The Many Faces of Leadership in a Thriving City: A Rethink of the Toronto Narrative
Published on 17/09/2014
In this Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) pre-election paper, Alan Broadbent takes a fresh look at leadership in Toronto.
Toronto residents have been told over and over that their City faces a leadership crisis. The media has frantically reported on the scandal and intrigue. The mayor has been stripped of his powers. They are told that Council is dysfunctional and that the city, crippled by gridlock and mismanagement, is failing. This narrative misses the mark, argues Alan Broadbent in the second in a series of IMFG Pre-Election Perspectives papers. The fact is, Toronto is booming, and this hasn’t happened by accident.
At City Hall, members of council and staff have done their utmost to fill the leadership vacuum. A less-recognized ingredient in Toronto’s success, however, has been the city-building and civic leadership that has emerged from vibrant and innovative private firms, public institutions, non-profits, and cultural sector organizations in Toronto’s wider civil society. There are many faces of leadership in a thriving city. The paper profiles some of them, and reflects on how, for any great city, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The author Alan Broadbent is chair and co-founder of the IMFG, chairman and CEO of Avana Capital Corporation and Maytree, and author of Urban Nation: Why We Need to Give Power Back to the Cities to Make Canada Strong.