Transcript: Cancelled Regional Chair Elections | Sep 19, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, pale yellow shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Cancelled regional chair elections. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IN ALL THE HUBBUB ABOUT
CUTTING THE SIZE OF A CERTAIN
CITY COUNCIL IN THIS PROVINCE,
THE FACT THAT THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT ALSO CANCELLED
REGIONAL CHAIR ELECTIONS THAT
WERE SCHEDULED FOR NIAGARA,
MUSKOKA, PEEL AND YORK REGIONS,
WELL, THAT'S RECEIVED MUCH LESS
ATTENTION.
WHAT DOES THAT MOVE SAY ABOUT
THE FUTURE OF REGIONAL
GOVERNMENTS IN ONTARIO?
HERE TO HELP US WITH THAT:
ALAN CASLIN, NIAGARA REGIONAL
CHAIR, RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION
AS A ST. CATHARINES REGIONAL
COUNCILLOR...

Alan is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short-cropped gray hair. He's wearing glasses, a blue suit and a white shirt.

Steve continues AND CHRIS BALLARD, FORMER
LIBERAL CABINET MINISTER AND MPP
FOR NEWMARKET-AURORA, NOW
RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF AURORA.

Chris is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short, side-parted white hair. He's wearing glasses, a black suit, blue shirt, and printed red and blue tie.

Steve continues GENTLEMEN, GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH
HERE AT TVO.
HOPE IT WASN'T IMPOSSIBLE FOR
YOU TO GET HERE TODAY.

Chris says ABSOLUTELY NOT.
TRAFFIC WAS GREAT.

Steve says REALLY?
YOU DON'T MEAN THAT.
I KNOW YOU DON'T MEAN THAT.

Chris says THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says CHRIS, WHILE YOU'VE GOT THE
FLOOR, LET'S DO SOME BACKGROUND
HERE FIRST.
IN THE PREVIOUS LEGISLATURE,
UNDER KATHLEEN WYNNE WHEN SHE
WAS PREMIER, YOU GOT THIS WHOLE
ELECTED REGIONAL CHAIRS THING
CONVERSATION GOING.

Chris says RIGHT.

Steve says HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

The caption changes to "Chris Ballard. Former Liberal MPP."
Then, it changes again to "Picking the boss."

Chris says WELL, I STARTED A PRIVATE
MEMBER'S BILL, ACTUALLY, THAT
CALLED FOR DIRECT ELECTION OF
THE REGIONAL CHAIR OF YORK
REGION, BUT IT BUILT ON THE WORK
THAT TWO OTHER MPPs HAD DONE IN
YORK REGION.
THEY ALSO PUT THAT BILL... A
SIMILAR BILL FORWARD BECAUSE WE
HAD HEARD FROM RESIDENTS ABOUT
THE NEED FOR DIRECT ELECTION OF
THE REGIONAL CHAIRS.

Steve says HOW DID IT WORK BEFORE
THAT?

Chris says WELL, BOTH TIMES BEFORE THERE
WAS EITHER AN ELECTION OR A
PROROGUING.

Steve says HOW WAS THE CHAIR
NORMALLY PICKED?

Chris says HOW?
THROUGH THE REGIONAL COUNCILLORS
PICK WHO'S GOING TO BE THE
CHAIR.

Steve says DID IT HAVE TO BE
SOMEBODY ON THAT REGIONAL COUNCIL?

Chris says ABSOLUTELY NOT.
IT COULD BE ANYBODY.
THEY HAD TO LIVE IN YORK REGION,
BUT ANYONE COULD THROW THEIR
NAME INTO THE HAT, BUT OBVIOUSLY
THERE WAS ALWAYS ONE NAME THAT
WE KNEW WHO WAS GOING TO BE
PICKED, AND THAT'S HOW DEMOCRACY
WORKED, WAS AN INDIRECT
ELECTION, WE'LL SAY, THAT MAYORS
AND REGIONAL COUNCILLORS MADE
THE CHOICE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Steve says AND WHY DID YOU THINK
IT WAS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO LET
THE
PUBLIC DECIDE AT LARGE WHO WAS
GOING TO SIT IN THAT CHAIR?

Chris says WELL, THERE'S A NUMBER OF
REASONS.
THE YORK REGIONAL CHAIR IS THE
MOST POWERFUL POLITICIAN IN YORK
REGION.
THEY CONTROL A 3 BILLION DOLLAR
CONSTRUCTION.
THEY HAVE A BUDGET OF 1.2
BILLION DOLLARS.
WE HAVE 1.2 MILLION PEOPLE
LIVING IN THE REGION, AND YET WE
DON'T HAVE A SAY.
WE DON'T GET TO HEAR FROM THE
REGIONAL CHAIR, WHAT THEIR
VISION IS FOR THE REGION, WHY
MONIES WERE SPENT THE WAY THEY
WERE, THOSE KINDS OF THINGS.
AND WE HAVE JUST FELT IT'S VERY
IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE HAVE A
DIRECT SAY IN WHO REPRESENTS
THEM ON REGIONAL COUNCIL, WHO
DIRECTS REGIONAL COUNCIL.

