During that period, a few townships hastily amalgamated themselves into rural “municipalities” (example, the municipality of Oliver-Paipoonge, just west of Thunder Bay – population possibly 5,000) in order to avoid forced amalgamation with their larger neighbours.
However, the majority of cities that found themselves “mega-ed” were not given a choice. Our provincial capital, Toronto, held a plebiscite on the issue. The result – a 70 per cent vote against the amalgamation – was ignored by the provincial government.
Amalgamation has resulted in significant savings for the province, as many infrastructure and maintenance costs have been downloaded onto the municipalities.
However, adequate funding to support the download wasn’t provided.
Outside Toronto, the only practical method for cities to raise funds is by property tax. Result: property taxes increase steadily, while cities, including Sudbury, struggle to provide the service its citizens have the right to expect for their money.
It’s to be hoped that our mayor and council, like other Canadian municipalities, support the request made to the federal government for a larger percentage of funding from the gasoline tax.
Since cities are dependent for funding on senior levels of government, the provision of adequate funding for services can only be obtained by begging.
What a pity that the fathers of Confederation envisioned our country as predominantly rural.
Our cities, which are home to 90 per cent of our population, were omitted from the division of powers in the British North America Act, 1867, and the oversight was not corrected in 1982 when the constitution was repatriated.
And it’s exceedingly unlikely that we will see constitutional change any time soon. That would require unanimous consent of the federal and provincial governments. If those bodies can agree unanimously on anything, they’ve hidden it well.
Chris Crosby Greater Sudbury
Posted by vivian Scinto