The e-library contains information about
issues of local autonomy and local self government.
Those who visit the site are encouraged to suggest documents - speeches,
research, legislative initiatives, news items, etc. - which might be added
to the library. If you have material that you think should be part of
the e-Library, please click `suggest a resource' and follow the instructions.
There are 105 resources in the database.
For detailed information about each resource,
please click on the resource title.
A New City Agenda
A PDF version of A New City Agenda
A paper copy can be ordered from Zephyr Press at http://www.ideasthatmatter.com/cities/
A Plan Addressing Toronto's Powers and Finances
This Plan has been prepared by Paul Bedford, Frank Cunningham, David Crombie, Anne Golden, Ken Greenberg, and John Sewell, to help focus discussion around the new City of Toronto Act and related issues.
Big City Mayors Statement and Communique, January 22, 2004
Mayor and representatives from eight cities met in Toronto on January 22 and 23, 2004, to forumlate their demands of the federal government in advance of the Speech from the Throen on February 2. This statement outlines those demands.
Bulletin No. 01, November 1999
1. News on the Alberta School Boards case
2. A brief description of the loss of local government in the state of Victoria, Australia
3. Defining the issue
Bulletin No. 02, December 1999
1. The attack on local government in Ottawa, Hamilton and Sudbury.
2. Three years later, residents of the larger Halifax are even more upset about amalgamation.
3. Professor Andrew Sancton argues that globalization is not a good rationale for amalgamation.
Bulletin No. 03, January 2000
1. The emerging debate about city-state status for big cities, with specific reference to the way that debate is being shaped in Toronto.
2. Two new additions to the Library tab of the web site: one on the history of municipal authority in Canada; the other analyzing recent provincial proposals to enhance municipal autonomy.
Bulletin No. 04, February 2000
1) Alberta municipalities gain fuel tax revenue
2) Municipal charter: statement and responses
3) Reorganizing local government in Edmonton
4) Losing council seats in Newfoundland; and
5) A new book: Toronto – considering self government
Bulletin No. 05, March 2000
1. First, the bad news
2. A draft Charter for Toronto
3. Merger Mania, the book
Bulletin No. 06, April 2000
1. Tighter straightjackets for Ontario municipalities
2. Lessons from an amalgamated Toronto
a. Amalgamation costs more than it saves.
b. The transition period involves extraordinary confusion.
c. Amalgamation results in decreased services to the public.
d. User fees were increased
e. Harmonization is very expensive and very difficult to achieve.
f. Most councillors refuse to speak out.
g. Suggestions for citizens.