Steve says LET ME GO TO YOUR COLLEAGUE
AND FIND OUT HOW DID YOU GET THE
JOB OF REGIONAL CHAIR TO BEGIN WITH?

The caption changes to "Alan Caslin. Regional Municipality of Niagara."

Alan says WELL, INTERESTING QUESTION.
I STARTED AS BEING PART OF THE
COMMUNITY TRYING TO GET ELECTED
AS REGIONAL COUNCILLOR.
I WAS SUCCESSFUL THE FIRST TIME.
RAN AS A REGIONAL COUNCILLOR AND
ACTED FOR FOUR YEARS.
THE SECOND TERM I WAS A LITTLE
MORE EXPERIENCED, SHALL WE SAY,
AND PUT MY NAME FORWARD FOR THE
REGIONAL CHAIR.
THE REGIONAL CHAIR WAS ELECTED
AMONG THE MAYORS AND COUNCILLORS
THAT WERE SITTING AROUND THE
HORSESHOE.

Steve says SO THEY PICKED YOU.

Alan says THEY PICKED ME.
SO THERE WAS 30 OF US THAT GET
ELECTED FROM OUR RESPECTIVE
COMMUNITIES IN NIAGARA, 12
COMMUNITIES, SO THERE'S 12
MAYORS AND 18 OTHER COUNCILLORS,
AND OUT OF THOSE 30 WE PICKED A
CHAIR, AND I THINK THERE WAS
FOUR CANDIDATES THAT PUT THEIR
NAME FORWARD, AND I WAS LUCKY
ENOUGH TO BE THE ONE THAT WAS ELECTED.

Steve says AND WHAT DID YOU THINK
ABOUT THE NOTION AS THE WYNNE
GOVERNMENT HAD PUT IT FORWARD,
THANKS TO HIS BILL HERE, THAT
YOU WOULD HAVE SOUGHT ELECTION
HAD THAT GONE FORWARD BY GETTING
THE VOTES OF ALL THE PEOPLE
INSTEAD OF JUST THE COUNCIL?

Alan says WELL, IT WAS AN INTERESTING
TURN OF EVENTS, QUITE FRANKLY,
BECAUSE IN NIAGARA WE HAD HAD
THAT DEBATE SEVERAL TIMES, AND
IT TURNED INTO A MOTION OF
COUNCIL WHERE WE PUT A MOTION OF
COUNCIL FORWARD THAT WE WANTED
TO STAY WITH THE APPOINTED
CHAIR.
IT WASN'T LONG AFTERWARDS THAT
THE PROVINCE, THROUGH THE
MEMBER'S BILL, CAME AND SAID
THAT, NO, WE ARE, IN FACT, GOING
TO HAVE AN ELECTED CHAIR, A
CHAIR AT LARGE.
DIFFERENT SCENARIO FOR US, NOT
SOMETHING THAT WE WERE USED TO.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AN AREA OF
450,000 PEOPLE, 450,000 ACRES OF
LAND.
IT'S A LARGE GEOGRAPHIC AREA AND
SOMETHING THAT I'M NOT SURE WAS
REALLY WELL THOUGHT THROUGH AS
TO HOW THAT WOULD ALL TAKE
PLACE.

Steve says BUT BOTTOM LINE, YOU
DISAGREED WITH HIS GOVERNMENT
FOR THE DIRECT ELECTION OF THE CHAIR.

Alan says OUR COUNCIL DISAGREED WITH
THE GOVERNMENT.
FROM A PERSONAL SENSE, I'M NOT
SURE I WAS BUYING OR SELLING IN
THAT CONTEXT, BUT I DID KNOW
THAT A CHANGE TO A CHAIR ELECTED
AT LARGE WOULD AMOUNT A
SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE IN COST.
IN NIAGARA IT'S FOUR
PROVINCIAL-FEDERAL RIDINGS, SO
WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE
COST OF AN ELECTION, SAY
100,000 FOR ONE RIDING, YOU CAN
MULTIPLY THAT BY FOUR AND KNOW
THAT YOU'RE GOING TO COME UP
WITH A BIG NUMBER, A BIG NUMBER
THAT NOT MANY ARE GOING TO BE
ABLE TO AFFORD.

Steve says HAVING SAID THAT,
WOULD YOU NOT CONSIDER YOURSELF
MORE LEGITIMATE IN REPRESENTING
THE ASPIRATIONS OF THE PEOPLE IN
NIAGARA REGION IF YOU HAD BEEN
ELECTED AT LARGE IN NIAGARA REGION?

