Casino proposal should be thoroughly debated
The public debate over a proposed Toronto casino began Wednesday at Toronto and East York community council with a declaration from city Councillor George Mammoliti that the meeting was “illegal.”
George has never been the sharpest knife, (which explains his utility as a lieutenant to Mayor Rob Ford), but to attack the legitimacy of such a hot-button topic at a committee of council is as dumb as dirt.
Only George could say “I don’t think this meeting should exist,” then vault the fence and opine that the casino debate should be open to the whole city and not just the Toronto and East York councillors who organized the forum.
He must have been watching Mitt Romney last week.
George knew the deck was stacked against a casino by a majority of community council members who would vote against it, and by the many people who oppose it among the 40 who signed up to address the meeting.
George is right; the casino debate should indeed be open to the whole city, and great effort should be made to canvass the opinions of anyone who feels strongly about it.
But for some reason he didn’t see community council as the correct venue, and the Wednesday meeting as the right time to get started.
Here’s a bet: If the feverish casino lobby had been organized in stacking the list of speakers with shills, it would have been a perfect time to kick off the discussion.
If city council is to take its direction from the opinions of people without a direct stake in the decision, it will quite likely turn down a casino.
Has anyone out there heard a deep, throaty rumble from a public that absolutely demands a casino within the borders of Toronto?
I’m still waiting to hear it.
So bring on the debate, at all of Toronto’s community councils and anywhere else. Let’s make sure everyone is heard, and that city council makes it decision based on a consensus of public opinion.
I’d double down on a wager that a majority of the public doesn’t want a casino, and instinctively knows that the false promise of kajillion casino jobs comes at a terrible price.