January 18, 2012
How mighty is city council’s political middle?
Councillors in the new “lefty middle” downplayed the notion Wednesday that they would become a caucus or political party at City Hall but wouldn’t rule out working together on certain issues.
The “middle” joined with left-leaning councillors and a handful of right-leaning councillors to garner 23 votes, the bare minimum needed to push through several changes to the 2012 budget. Defying Mayor Rob Ford, they reversed around $19 million in cuts.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday sighed at the prospect of those 23 votes lining up again.
“Our control over council, I guess, has been tentative from the outset,” Holyday said.
“It depended on people who clearly were in the mushy middle and some are unpredictable that way, the left are predictable and the right are predictable but the mushy middle are not.
“Certainly a lot of them were susceptible to the union-organized lobbying and ads that were going on. It is really unfortunate they are not stronger people.”
Councillor Josh Matlow, one of the coalition’s key members, predicted coalitions will rise up in the future “because that’s what municipal politics is about.”
“(Tuesday) was about a group of individual councillors coming together to better reflect our residents across the city,” Matlow said. “We’re not a caucus … We don’t believe in the ongoing sports contest that has been City Hall between the left and the right.”
Councillor Doug Ford dismissed the rise of a middle-left coalition.
“It is not this middle-left, they came in on this one vote,” Ford said.
Ford acknowledged the 23 votes may come together again on another issue against the mayor.
Councillor Paul Ainslie said people “bouncing around” is part of municipal politics.
“It will be interesting to see if they can stick together,” he said.
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