Alan says GREAT QUESTION BECAUSE, QUITE
FRANKLY, WITH 10 MAYORS SITTING
AROUND THE TABLE AND ALL LOOKING
FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE
COMMUNITIES, ALL BEING VERY
PAROCHIAL IN THEIR APPROACH TO
THEIR COMMUNITIES, BEING ELECTED
AT LARGE WOULD OF MEANT THAT I
DIDN'T HAVE TO CATER TO THOSE
SPECIFIC COMMUNITIES OR SPECIFIC
NEEDS.
I COULD HAVE SIMPLY SAID, NO,
WHAT'S BEST FOR NIAGARA, ALL OF
NIAGARA, AND ACTED IN THAT
CAPACITY.

Steve says SOUNDS LIKE A YES.
SOUNDS LIKE I WOULD HAVE BEEN
MORE LEGITIMATE.

Alan says YES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I
HAVE TO... I HAVE TO WORK WITH A
GROUP OF MAYORS AND POLITICIANS
TO COME UP WITH CONSENSUS, TO
BUILD CONSENSUS AROUND, LET'S
SAY, A BOARD.
IT'S NO DIFFERENT THAN A BOARD
OF DIRECTORS OF A BUSINESS WHERE
TO BUILD CONSENSUS YOU REALLY
HAVE TO HAVE CONFIDENCE BUILT UP
IN THAT... IN THOSE POLITICIANS
OR THOSE BOARD MEMBERS THAT ARE
SITTING AROUND THE TABLE TO BE
ABLE TO ACT, YOU KNOW, IN UNISON
WITH THE GOOD DECISIONS.

The caption changes to "Chris Ballard. Former Ontario Liberal Cabinet Minister."

Chris says AND I MEAN, THE CONCEPT OF
LEGITIMACY IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON.
I KNOW TALKING TO ROGER ANDERSON
WHO WAS ELECTED AS THE DURHAM
CHAIR, HE FOUGHT TOOTH AND NAIL
TO KEEP DIRECT ELECTIONS OUT,
AND THEN TOLD ME AFTERWARDS HE
WAS FORCED TO GO ON THE STUMP
AND TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT HIS
VISION FOR DURHAM.
HE WAS HAVING TO EXPLAIN WHY
REGIONAL COUNCIL, DURHAM
REGIONAL COUNCIL DID THE THINGS
IT DID, AND HE GOT A MANDATE
FROM THE PEOPLE TO MOVE HIS
VISION FOR THE REGION AHEAD.
AND WHAT HE SAID TO ME IS I
STILL HAVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH ALL
THE MAYORS AND ALL THE REGIONAL
COUNCILLORS, BUT I CAN WALK INTO
A MAYOR'S OFFICE AND SAY THE
PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME TO DO "X."
AND I'M HERE TO GET THAT DONE.
SO IT GAVE HIM STRONG LEGITIMACY.

Steve says I TAKE IT, THEN, THAT
YOU REGRET THE FACT THAT THE
FORD GOVERNMENT HAS CANCELLED
THE FOUR DIRECT ELECTIONS FOR
THOSE FOUR REGIONAL CHAIRS?

Chris says ABSOLUTELY.
FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, IT'S
ABSOLUTELY ANTI-DEMOCRATIC THAT
THE MOST POWERFUL POLITICIAN IN
YORK REGION IS APPOINTED WITH
CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE HELD
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND IS NOT
TRANSPARENT.
PERHAPS IF REGIONAL COUNCILLORS
COULD VOTE WITHOUT ANYONE
KNOWING HOW THEY WERE VOTING,
THAT MIGHT BE A LITTLE
DIFFERENT.
BUT FRANKLY, YOU KNOW, REGIONAL
COUNCILLORS AND MAYORS CAN BE
INTIMIDATED IF THEY VOTE THE
WRONG WAY, WE'LL SAY.
THEY WON'T GET TO SIT ON THE
RIGHT COMMITTEES.
THEY'LL BE WORRIED THAT THEIR
COMMUNITIES WON'T GET THE THINGS
THAT THEY NEED, AND THESE ARE
ALL THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TOLD
TO ME IN YORK REGION BY OUR
COUNCILLORS.
SO IT JUST IS SO SIMPLE THAT A
POWERFUL POLITICIAN SHOULD BE
DIRECTLY ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE.

Steve says WELL, LET'S GO BACK TO
YOUR EXAMPLE HERE.
YOU WERE GOING TO DO THAT, RIGHT?

Alan says YES.

Steve says YOU WERE GOING TO SEEK
REGION-WIDE ELECTION IN NIAGARA
TO BE THE NEW CHAIR.
NOW OF COURSE THAT ELECTION HAS
BEEN CANCELLED.

Alan says WE HAD ALREADY STARTED THE
CAMPAIGN.

Steve says RIGHT.

Alan says YOU KNOW, THE ONLY
ANTI-DEMOCRATIC PART ABOUT IT,
CHRIS, IN MY OPINION, IS THE
FACT THAT THE PROVINCE DECIDED
TO IGNORE THE WISHES OF THE
COMMUNITY AND JUST TAKE IT UPON
THEMSELVES AND CARTE BLANCHE
DECIDE THAT EVERY CHAIR IN THE
PROVINCE WAS GOING TO BE
ELECTED.

