Toronto city council votes to challenge Ford's council cuts in court

Bill Davis

Bill Davis

It invokes the notwithstanding clause to override Monday's Ontario Superior Court ruling, which found the Ford government's previous attempt to reduce the number of wards in Toronto unconstitutional.

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.

He would only say that the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Ontario provincial government and that is up to Ford to explain his decision.

Tabled Wednesday, the controversial bill passed first reading during a raucous session that saw New Democrat MPPs engage in a noisy protest that resulted in many of them ejected from the legislature.

The province's council-cutting legislation would reduce the number of Toronto's wards to 25 from 47, with the city's election set to take place October 22.

The province's council-cutting legislation would reduce the number of Toronto's wards to 25 from 47, with the city's election set to take place October 22.

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He previously served as a Toronto city councilor for a single term during his late brother's tumultuous tenure as mayor, which was marked by his admission to using crack cocaine while in office.

"We will never stop standing up for Toronto and the rights of our citizens", said Tory. "Both scenarios are becoming virtually impossible for us to carry out".

While this was, in reality, the situation before Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause and his proclamation that he intends to use it again when his decisions are overturned in the courts, the general belief was that the notwithstanding clause would rarely be used because voters would punish most if not all governments that used it with defeat in the next election due to the popularity of the Charter.

"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.

Several Conservative spokemen have said that Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause is popular with voters. 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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