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Toronto Liberal MPs slam Ford's 'heavy-handed' use of notwithstanding clause

16 September 2018

Toronto's city clerk says holding a fair election on October 22 is becoming "virtually impossible" in light of the ongoing battle between the municipality and the province over the size of council.

The NDP said Thursday that it will challenge the bill under rules that preclude legislators from introducing substantially the same bill twice in one session, and that bar the legislature from debating a item now before the courts.

On Monday, an Ontario judge ruled that the law cutting the size of Toronto's council from 47 wards to 25 violates the right to free speech because it was introduced so close to the October municipal election.

The judge's decision has also been described variously as flimsy, poorly reasoned, incoherent, and "looney tunes".

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.

Ontario NDP members were booted one by one out of the Ontario Legislature - starting with Leader Andrea Horwath - as the official opposition protested the government's use of the notwithstanding clause in the Charter.

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The new bill, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, says the nomination deadline for candidates seeking to run in the October 22 election would be set for two days after the legislation passes.

Efforts to end last year's college teacher's strike prompted the former Liberal government to recall legislature in order to pass back-to-work legislation on November 18.

Watkiss was making her comments to Toronto councillors during a special session at City Hall. "We're all here to keep standing up for Toronto".

I still think that the bill is nothing more than Doug Ford's vindictive attempt to punish his political enemies on council, but that's nearly a moot point at this stage.

"We've used the notwithstanding clause in this province in the not too distant past", Moe said. "We live in a democracy". New Democrats were later booted from the house as they attempted to drown out the reading of the bill.

An email marked "Strictly Confidential" was sent to Progressive Conservative MPPs Thursday night ordering them back to the Legislature Saturday at 1 p.m.

Toronto Liberal MPs slam Ford's 'heavy-handed' use of notwithstanding clause