Flanked by Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, Ontario Premier Doug Ford meets the press at Beamer's Hardware, August 8, 2019. BOB LOBLAW PHOTO


But a whopping $32,000 could be coming Pelham’s way


The Ford government has decided that poking a hornet’s nest is a bad idea after all. Through a press statement released Friday morning, the government said that it has decided that the best governance is local governance.

“Municipalities are the level of government closest to the people, but every community is different—one size doesn’t fit all,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Earlier this year, the government conducted a review of Ontario’s eight regional governments and Simcoe County. According to the statement, some 8,500 submissions were received, and advisors to the provincial government attended nine in-person sessions, listening to ideas from “individuals and organizations as to how to improve their local governments.”

By midsummer is was clear that most communities were fine with the way they were governed, and Ford’s plummeting poll numbers made pushing through such a wholesale change an increasingly unlikely proposition.

When the Premier appeared in Fonthill at an infrastructure funding announcement, held at Beamer’s Hardware in early August, the Voice asked Ford whether his recently flagging popularity had led him to rethink amalgamation.

“Well, that’s the Toronto Star’s numbers,” said Ford. “I don’t believe the Toronto Star readership polls. I believe the ones at election time.”

Amalgamation, he said, was still on the table.

Asked whether he would have any input himself, Ford said that, “like any decision we make,” the matter would go to caucus, to local representatives, to the people, and to cabinet.

In Friday’s statement, the received message was revealed.

“Throughout this extensive review, the government heard that local communities should decide what is best for them in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery,” read the release.

“After careful consideration of the feedback we heard through the course of the review, our government stands firm in its commitment to partnering with municipalities without pursuing a top-down approach. We will provide municipalities with the resources to support local decision-making.”

Apparently part of these provided resources will be $143 million dollars, allocated to help municipalities “lower costs and improve services for local residents over the long term.”

No details were provided.

$143 million split across Ontario’s 444 municipalities would see each receive approximately $32,000.