Transcript: Do Cities Need More Power? | Oct 17, 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, white shirt, and spotted blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Do cities need more power? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says LIKE MANY OF OUR
POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, CITY
GOVERNMENTS IN THIS PROVINCE
WERE DESIGNED IN ANOTHER ERA AND
BY THAT WE MEAN THE 19th
CENTURY.
THEY'VE BEEN TWEAKED AND
EXPANDED BUT DO THEY NEED A REAL
OVERHAUL TO MEET THE NEEDS OF
THIS CENTURY?
LET'S ASK ENID SLACK, DIRECTOR
OF THE INSTITUTE ON MUNICIPAL
FINANCE AND GOVERNANCE AT
U OF T'S MUNK SCHOOL OF GLOBAL
AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY...

Enid is in her sixties, with short gray hair. She's wearing a red blazer over a black blouse.

Steve continues ZACHARY TAYLOR, DIRECTOR, CENTRE
FOR URBAN POLICY AND LOCAL
GOVERNANCE, WESTERN UNIVERSITY IN LONDON...

Zachary is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, and a pale blue shirt.

Steve continues AND DOUG SAUNDERS,
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COLUMNIST
FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL AND
AUTHOR OF "MAXIMUM CANADA: WHY
35 MILLION CANADIANS ARE NOT ENOUGH."

Doug is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted blue tie.

Steve continues GOOD TO YOU HAVE ALL BACK HERE
AT TVO TONIGHT FOR THIS
DISCUSSION.
I WANT TO START WITH A STAT
PANEL HERE TO GET US SET UP FOR
THE DISCUSSION TO COME.
GO AHEAD, SHELDON.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "1849, The Baldwin Act."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
TO UNDERSTAND THE POWERS THAT
CITIES IN CANADA HAVE YOU HAVE
TO GO BACK TO, YES, BEFORE
CANADA.
YOU SEE THAT DATE.
1849.
THE NO ONE CORPORATIONS BEING A
WHICH IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS
THE BALDWIN ACT ESTABLISHED THE
SYSTEM FOR THE CURRENT
GOVERNMENT WE HAVE TODAY AND IT
PLACED CITIES UNDER THE
JURISDICTION OF THE PROVINCE AND
AT THAT TIME, 87 percent OF UPPER
CANADIANS AS WE WERE THEN
CALLED, ONTARIANS, OF COURSE,
TODAY, 87 percent OF US LIVED IN RURAL
AREAS.
THAT ACCORDING TO THE CENSUS IN
1851.
IF YOU GO TO TODAY, THAT NUMBER
IS BASICALLY FLIPPED.
82 percent OF US TODAY LIVE IN LARGE TO
MEDIUM-SIZED CITIES.
THAT IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST
CONCENTRATIONS AMONG G7 NATIONS.
ZACK, TO YOU FIRST.
TO WHAT EXTENT WAS THE BALDWIN
ACT THE BLUEPRINT FOR THE POWERS
CITIES HAVE TODAY.

The caption changes to "Zack Taylor. Western University."
Then, it changes again to "The Baldwin Act of 1849."

Zack says THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF THE
BALDWIN ACT REMAIN IN PLACE
TODAY WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE
CITY OF TORONTO WHICH, OF
COURSE, HAS ITS OWN SPECIAL
LEGISLATION, ITS OWN CHART AREA.
I THINK WE NEED TO APPRECIATE
TWO THINGS ABOUT THE BALDWIN
ACT.
ONE SEASON IT INTRODUCED WHAT'S
CALLED AN EXPRESS POWERS
DOCTRINE WHICH MEANS IT
ENUMERATED THE POWERS THAT
CITIES HAVE AND SAID YOU CAN DO
THOSE THINGS AND NOT DO ANYTHING
ELSE UNLESS WE CAN GIVE YOU
PERMISSION TO DO IT.
THAT HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST
COUPLE OF DECADES.
WE NOW HAVE WHAT'S CALLED MORE
OF A SPHERE OF JURISDICTIONS
DOCTRINE WHICH MEANS THAT
MUNICIPALITIES CAN DO WHATEVER
THEY WANT WITHIN CERTAIN DEFINED
AREAS.
SO THAT'S IMPORTANT.
BUT THERE'S ONE OTHER GOOD POINT
ABOUT THIS WHICH IS HE THAT THE
BALDWIN ACT IS REALLY THE FOCAL
OF GOVERNMENT IN THIS PROVINCE.
WHAT THE BALDWIN ACT IN THE
DECADES THAT FOLLOWED IT ENABLED
WAS THE PROVINCE TO KEEP ITS
HAND ON THE TILLER WITH THE
CREATION OF MUNICIPALITIES, AND
WITH THE ADDITION OF POWERS, THE
MOVEMENT OF MUNICIPALITIES FROM
DIFFERENT STATUSES FROM TOWNSHIP
UP TO CITY.
SO THAT... IT'S THE ORIGIN OF
PROVINCIAL SUPERVISION AS WELL
OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SO A
DISCUSSION OF LOCAL AUTONOMY.

Steve says NOTE TO THOSE
WATCHING, THIS IS GOING TO BE AN
INCREDIBLY NERDY PROGRAM.
WHERE ELSE CAN YOU HEAR ABOUT
THE BALDWIN ACT ON CANADIAN
TELEVISION?
ENID, TO YOU NEXT.
HOW IMPORTANT, BEFORE CANADA WAS
EVEN CANADA, HOW IMPORTANT DID
PEOPLE THINK CITIES ACTUALLY
WERE AT THAT TIME.

The caption changes to "Enid Slack. Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance."

