“New York was amalgamated”
No. New York City was created through a city county merger in 1898, with consent of its parts through a plebiscite.
Each borough retains a Borough president, a Borough Council, there’s a Council of the whole and a Mayor, and dozens of Community Councils, as well as a Board of Estimate (CAO like powers), with each Borough having representation there, too.
We’ve been shafted.
“Toronto was amalgamated”
Yes, Toronto was amalgamated, though plebiscites held showed that the people were not for it. It was done anyway, in the same way HRM was created, for the same reasons. To bring in (largely) conservative suburbs into a (largely) progressive urban core.
In HRM, once amalgamation had been imposed, successive reductions in the number of Councillors have reduced the “resolution” of representation. This is straight up #gerrymandering, and puts (largely) conservative suburbs in control even more. With health boards and school boards dissolved, these (largely) conservative suburbs have more control than ever.
This is what is currently happening in Toronto with #FordCutsTO. You can bet your bottom dollar, whether it’s this year, next year, or two decades from now – removal of health boards and school boards are the next step for Toronto – the Nova Scotia serfdom template.
“Dartmouth is a community, like Woodlawn, Woodside and Westphal”
No. Dartmouth was a city, with a mayor and council, with jurisidction over education, health, transportation, policing. A body politic, a body corporate.
Woodlawn, Woodside and Westphal were never incorporated, never had their own council – they were annexed with the Town of Dartmouth to form the City of Dartmouth in 1961.
(An Act Relating to the City of Dartmouth S.N.S. 1961, http://0-nsleg-edeposit.gov.ns.ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/…/1961.p…)
“Dartmouth is still a community”
There is a big difference between City and community. A city has it’s own services, infrastructure and implements with which to make a more perfect community.
A “community” in the context of gerrymandered debt district HRM, is simply a vessel to suck tax dollars into a black void, to subsidize the low density sprawl that surrounds us without any effective controls while giving them a “Trump” card vis a vis governance.
The stated reason for amalgamation was to control these costs borne by low density suburbs – 22 years later, the evidence is in; growth of these areas skyrocketed after amalgamation, and there’s no end in sight.
“Regulations haven’t been updated in decades”
Cities that no longer exist cannot create regulations. Therefore, any complaints about out of date regulations, in regards to planning, in regards to anything else – are tone deaf justifications for amalgamation, that completely belie the true nature of our political situation in Dartmouth, as serfs to an imperial amalgamated regional government.
In Metro Vancouver, the municipal federation takes care of funding issues and regional services, taking away from municipalities the ability to horde over resources at the cost of those around them.
A sensible middle ground – local government unencumbered, services provided fairly to all, the best of both worlds.
“Amalgamation saved money, it improved efficiencies”.
Amalgamation didn’t save money, in fact the end costs of amalgamation were 10x what it was posited to save. While there may have been some redundancies improved, it didn’t necessitate the unilateral dissolution of legitimate municipal government to achieve them, as seen in Metro Vancouver.
“It happened 22 years ago, get over it.”
Amalgamation did happen 22 years ago – luckily, there is no statue of limitations in regards to constitutional issues, or in regards to flagrant abuses of basic human rights.
Slavery was once legal – it was once legal to deny Women, First Nations people, those who didn’t own property, the vote. But then “we the people” got up off of our knees and changed things for the better. Bottom-up change.
Not all “change” is positive, or enacted in a sphere of betterment for all. The creation of Halifax Regional Municipality is certainly one of those cases, a top-down imposition, where the status-quo must be revisited and revised.
No longer will serfdom suffice. There’s no “getting over it”.
“What about the Mi’kmaq”
This has to be the grossest talking points of all. Literally using Indigenous people or any other minority group in respect to democratic representation as the reason to take away democratic representation, when lack of representation is the most consequential to those people in the first place! An inherently Kafka-esque construct Halifax County inhabits as a county masquerading a city.
How were the Mi’kmaq consulted during amalgamation? (Crickets)
In what way were the Mi’kmaq given the ability to have a say in the structure of municipal governance? (Crickets)
How does unilaterally dissolving an important democratic body, local governance, a check & balance, benefit Mi’kmaq people? (Crickets)
In Vancouver, their municipal federation allows 23 communities, including a Treaty First Nation – they range in population from 643 to 631,486.
This is what’s done if you care about people, and about democratic representation, you create a municipal federation.
Unilateral amalgamations, unilaterally dissolving local governments, is the antithesis of respect to Indigenous and Settler alike.