Economy

Doug Ford makes it known that he will not be stopped

Doug Ford makes it known that he will not be stopped

The move comes after a judge ruled earlier on Monday not to allow the province to cut Toronto city council by almost half because it would have "substantially interfered with both the candidate's and the voter's right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms".

With no compelling reason to enact Ford's legislation while Toronto is in the midst of the campaign leading up to the October 22 municipal election, the approach a reasonable government concerned about the fundamental rights of its citizens would have been to appeal the ruling to a higher court.

Ford, who abruptly announced the coucnil-cutting plan in late July, had argued the move would improve decision-making on the council, where he served one term. If the Province were to redraw ward boundaries along federal and provincial riding lines in the future-like they're trying to do in Toronto-Ottawa City Hall would have just eight councillors plus the mayor. "The current gridlock has crippled Toronto City Hall and we'll replace this broken system where transit, infrastructure and housing can not get built", said Ford.

He also falsely accused the judge of being a crony appointed by former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, even though the judge was not appointed by McGuinty - the judge was an appointment by the federal government. "As things now stand - and until a constitutionally valid provincial law says otherwise - the City has 47 wards", the judge wrote.

That honour goes to Premier Doug Ford, who not long afterwards said he plans to use the Charter's notwithstanding clause for the first time in Ontario history.

Ontario's Superior Court delivered a damning decision Monday, ruling Ford's gerrymandering law is undemocratic and unconstitutional.

However, legal counsel for protesters in B.C. might get some value from trying to have the injunction set aside, seeing as the permits have now been ruled not to be legal. Belobaba has noted that he was certain the losing party would appeal.

"My concern is democracy", the premier said.

Speaking at the Mayor's Breakfast Tuesday morning, MacLeod told reporters there's no "for now" when it comes to a possible cut to Ottawa's city council chambers. For instance, it can't be used against provisions that protect the democratic process - that would create a pathway to dictatorship.

Hurricane Florence: over 1m ordered to evacuate in SC and Virginia
That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says. Along the Carolina coasts, marina workers are moving boats to higher ground, and are focused on protecting buildings.

This was never a fight the premier needed to pick, and it's hardly the fault of the attorney general's office that the government's lawyers failed to convincingly defend a bill that was slapped together in a hurry with no evidence that it was needed: Belobaba found that, despite the premier's repeated assertions to the contrary, there was no evidence that council is "dysfunctional".

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam tweeted that an appeal for the province would be a "steep uphill climb".

Horwath accused Ford of exacting revenge on those who opposed him when he was councillor.

"As you introduce changes you increase the likelihood of error", he said.

Why didn't he campaign on it in the June provincial election?

"This is a risky sign of what this government is willing to do", he said.

The notwithstanding clause allows a province to overrule a court decision, regardless if it is unconstitutional.

"Hopefully this win for democracy will be respected by Premier Ford and his government members so that the City of Toronto can proceed with its democratic elections this fall". Others might say the decision in this case is so deficient that it is tailor-made for the notwithstanding clause. Belobaba relied instead on Section 2's freedom of expression rights - meaning the door was open for the government to use Section 33 to overrule his decision.

The decision has no effect on Bill 5's cancelling of regional chair elections in other municipalities.


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