Steve says NOW THAT'S... SORRY,
JUST SO EVERYBODY'S CLEAR, WHEN
YOU SAY THE PROVINCE, YOU MEAN
THE WYNNE GOVERNMENT AS OPPOSED
TO THE FORD GOVERNMENT.
SO YOU'RE HAPPY THE FORD
GOVERNMENT CANCELLED THOSE ELECTIONS?

Alan says WHETHER YOU'RE BUYING OR
SELLING, IT'S WHAT COUNCIL HAS
ASKED FOR.
IN OUR PARTICULAR CASE, OUR
COUNCIL WAS COMMITTED TO AN
APPOINTED CHAIR ELECTED FROM
WITHIN THE COUNCIL BODY.

Steve says WHICH IS WHAT YOU'RE
GOING TO DO NOW.

Alan says WHICH IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO
DO AND WHAT WE HAD ASKED FOR
RIGHT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING
WHEN THE PROVINCE CAME ALONG AND
JUST SAID, NO, THAT'S NOT THE
WAY YOU'RE GOING TO DO IT,
TOTALLY IGNORING ANYTHING THAT
OUR COUNCIL HAD PUT FORWARD AS A
MOTION OF GOVERNANCE.

Steve says HE DOESN'T LIKE THE
WAY YOU'VE CHARACTERIZED THAT.

Alan says FAIR ENOUGH.

Chris says NO.

Alan says I DON'T DOUBT IT.

The caption changes to "Chris Ballard, @Chris4Aurora."

Chris says BUT LET ME PUSH IN HERE FOR
ONE SECOND.
IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN
YORK REGION, WE HAD MOTIONS PUT
FORWARD BY MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS
AND MUNICIPAL COUNCILS TO
SUPPORT MY PRIVATE MEMBER'S
BILL, BEFORE MY BILL WAS TAKEN
OVER BY THE GOVERNMENT AND
SPREAD TO ALL THE REGIONS ACROSS
ONTARIO.
WE HAD MUNICIPALITIES VOTING FOR
IT.
EVERY SINGLE MAYOR OF THOSE
COMMUNITIES DID NOT VOTE FOR
THOSE RESOLUTIONS.
EVERY SINGLE MAYOR DID NOT WANT
TO SEE DIRECT ELECTIONS IN YORK
REGION.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK...

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Chris says WHY?
WELL, I SUSPECT IT'S BECAUSE
THEY WANTED TO BE ABLE TO
NEGOTIATE WITH POTENTIAL
CANDIDATES WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS
BEST FOR THEIR RIDING.
AND THAT'S FINE.
BEING ABLE TO NEGOTIATE IS PART
OF THE DEAL WHEN YOU'RE A
POLITICIAN, BUT THAT NEEDS TO BE
DONE PUBLICLY, AND AT THE END OF
THE DAY, I GO BACK TO THE
FUNDAMENTAL THAT THE MOST
POWERFUL POLITICIAN, SOMEONE
WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR A 3
BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET, SHOULD BE
DIRECTLY ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE.
YOU KNOW ABOUT 50 percent OF OUR
MUNICIPAL TAX DOLLARS IN YORK
REGION GO TO THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT.

Steve says OKAY, BUT HERE'S AN
ASPECT, CHRIS, OF IT THAT I... I
NEED YOUR HELP EXPLAINING THIS
TO ME HOW IT WORKS.
BECAUSE NORMALLY IF YOU'RE ON
TEAM RED YOU SUPPORT THE WYNNE
VIEW OF THINGS.
IF YOU'RE ON TEAM BLUE YOU
SUPPORT THE FORD VIEW OF THINGS.
THE MAYOR OF MISSISSAUGA TODAY,
RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION, SHE
JUST ANNOUNCED EARLIER THIS
WEEK, BONNIE CROMBIE, A FORMER
LIBERAL MP.
MARKHAM MAYOR, YOU KNOW HIM
WELL, ALSO A BIG "L" LIBERAL.
THEY BOTH SUPPORTED PREMIER
FORD'S CANCELLATION OF THE
PREVIOUS LIBERAL POLICY.

Chris says THEY WERE NEVER HAPPY WITH IT TO BEGIN WITH.

Steve says FOR DIRECT ELECTION.
EXPLAIN.