Enid says WELL, IF YOU LOOK AT THE
BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT OF
1867, SECTION 92... WE'RE GOING
TO BE NERDY HERE... TALKS ABOUT
THE POWERS OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, TALKS ABOUT THE
POWERS OF THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT. AND JUST BEFORE
SALOONS, TAVERNS, AND SHOPS
COMES MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS.
SO THAT GIVES YOU A SENSE OF HOW
IMPORTANT THEY WERE.
I MEAN, CITIES BACK THEN DIDN'T
DO THAT MUCH.
YOU KNOW, ROADS WERE THE BIGGEST
EXPENDITURE THEY MADE.

Steve says NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE
LIVED THERE AS WE'VE ALREADY
ESTABLISHED.
I THINK YOU WRITTEN THAT CITIES
WERE, QUOTE-UNQUOTE AN AFTER
THOUGHT IN THE 1800'S WHEN THEY
WERE DESIGNED. HOW SO?

The caption changes to "Doug Saunders. The Globe and Mail."

Doug says CANADA CERTAINLY DEVELOPED
FROM CONFEDERATION ONWARDS FOR
MOST OF THE FIRST CENTURY WITH
THE MENTALITY IT WAS GOING BE AN
AGRARIAN COUNTRY AND A RESOURCE
EXTRACTION COUNTRY AND CITIES
WERE SORT OF AN AFTER THOUGHT.
IT'S A BIT OF A CARICATURE BUT
THEY ALMOST GREW BY ACCIDENT.
A LOT OF GROWTH OF CITIES CAME
FROM PEOPLE WHO WERE MEANT TO BE
FARMERS MOVING INTO CITIES AND,
YOU KNOW, ECONOMIES NATURALLY
FORMING.
BUT THEY WEREN'T PLANNED IN
ADVANCE TO BE BIG PLACES THAT
WAY.
SO THIS COMBINATION OF CANADA'S
DEVELOPMENT WITH CITIES AS AN
AFTER THOUGHT, I MEAN, OUR
IMMIGRATION POLICIES FROM
CONFEDERATION RIGHT UP TO THE
END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
ALMOST FORBADE BRINGING
URBANITES WITH ENTREPRENEURIAL
AMBITIONS IN.
WE ONLY BROUGHT FARMERS.
70 percent OF WHOM ENDED UP LIVING IN
CITIES ALMOST AS SOON AS THEY
ARRIVED.
SO OUR CITIES WERE FORMED BY
LUCK AND BY COINCIDENCE RATHER
THAN BY DESIGN.

Steve says OKAY.
SO WE'VE ESTABLISHED THE FACT
THAT THE BASIC SYSTEM OF
GOVERNANCE THAT WE HAVE TODAY
BASICALLY WAS SET UP MORE THAN
150 YEARS AGO.
HOW WELL DOES THAT SYSTEM, ZACH,
SERVE US TODAY?

The caption changes to "Big cities, small powers."

Zach says I THINK IT SERVES US FAIRLY
WELL, ACTUALLY.
WE CERTAINLY WHEN YOU COMPARE
THE WAY THINGS WORKED SOUTH OF
THE BORDER, WE SEE QUITE A BIT
OF EQUITY ACROSS MUNICIPAL
BOUNDARIES.
PEOPLE GET RECENTLY SIMILAR
SERVICES NO MATTER WHERE THEY
LIVE.
PEOPLE GET TO ELECT THEIR
POLITICAL COUNCILS AND MAKE
CHOICES.
THE PROVINCE EXERTS A CERTAIN
ROLE IN THAT IN REDISTRICTING
RESOURCE, PROVIDING MONEY AND
GRANTS AND ENABLING LEGISLATION
FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO MAKE
DECISIONS.
IT'S JUST THAT THESE KIND OF
IRRITATION POINTS, RIGHT, WHERE
ESPECIALLY THE LARGER
MUNICIPALITIES WANT TO DO THINGS
THAT ARE NOT CURRENTLY PROVIDED
FOR AND THEN IT MOVES INTO THE
POLITICAL REALM.

Steve says LET'S GET SOME
FEEDBACK OVER HERE.
A SYSTEM SET UP MORE THAN A
CENTURY AND A HALF AGO.
HOW WELL DOES IT DEAL WITH WHAT
WE NEED TO DO TODAY.

The caption changes to "Enid Slack. Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy."

Enid says LET ME TALK ABOUT THE FISCAL
SIDE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I KNOW
BEST.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT CITIES EVEN 50
YEARS AGO, THEY DIDN'T DO THE
THINGS THAT THEY'RE DOING TODAY.
CITIES DELIVER ALL THE SERVICES
THAT WE USE EVERY DAY.
I MEAN, IT'S THE HARD SERVICES
LIKE ROADS, WATER, AND SEWERS,
BUT IT'S ALSO FIRE AND POLICE
PROTECTION AND AMBULANCES AND
SOCIAL SERVICES AND SOCIAL
HOUSING AND CITIES NEED TO TRACK
SKILLED WORKERS AND THEY'RE
COMPETING WITH OTHER CITIES
AROUND THE WORLD.
THE YOUNG SKILLED WORKERS CAN GO
ANYWHERE.
SO TO GET THEM TO COME TO YOUR
CITY, YOU NEED TO PROVIDE A GOOD
QUALITY OF LIFE.
THAT MEANS A GOOD TRANSIT
SYSTEM, PARKS, RECREATIONAL
FACILITIES.

Steve says ALL UNDER THE CITY'S
PER VEY.

