I have included an accessible plain-text copy of my inquiry below:
October 28, 2013
Ulli Watkiss, City Clerk
12th Floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto ON M5H 2N2
Dear Ms. Watkiss,
Re: Administrative inquiry regarding City of Toronto news release boilerplate
I am submitting this administrative inquiry under Municipal Code S27-61 to seek information regarding the status of the boilerplate that is included with each City of Toronto news release.
In November of last year, I wrote to the City Manager requesting that this boilerplate be revised to remove the inappropriately ideological, partisan, and politically aspirational (rather than factual) content which purports to speak for City Council without the authority to do so. Rather than serving as a political weathervane, the official boilerplate describing our city ought to reflect the fundamental characteristics and qualities of Toronto that we can all agree on.
A spokesperson from Strategic Communications announced in January that they were working to revise the paragraph to make it more factual and to reflect, for example, that Toronto will be hosting the Pan Am Games in 2015. And yet, several months later, there has been no apparent progress. There was also a suggestion by Strategic Communications at the time that this progress was being held up by a member of the mayor’s office even though there is no authority given to the mayor’s office to prescribe the City of Toronto’s news release boilerplate.
I am requesting answers to the following questions:
1. Why does each news release from the City of Toronto continue to include the inappropriate boilerplate despite staff’s stated intention to revise it?
2. What is the course of action that City Council can take to support the intention of Strategic Communications to revise the City of Toronto’s news release boilerplate to ensure it is factual and asserts what we all value about our city rather than being ideological, partisan or politically aspirational?
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul’s