Bulletin No. 07, May 2000
1. Bill 62 and the attack on local government in Ontario
a) The time allocation motion
b) The presentations to the committee
c) Committee deliberations
d) What happens next
e) Concluding thoughts
2. Clear proof: Big cities generate big surplus tax revenues
Bulletin No. 08, June 2000
1. Impetus for Toronto charter idea
2. Strengthening local government in British Columbia
3. Accounting the cost of downloading in Ontario.
4. The privatization debate
Bulletin No. 09, October 2000
1. The Supreme Court of Canada disempowers local institutions
2. At last: someone’s created a good municipal voters’ list
Bulletin No. 10, November 2000
1. Fusions in Quebec
2. Reviving a draft new Municipal Act in Ontario
3. Comparing voters’ lists
4. Address changes
Bulletin No. 11, December 2000
1. Opposition to Quebec municipal fusions unsuccessful
2. Re-establishing local institutions in New Brunswick
3. The Bill 140 straightjacket in Ontario
4. A new voice for local government in Ottawa
Bulletin No. 12, January 2001
1. Re-establishing Local Government, Part 2 (Australia)
2. Court action on Quebec fusions
3. The GTSB - a failed regional structure
Bulletin No. 13, February 2001
1. Federal interest in urban areas
2. Regional governance Calgary-style
3. Montreal municipalities in court, almost
Bulletin No. 14, March 2001
1. Amalgamation idea slammed again
2. Ottawa’s amalgamation boondoggle
3. Understanding city finances?
Bulletin No. 15, April 2001
1. The Big 5 meet in Winnipeg
2. The Montreal anti-merger arguments
3. Municipalities and Free Trade Agreements
Bulletin No. 16, May 2001
1. Urban Task Force established
2. Provincial/municipal relations in Ontario
3. Montreal amalgamations
4. More on Free Trade Agreements
Bulletin No. 17, June 2001
1. Local eyes turn West
2. Turn-around time for the big city?
3. Joe Clark speaks about cities
Bulletin No. 18, July 2001
1. Striking out in Montreal
2. Financial feast and municipal famine
Bulletin No. 19, September 2001
1. Striking gold in British Columbia
2. Finding a way to de-amalgamate
3. Leaky condo liabilities
Bulletin No. 20, October 2001
1. New Municipal Act for Ontario
2. Municipalities and free trade agreements
3. No more mergers in Quebec, and no luck in the courts
4. Anti-terrorism and security
Bulletin No. 21, November 2001
1. Local Decision-Making about Health
2. Housing programs in the balance
Bulletin No. 22, December 2001
1. British Columbia’s Gold Slipping Away
2. New Federal Housing Program
3. Iffy infrastructure, the federal jest
Bulletin No. 23, January 2002
1. Ontario Provincial/Municipal Agreement
2. Another interpretation of the new Housing program
3. Big city focus and shifting ground
5. Subscribe to the bulletin
Bulletin No. 24, February 2002
1. Zoning is a constraint on global trade??
2. Hinting de-amalgamation
3. Federal money stays federal
Bulletin No. 25, March 2002
1) Senior governments financial winners in the Region of Waterloo
2) More on zoning as a constraint to global trade
3) The banks adopt the city cause
4) Property tax regimes as a cause of sprawl
5) Redesigning this website
6) Subscribe to the bulletin
Bulletin No. 26, April 2002
1. A new look for the Local Government Bulletin
2. Preparing for possible federal action
3. The Toronto Dominion Bank’s proposed agenda for cities
4. More global intervention in local affairs
Bulletin No. 27, May 2002
1. Sgro report misses the mark
2. FCM tackles the issue of local power
3. Court orders de-amalgamation in Ontario
Bulletin No. 28, June 2002
1. The continuing saga of federal money and municipal desire
2. Quebec proposes a slice of the Sales Tax
3. Fleshing the Community Charter Bones in British Columbia
Bulletin No. 29, July 2002
1. The City’s Act, Saskatchewan version
2. City of Winnipeg Charter introduced
3. Free speech in a billboard culture
4. Revenue sharing with municipalities, a correction
Bulletin No. 30, September 2002
1. Challenge to the Municipal “Spheres of Jurisdiction” Approach
2. The Long History of Revenue Sharing
3. Layton takes urban issues national
Bulletin No. 31, October 2002
1. Vancouver Municipal Election
2. More Federal Promises
3. Two books of local government interest
Bulletin No. 32, November 2002
1. Sgro Report: Cities Strike Out
2. An Amalgamated City Unravels
Bulletin No. 33, December 2002
1. Lessons from Two Public Inquiries
2. The cost of Local Restructuring
3. Cable Coverage of Municipal Issues
Bulletin No. 34, January 2003
1. Local government financing, US style
2. Drawing ward boundaries in Ontario
3. Correction: Winnipeg's Hansard Exists!
Bulletin No. 35, February 2003
1. A local presence at the national level
2. Solving the soft-wood lumber dispute locally
3. Winter Doldrums?
Bulletin No. 36, April 2003
1. A De-Merger Rumba
2. Slow-Dancing in New Brunswick
3. The Downloading Two-Step in Nova Scotia
4. The Federal Waltz
Bulletin No. 37, May 2003
1. Paul Martin’s urban vision
2. Hobbling municipal governments even more
3. De-mergers in Quebec
4. And in Ontario
Bulletin No. 38, June 2003
1. The Incredible Elasticity of Being a City
2. This just in: Canadian Municipalities in a budget crunch
3. Band-Aids for the City
Bulletin No. 39, September 2003
1. The financial crunch for Quebec municipalities
2. Buffalo falls into trusteeship
3. Local government and the Ontario election.
Bulletin No. 40, October 2003
1. Winnipeg shows the way
2. Community Charters in British Columbia
3. Toronto police intervene politically
