Additionally, the City’s Parks Plan sees several initiatives go unfunded, accountability officers don’t get extra resources to match their increased workload, and $8 million in recommendations from July’s TCHC task force lack funding too. The plan from the mayor and the budget chief uses $51.8 million in one time funding, including reserves and dividends.
  • In related news, Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly publicly criticized Toronto Police’s bloated budget and outdated service model. Sloly was a candidate for the top job in early 2015, but the Police Services Board went with Mark Saunders, who was widely seen as a more status quo candidate. Sloly argued that the police force could drop several hundred officers with better use of technology. He also expressed concern at the growing lack of trust in police forces across North America.
  • In hilarious news, BuzzFeed UK reporter Jim Waterson accidentally received a scoop when the Ottawa mayor’s office accidentally included him on an email rather than mayor Jim Watson. The email concerned Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey, who requested an urgent meeting with the mayor to brief Watson on an unnamed item. BuzzFeed speculates that the item could be the fate of one of the two Ottawa daily newspapers, the Sun and Citizen, both of which are owned by Postmedia. Canada’s competition bureau will no longer have any say over company changes after March, and Postmedia intends to slash $50 million in costs before May 31.

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