The New Deal for Cities: A Political Strategy for Ontario’s PC Party

The New Deal for Cities: A Political Strategy for Ontario’s PC Party

Will John Tory’s ‘prudent’ leadership be tough enough to tackle Toronto’s big issues if he’s re-elected?


| Published Jun 10, 2014

| Source: CBC News


When John Tory was elected leader of the PC Party of Ontario in June 2013, one of his main goals was to create a platform that would unite the party and lead to winnable races in Toronto—a party that had gone from being in favour of electoral reform to being openly opposed to the idea. To accomplish that mission, he decided to hire a political strategist who’d worked for both the Conservative and Liberal parties for nearly two decades in Ottawa. The strategist, Matt Mowers, says that Tory asked him to create a policy platform for the party.

“We were told the policy,” Mowers told the Globe and Mail. “We were not told to write a platform or talk about platform.”

The policy is now known as Mowes’s “New Deal for Cities.” It is now the centrepiece of Tory’s platform, and he’s been criticized by mayoral candidates in Toronto. But his critics haven’t seen it coming.

Mowers acknowledges the New Deal for Cities, and many of its policy suggestions, are not new, but he was encouraged to write it after some of his previous work in Ottawa came back to him and he realized the problems facing urban centres across Canada.

The policy, which came at a time when Ontario was still facing an estimated $4.6 billion budget deficit, says the government needs to adopt a “responsible and strategic approach” to urban planning. In the past, it has been the province’s responsibility to fund many urban priorities, including schools, hospitals and community services. It now proposes to place the cost of urban infrastructure on the province’s books, essentially handing the responsibility to cities and towns so the money that would be spent on the province’s books would

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