Toronto's mayor has invited every taxpayer to tell him which city services to cut and which to keep, but his brother, Etobicoke councillor Doug Ford, says public input in budget discussions is being set up by unions, while the mayor's supporters are too busy working to express their views at city hall.
"This is all orchestrated by the unions," said Doug Ford Tuesday when asked about the opposition voiced by speaker after speaker at committee meetings to review the cost-cutting proposals of a consultant's report. The service review has produced a list of money-saving options including closing Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, ending subsidies for 2000 daycare spaces and trimming budgets on everything from grass cutting to flower planting.
Members of the public have packed meetings to discuss some of the most controversial proposals during the past 10 days. A meeting of the Parks and Environment Committee last week stretched into the late hours of the night, with councillors listening to members of the public for 12 hours. A meeting of the executive committee Thursday, chaired by the mayor, is shaping up to be a marathon session, as well.
"The majority of them are – there is the odd person that comes in because they care – the vast majority of them is all union organized, orchestrated and they just follow their marching orders," Mr. Ford said.
"Ford Nation is too busy working, paying taxes, creating jobs. That's what they are doing."