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"Red rover, red rover, we call Doug Ford over," a group of snack-brandishing kids and parents chanted to the grinning councillor during a protest against city hall budget cuts.
Ford got a big cheer by letting himself be coaxed over from his council chamber chair Thursday morning, but he refused juice and a cracker, or to "pinky swear" that he won't cut subsidized child-care spaces.
"Can you folks go to the province and talk to the premier" to pressure him to fund 2,000 child-care spaces the city can't afford, Ford asked - before returning to his seat to a chorus of boos.
More than 100 parents and babies, toddlers and bigger kids crowded the public gallery. They soon had left-leaning councillors, including Pam McConnell and Joe Mihevc, eating out of their snack trays.
Allies of Mayor Rob Ford, including Doug Ford, Paul Ainslie and deputy mayor Doug Holyday, watched from their seats, smiling, as parents yelled: "What about the rest of you? Come join us! Don't you support child care?"
The executive committee voted Tuesday against eliminating 2,000 child-care subsidies, instead urging the federal and provincial governments to work with the city on a strategy to expand affordable daycare over two years.
The proposed cuts, along with a host of others to environmental programs, snow clearing, animal control and more will, however, be examined again by the budget committee later this fall.
"Are you swearing allegiance to child care?" Amina Vance, 10, asked Councillor Raymond Cho, who nodded and smiled as he nibbled on a biscuit.
- reprinted from the Toronto Star
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