To say the past year has been a quiet one at Toronto city hall may be an understatement, but there was plenty to keep mayor John Tory busy, including criticism from his predecessor.
Tory sat down to discuss the issues of the past year, as well as the ones looming in 2016, in an exclusive year-end interview with CityNews anchor Roger Petersen.
The topics included policing and photo radar, but also the criticism he’s faced from former mayor Rob Ford.
Still a councillor, Ford wrote a scathing opinion piece saying Tory has become a typical politician.
As for new policies in the upcoming year, Tory is suggesting that we revisit the idea of photo radar, something that didn’t prove popular in the past.
Tory told CityNews that he’s open to discussing the use of the technology in school zones.
“People get a bit worked up about this technology, including what came to be known as photo radar, but the police would say there’s a huge problem, and residents would say, there’s a huge problem in school zones with people speeding,” Tory said.
“So yes, you can have in scattered school zones once in a while a radar trap with a police officer there, or you could use technology…this is a debate we better have,” he said.
Tory’s photo radar idea also ties in with another big issue facing the city: the 2016 police budget that ballooned past a billion dollars for the first time ever.
In November, the Toronto Police Services Board approved a budget that crept past a billion dollars, marking a $27 million increase over the previous year.
Tory said it was essential to look for savings, and technology can aid in the fight to clamp down on swelling costs.
“Can we afford any longer, I would answer no, to have two officers sitting in a police car watching to see if somebody turns left illegally at an intersection? First of all, do you need two officers to do that? Secondly, do you need any officers at all or could you use technology for that so those two officers could be redeployed into areas where we need police officers…”
“These are discussions we are going to have.”
Also front and centre is how the police deal with the public’s trust.