Bulletin No. 41, November 2003
1. Berger studies Vancouver
2. New mayor for Toronto
3. De-amalgamating and de-merging
4. More on community charter legislation
Bulletin No. 42, December 2003
1. Police and local politics: two sagas
2. Water extraction as a `use of land’
3. A Setback for Winnipeg’s New Deal
4. Embarking on new federal directions for cities
Bulletin No. 43, January 2004
A New Deal Comes in View
1. A view from the East
2. A view from the Hill
3. A view from the big city mayors
4. A longer view
Bulletin No. 44, February 2004
1. Ottawa Promises
2. If you thought Canadian cities were treated badly...
3. De-amalgamating is a no-go in Victoria County
Bulletin No. 45, March 2004
1. An End to the New Deal for Cities
2. Local government going international
3. Ignoring local autonomy in Ontario, again
Bulletin No. 46, April 2004
1. Winnipeg’s New New Deal
2. Ontario offers municipalities more taxing powers??
3. Electoral reform in Vancouver
4. Forced amalgamation in Montreal has negative economic impacts
Bulletin No. 47, May 2004
1. Le demerger, Yes Sir!
2. Who’s Afraid of Demergers?
3. Yes, New Municipal Law has Teeth
Bulletin No. 48, June 2004
1. Vancouver Ward System
2. De-mergers become a reality
3. Land Use Planning Reform, again
Bulletin No. 49, July 2004
1. A New City Agenda
2. Taxing problems in Edmonton
3. Newsletter about homelessness issues
Bulletin No. 50, September 2004
1. The ups and downs of municipal autonomy in Ontario
2. Plebiscite on ward system, City of Vancouver
3. Election contribution controversy in Hamilton
Bulletin No. 51, November 2004
1. The difficulty of wearing two hats
2. Power shift possibilities in Ontario
3. Municipal revenue options
4. No wards in Vancouver
Bulletin No. 52, December 2004
1. The federal transfer of gas tax revenue
2. December Blues
3. Hamilton Election Contributions, Part 2
4. Counting the municipal infrastructure deficit
Bulletin No. 53, January 2005
1. Is there a municipal infrastructure deficit?
2. Finding the proper provincial/municipal relations model in Alberta
3. New legislative powers for a large city
Bulletin No. 54, February 2005
1. The Dance of the Seven Veiled Deal
2. Choosing to be Mayor
3. Election contributions in Hamilton, Part 3
4. New revenue sources for a big city
Bulletin No. 55, March 2005
1. Securing Local Democracy in the big city
2. Provincial status for cities?
3. More ideas on revenue sources for big cities
Bulletin No. 56, April 2005
1. The comfort of elastic taxes
2. British Columbia Agreement on a New Deal
3. Flush with money
4. The continuing mystery of the new City of Toronto Act
Bulletin No. 57, May 2005
1. Alberta agreement on a New Deal
2. Court orders election finance audit in Hamilton
3. A peak at Toronto Act negotiations
4. Social inclusion as a local issue
Bulletin No. 58, July 2005
1. Law Commission report on city government status
2. Pennies from heaven?
3. The latest on the New City of Toronto Act negotiations
Bulletin No. 59, September 2005
1. Tax Shifting
2. New ideas about the prostitution problem
Bulletin No. 60, October 2005
2. Hoping for renewal
3. The charter city idea as a dead end
Bulletin No. 61, November 2005
1. Balking at real change in Toronto
2. Restructuring Toronto until it sinks
3. On the horizon
Bulletin No. 62, December 2005
1. A minor facelift for the Ontario Municipal Board
2. The new City of Toronto legislation
3. Merging and De-merging
Bulletin No. 63, February 2006
1. Local government and the federal election
2. Inventive downloading
3. Reflections on the new City of Toronto legislation
Bulletin No. 64, March 2006
1. The failure of the Montreal merger
2. Reported to be Running on Empty
3. Four-year term proposed for Ontario municipal governments
4. Avoiding the consequences of avoiding the election law
Bulletin No. 65, April 2006
1. Cities and energy
2. Edmonton’s infrastructure innovations
3. Getting property assessment right?
4. The passing of Jane Jacobs
5. Four year terms for municipalities
Bulletin No. 66, June 2006
1. City legislation for the 21st century
2. Funding suburban election campaigns
Bulletin No. 68, November 2006
1. Finding the money that cities need
2. Property Tax Review Again
3. A national urban agenda
Bullletin No. 67, July 2006
1. New Municipal Legislation in Ontario
2. Lobbying for municipalities
3. Equalization payments – a local problem
4. Mayor of Hamilton Charged
Canadian municipal history
Andrew Sancton, Professor, University of Western Ontario
This history of municipal institutions in Canada (and their antecedents in the United Kingdom) was prepared by Andrew Sancton, professor of political science at University of Western Ontario. Paragraphs 8 through 41 outline a history which concludes in P. 83 that municipalities are `not mere administrative agencies of the central state.’ Paragraphs 41 through 79 discuss municipal restructuring in Halifax, Winnipeg and Toronto, as well as the size of municipal councils in Canada.
Charter Cities in Canada
This study, by Luis Silva, reviews the experience of charter cities in Canada, and concludes that a charter document does nothing to protect cities from provincial intrusion.
Cities Without Citizens
Engin F. Isin, Professor, York University
This book traces how cities evolved from autonomous entities with citizens to modern corporations without citizens. By studying political and legal discourse, Prof. Isin unfolds a broad history of the origins of the modern city.
