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Key Votes at City Council

VoteToronto has selected 14 key votes on issues that many Torontonians care about. While they do not give a full portrayal of a councillor's voting over their entire term at City Hall, the 14 votes are representative of their positions on these key issues. They also show where the councillors truly stood when it came time to vote.

Many of these votes are now key issues in the election campaign. Candidates are making numerous promises about issues voters care about – TTC, the environment, childcare, the Island Airport, and others. But promises are cheap – how did they vote on these issues in council? Many incumbent councillors may ‘talk the talk’, but did they ‘walk the walk’, and actually vote for the issues they claim to support?

The key votes that VoteToronto selected were on the following issues:

  • Increasing TTC Funding: this proposal to restore $10 million in funding to the TTC, in order to prevent a fare increase, was defeated.

  • DVP Widening: a proposed study on expanding the Don Valley Parkway was narrowly defeated.
  • Funding Traffic Calming: a motion to increase funds for traffic calming on Toronto’s streets was defeated.
  • Creating a Lobbyist Registry: this motion approved the creation of a lobbyist registry, where all lobbyists would have to register with City Hall to act on municipal business.
  • Demanding an MFP Enquiry: this vote against settling with MFP led to the now-famous enquiry into the city’s tainted computer leasing deal.
  • Disclosing Police Spending: this motion proposed to disclose police salaries over $100,000, and investigate why some constables’ base pay is almost doubled by overtime work
  • Front Street Extension: this vote approved a plan to extend Front Street by 2 km west of Bathurst to Dufferin Street, with a new interchange to the Gardiner Expressway.
  • Island Airport: this vote approved three major components of an expansion of the Island Airport – a fixed link to the airport was approved in principle, unlimited commercial air traffic was permitted, and a lawsuit by the Toronto Port Authority (who run the airport) was settled for $48 million by City Council.
  • Childcare Subsidies: this motion proposed to restore 200 childcare subsidies, but failed to pass due to a tie vote.
  • School Pools: this motion was to audit school pools in order to determine which ones could be kept open. The vote failed to pass because less than two-thirds of council voted in favour.
  • Pesticide Ban: this vote approved a ban of certain pesticides on lawns, to be introduced in April 2004, and fully implemented by 2005.
  • Homeless: this vote approved a request for city staff to study methods of preventing and prohibiting the homeless from sleeping on the street.
  • Garbage Privatization: a motion to contract out garbage collection in Scarborough to a private company was defeated.
  • Union Station Lease: this vote approved a 100-year lease of Union Station to Union Pearson Group, despite the exposure of a scandal-ridden bidding process.