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posted on October 12, 2007
Outdoor rinks hostage to icy political calculation
By: DAVID CAYLEY
Published: October 12, 2007
Source: The Toronto Star
Toronto's artificial outdoor ice rinks are currently being held hostage by the mayor of Toronto and his supporters. After city council failed to approve his proposed new taxes over the summer, the mayor produced a package of high-profile service reductions, affecting libraries, community centres and rinks.
These services were apparently chosen for the immediate impact their loss would have on the citizenry. Mayor David Miller has never explicitly said so, but his hope seems to have been to dramatize the city's fiscal distress and mobilize support for the new taxes by imposing as much inconvenience on the citizens as possible.
The effect of this strategy has been to turn the rinks into a political pawn. The only way to get the rinks open, says the mayor's faction, is to support the new taxes. I think this has been a terrible mistake. Toronto rinks should not be treated as an optional service to be turned on and off at the political whim of the mayor and council. They are a fundamental part of Toronto's winter life and should no more be toyed with than other basic services like roads or sewers.