Councillor Shelley Carroll

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Jan 28 - Newsworthy Cuts!

It's the Opening of Winterlicious and Winter in the City. I'm standing in Nathan Phillips Square watching France's Group F perform a fabulous pyrotechnics display over top of our pod-shaped council chambers. I'm awfully sleep deprived from a week of Budget Advisory committee pre-wrap-up deliberations and negotiations. The little fellows from France in flame-retardant suits climbing around on our roof lighting the display seem to be telling me something.

I smell the lighter fluid and gun powder from the Group F display. I know the flames and fire works are part of the show but as I watch the show with David Miller and Councillors Fletcher and Davis, I wonder if these non-Budget Advisory Committee colleagues know the whole thing really may go up in smoke at the end of the month.

We got our new government up at Queen's Park and no one was happier than me. They've got to reverse a lot of change or design something better. That will take time and I was prepared for that. As a Trustee of the School Board, I often told parents that badly done reform would take 20 years to undo. But here I am at City Hall and it seems like same old, same old. The Province owes Toronto a bill of $72 million in agreed upon social downloading costs but won't pay it. The Bill arrives short every year. As of 2005 the amount of social service download dollars that have failed to arrive from the Province has reached $255 million. The Bill has not been paid in other cities too. The fact that we are all hurting is offered up as an explanation.

Ironically, the Province continues to call and ask us to make a payment on our $200 million amalgamation loan which should have been a mitigation fund in the first place. Let's review: short changed every year on social services that were supposed to be funded at 80 % to a total of $255 million. Seems to me the loan is already paid up free and clear!!! Let's move on.