A kumbaya vibe hung thickly over Queen's Park on Monday morning after a regular tête-à-tête between the premier and mayor of Toronto.
There was much mutual patting-on-the-back at the media conference that followed, with both Kathleen Wynne and John Tory lauding each other's commitment to, well, each other.
"If there's any complaint that people had, it's that we all spent too much time debating each other or debating somebody, and we didn’t get enough done, and now we are very happy with the fact that we're all working together," Tory said. Added Wynne: "Having this alignment among the leaders of the three levels of government is extremely helpful."
What that synchronicity spells, as noted in comments made Monday, is steps toward improving policing and transit infrastructure.
For starters, Wynne has now officially been briefed on a mid-June report from the Toronto police transformational task force, which recommends a sweeping overhaul of municipal policing, including a culture shift. The report comes amidst a redrafting of the 25-year-old provincial police act.
"I think that [task force report] is going to lead to some very positive changes in terms of modernizing policing, using technology better. We discussed some of the ways we hope the province can help us with that," Tory said, citing as one example boosts to technology and personnel to manage traffic. "Things like that are not the kind of police work that, most of the time, police officers themselves want to be doing."
Wynne said she liked the idea of having city-owned and operated traffic enforcement cameras in school zones and other high-collision intersections.
"I said we are supportive of the notion, particularly in the school zones. That’s the specific request at this point and, if that’s the way the city wants to move forward, I think that’s a good idea," she said.
Today's meeting also happened to occur days before Ontario's ombudsman will present the government with its report on how police de-escalate conflict situations, prompted by the deadly shooting of Sammy Yatim, who was alone and holding a knife on a Dundas streetcar when he was felled by police in 2013.
Second came transit infrastructure which is definitely on track, Tory said, as evinced by the flurry of announcements made last week by Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca. All told, Metrolinx is building eight new GO train stops in Toronto, six of which are on routes that are part of Tory's SmartTrack.
Tory said he was "gratified" the province has committed substantial funding to make transit projects in the city a reality, the best single example being his own SmartTrack baby.
And, a request to Metrolinx from the public accounts committee earlier this month to look at whether the Union-Pearson Express should be integrated with the Toronto Transit Commission didn't come up at all — perhaps indicative of the fact that the province and city are A-OK with operations as-is, Tory quipped.
"We have enough problems," Wynne said and laughed.
To contact the reporter on this story: