Ten years ago, amalgamation increased the size of our municipal
government. At the same time, it reduced opportunities for the public to
become involved in local decision-making. In the absence
of public dialogue and transparency, citizens can be hard-pressed
to gain a sense of the City’s current priorities and its path for
According to a poll released
August 27 by the Toronto Board of Trade, municipal candidates who focus
their platform on strong economic policy will encourage more
Torontonians to vote and, in turn, win more votes for
themselves. The poll is part of the fourth VoteToronto2010.com
campaign theme: improving civic democracy.
The poll was designed and analyzed for the Board by University of
Toronto professor Peter Loewen and conducted by Innovative Research
Group Inc. Between July 22 and July 30, 506 randomly selected Toronto
residents were contacted by phone. The poll results are considered
accurate within +/- 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Key findings: • 43 per cent believe City Hall has a bigger effect
on their day-to-day life than either the federal government (25 per
cent) or the provincial government (32 per cent).
• When asked to consider City Hall’s effect on
Toronto’s economy on a scale of 0-10 (where 0 = no effect and 10 =
largest effect), the average respondent answered 7. More than 80 per
cent answered 5 or higher.
• When asked what the focus of the mayor should be, 45 per
cent said growing Toronto’s economy and creating jobs in
“The results demonstrate the potential for a virtuous cycle in
Toronto’s municipal campaign,” said University of Toronto
professor Peter Loewen. “If mayoral and council candidates take
seriously the challenge of presenting good economic policy with clarity
and conviction, then citizens will be more likely to vote. In
turn, citizens will be more likely to elect candidates who focus on
growing Toronto’s economy.”
If residents do not feel that they have a stake in the City, they
will not take part in the electoral process. Voter turnouts of only
39.3 percent in 2006 and 38 percent in 2003 are a very telling
testament. This time around, candidates should have no doubt about
what voters are now telling them.