Comparison of Powers and Revenue Sources of Selected Cities
Chief Administrative Office, City of Toronto
A report by City of Toronto staff comparing Canadian and other cities with respect to powers and revenue sources; as background to the Toronto Charter report - Towards a new relationshiop with Ontario and Canada, dated June 6, 2000.
Concordance, Bill 53 and Ontario Municipal, Act 2001
This concordance charts the section-by-section similarities between Bill 53, the new City of Toronto Act, and the Ontario Municipal Act 2001
Work Group Proposals for the Local Government Constitutional Convention, State of Victoria, Australia.
Constitutional proposals to strengthen the status of local government in the State of Victoria, Australia, November 2000. These proposals are quite specific, and easily applicable to the Canadian situation.
This study, in French, by the Analysis Group, assesses the negative impact of mergers in the City of Montreal. The study includes an Executive Summary in English.
Elastic Cities, Inelastic Governments
Larry S. Bourne
More than half the Canadian population lives in five urban regions which is overwh3elmingly where growth occurs in Canada. These areas may need more powers and more financial resources, but the current local governments are not capable of excerising these powers and are not structured to do so. The urban areas may be elastic, but the governments are not. Local governments outside of these five regions generally face a different problem - managing decline, not growth and expansion.
Elastic cities, Inelastic governments
Prof Larry S. Bourne
The changing nature and patterns of urban growth and development in Canada have made our inelastic and outmoded systems of governing urban areas even more inadequate, and in some cases, dis-functional. Small local governments cannot deal with the new urban realities, region-wide issues, the increasing demands for high-order services, and metropolitan-wide development pressures.
Most of the country now falls into two categories, rapid growth or persistent decline, in both of which inelastic municipalities are clearly inappropriate and increasingly inadequate.
Factum - Public School Boards' Association of Alberta
Dale Gibson Associates, lawyers, Edmonton
This is an excerpt from the September 1999 Factum filed with the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing that school boards are a local body possessing a reasonable degree of autonomy that protects them from provincial intrusion. History and legal precedent are cited in support of this argument. This excerpt consists of the first 54 paragraphs of the factum, and is 33 pages long.
Financing Municipal Elections in Toronto
This study reviews election contributiosn in nine suburban municiaplities in the Toronto area, and the city of Toronto, and concludes that corporate donors, many from the development industry, have a significance presence in suburban Toronto election campaigns.
Globalization and city-region governance
Andrew Sancton, Professor, University of Western Ontario
Globalization does not require or demand that municipal government be restructured, in spite of the fact that these arguments have been made about Montreal and Ottawa, among other Canadian cities. This article examines the connection between the global competitiveness of city-regions and the organization of their municipal governments, briefly comparing the Canadian context to that of the United States and England.
John Godfrey speech, January 22, 2004
Speech to Big City Mayor's meeting in Toronto, including: Elements of a New Deal, Funding, Relationship, Urban Lens, Conclusions.
Law Commission report
`Still the creatures of provinces?
Canadain cities' quest for governmental status,'
a report to the Law Commission of Canada by Mariana Valverde and Ron Levi of the Centre of Crminology, University of Toronto, February 2005.
Legislative Proposals for Local Government
Chief Administrator's Office, City of Toronto
This report is a summary of research undertaken in 1999 by the Strategic and Corporate Policy Division, Chief Administrator's Office, City of Toronto. It summarizes legislative proposals for municipal government. The emphasis is on the proposed new Municipal Act in Ontario, but the report draws on what is happening in Alberta and in other provinces, showing the shortcoming of all provincial initiatives.
Local Government Amalgamations, Discredited 19th Century Ideas Alive in the 21st
Robert L. Bish, Professor, University of Victoria
In the rapidly changing world of the 21st century, flexible local governments are better able to provide services at less cost than monolithic amalgamations.
Local Government Bulletin No. 69, December 2006
1. Municipal government in Canada – looking at the last decade
2. Thanks and farewell
Local Government to Local Administration: The New Order
Dr. Rosemary Kiss, Professor, University of Melbourne
This article recounts the virulent attack on local government by the state government in Victoria, Australia in the 1990s. It includes the loss of local powers, decision-making and local democracy.
Municipal powers, `spheres of jurisdiction' appeal
City of Calgary Legal Department
"This case raises issues of national importance to Canada, involving the relationship between municipalities and the provincial governments and the ability of municipalities to manage their own affairs. This case raises the question of whether the powers of municipalities can be circumscribed by what they cannot do, rather than by what they can do. This case directly addresses the question of how to best equip municipalities to ensure that they are in a position to respond to the changing needs and priorities of their local communities."
