Outside the United States, forced municipal mergers were a popular policy in many European countries and Canadian provinces during the 1960s and 1970s. The city of Laval, just north of Montreal, and the "unicity" of Winnipeg owe their origins to this period - both amalgamations failed to meet their original objectives. Despite the emergence of "public choice" theory - which justifies municipal fragmentation on market principles - some politicians and public servants in the 1990s have continued to advocate municipal amalgamations as a means of reducing public expenditure, particularly in Ontario. In Merger Mania Andrew Sancton demonstrates that this approach has generally not saved money. He examines the history of amalgamation, as well as studying recent forced municipal mergers in Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Sudbury. In the concluding chapter he examines the case for municipal amalgamation on the Island of Montreal and argues that those who would abolish locally elected municipal councils are obligated to explain very carefully - especially in light of evidence to the contrary - exactly why they think such drastic measures are necessary. A compelling examination of a timely issue, Merger Mania is a must-read for anyone interested in the politics of city governments.
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press ISBN: 9780773521407 Number of pages: 184
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