Enid says YES.
AND CITIES ARE FACING CHALLENGE
THAT THEY'VE NEVER FACED BEFORE
ARE.
CLIMATE CHANGE.
WE NEED TO DEAL WITH EXTREME
WEATHER EVENTS.
THESE STORMS AROUND HAPPENING
ONCE IN A HUNDRED YEARS ANYMORE.
THEY'RE HAPPENING MUCH MORE
FREQUENTLY.
WE HAVE AN OPIOID CRISIS IN SOME
OF OUR CITIES.
THESE ALL FALL ON THE CITIES.
SO THE EXPENDITURES CITIES HAVE
TO MAKE.
BUT IF WE TURN TO THE REVENUE
SIDE, WITH HE SEE NO CHARGE.
WE HAVE PROPERTY TAXES IS THE
MAIN SOURCE OF REVENUE FOR LOCAL
GOVERNMENTS IN CANADA.
AND YOU CAN GO BACK 50 YEARS AND
IT LOOKS THE SAME.
SO THERE'S A BIT OF A DISCONNECT
HERE BETWEEN WHAT CITIES HAVE TO
DO AND HOW... THE RESOURCE THOSE
HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.

Steve says WE WILL CONSIDER THE
ISSUE OF HOW THAT MIGHT CHANGE
IN A SECOND.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THIS ISSUE?

The caption changes to "Doug Saunders. Author, 'Maximum Canada.'"

Doug says AS WELL AS THIS, THERE'S A
BUILT-IN PARADOX THAT CITIES
ANYWAYS A LOT OF COUNTRIES
TODAY, WHICH IS THAT THE BIGGEST
ISSUES THAT ARE FACED AS
NATIONAL POLICY, STRICTLY AS
NATIONAL POLICY OR OCCASIONALLY
AS PROVINCIAL POLICY, TEND TO
MANIFEST THEMSELVES ALMOST
ENTIRELY ON THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL.

Steve says LIKE WHAT?

Doug says FOR EXAMPLE, IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM.
IT'S ALWAYS NATIONAL POLICY.
IT ALMOST ENTIRELY MANIFESTS IN
CITY.
PEOPLE ARRIVE AND SETTLE IN
CITIES AND PROBABLY ONLY SHOULD
AND USUALLY IN THE LARGER
CITIES.
MOST IMMIGRANTS TO CANADA SETTLE
IN THE TWO LARGEST METROPOLITAN
AREAS OF CANADA.

Steve says AND IT'S NOT THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT HAS TO
HOUSE THEM.

Doug says IT'S THE CITIES THAT END UP
FEELING OR AT LEAST THE LOCAL
OFFICES OF NATIONAL OR
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS.
BUT IT HAPPENS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.
BUT NOT JUST IMMIGRATION.
EVEN INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS IN CANADA.
MOST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN CANADA
LIVE IN CITIES.
YET IT BY NO MEANS IS IT
MUNICIPAL JURISDICTION.
IT'S STRICTLY A FEDERAL
JURISDICTION.
AND, OF COURSE, FOR THE BAND
COUNCILS AND THE INDIGENOUS NATIONS.
AND YOU HAVE SO MANY OTHER...
DRUGS AND THINGS LIKE THIS THAT
ARE NATIONAL POLICY YET HAPPEN
ON THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL.
YET MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS DO NOT
HAVE GENERALLY AUTHORITY OVER
THESE AREAS, THEY HAVE NO
ABILITY TO CONTROL THESE THINGS,
AND THEY TEND NOT TO HAVE THE
RESOURCES AND INSTITUTIONS TO
FULLY DEAL WITH THESE THING.
AND MANY COUNTRIES FACE THIS PROBLEM.

Steve says DO THE CITIES NEED
MORE POWER?

The caption changes to "Zach Taylor, @bigcitypolitics."

Zach says WELL, I THINK DOUG IS RIGHT
ABOUT THIS.
BUT I THINK ONE THING WE NEED TO
RECOGNIZE IS THAT CITY
GOVERNANCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN, TO
USE A KIND OF FANCY TERM,
MULTILEVEL GOVERNMENT, RIGHT?
ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT DO
URBAN GOVERNANCE, RIGHT?
THEY ALL HAVE THEIR FINGERS IN
THE PIE, THEY ALL HAVE ACCESS TO
DIFFERENT ADMINISTRATIVE
CAPACITIES, DIFFERENT KNOWLEDGE,
DIFFERENT CAPACITIES TO REGULATE
AND MAKE LAWS, DRAWING OUT OF
THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL
JURISDICTION AND SO ON.
SO I THINK WE MIX UP THESE WORDS
LOCAL AND URBAN AND MUNICIPAL.
I THINK WE'RE ACTUALLY DOING A
DISSERVICE TO THE FACT THAT
WE'VE ALWAYS HAD MULTILEVEL
GOVERNANCE IN CITIES.
THE QUESTION IS ARE THOSE... THE
THING HAPPENING AT THE DIFFERENT
LAYERS AND THE WAY THEY COME
TOGETHER RIGHT OR NOT.

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

Steve says WELL, LET'S DO ONE
EXAMPLE.
THERE'S BEEN A BIG DEBATE IN
THIS CITY FOR TEN YEARS ABOUT
WHETHER THEY SHOULD BUILD A
SUBWAY IN SCAR BUREAU.
THE CITY MAKES THE DECISION.
IT'S THE PREDICT AND FEDERAL
GOVERNMENTS THAT HELP FLOW THE
MONEY.

Zach says AND THEY HAVE MADE MANY
DIFFERENT DECISIONS.

Steve says WOULD YOU SAY THAT'S
AN EXAMPLE WHERE THE CITIES NEED
MORE POWER AND MORE AUTHORITY TO
EITHER RAISE THE FUNDS TO PAY
FOR THESE THINGS?

Zach says I THINK WE NEED TO SEPARATE
THREE DIFFERENT ISSUES.
WE NEED TO SEPARATE LEGAL
AUTHORITY WHICH IS ONE KIND OF
POWER.
WE NEED TO SEPARATE THAT FROM
OWN SOURCE RESOURCES.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN
SEASON IN.

Zach says THE TAXES YOU CAN RAISE
YOURSELF AS OPPOSED TO MONEY
BEING GIVEN TO FROM YOU ANOTHER
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT.

Steve says OKAY.

