Idea alert -

Idea alert

Do we need a minister of cities?


Brent Toderian wants the federal government to establish a minister of cities.

If positioned, led, and funded properly, a ministry of cities could be the place where a new national strategy on transportation, both within and between cities, could finally be born. A place where a true, long-overdue visionary approach to national urban housing could be re-built. A place where everything from smart taxes, urban mobility and infrastructure deficits, to urban sprawl, better suburbs and inner-city transformations could be better understood and debated.

A ministry of state for urban affairs previously existed in the 1970s.

One problem: the cabinet is already arguably too large. Adding a cities minister might be a good idea, but could we also get the total population of the cabinet down to something like 30?


Idea alert

  1. Do we really need or want another ministry that has no constitutional authority in its domain?

  2. The Ministry of Transport’s full title is “Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities”, and we already have a Minister of Revenue.

    • Agree completely. And you just *know* that there’d have to be a Minister of Rural Communities created at the same time. And both would be federal appointee’s essentially doing what civic governments exist for.

  3. We need at most a dozen ministers….most of the ones we have are silly and could be eliminated …I mean srsly, a minister of sport?? …….but a minister for cities would be a good one to add.

    • Cities are municipal governments and are thus the creations of the respective provincial governments. This being said, see AT1 below.

      • Which is irrelevant.

  4. Terrible idea. The last thing civic leaders need is the federal government “helping” them with anything. And hell, the diverse character’s our cities in different regions is a major part of Canada’s charm. The fact that Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver are so radically different from one another is awesome. It’s why, as Canadians, we probably enjoy travelling within our own country more than most. Letting the federal government start imposing it’s homogeneous will on civic governments would only decrease diversity over the years. The massive differences between our cities is also why we don’t need a national strategy on transportation. Civic leaders know what they want and need. If the feds decide they want to provide funding for urban transportation, then cut checks based on populations. The Trans-Canada highway already connects every major city. Everything else provinces look after. Redundant government is never a good idea.

  5. I’m late to this party, but we don’t need a Minister responsible, we need existing cabinet members to understand their responsibilities so that they are sensitive to and strategically engaged in, rather than hostile to the needs of cities for infrastructure, transportation, heritage, environment and justice.

  6. Seems to me what Canada needs is a Minister of integration of the vast majority of Canada with the tiny bits that house most of us. There is a tradition in that too in that the Canadian govt used to feel it should connect ALL the parts of the nation. A minister of cities is actually kind of dumb, since that is where all the money and politics are already centred. Yes, they could better coordinate, in which case I also suggest a minister of provinces, while we’re at it – because it is much the same.
    No, what Canada really needs is a minister who can work between the very conflicting values and needs of very low population areas and ultra-high population areas, and the no-population areas which are essential for Canada’s well being. It behooves the value extraction industries attacking Nature (for there is no harmony there at all), if no one sees the horrors being inflicted. There are a few people out here who struggle to do right with no real functionality as all the votes are with the masses of people living in the big-smokes, which are tiny tiny bits of Canada.
    There are other reasons places are important besides population and resource extraction.