Trudeau meets Tory at city hall but no new funding for Toronto yet
TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first visit to Toronto City Hall but didn’t open federal purse strings to any immediate new funding, despite Mayor John Tory saying the city is ready to move on priorities like transit and housing.
The pair met for around an hour Wednesday, and Tory and Trudeau both spoke of the two levels of government being closer partners on city issues.
Tory said Trudeau’s election “put behind us the politics of division and we are working much better together to build the city of the future.” Trudeau, meanwhile, thanked Tory for his public leadership on the settling of Syrian refugees.
The Liberal government is committed to city priorities like transit — including the proposed SmartTrack line — and affordable housing, Tory said.
“I know their interests are aligned with ours,” he said.
But Trudeau sidestepped questions on just when federal cash will start flowing to the city.
“We’re going do this right, we’re going do this responsibly, and we’re going to get it done the right way,” Trudeau said, adding his government is in pre-budget consultations.
When asked if things were progressing fast enough, Tory said Ottawa is “moving with dispatch” on city funding, and noted both the Trudeau meeting and others he’s had with Liberal cabinet members.
But Tory left no doubt the city is ready to act now on any new federal money.
“Especially with community housing, we’re ready to move.”
“We’re ready to work with the government and to do it right… but to get on with it.”
Tory said Trudeau’s meeting was the first official visit by a prime minister to city hall since amalgamation.
Trudeau got a bit of the celebrity treatment as he was met with a crowd of onlookers when he arrived to meet with Tory.
Spectators held smartphones high and jostled with the media to snap photos of Trudeau and Tory as they posed for a photo-op in front of the TORONTO sign at Nathan Phillips Square.
Inside city hall, Trudeau fan Nicholas Montgomery wore a shirt bearing a picture of the prime minister set against a spacey backdrop — which the federal leader signed before heading into a closed-door meeting with Tory.
“We designed the sweater and we really wanted to get a picture with him and even better we got him to sign it,” Montgomery said.
“We made it because we are just really excited about Trudeau being the prime minister of Canada, his kind of new ideas he is bringing to the table and his vision.”
With files from Erica Vella.
© 2016 Shaw Media