From the appeal of the United Taxi Fellowship case, see September 2002 Bulletin.
New improved city legislation
This document proposes draft legislation, prepared by John Sewell, to adequately reflect the powers and resources needed by a big city in Canada in the twenty-first century. Commentary in support of this draft can be found in Bulletin No. 66, June 2006.
One Island, One City, Laval: A Municipal Amalgamation Forgotten
The research report studies studies per capita expenditure following the forced amalgamation in 1965 of 14 municipalities on «Île Jésus» in Quebec, now known as the city of Laval. The study covers the period from 1963 (prior to the amalgamation which occurred in 1965) to 1996. The study is the only one available on the topic. It is available from the author in English and French.
Honourable Lawrence Poitras
This is a summary of a full report (not available in English) concerning the history and expected costs of demergers in the Province of Quebec, with particular reference to Montreal.
Revenue Outflows to Senior Governments from Toronto
Finance Department, City of Toronto
This report by Len Brittain, Director, Treasury and Financial Services, Finance Department, City of Toronto, estimates taxes paid to and services delivered by the provincial and federal governments within the city of Toronto. It concludes that in 1998 there was a net outflow of $3.8 billion from residents and businesses in Toronto to senior governments.
Richard Gilbert on energy
Report of a speech by Richard Gilbert in Hamilton, and the future of energy, March 2006.
Tax Flow Analysis, Canada's Technology Triangle
Canada's Technology Triangle Inc.
This report analyzes tax revenues and expenditures by the provincial and federal governments in Waterloo Region, Ontario. Using 1999 data, the report concludes tax revenues to senior governments were $2.8 billion, and total expenditures by those governments in Waterloo Region were $1.9 billion, for a net surplus to those governments in 1999 of $900 million, or $2000 per capita. The report was prepared in 2001 by Canada's Technology Triangle Inc., a private/public sector economic development corporation in the region. CTT can be reached at www.techtriangle.com . That site contains an attractive PDF version of the report.
Thank you, and farewell
I have been writing and distributing the Local Government Bulletin for the past seven years. In the last 12 months I’ve found it harder to maintain interest as the opportunities for local government empowerment appear to have diminished.
For me it is time to move on. I don’t feel the moment for change is in the air, and at this point there is little I can add to the debate. It’s time for me to focus on other challenges. Thanks for your interest and support, and farewell.
The site will continue as an archive for the foreseeable future.
See Bulletin No. 69
The GATS Negotiations and Municipalities
Comments by Ellen Gould on the impact on municipalities of current proposals before the World Trade Organization, including key areas of risk for municipalities.
The Megacity Threat to Toronto: Less Democracy for More Money
A speech by American consultant Wendell Cox in February 1997, when the threat to amalgamate Toronto municipalities was still just a threat, predicting the megacity would not save money, would weaken democracy, and would be a threat to the city.
The Province of Toronto
This paper explains the simple constitutional requirements in Canada to carve a new province out of an existing one: a province must make the request, and the federal government must approve it. The paper is written by Toronto lawyer Paul Lewin.
Toronto - considering self-government
Mary W. Rowe, editor
This book contains 10 essays on issues important in the debate about self-government for Toronto. Introduction of 7 pages, plus 96 pages of text.
Alan Broadbent, convenor
The Toronto Charter is a draft document proposing that the Toronto urban area have significant powers of autonomy and self-government, including taxing powers and control over most policy matters of urban concern.
Toronto charter city: Towards a New Relationship
Chief Administrator's Office, City of Toronto
A report to the Policy and Finance Committee, City of Toronto, on the powers and revenues needed by Toronto, with reference to powers and revenues now available to other cities in Canada and the world.
Toronto Dominion Bank report on cities
As noted in the current Bulletin, the April 22 report from the Toronto Dominion Bank is provocatively entitled `A Choice between investing in Canada’s cities or disinvesting in Canada’s future.’ It analyzes the condition of Canada’s largest cities and notes the erosion of city infrastructure, the worrisome cut-backs in post secondary education, provincial downloading, and the limited revenue sources available cities from property taxes. It argues for more authorities to cities and new funding arrangements, reviewing various funding proposals in considerable depth, and suggests more federal support is needed in terms of immigration and settlement policies and the social safety net. The report makes a strong case for an enhanced status for cities in Canada.
WTO minutes, Zoning as Barrier to Trade
World Trade Organization, Working Party On Domestic Regulation, October 2, 2001 minutes. At the top of Page 2 there is reference in the draft report to the inclusion of zoning and operating hours regulation as barriers to trade.