Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
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Toronto politicians weighing steps as province revives bill to reduce council

Toronto politicians weighing steps as province revives bill to reduce council

Ontario Premier Doug Ford attends Question Period at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto, on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear, however, that Ottawa would not block the Ontario government's unprecedented use of a constitutional provision to push through with its plan to reduce Toronto's electoral map to 25 wards from 47. New Democrats were later booted from the house as they attempted to drown out the reading of the bill.

Premier Doug Ford has slashed Toronto city council - again.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark was drowned out by the desk-banging NDPers as he introduced Bill 31 Wednesday afternoon, the Efficient Local Government Act, to replace Bill 5 which was thrown out by the courts earlier this week.

In a statement made public Thursday, the MPs implored Ontario legislators from all parties to defeat a bill tabled by Ford's Progressive Conservative government to cut the number of seats on council by nearly half. Ford's move came after an Ontario judge ruled it was unconstitutional to slash the number of city council seats in the middle of a municipal election without consultation because it interfered with the right to freedom of expression of candidates and voters.

The subtext of Scheer's statement is that there are no charter rights because if the people ultimately have the final say on the use of the notwithstanding clause by voting a government out of office, no right exists in defiance of a government's legislation and its willingness to use of the notwithstanding clause when checked by the courts.

"I know we can do better than this when it comes to recognizing and respecting cities for the important role they play in every aspect of our lives in Canada", said Tory.

The more pressing issue at hand is Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause to protect the bill.

"What we have right now is a constitutional process with people sitting in Queen's Park with the ability to vote this down, and that is the proper process for showing how our democratic institutions work", Dabrusin said in an interview. The provincial government has appealed the ruling and reintroduced its changes this week in a new bill, compounding the chaos facing the clerk as she oversees preparation for the election.

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