Chris says WELL, LINDA JEFFERIES FROM
BRAMPTON WAS IN FAVOUR OF IT.
SO WE HAD MISSISSAUGA AGAINST,
BRAMPTON FOR, AND MAYBE THAT
SPEAKS TO WHAT'S GOING ON IN
PEEL MORE THAN WHAT'S GOING ON
WITH ALL THOSE MUNICIPALITIES.
BUT I WILL SAY, TOO, IN ALL
HONESTY, AND I HOPE ALAN AGREES
WITH ME, WHEN YOU GET TO THE
GRASSROOTS, WHEN YOU TALK
MUNICIPAL POLITICS, IT REALLY IS
A NON-PARTISAN.
I MEAN, I WORK WITH EVERY ONE OF
ALL POLITICAL STRIPES.
SO FOR ME, THIS ISN'T AN
ANTI-BLUE OR A PRO-RED.
FOR ME THIS WAS JUST A
FUNDAMENTAL DEMOCRACY IN MY
RIDING REPRESENTING, YOU KNOW,
MY FOLKS IN AURORA, MY FOLKS IN
NEW MARKET.
WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR
THIS PERSON.

Steve says OKAY, WHY DO YOU THINK THE
PREMIER CANCELLED THE DIRECT
ELECTION FOR THOSE FOUR REGIONAL
CHAIRS?

Alan says WELL, I NEED TO WEIGH IN ON A
COUPLE OF THINGS FIRST.

Steve says OKAY, I'LL COME BACK
TO THAT.

The caption changes to "More democracy is always best?"

Alan says CHRIS, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
CONSENSUS, WE REALLY NEED TO
TALK ABOUT CONSENSUS ACROSS THE
PROVINCE AND INTO
MUNICIPALITIES.
YOU KNOW, WHEN THE WYNNE
GOVERNMENT WAS IN POWER, I
DIDN'T ONCE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY
FOR A MEETING WITH THE WYNNE
GOVERNMENT DIRECTLY, PREMIER
WYNNE.
I CAN TELL YOU, IT'S MUCH
DIFFERENT WITH PREMIER FORD IN
THAT I CAN TEXT HIM AND KNOW
THAT I'M GOING TO GET A RESPONSE
BACK WITHIN EIGHT HOURS.

Steve says AND THAT HAPPENS?

The caption changes to "Alan Caslin, @ForNiagara."

Alan says ABSOLUTELY.
ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says HOW MANY TIMES HAVE
YOU TEXTED THE PREMIER SINCE HE
BECAME PREMIER.

Alan says THREE.

Steve says AND HE'S RESPONDED
EVERY TIME?

Alan says HE'S RESPONDED EACH TIME.
AND I'VE GOTTEN A PERSONAL INPUT
WHEN IT'S IMPORTANT ENOUGH.

Steve says IS THAT BECAUSE YOU'RE ON
TEAM BLUE?

Alan says WELL, I AM ON TEAM BLUE.
I TYPICALLY HAVE VOTED IN THAT
CAPACITY.
BUT I'VE BEEN A CARD CARRYING
MEMBER OF THE LIBERAL PARTY
SINCE 1994, SO WHEN YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT WHICH TEAM I'M ON,
YOU KNOW, I CAN GO EITHER WAY IN
TERMS OF MY SUPPORT.
I GO FOR THE SUPPORT OF WHAT I'M
GETTING IN TERMS OF THE PROVINCE
SUPPORTING OUR REGION.

Steve says OKAY, SO WHY DO YOU
THINK PREMIER FORD CANCELED THE
FOUR REGIONAL CHAIR ELECTIONS?

Alan says IN PART I THINK IT WAS OUT OF
RESPECT FOR WHAT NIAGARA WANTED.
NIAGARA HAD ASKED FOR AN
APPOINTED CHAIR, AND GOING BACK
TO THAT, I THINK WAS CONSISTENT
WITH WHAT WE HAD ASKED FOR.
YOU KNOW, IT'S NO DIFFERENT THAN
THE OTHER... YOU KNOW, THE OTHER
INITIATIVES THAT NIAGARA HAS
ASKED FOR FROM THE PROVINCE, AND
SIMPLY GOT NOWHERE OVER THE PAST
FOUR YEARS.
WHETHER WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LAND
USE POLICIES, CHIPPY FUNDING FOR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR THE
HOMELESS.
YOU KNOW, NIAGARA...

Chris says I INCREASED THAT
SUBSTANTIALLY IN YOUR NECK OF
THE WOODS, BY THE WAY, WHEN I
WAS THE MINISTER OF HOUSING AND
POVERTY REDUCTION, RIGHT?
RIGHT ACROSS THE GTA WE
INCREASED IT BY 53 percent ON AVERAGE.
RIGHT IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS
AS WELL... I CAN'T REMEMBER THE
SPECIFICS, BUT I REMEMBER
WORKING CLOSELY WITH YOUR
REGIONAL EXPERTS.

Alan says WELL, I DO KNOW THE SPECIFICS
BECAUSE I'M OUT THERE.
AND QUITE FRANKLY HAMILTON GETS
A SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER
PERCENTAGE OF FUNDING THAN WE DO
BECAUSE, AS THE STATEMENT CAME
FROM THE MINISTRY, THAT... WELL,
ALL THE HOMELESS PEOPLE DON'T
LIVE IN NIAGARA.
THEY ALL TRAVEL TO HAMILTON.
WELL, IT'S QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO BE HOMELESS
IN HAMILTON.
THEY TRAVEL TO NIAGARA.
WE STRUGGLE WITH THAT AND...