Zach says AND THIRD, WHICH I THINK IS
WHAT IS MOTIVATING OUR
DISCUSSION TODAY IS THE STORY OF
URBAN PEOPLE... IS THE DESIRE OF
URBAN PEOPLE TO BE PROTECTED
FROM ARBITRARY ACTION FROM OTHER
LEVELS OF EXAMPLE.

Steve says GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF THAT.

Zach says WELL, REDUCING THE NUMBER OF
WORDS IN THE CITY OF TORONTO IN
THE MIDDLE OF AN ELECTION.

Steve says THERE YOU GO.
WITH.

Zach says SO I THINK WE'RE MIXING THESE
THINGS TOGETHER.

Steve says I'M GOING TO TRY NOT
TO BE MIXED UP FOR A CHANGE ON
THE PROGRAM AND LET'S SEE IF WE
CAN SEPARATE THESE THINGS.
ENID, FOLLOWING UP ON WHAT YOU
SAID A SECOND AGO, ALL THAT LONG
LAUNDRY LIST OF RESPONSIBILITIES
THAT CITIES NOW FIND THEY HAVE
THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE IN THE
DAYS OF THE BALDWIN ACT, YOU
WOULD ASSUME PRESUMABLY TO HAVE
MORE FISCAL AUTONOMY.
WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?

Enid says THAT LOOKS LIKE OTHER TAX
SOURCES THAT CITIES CAN COUNT ON.
THE CITIES I SAID PROVIDE A
RANGE OF SERVICES.
ONE OF THE THING THEY'RE
DELIVERING IS SOCIAL SERVICES.
THE PROPERTY TAX IS NOT THE BEST
WAY TO PAY FOR SOCIAL SERVICES.
THAT'S A REDISTRIBUTIVE
FUNCTION.
THE INCOME TAX WORKS A LOT
BETTER.
YOU KNOW, THE CITY OF TORONTO
HAS A BUDGET, OPERATING BUDGET
OF ABOUT 1 THROW BILLION
DOLLARS.
ADD ANOTHER 3 OR 4 BILLION FOR
CAPITAL.
THAT'S LARGER THAN HALF OF
CANADA'S PROVINCES.
AND YET THEY HAVE PROPERTY TAXES
AND USER FEES AND TRANSFERS.
SO I THINK GIVEN THE RANGE OF
SERVICES THEY PROVIDE, THEY
SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO OTHER
TAXES LIKE INCOME TAXES, SALES
TAXES.

Steve says SORRY, THEY SHOULD
BE ABLE TO APPLY THEIR OWN OR
HAVE ACCESS TO?

Enid says NOT QUITE EITHER.
SO I DON'T THINK THEY SHOULD GO
OUT AND LEVY THEIR OWN INCOME TAX.
THAT'S ADMINISTRATIVELY VERY
COSTLY AND DIFFICULT TO DO.
BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE THE ABILITY
TO LEVY A RATE ON TOP OF THE
PROVINCIAL INCOME TAX.
SO TORONTO MAY SAY WE'D LIKE TO
ADD 2 percent, ANOTHER CITY MIGHT SAY
HALF A PERCENT, ANOTHER CITY 1 percent.

Steve says SO THE PROVINCE
COLLECTS IT AND THEN FLOWS IT
TO THE CITY.

Enid says RIGHT. BUT IT WOULD BE THE
CITY THAT WOULD DETERMINE THE
TAX RATE BECAUSE THEY WOULD SAY
THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO DELIVER
SERVICES, SPEAK TO ITS TAXPAYERS
AND THEN SAY THIS IS THE AMOUNT
OF MONEY WE'RE GOING TO RAISE TO
COLLECT IT. THE PROVINCE WOULD
JUST BE THE COLLECTING AGENCY.

Steve says HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT IDEA?

The caption changes to "Doug Saunders, @DougSaunders."

Doug says THERE ARE CITIES THAT HAVE
THE ABILITY TO LEVY INCOME TAXES.
THERE ARE ALSO CITIES INCLUDING
MAJOR EUROPEAN CITIES THAT HAVE
NO TAX RAISING ABILITY OF THEIR
OWN AND RELY ENTIRELY ON DIRECT
TRANSFERS FROM NATIONAL OR STATE
GOVERNMENTS.
AND IT'S HARD TO SAY WHEN YOU
VISIT THE GOVERNMENTS OF THESE
DIFFERENT CITIES THAT ONE MODEL
IS BETTER THAN THE OTHER.
HOWEVER, CERTAINLY CITIES BEING
STARVED OF RESOURCES WHEN
THEY'RE CENTRAL PLACES IS
IMPORTANT.
AND ENID'S ANALYSIS HAS FOUND
THAT CITIES IN CANADA HAVE FAR
LESS ABILITY TO FINANCE THE
DECISIONS THEY MAKE THAN OTHER
COUNTRIES IN THE WESTERN WORLD.
SO I THINK WE HAVE A PROBLEM
THAT CAN BE ADDRESSED EITHER BY
INCREASING THE REVENUE ABILITIES
OF STOWS OR BY MAKING THEM NOT
CITIES ANYMORE.
WHICH IS I THINK SOMETHING ELSE
THAT'S IN THE AIR AND BEING
DISCUSSED.
DO YOU CHANGE A CITY SO IT'S NOT
A CITY ANYMORE SO IT'S SOMETHING
MORE LIKE A PROVINCE AND HAS
THOSE POWERS THAT THEY WANT, OR
DO YOU KEEP IT A CITY AND YOU
MAKE SURE IT HAS WHAT IT NEEDS,
MAYBE NOT THROUGH ITS OWN
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT BUT THROUGH
LOCAL OFFICES OF FEDERAL AND
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says HOLD OFF ON THAT.
WE'RE GOING TO GET THERE.
THE NOTION OF CITIES NEEDING
MORE AUTONOMY, HOWEVER YOU WANT
TO DEFINE THAT.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW?

