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Ford says he's had 'positive feedback' over cutting Toronto city council size

Ontario Premier Doug Ford applauds as Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivers the speech from the throne to open the new legislative session at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto on June 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Premier Ford said his government took action to make governments in Toronto, York, Peel, Niagara and Muskoka more efficient.

Speaking at the 2018 annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario taking place in Ottawa, Ford said it’s about saving money and improving decision making.

When it comes to reducing the size of Toronto council to about half, Ford said he’s had positive feedback.

“My friends I’ve been in politics a long time, no matter what I’ve done in municipal politics or provincial politics, I have never ever had a more positive feedback than what we did at the City of Toronto,” he told the crowd.

Ford said more politicians does not mean better political decisions.

“Let me tell you, that we are excited about this law and what it will do, saving taxpayers $25-million and improving decision making across the city,” he said.

The Progressive Conservative government’s legislation, known as Bill 5, comes just months ahead of the municipal election and aligns Toronto’s ward map with both federal and provincial ridings.

The bill will see city council slashed nearly in half — from 47 to 25 councillors.

Toronto city councillors gathered for a special meeting on Monday to discuss a report from the city’s legal experts, on whether a challenge of the provincial legislation to cut council nearly in half is likely to be successful.

Ford said that he is occasionally asked if he plans to cut councils in other cities, to which he replies that many of Toronto’s issues are unique.

He says he has no plans to cut the size of other Ontario municipal governments the same way.