Where Are We Going From Here Or Has Amalgamation Been Good For Nature

The neoliberal ecological modernization model, which made roll-out environmentalism possible, has now reached an entirely new stage. With the election of a new mayor and council in November 2003, a potentially new regime was born: a regime of social-democratic modernization. Wayne Roberts comments on the consequences of Miller's election for food policy in Toronto:

When David Miller got elected, the next morning I got up and I felt like I had a hundred pound weight lifted off my shoulders, For the last eight years we have been fighting to keep programs alive that could be cut at any moment at anybody's whim.

Now all of a sudden we're talking about a whole new Council. The Food Policy Council has two Councilors that are assigned to it. They have never once come to a meeting of the Food Policy Council in the three years that I've been on it. We had six members on the Food and Hunger Action Committee and we had to literally write every speech they did— you name it.

(Personal interview, 3 December 2003)

A senior bureaucrat in City Hall expressed similar experiences of the shift. In explaining that the city was leaving the (neoliberal) age of efficiencies above all behind, a new era of "effectiveness" had seemed to begin with Miller's election:

Just drive around the city. Have a look at the parks. People come back to the—this is the starkest analogy—people that have lived in the city 10 years ago and they've moved away and they came back and they went "what happened to my city?" You know? And its been ten years, and I can't blame it on amalgamation, because amalgamation was built on the premise of cost saving and efficiencies. Where I was going with this thought is, this is a new era we feel that there's a new.. .energy around the city, that we're going into an effectiveness. What are we effective at? How do we make the services better to meet the demands and expectations of the public. So this is a new era for us, and I think it's just started since the latest mayoral election.

(Librecz, personal interview, 25 May 2004)

Roll-out environmentalism and roll-out neoliberalism are embraced in a set of new policies at the urban level, which reorganize major areas of urban economic, political and social life. Whereas changing the capitalist foundations of Toronto's existence are not up for debate by any means, the city's major material streams and their social regulation are under constant redefinition.

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