Steve says WE DON'T WANT TO
RE-LITIGATE YOUR TIME AS HOUSING
MINISTER HERE, CHRIS BALLARD.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE FORD
GOVERNMENT CANCELLED THOSE FOUR
REGIONAL CHAIR ELECTIONS?

Chris says WELL, I THINK IT WOULD BE
VERY SIMPLY, OVER-SIMPLIFIED TO
SAY IT WAS OUT OF PETULANCE
BECAUSE MR. FORD DOESN'T LIKE
MR. BROWN, DID NOT WANT TO HAVE
MR. BROWN AS THE REGIONAL CHAIR
OF PEEL, DID NOT WANT...

Steve says PATRICK BROWN.

Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Chris says DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE THE
FORMER MINISTER OF
TRANSPORTATION RUNNING YORK
REGION BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE A
VERY STRONG... WHEN YOU ADD UP
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THEY
REPRESENT, VERY STRONG
OPPOSITION.
I THINK THERE ARE SOME OTHER
FORCES AT PLAY.

Steve says SORRY, I WANT TO BE
CLEAR ON WHAT YOU SAID.
YOU SAY THAT'S NOT THE ONLY
REASON BUT MAYBE PART OF IT?

Chris says THAT WAS MAYBE PART OF IT.
BUT I THINK THERE'S A BIGGER
REASON THAT WE'LL SEE PLAY OUT
AHEAD OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS,
AND WE ONLY HAVE TO GO BACK TO
THE HARRIS PLAY BOOK, WHICH IS
THAT WE'LL PROBABLY SEE THE END
OF REGIONAL GOVERNMENT AND THE
AMALGAMATION OF THE
MUNICIPALITIES WITHIN THOSE
REGIONS.

Steve says YOU THINK THAT'S
WHAT'S ULTIMATELY AT PLAY HERE?

Chris says I THINK THAT'S ULTIMATELY AT
PLAY, AND IF WE HAD STRONG, VERY
STRONG REGIONAL CHAIRS ACROSS
THE GTA, THAT MIGHT BE A LITTLE
BIT MORE DIFFICULT.

Steve says JUST IN YOUR CASE,
EVENTUALLY NO MORE THORNHILL, NO
MORE MARKHAM?
IT'S ALL GOING TO BE YORK?

Chris says NO, I THINK WHAT WE'LL SEE
HAPPEN IS THE REGIONAL
GOVERNMENT WILL BE DISSOLVED AND
WE'LL SEE A NUMBER OF THOSE
MUNICIPALITIES, VAUGHAN,
MARKHAM, KING TOWNSHIP, AURORA,
NEWMARKET, ET CETERA, WILL BE
MAYBE MERGED INTO THREE OR FOUR
ENTITIES.
IT'S GOING TO TAKE ABOUT TWO
YEARS TO SEE IF I'M RIGHT OR
WRONG, AND I HOPE I'M WRONG
BECAUSE I THINK REGIONAL
GOVERNMENT HAS AN IMPORTANT ROLE
TO PLAY, AND THAT'S THE OTHER
REASON THAT I'M SO CONCERNED
THAT THE REGIONAL CHAIR DIRECT
ELECTIONS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED.

The caption changes to "What size fits best?"

Steve says IS THAT PART OF THE
PLAYBOOK IN NIAGARA REGION, DO
YOU THINK?

Alan says LISTEN, IN NIAGARA WE HAVE
125 POLITICIANS FOR 450,000
PEOPLE.
WE ARE SIGNIFICANTLY
OVER-GOVERNED.

Steve says HOW MANY
MUNICIPALITIES DO YOU HAVE THERE?

Alan says 12 MUNICIPALITIES.

Steve says 12 MUNICIPALITIES IN
NIAGARA REGION FOR 450,000 PEOPLE.

Alan says 450,000 PEOPLE, 125 POLITICAL
LEADERS THAT I THINK WHAT WE
NEED TO LOOK AT IS WHAT PREMIER
FORD HAS DONE IN TORONTO, AND I
DON'T DISAGREE WITH WHAT CHRIS
HAS SAID IN TERMS OF ELIMINATING
A LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT, BUT QUITE
FRANKLY IT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN A
MORE COLLEGIAL WAY.
IT NEEDS TO BE LESS PAROCHIAL
AND MORE NIAGARA-CENTRIC WHEN WE
THINK ABOUT THAT, AND WHETHER
IT'S ELIMINATING REGIONAL OR
MUNICIPAL, IT'S ELIMINATING ONE
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT THAT SIMPLY
ISN'T NECESSARY IN DUPLICATING
THEIR EFFORTS, DUPLICATING THEIR
ADMINISTRATION, AND DUPLICATING
THE TAX.
I MEAN, I'VE RUN MY CAMPAIGN AND
I FOCUS ON KEEPING LOW TAXES.
I FOCUS ON KEEPING A BUSINESS
APPROACH, TRYING TO BRING JOBS
TO NIAGARA.
AND TO DO THAT, WE DON'T NEED
125 POLITICIANS.
PERIOD.

