Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan say they would accept a referendum on whether to build the casino they both want for the city.
“We’re leaving it up to council and the people of Toronto,” Duncan said. “We’ll work with those who want to work with us, and we certainly won’t impose anything on anybody.”
Residents of all six of the former municipalities that now make up the Toronto metropolitan area overwhelmingly rejected the suggestion of casinos in a 1997 referendum. In a poll in January, 50 percent of 1,560 residents surveyed were opposed and 35 percent were in favor.
City council, however, wasn’t as supportive of the mayor. With several competing plans to offer a referendum, the council delayed a decision about how to proceed until May at the earliest.
The mayor and finance minister said a Toronto casino would create good jobs and stimulate the economy. Duncan said investment could total C$4 billion and create 4,000 permanent jobs. The province, he said, envisions an “entertainment destination” unparalleled in Canada.