Jul 30, 2014
By Jane Brown
Toronto’s controversial land transfer tax is becoming an election issue once again. In 2010, Rob Ford campaigned on a promise to get rid of it. Four years later, the mayor says he’s still committed to eliminating the tax. He blames spending-happy councillors at City Hall for not joining with him to do away with it. Last year, the city brought in $358-million from the tax, double the windfall in 2009. Mayoral challenger John Tory says, “I’m not going to talk about a plan to get rid of it until I can find some way to replace that money, and we’ll get to work on that day 1, but I just can’t make promises that I don’t know I can keep.” Olivia Chow is also in favour of keeping the land transfer tax. She says, “I don’t think there should be any changes, because I don’t want property taxes to go up too much over the rate of inflation. Also, I want to invest in communities.” Candidates Karen Stintz and David Soknacki say they would keep the tax but would try to make it more fair.
The five main mayoral candidates were invited to have dinner together last evening to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. They all accepted the invitation to join in a meal of Mideast cuisine at a downtown Toronto restaurant. Stintz, like the others, thought it was a nice change. “It was lovely,” she said, “and a very fitting tribute to our city and the celebration of Eid and the Muslim community.” She said they talked about their families and the parts of Toronto that they love. Rob Ford admitted they were having a good time, and then joked, that “we’ll be at each others throats tomorrow!”