Giorgio Mammoliti wants panhandling banned from Toronto’s streets—but encouraged at Queen’s Park
Taking a break from sniffing out wayward communists on Facebook, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has joined forces with fellow councillor Doug Holyday and others in an attempt to get the province to change the city’s panhandling laws. But unlike Holyday, Mammoliti actually has a plan—although we’re not saying it’s a good one—to force the issue if Queen’s Park refuses to act.
“My bylaw would see the practice banned everywhere but at Queen’s Park,” the Ward 7 York West councillor said. “In fact, we would encourage panhandling at Queen’s Park and camping with tents, too.”
The controversial councillor is just half joking.
“We have tried to get the province to listen in the more conventional way. Maybe if they were to see the panhandling when they arrive at work, they will realize it’s a major problem for Toronto,” he said. “I would eliminate all shelters, too, and have the province and the private sector chip in to build transitional housing with all of the support mechanisms.
Obviously, there are some (read: lots) of problems with this idea—namely, that Queen’s Park doesn’t care about its appearance, and, of course, that the province could simply overrule Toronto’s bylaw with a law of its own. But we also have to admit that we like Mammoliti’s spirit on this one—he’s showing a kind of aggression toward the provincial overlords that we like to see from city hall. Heck, this idea could even be applied more broadly: say, no subway or streetcar stops at Queen’s Park until Ontario kicks in for half of the TTC’s operating fund, or no garbage pickup outside the provincial offices at Bay and Wellesley. It’s just so tempting to stick the province with the city’s problems after they’ve stuck Toronto with so many of theirs, we almost want to forget that the whole thing would be nothing more than a short-lived publicity stunt. Oh well.