Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

Council Scorecard: how did your councillor vote on food trucks and the island airport?

By: Metro Canada Published on Thu Apr 17 2014

Though city hall these days has mostly been consumed by election fever — a ridiculously long-lasting ailment that apparently limits cognitive ability — important items continue to work their way through committees and council. While things have definitely slowed down now that we're approaching the end of this council term, there are still items from the past few city council meetings that warrant inclusion on the scorecard — my ongoing measure of how councillors are voting on significant city issues.

I've added four items to the scorecard this month, all of which relate to issues you've read about: the long-awaited reform of Toronto's taxicab industry, the expansion of the island airport, the planned renovations to BMO Field and, of course, our favourite political powder keg: food trucks. How did your councillor vote? Let's look at the scorecard.

New Votes

Click the image to see it bigger

The votes added:

I debated including Ex39.4, because I don't usually include votes that pass without much debate, but Mayor Rob Ford was very vocal about his opposition to the plan to expand BMO Field. His issue? The $10-million contribution the city will make to help fund renovations to the publicly-owned venue. Ford called this “corporate welfare” but only two of his colleagues agreed, one of whom was his brother. After the vote, Ford suggested he was barred from a VIP area at the Air Canada Centre in retaliation, but Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment never had any reason to be concerned the plan wouldn't pass.

Council's long and heated debate on island airport expansion mostly amounted to a decision to delay their decision, but Motion 5 of EX40.1 was illustrative. There, Coun. Peter Milczyn moved to look at further restrictions on operating hours at the island airport as part of the renegotiation of the tripartite agreement governing the airport. His motion failed on a 19-25 vote. The results are a pretty clear indication of how councillors feel about the airport generally, as anyone who voted for reduced operating hours is unlikely to support any kind of expansion.

Finally, there was the food truck debate — item LS27.1 — in which the notion of selling food from a truck was held up and examined in an incredible amount of detail, as if it were some ancient riddle shrouded in complexity. The outcome? There will be a few more places where food trucks can set up. Maybe. The debate saw a lot of competing concerns. Some worried about the commercialization of public space, which is reasonable. Others worried about established businesses facing competition, which is not. In the end, the most crucial restriction was the one limiting trucks from operating within 50 metres of open restaurants. Council voted 13-24 in favour of the restriction — I've included that vote on the scorecard.

Trend Watch

Coun. Ana Bailão's Ford Nation percentage — the measure of how often she's voted with Ford — creeps back up above 30 per cent, so she's been reclassified as a mushy middler.

There are just four council meetings left before election, and the big question is who will emerge at the end of this term as the anti-Ford — the councillor who most often voted against the mayor. Coun. Gord Perks currently has a slight edge over Coun. Janet Davis, with Coun. Adam Vaughan close behind. Place your bets.

This post was originally published at on 2014-04-17T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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