In January of 2019, the FORD Ontario government initiated a review for regional governments. The review covers Ontario’s 8 regional municipalities (Durham, Halton, Muskoka District, Niagara, Oxford County, Peel, Waterloo, York), Simcoe County, and their 73 lower-tier municipalities. For my earlier articles on this subject, please click: http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/665980 and http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/666012.
安省市政事务和住房厅长克拉克任命了2位特别顾问Ken Seiling（前滑铁卢区政府主席）和Michael Fenn（前三任省长手下的副部长）成立了咨询小组，协助这项审查。该咨询小组的任务是向市政事务和住房厅长提供专家建议，并就改善区域治理和服务向省府提出建议。
Mr. Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, appointed 2 special advisors Ken Seiling (former Waterloo region Chair) and Michael Fenn (former deputy minister under three premiers) as an advisory body to help with this review. The mandate of the advisory body is to provide expert advice to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and to make recommendations to the government on opportunities to improve regional governance and service delivery.
According to the Ministry's specifications for this review, recommendations from the advisory body will focus on a number of questions on municipal governance and decision-making as well as municipal service delivery. The advisory body will solicit input from elected and appointed council members, municipal and business stakeholders and members of the public from the nine upper-tier municipalities and 73 lower-tier member municipalities. The consultation process will include interviews with members of Councils and Regions, key municipal associations, and on-line consultations with residents and businesses.
All summer long, the special advisors worked with their scope and guidelines. There were plenty of speculations and wishful thoughts from the municipal politicians. Some wanted a break from Regional government and become a city independent of it. One example would be that of the City of Mississauga breaking away from the Region of Peel to become a single-tier government.
In the Region of York, rumours of the breaking up of the region ran rampant. Consolidation and amalgamation of Cities became a trendy thought throughout the entire summer. The picture of Markham swallowing Stouffville, Vaughan and Richmond Hill breaking free of York region, and Newmarket picking up the northern municipalities all sounded like the obvious things that will happen naturally after the review.
Minister Clark received the report on Sept. 20, 2019. On Oct 25, 2019 he announced that the report was ready and “Ontario will not radically redraw province’s regional governments”. This simply means “no consolidations and amalgamations”. Instead, Queen’s Park will offer up $143-million for municipalities to find new ways to lower costs and improve services. Minister Clark said the report was confidential and would not be released.
This is a disappointment to some politicians and a joyous moment for others indeed. For Mississauga, it is a disappointment as the attempt to become a full-fledged city vaporizes. To the Region of York, the officials would certainly celebrate with the uncorking of champagnes – the empire is preserved and not broken up. Most other regional governments are simply happy that the status quo is maintained.
令咨询小组Ken Seiling感到失望的是，厅长克拉克并没有太多采纳他们报告中所提出的建议。他说：“我们的报告在改善政府问责，提高政府机构的业绩，如何改革政府的架构方面提供了许多建议。报告也谈到了如何改进对市民的服务。” Seiling没有提报告的具体细节。由于报告不会公开，我们永远不会知道报告中的建议都有哪些。他暗示自己相信市政府是“一个变化无常的野兽”，市政管理需要改革来“适应时代”。他认为，从历史来看，市政当局的改革从来都不是件易事，或者，他们根本就不想改革。
Mr. Ken Seiling is disappointed Minister Steve Clark didn't act on more of his report's recommendations. "We gave them recommendations to improve accountability, improve performance of political bodies, how they should be structured. We talked about how service could be delivered," Seiling said. He offered no details and since the reports are not released, we will never know about those recommendations. Seiling hinted that he believes municipal governments are "a changing beast," and they need "to be adapted to the times." He thinks that history shows that municipalities do not reform themselves easily or at all.
The review received more than 8,500 submissions and nine consultation sessions with individuals and organizations on ways to improve local government. Minister Clark said the government had decided that communities should decide what is best for them and that Queen’s Park should not pursue a “top-down approach.” Julie O'Driscoll, Clark's director of communications, said that the Ministry have more to say on this review in the coming months. To those who listened to Ken Seiling's statements, it is obvious that he was upset and had a lot to say if he was not muzzled or not allowed to give out details included in the final report.
Just when the public is expecting transparency out of the FORD government and moving away from the former Ontario Premier Wynne's veil of secrecy and negligence to commissioned reports, this non-action and non-disclosure taken by Minister Clark is becoming a major disappointment to them. Many believed that the Province is withholding their moves and reform to Regional Government at this time and waiting for the right moment to exercise them for maximum political gains.
对于其他人来说，各个区政府是勤俭替百姓做事的。 人们想让政府这头“大肥猪”减肥。 现在看起来，政府减肥并非那么容易。
To others, Regional Governments are spendthrifts. People want to stop the “gravy trains”. It does not look like those trains are coming to a stop any time soon.
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