The letter writing campaign between the mayor and the premier continued on Saturday.
For the second time in as many days, Ontario premier Doug Ford called on Mayor John Tory to use Monday’s special council meeting to discuss funding to curb gun violence in the city and not the province’s decision to cut Toronto city council almost in half.
Ford’s government recently promised an additional $25 million to help Toronto police fight gun and gang violence and he called on the city to match the funding.
On Friday, Ford implored the mayor to use Monday’s meeting to “address this critical issue” rather than debate Bill 5, which he pointed out “recently was passed and received Royal Assent.”
Tory reminded Ford that special meetings are called to discuss a single issue and that he can’t simply add the gun violence funding question to the agenda.
“As you would remember from your time on city council, special meetings are confined to the issue for which they are called so as to ensure their efficiency, accountability and transparency on behalf of the people of Toronto,” wrote Tory.
But that didn’t stop Ford from pushing to have the agenda changed once again.
“As mayor you have the power to bring this issue before city council and match our investment,” Ford said in a letter penned on Saturday. “The fact that the special meeting you have called will focus on saving the jobs of politicians, instead of addressing options to deliver more resources to the fight against guns and gangs is telling.”
Tory said the city has already committed to match the funding for 2018 and has said that if re-elected this fall, he would introduce a motion to see the commitment continued next year.
Tory said he spoke with Ford on Saturday adding he’s not writing any more letters.
“We both agreed that we’re on the same page,” said Tory while taking part in celebrations at the Toronto Chinatown festival. “What we are doing is taking action together. We’re both funding improvements to police resources … so we’re working together.”
Tory has acknowledged that the constitution shows the province has clear jurisdiction over cities and towns, but said Monday’s meeting with the city’s legal team is necessary.
Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report.