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Photography by Leemarc Lao.

Finding Truth at City Hall

Have you ever had a disagreement with your spouse or partner over saving or spending money? You both want the best for your family. For one of you, that means saving $200 every month for retirement, while for the other it means saving $100 for a get-away next summer while spending the other $100 on a night out together.

Where is the truth in this situation? Probably, there are many truths involved, and the right answer is hard to find. 

The elected members of City Council who gather monthly to make decisions about how to run our city are not much different. They all want the best for our city, but often they disagree about what that means and how to achieve it. On top of it all, there are not 2 opinions at play, but 45. Hundreds of professional staff provide Council with advice on hundreds of issues every month. Decisions can be about billions of dollars. And dozens of media outlets scrutinize every word. No wonder there is disagreement!

So, where is the truth at City Hall? How are different truths balanced? How are decisions made?

At our next West End Talk, we’ll explore the role of Councillors, staff and the media, who all have a role to play in finding truths, exerting influence and making decisions.

Recommended Reading

To get you thinking about our next talk, check out this article:

Our politicians’ transit shenanigans are causing civic suicide

If you live in Toronto, chances are you’ve taken public transit. And if you’ve taken public transit, chances are you’ve experienced delays, congestion, and more than a few headaches. In his article for the Toronto Star, Royson James looks at the politics of public transit planning in Toronto. He argues members of government have made (and are making) decisions out of self-interest that will inconvenience commuters for years to come. He cites the pending Bloor-Danforth and University-Spadina extensions as the latest examples of costly, faulty and suspect transit planning in Toronto. 

By way of solutions, James outlines three key components of good transit planning and claims the public will have to do a better job making their needs clear to those in control. Finally, he suggests Toronto as a whole can learn from cities that are doing it right.