Ford to invoke Constitution's notwithstanding clause to override judge's city council decision

Toronto City Council chambers CITYNEWS

He ruled that the October 22 election shall proceed as scheduled but on the basis of 47 wards, not 25.

The premier said the province would also appeal the court decision, which said the legislation - called the Better Local Government Act - was hurriedly enacted in the middle of a municipal election and interfered with the right to freedom of expression for both candidates and voters. Ford also said he'll appeal Belobaba's decision and pass the law as quickly as possible.

Known as Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the clause has been one of the most controversial aspects of the charter and has never been used in Ontario.

"I believe the judge's decision is deeply, deeply concerning", Ford said hours after the scathing court ruling. "As a matter of fact, I've been getting calls from all over the province". "The judge was appointed".

Ford said he'll hold an open vote but noted his caucus and cabinet ministers are "1,000%" in favour of his plan. "I know, having spoken with the premier's office last night, there's zero intention to reduce the size of city council here".

He said 18 councillors wanted to reduce the number of City Council. "These councillors worry about themselves and holding on to power".

"We're suing to remind the premier that winning an election does not give his government carte blanche to ignore the statutory rights of Ontarians to be consulted on major changes to the laws and regulations that protect them from climate change", said Ecojustice lawyer Charles Hatt in a news release.

"It is the people who will be the ultimate judges of our performance".

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford speaks to a crowd at the Fogolar Furlan Club in Windsor, May 31, 2018.

Belobaba said the province's Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, infringed Charter rights "because the Bill was enacted in the middle of an ongoing election campaign and it breached the municipal candidate's freedom of expression". "It's apples and oranges, apples and oranges, when you compare a town the size of Ottawa, a lovely city, compared to a city the size of Toronto, you can't even compare it".

"The legislation has been posted to the registry and we are confident that it will meet all necessary requirements as we continue to undertake a full range of consultative steps", Brander said.

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"If the bill is passed before Friday then it won't be a problem", Tory told reporters at city hall.

"The province has clearly crossed the line", said Belobaba.

"The province has clearly crossed the line".

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

Toronto Mayor John Tory called the use of the notwithstanding clause a "gross overreach" of the province's powers.

The court ruling set the stage for a dramatic press conference Monday afternoon, where Ford floated conspiracy theories about the judge and casually shrugged off core principles of civilized society, namely the rule of law. "This has been used only a handful of times across this country".

A number of Toronto city councillors also applauded the judgement.

Ford dismissed suggestions he was behaving like a "dictator" by arguing he has more authority than the courts because he won the provincial election.

"This is an unprecedented move, literally suspending the Charter rights of Ontario people in order to plow ahead with his revenge plot against his political enemies", she said.

"If the provincial government wishes to enact another Bill 5-type law at some future date to affect future City elections, it may certainly attempt to do so". Torontonians were rightly celebrating today's ruling that overturned that bill.

"The notwithstanding clause was put there for very extraordinary circumstances and very extraordinary instances and you'd have to ask yourself why does this change, this particular change at this time, qualify as one of those", Tory said.

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