Zach says WHAT IS AUTONOMY?
IS RIGHT?
I MEAN, I THINK THIS GOES BACK
TO BE MY PREVIOUS POINT.
WE CAN GIVE CITIES MORE LEGAL
POWERS, RIGHT?
MORE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DO
THINGS BUT IF THEY DON'T HAVE
THE FISCAL RESOURCES TO DO THEM,
THEN LEGAL AUTHORITY IS
MEANINGLESS.

Steve says SHOULD THE CITY OF
TORONTO, THE CITY OF OTTAWA, THE
CITY OF MISSISSAUGA, BIG CITIES
IN THIS PROVINCE, SHOULD THEY
HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO TO THE
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT AND SAY
ADD 2 POINTS ON THE INCOME TAX
BECAUSE WE NEED THAT MONEY TO
PAY FOR THAT WHOLE LAUNDRY LIST
OF THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER.

Zach says I THINK THERE'S A COUPLE OF
ISSUES WITH THAT.
ONE IS THAT PLACES WHERE LOTS OF
WEALTHY PEOPLE WILL DO WELL WITH
THAT AND PLACES THAT ARE IN
DECLINE WILL BE NOT DO SO WELL
WITH THAT.
THERE WILL ALSO BE INTENSE
POLITICAL PRESSURE AT THE LOCAL
LEVEL TO NOT RAISE TAXES.
WE DON'T LIVE IN AN ERA WHERE
THAT'S PARTICULARLY POPULAR
OPTION.
AND THE IDEA OF CREATING A
HIGHER TAX ZONE IN ONE PLACE
THAT'S NEXT TO LOWER TAX ZONES
COULD LEAD TO PEOPLE LEAVING,
RIGHT?
AND WE ALREADY SEE THAT
HAPPENING WITH PROPERTY TAXES.

Steve says HOW ABOUT THAT?

Enid says THAT'S ARE GOOD POINTS.
THAT RAISES ISSUES ABOUT WHAT IS
THE TAXING AUTHORITY AND THE CAN
YOU GIVE THE TAX TO THE CITY OF
TORONTO, THE CITY OF
MISSISSAUGA, THE CITY OF OTTAWA.
AND I THINK IT NEEDS TO BE DONE
AN A REGIONAL BASIS.
IT BECOMES A GOVERNANCE
QUESTION.
YOU'RE RIGHT.
IF WE HAD A SALES TAX OR AN
INCOME TAX IN THE CITY OF
TORONTO AND NOT IN THE
NEIGHBOURING MUNICIPALITIES,
PEOPLE WOULD RESPOND TO THAT.
THEY WOULD MOVE OR SHOP IN THE
NEIGHBOURING JURISDICTIONS.

Steve says THAT'S AN INCENTIVE
TO KEEP TAXES LOWER.

Enid says IT IS.
BUT IF WE DID IT ON A REGIONAL
BASIS, THAT WILL BE LESS SLIPPAGE.

Steve says HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH
DISH MEAN, HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE.
NOBODY WANTS TO PAY MORE TAXES.
WHETHER IT'S A HOTEL TAX OR AN
AMUSEMENT TAX OR WHEN YOU GO TO
SCOTIABANK ARENA, NOBODY WANTS
TO PAY AN ADDITIONAL TAX.
NOBODY WANTS TO PAY MORE TAX.
AND YET YOU'RE SAYING IS THERE
ARE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF NEED
OUT THERE FOR WHICH MORE REVENUE
IS SIMPLY NECESSARY.

Enid says RIGHT.

Steve says HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THAT?

Enid says IT'S DIFFICULT, ISN'T IT?
BECAUSE POLITICIANS HAVE TO GET
ELECTED AND IT'S VERY HARD TO
SAY I'M RAISING YOUR TAXES.
AND I THINK IT COMES DOWN TO
LINKING THE TAXES TO THE
EXPENDITURES.
IT COMES DOWN TO WHAT KIND OF
CITY DO WE WANT?
WHAT KINDS OF SERVICES DO PEOPLE
WANT SEASON WITH NOW THIS IS HOW
WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM.
YOU HAVE TO MAKE THAT LINK AND I
THINK WHEN PEOPLE SEE THE LINK,
I THINK IF PEOPLE SEE ROADS
BEING IMPROVED, THEY MIGHT NOT
BE SO MUCH AGAINST HAVING ROAD
TOLLS.
I THINK IF THEY SEE THE TRANSIT
SYSTEM BEING I AM PROUD OF,
THEY'LL BE HAPPY TO PAY FOR IT.
YOU HAVE TO DELIVER ON THOSE
SERVICES BEFORE YOU CAN ASK FOR
MORE MONEY.
YOU HAVE TO PROVE THAT IT'S
GOING TO SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE
WANT.
IT'S STILL HARD.

Steve says WE OFTEN HEAR, FOR
EXAMPLE, PREMIER FORD SAYS THIS.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN
DOWNTOWN TORONTO SEASON AND WHO
ARE DOING OKAY ARE ALL FOR
HIGHER TAXES ON SUBURBAN
COMMUTERS WHO HAVE TO COME INTO
THE CITY FOR THEIR JOBS BECAUSE
THEY'RE THE ONES WHO PAY THE
TAXES AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE
DOWNTOWN DON'T.
HOW DO YOU GET AROUND THAT?

Doug says PROPERTY TAXES IS A TRICKY
INSTRUMENT.
TORONTO, OF COURSE, PAYS VERY
LOW PROPERTY TAX.

Steve says RELATIVELY SPEAKING.

The caption changes to "Doug Saunders. The Globe and Mail."

