Defining a Canadian approach to municipal consolidation in major city-regions

Jim Lightbody


Where there is a central government with an exclusive mandate over municipalities, along with a state executive structure using the Westminster model, then the consolidation of squabbling municipalities within metropolitan boundaries becomes a distinct possibility A general model of municipal restructuring for the Canadian metropolis is more widespread than the superficially unique circumstances of each case might suggest. The thinking here is informed by Clarence Stone’s urban regime model, which helps to clarify what influences constituted the political tipping point for central government action. The paper focuses primarily on the Toronto and Montreal city-regional municipal consolidations at the end of the last century. It is argued that the decisive element in setting the stage for significant change lay in the pervasive influence of corporate Canada in generally shaping provincial political discourse. What has not previously been of much interest for investigators is the matter of direct consequences for the low politics of city-regional governance. As will be seen, they were both tangible and considerable.

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