Toronto: a potential province?

Ontario politician looking to make Toronto a province

by Chloe Nudo

An Ontario politician, Bill Murdoch, who represents the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, is trying to make Toronto it’s own province as he thinks its communities outside the city are not being well represented by the provincial government

Murdoch believes that Ontario is run by a Toronto mentality and many issues that exist in Ontario’s rural area are not the concerns of the Toronto minded government. An example is the issue of the recent coyote sightings, an Ontarian problem that Toronto doesn’t have to deal with. These coyotes pose a threat to farmers as they often eat their sheep, and with this increase in sightings, rural Ontario is not resting easy.

“We’re never going to change this as long as we have a Toronto-driven government running Ontario,” Murdoch said, during an agricultural meeting discussing the coyote and other agricultural issues. Locals offered the solution of placing a bounty on coyotes which would in turn reward those who kill coyotes. This seemed like a reasonable idea however Murdoch explained “they’ll never let you do that in Toronto.”

Another example of this lack of common ground used by Murdoch was the ban on pit bulls, an issue Toronto deemed important but which was one rural Ontarians weren’t worried about. In relation with the coyote issue, the province is unwilling to take measures because of animal rights activities in Toronto.

“I’ve been thinking about it for years, every law we pass at Queen’s Park has a Toronto mentality.” Murdoch said.

For this change to take place and Toronto to separate, the approval of Parliament and seven of the provinces would be required, with at least 50 percent of the population in agreement.  Murdoch would like to see just the city of Toronto form its own province, although it has 905 urban areas that have some rural components to them that would potentially be included as well.

Stephen Clarkson, a political science professor at University of Toronto explained to The Star that “the chronic issues of a city feeling underfunded and neglect [felt by] the rural areas” is a serious issue.  Toronto has a population of 2.5 million people, which is about 20% of Ontario’s total population, yet their operating budget is 9.2 billion dollars, which overshadows many other provincial budgets.

Murdoch even got the attention of the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, who was quoted on Twitter as saying, “Province of Toronto … an idea whose time has come? MPP Murdoch makes an interesting point.”

Toronto receives $11 billion less per year in programs and services than it sends in income and sales taxes to Queen’s Park and Ottawa,  said Stuart Green, Miller’s spokesperson, citing a 2005 Conference Board of Canada report.

Murdoch told the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture that rural Ontario would be better off if Toronto became the 11th province.

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