Doug says MY PARENTS LIVE IN HAMILTON
AND WITH THEY PAY VASTLY MORE
PROPERTY TAX THAN I DO, FOR
EXAMPLE.
AND YOU GET THESE WARS BETWEEN
JURISDICTIONS.
AND, YES, IT'S WHY I THINK THE
AMALGAMATION AND EXPANSION OF
CITIES IN ONTARIO AND OTHER
PLACES IN CANADA WAS PROBABLY A
WISE IDEA AND PROBABLY SHOULD
HAVE EXTENDED FURTHER BECAUSE
YOU WANT TO WATCH OUT FOR THESE
BUSINESS TAX WARS BETWEEN
SUBURBAN JURISDICTIONS WHICH
DON'T HAVE TO BEAR THE COSTS OF
SOCIAL SERVICES AND THINGS LIKE
THAT AND...

Steve says AS MUCH.

Doug says AS MUCH.
AND IF SOMEBODY RUNS INTO DRUG
TROUBLES OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,
THEY USUALLY END UP DOWNTOWN,
IT'S USUALLY THE INNER CITIES
THAT END UP PAYING THESE HIGH
SOCIAL COSTS.
AND AS A RESULT, THE SUBURB AND
AREAS CAN LEVY THEM MORE.
SO ON THE OTHER HAND, ONE OF THE
SOLUTIONS THAT WE'VE SEEN IN
OTHER CITIES IS SPECIFIC FEES
AND TOLLS.
LONDON, U.K., SOLVED A LOT OF
ITS TRANSIT FUNDING PROBLEMS BY
INSTITUTING AN ELECTRONICALLY
GENERATED FEE OF THE EQUIVALENT
OF ABOUT 20 dollars PER DAY FOR ANYONE
WHO WANTS TO DRIVE DOWNTOWN.

Steve says AND THAT'S WHAT YOUR
PEOPLE DO.

Doug says IT REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF
TRAFFIC.
IT PROVIDED SOME FUNDING FOR
PUBLIC TRANSIT.
NOW, YOU KNOW, IN ONTARIO, OF
COURSE, THAT WAS ATTEMPTED BY
MAYOR JOHN TORY, A MUCH SHRIMPER
VERSION, A SIMPLE ROAD TOLL ON
THE TORONTO-OWNED GARDINER
EXPRESSWAY AND THAT WAS VETOED
BY WITH THE LIBERAL PREMIER.
SO THESE JURISDICTIONAL WARS
BETWEEN CITIES THAT ARE LARGE
ENOUGH TO HAVE PROVINCE-LIKE
POPULATION CLOUT AND POLITICAL
CLOUT AND ECONOMIC CLOUT AND THE
PROVINCES THAT THEY ARE WARDS OF
ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE BIG
TENSIONS AND I THINK THEY'VE
REACHED A CERTAIN PEAK IN
ONTARIO AT THE MOMENT.

Steve says LET'S PLAY A CLIP
HERE.
JUST CHECK THE MONITORS OUT IN
THE STUDIO.
THIS IS BING MINUTE BARBER,
AUTHOR OF "MANY MAYORS RULED THE
WORLD."
GOD, SHELDON.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "July 15, 2014."
In the clip, Priya interviews a male guest who appears on a split screen.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Benjamin Barber. Author, 'If mayors ruled the world.'"

Benjamin is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with gray hair.

He says PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAYORS AND
PRIME MINISTERS, BETWEEN MAYORS
AND PRESIDENTS, BETWEEN CITY
COUNCILLORS AND CABINET MEMBERS
OF A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT IS THAT
IN CITIES, YOU'VE GOT TO SOLVE
REAL PROBLEMS.
PICK UP THE GARBAGE, PLOW THE
SNOW, KEEP KIDS COMING TO
SCHOOL, MAKE SURE THERE ARE
ENOUGH JOBS FOR FOLKS, IF
THEY'RE ILLEGAL AND UNDOCUMENTED
WORKERS, FIGURE OUT HOW YOU'RE
GOING TO DEAL WITH THEM BECAUSE
YOU CAN'T THROW THEM OUT,
THEY'RE THERE.
DEALING WITH REAL PROBLEMS AND
FINDING REAL SOLUTIONS AND
THAT'S WHAT MAKES MAYORS
PRAGMATISTS AND PROBLEM SOLVERS
AND ALLOWS THEM TO DEAL WITH THE
REAL ISSUES OF GOVERNANCE THAT
THE PRIME MINISTERS AND
PRESIDENTS SIMPLY DON'T HAVE TO
AND DON'T DO.

The clip ends.

Steve says ZACHARY, YOUR TAKE
ON THAT GOVERNMENT.

The caption changes to "Do cities know best?"

Zach says IT MAKES SENSE AS FAR AS IT
GOES BUT I THINK THE LATE
BENJAMIN BARBER TENDS TO KIND OF
FETISHIZE THE BENIGN AUTOCRAT,
RIGHT, THE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG,
THE AMERICAN STRONG MAYOR WHO
CAN WAVE MAGIC WANDS AND GET
THINGS DONE.
WE DON'T HAVE STRONG MAYORS IN
CANADA.
WE HAVE TALKED TO THEM.

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY STRONG
MAYORS, YOU MEAN A MAYOR THAT
CAN VETO THE WILL OF THE
COUNCIL.

Zach says RIGHT.
AND HAVE THE ENTIRE CITY
BUREAUCRACY REPORT TO THE MAYOR
AS OPPOSED TO COUNCIL AS A WHOLE
AND SO ON.
JUST ACT AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

Steve says WOULD YOU PREFER
THAT SYSTEM?

