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Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a referendum on Ontario Premier Doug Ford's plan to downsize Toronto's city council.Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press

Council contraction

So the Ford government in Ontario wants to cut Toronto city council to 25 seats from 47 (Ford To Slash Toronto Council By Almost Half, Tory Calls For Referendum, July 26).

Doug Ford’s Conservatives claim that people want fewer politicians. Did they conduct any research or consultation to support that statement? They claim it will save money. Fair enough, but then implement these cuts in other municipalities across the province, too. Better yet, reduce the number of MPPs by amalgamating smaller rural ridings. Oh wait, the Conservatives won’t do that since much of their support comes from these ridings.

The Conservatives lambasted the previous Liberals administration for not doing enough consultation when implementing the sex-ed curriculum. Now they’ve gone ahead and implemented these changes to council without any consultation, let alone it not being part of their election promises. I guess they will only consult when it comes to issues that support, or are important to, their base.

Steve Lico, Toronto


Mr. Ford, help me understand how your precipitous move to reduce Toronto city council to 25 will make Toronto a better place for those of us who live here.

Barrie, a city of 150,00, has a mayor and 10 councillors. Kingston, a city of 175,000, has a mayor and 12 councillors. Waterloo, population 105,000, has seven councillors. Simple math tells me that those cities enjoy the benefit of around one councillor for every 15,000 people.

Ottawa, with less than one-third of the population of Toronto, has 23 councillors. That works out to one councillor for every 40,000 residents. Mr. Ford’s Better Local Government Act will give Torontonians one local councillor for 100,000 residents, but leave other municipalities unaffected. Respect for taxpayers or revenge on Toronto?

Cynthia Wilkey, Toronto


If Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that we should avoid trying to decide complex issues by way of a simple yes or no vote. Toronto Mayor John Tory risks falling into the same trap with his proposed referendum on reducing the number of Toronto city councillors. Equal representation in a democracy is not a concept that should be subject to majority rule. It is a constitutional imperative.

Why do we bother asking experts to toil for years to come up with a workable plan for fair representation in our city only to make the question a ballot box issue? Mr. Tory should insist on consultative process, but not the winner-takes-all solution that he is currently floating.

Don Pyper, Toronto

Innovation’s alive

I read with interest the opinion on Canada’s overhyped innovation economy (Canada’s ‘Innovation Economy’ Has Been Overhyped And Needs A Reality Check, July 21). As a startup founder, investor and mentor, I believe the piece missed some key considerations.

Attracting funding is hard. Canada’s not flush with early-stage, high-risk capital. Scaleups are born from startups, and without the capacity to fund ambitious and proportionally risky startups we will be starved of scale-up potential. This capital is more accessible in areas that have founders who have exited because they are likely to reinvest in new startups. This is indeed the case with my own (acquired) company, BufferBox.

It is troubling to see a suggestion that the startup support ecosystem encourages premature acquisitions. I’ve worked with partners across the Waterloo-Toronto Innovation Corridor in Ontario and I have not found this to be the case. I believe that collectively solution-seeking is a more productive use of our time.

Jay Shah, director of Velocity, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont.

Educate cannabis sellers

Privatized cannabis sales in Ontario promises to be a huge win for cannabis consumers (Ontario Turns To Private Stores For Marijuana Sales, July 27).

As reported, privatization could lead to increased access, choice and lowered costs. And for the provincial government, privatization spells relief for the Ontario government with respect to “the upfront costs required to obtain building leases, hire and train employees, and build and run stores.”

While we wait to learn how many private licences will be granted, it’s crucial for the Ontario government and the private sector to prioritize cannabis education for front-line employees. In a recent study commissioned by our company, we found that nearly half of current cannabis users have no information at all about what they’re consuming. And with the legalization of cannabis consumption, there’s expected to be a large number of new adult consumers.

After nearly 100 years of prohibition, Ontarians are largely misinformed about cannabis, and consumers of all stripes are going to have a lot of questions. Private retailers need to know the answers.

Matei Olaru, chief executive officer, Lift & Co., Toronto

Itchy trigger finger

The federal Liberals never cease to amaze (Liberals Eye Handgun Ban As Part Of Fall Throne Speech, July 27).

Their knee-jerk reaction to the gun violence in Toronto is to consider banning handguns. Maybe they should consider the circumstances that have led to the problem. Toronto is controlled by weak politicians who pander to the social activist groups, are afraid to get tough with the gangs and drug dealers, undermine the police by removing the programs and resources they need to do their job effectively, and then blame the resulting chaos on legal gun owners. Unbelievable.

Reyn Richardson, Mono, Ont.


Although I am as sickened as anyone else by the amount of gun violence in society today, I’m wondering where any of the many Globe letter writers got the idea that banning handguns would be a solution (Banning Guns, July 26).

Even if we were able to eliminate all other causes of gun violence (poverty, social exclusion, mental illness, and so on), there always have been, there are now, and there always will be, unfortunately, plenty of people who are just plain evil, and who will do anything for money. Banning handguns requires the passing of legislation, but laws are only followed by responsible citizens.

Peter A. Lewis-Watts, Barrie, Ont.

She wrote the songs

Your nostalgic story mentioned the song I’ll Never Smile Again becoming a hit for Frank Sinatra (Tommy Dorsey Tops First Billboard Music Chart, July 27).

That song was written by Toronto’s own Ruth Lowe. She and Mr. Sinatra became pals, and later, on very short notice, he called and said he needed a closing song for his new TV show. The result was another hit, Put Your Dreams Away (for Another Day). She was indeed a wonderful composer and musician.

David Hurst, Port Colborne, Ont.

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