Toronto needs term limits for politicians
People don’t trust politicians. It’s easy to see why. They have a tendency to say one thing and do another.
Some spend our tax money as if there’s an endless supply. All of them are quick to take political discourse to a personal level and never go above playing petty politics.
And then there’s always a handful of them that have managed to be in politics for decades and we wonder how that’s possible.
We all know politicians past and present like this. They don’t really contribute anything and just seem to go through the motions. Their passion for the job long gone.
I think it’s time to permanently retire some of these “dinosaurs” on city council and introduce term limits and new blood into the political process.
A few years back the province decided, wrongly in my opinion, to extend the time in office for municipal politicians to four years from three as it was previously.
Instead of being able to hold our politicians accountable more frequently, this extension further entrenches these types of councillors in city politics. They are holding the city back. They treat their wards as personal fiefdoms.
They sit on important committees and have influence over things like the police service, the TTC and the city budget, but most never bring the needed experience to do these jobs.
They are no longer senior or wise. They set a bad example when making comments such as: “If Mayor Ford is elected, city council will have a caucus meeting and (will) choose their own mayor.”
Whether you agree with the statement or not, it’s in bad taste and completely unprofessional and inappropriate to say.
If I was a constituent of this outgoing councillor, I’d be very upset that my elected representative would choose to circumvent the political process and not attempt to work with someone different.
This is exactly why we need term limits in the city. Politicians like this, who have been around for decades, feel entitled to make these comments as though they speak for an entire city. At some point, the longer they sit on council, politicians go from serving us to dictating to us.
More importantly, they impede others from running for political office. As we all know incumbents have a greater chance to win re-election strictly because of name recognition and an office budget that allows them to shamelessly self-promote. Instead of letting their work do the talking, it’s all about being seen and heard.
Public office should be a noble office to attain. Serving one’s community should be one of the most important things someone can do in their lives.
Here’s how I would implement term limits in Toronto:
- I would bring back three-year terms. Residents can hold their elected officials accountable with greater frequency.
- Councillors and the Mayor would have a limit of running for three terms. This would total nine years which is long enough to implement an agenda but not become too stale.
- It wouldn’t matter if this was done consecutively or over a number of years with breaks. It also wouldn’t matter if a candidate, for example, ran for council one term and then decided to run for Mayor for the last two.
- Once a politician has served three terms their commitment and time in office comes to an end.
Perhaps if we had term limits this would encourage better candidates to run for office. Maybe more work would get done because of the limited amount of time to enact an agenda.
Politicians cannot further entrench themselves in the political process. To do so would be a disservice to everyone in their ward and the city. More people need to be given the opportunity to run for office and represent their constituents.
This can only help strengthen our political process by including people who are passionate about the job and want to make Toronto a better place to live.
At some point, I'm sure, these politicians were passionate about the city and making it a great place to live. However, time has caught up to them, the job has worn them down, and they need to recognize the need to step aside and let others take this city to a different place.
If these senior politicians cannot recognize the need to step aside, term limits would serve as a notice for them to step aside and leave public life.