Zach says I THINK IT DEFINITELY MAKES
THINGS MORE EFFICIENT IN TERMS
OF GETTING THINGS DONE, BUT A
LOT DEPENDS ON WHO IS SITTING IN
THAT ROLE, RIGHT?
IS AND WE DON'T, UNLIKE MANY OF
THESE AMERICAN CITIES THAT HAVE
STRONG MAYORS, WE DON'T HAVE
POLITICAL PARTIES THAT HAVE KIND
OF A VETTING AND PRIMARY PROCESS
THAT KIND OF AIR THE PERSON
YOU'RE GOING TO GET BEFORE THEY
GET ELECTED INTO OFFICE.
SO I THINK THERE'S RISKS TO THAT
AND I'M NOT SURE WE CAN JUST
ADOPT IT.

Steve says MAYORS HAVING MORE
POWER BECAUSE THEY'RE THE ONES
WHO ARE AT THE BASE OF IT ALL AT
THE END OF THE DAY?

Enid says I THINK IT'S APPEALING.
I MEAN, BENJAMIN BARBER TALKED
ABOUT ALL THE SERVICES THAT ARE
DELIVERED.
FOR MOST PEOPLE, THEY ENCOUNTER
CITY SERVICES EVERY DAY.
YOU KNOW, FROM THE MOMENT YOU
WAKE UP AND HAVE A SHOWER TO GO
OUT ON YOUR SIDEWALK, TAKE OUT
YOUR GARBAGE AND GET ON THE
TRANSIT SYSTEM.
THESE ARE FRONT LINE SERVICES.
AND THEY HAVE TO WORK.
AND SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK CITY
COUNCILS AND MAYORS ARE VERY
IMPORTANT.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT THE
NOTION, DOUG, THAT CITIES KNOW
BETTER WHAT THEY NEED, BETTER
THAN, SAY, FEDERAL CABINET
MINISTERS, WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE
SAY ON THAT?

Doug says YES AND NO.
THERE'S ANOTHER PARADOX HERE
WHICH IS THAT GOVERNMENTS BECOME
LESS ACCOUNTABLE, MORE OPEN TO
CORRUPTION, SOMEWHAT LESS
DEMOCRATIC AS THEY BECOME MORE
LOCAL.
BECAUSE... I MEAN, FOR EXAMPLE,
MOST PEOPLE KNOW WHO THEIR MP IS.
FEW PEOPLE FOE WHO THEIR CITY
COUNCILLOR IS, EXCEPT IN SPECIAL
CIRCUMSTANCES.
THE MP HAS ALL SORTS OF WELL
FUNDED BIG INSTITUTIONS OF
OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY.
HAS MANY MEDIA WATCHING HER, HAS
A LOT MORE MONITORING AND
OVERSIGHT, LESS OPTIONS FOR
CORRUPTION.
AS YOU MOVE DOWN IN LEVELS OF
GOVERNMENT, THAT BECOMES LESS
TRUE.
YOU HAVE LESS OVERSIGHT, LESS
WATCHING AND SO ON.
SO YOU DON'T NECESSARILY WANT TO
BE THROWING A LOT OF MONEY AT A
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT THAT ISN'T
NECESSARILY SET UP TO HAVE THAT
SORT OF CLOUT.
SO THERE'S TWO SOLUTIONS TO THIS
PROBLEM.
ONE IS TO MAKE CITIES MORE
POWERFUL INSTITUTIONALLY SO THEY
ACTUALLY HAVE THAT GREATER
DEGREE OF DEMOCRACY AND
OVERSIGHT AND SO ON.
I MEAN, THE CITY OF HAMBURG IN
GERMANY, FOR EXAMPLE, THE MAYOR
OF THAT CITY IS WHAT WE WOULD
CALL A PREMIER.
IT'S A PROVINCE AND HAS THAT
SORT OF POWER AND SO ON.
THE OTHER IS TO KEEP CITIES
CITIES BUT TO INCREASE THE
AMOUNT OF RESOURCES BEING
PROVIDED TO THEM THROUGH THE
PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL
GOVERNMENTS THERE WHICH
SOMETIMES HAPPENS WHEN CITIES
BECOME POLITICALLY IMPORTANT FOR
THE PARTY IN POWER WINNING OFFICE.

Steve says YOU MENTIONED
HAMBURG, GERMANY.
YOU'VE LOOKED AT OTHER CITIES
AROUND THE WORLD. VIS-A-VIS HOW
MUCH POWER THEIR MUNICIPALITIES
HAVE. WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND?

Enid says WE DID A STUDY AT THE
INSTITUTE ON MUNICIPAL FINANCE
AND GOVERNMENT AND COMPARED 8
MAJOR CITIES AROUND THE WORLD.
AND CANADIAN CITIES, WE LOOKED
AT TORONTO IN PARTICULAR, DEPEND
ON GRANTS LESS THAN MANY CITIES
AROUND THE WORLD BUT HAVE MUCH
FEWER SOURCES OF REVENUE.
SO WE LOOKED AT NEW YORK AND
PARIS AND TOKYO.
THEY ALL HAVE, YOU KNOW, NEW
YORK HAS 20 DIFFERENT TAXES IT
CAN LEVY.
I'M NOT SAYING THAT'S A GOOD
MODEL BUT IT DOES HAVE, YOU
KNOW, PERSONAL INCOME, CORPORATE
INCOME, SALES INCOME.

The caption changes to "International cities."

Steve says THE MUNICIPALITY?

Enid says THE MUNICIPALITY.

Steve says DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE
HELD BACK NEW YORK'S GROWTH.

Enid says I DON'T THINK SO.
AGAIN, I WOULDN'T RECOMMEND ALL
OF THESE TAXES.
A CITY LIKE BERLIN, BERLIN IS
INTERESTING.
IT'S A CITY STATE SO IT HAS THE
POWERS OF A CITY GOVERNMENT AND
A STATE GOVERNMENT.
THAT MEANS IT HAS THE REVENUES
OF A CITY AND A STATE
GOVERNMENT.
BUT, AGAIN, IT HAS A LOT OF
DIFFERENT TAXES.
I DON'T RECOMMEND A BEER TAX
NECESSARILY OR A DOG TAX LIKE
THEY HAVE. BUT THEY DO HAVE
ACCESS TO INCOME TAXES.

