chapter  Chapter 7
Toronto’s Reformist Regime, Municipal Amalgamation and Participatory Democracy
WithJulie-Anne Boudreau
Pages 18

This chapter begins with an analysis of the gap between Toronto’s participatory culture and the new institutions inherited with the 1998 amalgamation policies. It presents three projects implemented by the new amalgamated City of Toronto in order to recreate the reformist participatory culture: the new City Plan, the Diversity Advocate, and participation in the municipal budget. In December 1996, the Harris government announced its forced amalgamation plans for Toronto. A simple survey of documents produced by the City of Toronto highlights how the discourse on local democracy remains important. The case of Toronto clearly illustrates that the discourse on local democracy sustained by reformists has been deradicalised and incorporated into a neo-liberal regime that was built on the opportunities opened by amalgamation and cutbacks. Neo-communitarianism and the discourse on local democracy in Toronto carry a double meaning, which calls for a profound rethinking of reformism.