Chris says BUT WE DO NEED REGIONAL
GOVERNMENT TO MANAGE REGION-WIDE
SERVICES.
I MEAN, ECONOMIES OF SCALE WOULD
SUGGEST OR WOULD DEMONSTRATE
THAT WE DON'T NEED EACH
MUNICIPALITY GOING BACK TO
HAVING ITS OWN POLICE FORCE, ITS
OWN FIRE FORCE.
THOSE KINDS OF THINGS.
SO AMALGAMATION IS COMING, WHERE
IT LOOKS, WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE,
I'M NOT SURE, BUT I'M... I
SUSPECT, I WOULD BET MY BOTTOM
DOLLAR THAT WE WILL SEE THE END
OF YORK REGION, THE END OF
DURHAM, THE END OF PEEL AND THE
AMALGAMATION OF A NUMBER OF
THOSE MUNICIPALITIES, AND THIS
MAY HAVE THE... BE PART OF THE
REASON THAT WE SEE MAYORS IN
PEEL HAVING... AGREEING TO
DISAGREE ON THE CHAIR AND THE
ROLE OF THE CHAIR, BECAUSE IF WE
DON'T HAVE A VERY STRONG VOICE
AT THE TABLE, WE WON'T BE ABLE
TO OPPOSE WHAT THE PROVINCE IS
PUSHING DOWN THE PIKE, AND WE
WON'T GET THE BEST DEAL FOR THE
RESIDENTS OF AURORA AND
NEWMARKET AND THE REST OF YORK
REGION IN THE FUTURE.

Steve says HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR
ROLE AS REGIONAL CHAIR RIGHT NOW?
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS YOUR MISSION?

Alan says WELL, THE REGIONAL
MUNICIPALITY IN NIAGARA PROVIDES
THE MAJORITY OF SERVICES,
WHETHER IT BE POLICING, WHETHER
IT BE AMBULANCE SERVICE, GARBAGE
COLLECTION, WATER, WASTE WATER,
MAIN ROADS.
THEY ARE ALL REGIONAL SERVICES.
THE MUNICIPALITIES HAVE SOME
ROADS AND SOME WATER SERVICE,
BUT TYPICALLY IT'S JUST PARKS
AND REC IS LEFT IN THE MUNICIPAL
PURVIEW.
SO MAKING IT... PULLING IT
TOGETHER... AND FIRE, BY THE
WAY.
PULLING IT TOGETHER INTO ONE
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT MAKES A LOT
MORE SENSE.
DOWNSIZING THE THE NUMBER OF
POLITICIANS MAKES IT A LOT
EASIER TO GET DECISIONS MADE AND
WORK DONE.

Chris says IF YOU DON'T MIND, YOU KNOW,
IT SHOULDN'T BE ABOUT HOW EASY
IT IS TO MAKE DECISIONS.
DEMOCRACY IS INHERENTLY MESSY.
IF YOU ARE CONSULTING WITH THE
PUBLIC, IT IS INHERENTLY MESSY,
AND I FIND THERE'S THIS
OVERWHELMING SENSE FROM THE BLUE
TEAM THAT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE
QUIET, WE NEED TO POUR OIL ON
THE WATER, THAT WE CAN'T HAVE
ANY TURMOIL.
QUITE FRANKLY, YOU KNOW, GOOD
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION SHOULD BE
TUMULTUOUS.
THERE SHOULD BE STRONG DEBATE.
THAT'S WHAT DEMOCRACY IS.
IT IS A VERY POWERFUL, AND IT
CAN BE A MESSY THING.
I DON'T, FOR A MINUTE,
NECESSARILY THINK THAT FEWER
POLITICIANS MAKES FOR BETTER
GOVERNMENT, MAKES FOR BETTER
DECISIONS.
I'LL TELL YOU WHAT IT DOES DO.
IT MAKES IT HARDER FOR THE
PUBLIC TO TALK TO THE
DECISION MAKERS WHO SIT AT THIS
VERY IMPORTANT TABLE, THE
COUNCIL TABLE.

Alan says WELL, CHRIS, QUITE FRANKLY,
IF THE PUBLIC ARE TRYING TO GO
TO THEIR POLITICIANS FOR
SERVICES THAT ARE PROVIDED BY
THE REGION IN THE CITIES, THEY
ARE PROBABLY GOING TO THE WRONG
DOOR ANYWAYS AND PROBABLY JUST
CAUSING MORE CONCERN AND MORE
CONFUSION AMONG THE STAFF THAT
TRY TO OPERATE THOSE DEPARTMENTS.