Doug says THEY DON'T HAVE MUCH MONEY
ANYWAY.

Enid says AND THEY DON'T HAVE MUCH
MONEY ANYWAY. WHEN YOU LOOK AT
THE NORDIC COUNTRIES, THEY'RE
VERY INTERESTING BECAUSE, OF
COURSE, THEY'RE NOT FEDERAL
COUNTRIES. THEY DON'T HAVE
PROVINCIAL OR STATE GOVERNMENTS,
JUST A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS DO A LOT OF
SOCIAL SERVICES AND HEALTH CARE.
BUT THEY HAVE INCOME TAX SO YOU
HAVE THAT GOOD MATCHING OF
PROGRESSIVE TAXES WITH SOCIAL
SERVICES.
SO I WOULD SAY WHEN YOU LOOK AT
CANADIAN CITIES, THEY HAVE MUCH
FEWER TAX SOURCES THAN THE MAJOR
CITIES AROUND THE WORLD.

Steve says IN WHICH INDICATES,
LET'S FINISH UP ON THE NOTION
YOU RAISED A LITTLE EARLIER
WHICH IS WOULD THINGS WORK
BETTER IN THE MAJOR CITIES OF
THIS COUNTRY... LET'S TAKE THE
CAPITAL CITY WE'RE INTERIOR
RIGHT NOW, IF THEY WERE THEIR
OWN PROVINCES?
WHAT DO THANK YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "The province of Toronto?"

Doug says ON PAPER, IT MIGHT NOT BE A
BAD Y I MEAN, JANE KAY JOBS, THE
GREAT URBANIST, ARGUED THAT
METROPOLITAN REGIONS SHOULD
BECOME THEIR OWN PROVINCES WITH
THEIR OWN CURRENCIES BECAUSE
EACH ECONOMIC UNIT SHOULD HAVE
ITS OWN BASE AND SO ON.
KIND OF BELYING AROUND THE
QUESTION OF WHAT HAPPENS TO THE
REST AND I THINK ZACH HAS
ADDRESSED THIS QUESTION.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REST OF THE
PROVINCE.
I MEAN, IF YOU CUT METROPOLITAN
MONTREAL OUT OF QUEBEC OR
GREATER VANCOUVER OUT OF B.C. OR
IF YOU CUT TORONTO AND ITS
SUBURBS IN YORK AND PEEL AND
DURHAM REGIONS OUT OF ONTARIO,
YOU HAVE A HAVE AND A HAVE-NOT
SITUATION.
IF YOU HAD A PROVINCE OF
METROPOLITAN TORONTO, THAT WOULD
BE A MIGHTY PROVINCE.
TORONTO FUNDS AND SUBSIDIZES THE
REST OF ONTARIO IN CERTAIN WAYS WITH.

Steve says THE REST OF ONTARIO
DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT.
THE FACTS SAY OTHERWISE BUT THE
REST OF ONTARIO DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT.

Doug says THIS IS TRUE IF MANY PLACES.
I DON'T THINK UP STATE NEW YORK
FEELS GRATEFUL TO NEW YORK CITY
FOR BEING SUBSIDIZED BY IT
EITHER, RIGHT?

Steve says LET ME GET YOUR IDEA
OF TORONTO AS A PROVINCE.

Zach says WELL, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
OUR CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER IS OUR
CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER SO I DON'T
THINK WE REALLY NEED TO DISCUSS
THAT AT ALL.
THE BOTTOM LINE POINT FOR ME IS
GOING BACK TO THIS NOTION OF
MULTILEVEL GOVERNANCE IN CITIES
IS THAT WHEN THE SYSTEM WORKS
WELL, THE PROVINCE AND THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CREATE...
GIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TOOLS TO
SOLVE PROBLEMS.
THEY PROTECT THEM FROM DOING BAD
THINGS, RIGHT?
THEY CREATE AN ENABLING
FRAMEWORK.
AND WHEN THE SYSTEM WORKS WELL,
IT WORKS REALLY WELL.
WE'VE BEEN REALLY SUCCESSFUL IN
THIS COUNTRY UP TOP THIS POINT.
WE HAVE THESE FLASH POINTS,
THESE MOMENTS RIGHT NOW LIKE
WE'RE HAVING BETWEEN TORONTO AND
ONTARIO THAT I DON'T THINK
SHOULD CLOUD OUR LONGER
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON HOW
SUCCESSFUL WE'VE BEEN COMPARED
TO AMERICAN CITIES.

Steve says AND IT'S NOT UNIQUE.
I CAN RECALL 47 YEARS AGO, A
CERTAIN PREMIER OF ONTARIO
CANCELLED A CERTAIN SPADINA
EXPRESSWAY WHICH NOW DOESN'T
GO THROUGH ENID SLACK'S
BACKYARD AND THE CITY WAS
VERY UPSET BUT THE PROVINCE SAID
THAT'S THE WAY IT'S GOT TO BE.
NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN.

The caption changes to "Producer: Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino."

Steve continues THAT'S ZACHARY TAYLOR. NO, NOT
THE FORMER AMERICAN PRESIDENT
BUT RATHER A PROFESSOR AT
WESTERN UNIVERSITY, DIRECTOR OF
THE CENTRE FOR URBAN POLICY AND
LOCAL GOVERNANCE THERE.
ENID SLACK FOR THE MUNK SCHOOL
OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC
POLICY. DOUG SAUNDERS. WANT TO
READ MORE? "MAXIMUM CANADA: WHY
35 MILLION CANADIANS ARE NOT
ENOUGH." THAT'S ONE OF ABOUT 85
BOOKS THAT DOUG HAS WRITTEN FOR
YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE.
THANKS, EVERYBODY.

Watch: Do Cities Need More Power?