Megacity Malaise

Megacity Malaise

April 1, 2016 | 110 pages

This study is among the first in Canada to document the transformation of municipal governance and public services from Keynesian to neoliberal public policy at the urban scale. Focusing on the neoliberal transformation of cites in Ontario from 1954 to 2014, with special attention to Toronto, it begins with a theoretical analysis of the remaking of municipal public finances and intergovernmental transfers, exposing the social and political causes of urban fiscal crises. This study makes the case that cities have been underfinanced, which has led to a deterioration of public services based on the contention that they are unaffordable. Reductions to employee compensation have been a stated aim of municipal austerity. Megacity Malaise analyzes the interactions and strategies used by civic workers and community groups as they struggle to understand and respond to demands for concessions. Focusing on two major Toronto strikes (by CUPE locals 79 and 416), it puts forward a range of evidence-based social policy alternatives to austerity, drawing attention to labour-community coalitions as the most effective strategy for building resistance against neoliberalism. As headquarters to Canada's largest financial institutions, local government, employment centre and municipal unions, Toronto provides a vivid setting for studying municipal restructuring. Fanelli's analysis is grounded in critical political economy and informed by his decade-long experiences as a Toronto civic worker and municipal unionist. Rigorous intellectual analysis is combined with municipal employee interviews and participant observation, providing a unique methodological approach to examining the socio-political struggles in Toronto and connecting them to municipalities across Ontario and beyond.

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ISBN: 9781552668146

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