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Tory Abandons Own Waste Collection Privatization Plans

Image: Thestar.com

Opting to avoid being associated with a failure, Mayor Tory has taken leave of his plan to contract out garbage. A recent staff report on the issue has been sent back for additional study and it would seem that at least for the time being, the issue has been closed.

The Death of a 2014 Campaign Promise

When the possibility of defeat on a 2014 campaign promise to further privatize waste collection became increasingly apparent, Mayor John Tory did what might have been the only sensible thing that could be done. He now says that additional facts are going to be needed on this issue, which has divided council to a significant degree in recent times.

Critics of the plan point to the fact that Mayor Tory has struggled to generate necessary support for the measure. Had Mayor Tory continued on with his initial plan and 2014 campaign promise, he may have found himself staring down the barrel of his most significant defeat before council in recent memory.

A vote of 40-4 was passed in favor of tabling the measure for additional research and discussion.

CUPE Local 416 members were in attendance for the decision. Their reaction to the news was one of celebration. The Local 416 President in particular celebrated the announcement, while making it clear that this decision clearly favored the people of Toronto. Lobbying by anti-privatization groups throughout the area were extremely vocal during the debate on the measure.

To be sure, Tory and his supporters tried on repeated occasions to create a positive image of their intentions. Tory went so far as to pose for a photograph with a West End family, which has been enjoying a number of cost-saving benefits since implementing private waste collection measures over twenty years ago. However, a meeting held by the public works committee indicated that it actually costs less per household to have municipal employees handle picking up trash in one area, as opposed to the cost-saving benefits enjoyed by another area.

Where does the Measure go from Here

The Toronto Environmental Alliance also weighed in on the issue. They said that diversion rates for waste are lower west of Yonge Street served through private collectors, as opposed to Scarborough. TEA has also demanded more information on this complex issue.

When will the issue come up again? There is a good deal of debate on the subject. Opponents are confident that this issue will not return prior to the next municipal election. City council has been praised for making the decision to wait for more information to come through. We can be certain that this additional information is going to come at some point in the near future. What this information is going to reveal is currently a matter of debate. For now, opponents are confident that they are not going to have to worry about this issue for a long time to come. Tory himself has been praised for handling the situation in a way that allows for both sides to take a break, gather more information, and return at some point to resume the conversation. It is believed that an action such as this one will keep the city of Toronto from descending into needless, destructive bickering.

At the same time, the decision is being praised as a clear way to avoid a rash decision. Opponents of privatizing waste management believe that Toronto residents have earned a respite from an issue that became very serious, very quickly.

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