Steve says CAN I FOLLOW UP ON THAT?
DO YOU THINK PEOPLE... LET'S SAY
YOU LIVE IN ST. CATHARINES.
DO YOU THINK PEOPLE IN ST.
CATHARINES ARE CONFUSED ABOUT
WHETHER OR NOT TO GO TO MY LOCAL
CITY COUNCILLOR VERSUS MY
NIAGARA REGIONAL COUNCILLOR TO
HAVE AN ISSUE DEALT WITH?

The caption changes to "An unknown level of government."

Alan says ABSOLUTELY, AND YOU KNOW,
WHETHER THEY GO TO THE
COUNCILLOR OR WHETHER THEY GO TO
THE WINDOW AT CITY HALL OR AT
THE REGION, YOU KNOW, IS ANOTHER
QUESTION.
WHEN YOU'RE TALKING TO YOUR CITY
COUNCILLOR, YOU SHOULD BE
TALKING ABOUT STRATEGIC
PRIORITIES, YOU KNOW, NOT
NECESSARILY OPERATIONS.
WHY WOULDN'T YOU GO TO CITY HALL
TO TALK ABOUT OPERATIONS?
YOU KNOW, HAVING A COUNCILLOR
INTERFERE WITH OPERATIONS
DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE, IN MY
OPINION.

Steve says WELL, WE HEARD HIS VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF YORK REGION, OR
WHAT HE FEARS, NO MORE REGION,
THREE OR FOUR LARGER
MUNICIPALITIES WITHIN WHAT IS
TODAY YORK REGION.
HOW DO YOU SEE IT UNFOLDING IN
NIAGARA?

Alan says I SEE THE SAME SORT OF THING
HAPPENING.
IN FACT, WE'VE BEEN UPLOADING
DIFFERENT SERVICES.
TRANSIT, THIS TERM OF COUNCIL,
IS ONE OF THE SERVICES THAT
WE'VE UPLOADED TO OUR REGIONAL
LEVEL, AND QUITE FRANKLY, IS
LEAVING THE MUNICIPALITIES WITH
LESS AND LESS ON THEIR PLATE.
SO, QUITE FRANKLY, PULLING THOSE
REGIONS TOGETHER, PERHAPS IN
NIAGARA IT NEEDS TO BE FOUR
REGIONS TO MATCH THE PROVINCIAL
AND FEDERAL RIDINGS.

Steve says SO FOUR DIFFERENT
CITIES INSTEAD OF 16?
IS THAT WHAT I HEARD YOU SAY?

Alan says YEAH, WHETHER IT'S A CITY OR
WHETHER IT'S JUST A POLITICAL
BOUNDARY, YOU KNOW, I DON'T
THINK WE NEED TO ASK ANYBODY TO
GIVE UP THEIR IDENTITY, WHETHER
THEY CAME FROM NIAGARA FALLS OR
ST. CATHARINES.
THEY CAN STILL CALL THEM THAT.

Steve says I HAVE 30 SECONDS LEFT.
I'LL TAKE THIS ON WITH YOU.
IT IS TRUE THAT PREMIER DOUG
FORD DID NOT SPECIFICALLY
CAMPAIGN ON REDUCING THE SIZE OF
TORONTO CITY COUNCIL, BUT HE DID
CAMPAIGN ON REDUCING THE SIZE OF
GOVERNMENT.
DID YOU SEE THAT COMING?

Chris says ABSOLUTELY I DID.

Steve says IN YOUR CASE, IN YORK?

Chris says ABSOLUTELY I SEE THAT COMING.
I SEE HIM DOING AWAY WITH YORK
REGION.
I SEE HIM AMALGAMATING A NUMBER
OF OUR COMMUNITIES, AND I SEE
LESS REPRESENTATION AND AN
INABILITY FOR PEOPLE TO FIGURE
OUT WHO TO TALK TO AND WHO MOVES
THEIR AGENDA AHEAD.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT A
MUNICIPALITY'S DISAPPEARING AND
BEING ABSORBED INTO THE REGION.
THIS IS THE OTHER WAY AROUND,
AND I THINK IT'S FAR, FAR LESS
DEMOCRATIC DOING WHAT I BELIEVE
IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

The caption changes to "Producer: Mark Brosens, @MarkBrosens."

Steve says WELL, I'M GLAD WE KNEW
WHO TO TALK TO, NAMELY YOU TWO.
THANK YOU FOR COMING IN AND
MAKING THE LONG JOURNEY HERE.
CHRIS BALLARD, THE FORMER
LIBERAL CABINET MINISTER AND MPP
SEEKING ELECTION AS THE MAYOR OF
AURORA.
Alan CASLIN, SEEKING RE-ELECTION
ON ST. CATHARINES REGIONAL
CITY COUNCIL...

Alan says LOOKING TO BRING
LOW TAXES AND JOBS TO NIAGARA.

They all laugh.

Steve says THE CAMPAIGN
CONTINUES.
THANK YOU, GENTS.

Chris says THANK YOU.

Watch: Cancelled Regional Chair Elections