Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

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

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

"We're all here to keep standing up for Toronto".

Meanwhile, the city official responsible for running Toronto's October 22 election said every delay resulting from the battle between the province and the city affects her ability to ensure fairness in the vote, regardless of whether it involves 47 or 25 wards. 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.

Scheer responded to a question of whether Doug Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause was a good idea with "Ultimately it's up to the people of Ontario", Scheer said in his first direct comment on Ford's measure.

The city's clerk says that a "tipping point" has been reached and it is now "virtually impossible" to carry out a fair and democratic election on October 22.

In an emailed statement Wednesday Christine Myatt, a UCP spokeswoman, said Kenney "is focused on Alberta and getting our province back on track - not deliberations around the size of Toronto city council". In a controversial move, Ford said he would invoke the Charter's notwithstanding clause to push through his vision of a leaner Toronto council.

Ford, a former city councillor and failed mayoral candidate, has said his plan will save $25 million and improve decision making on council.

"The dysfunction isn't here", Perks said.

"Shame on you Doug Ford", another shouted.

Clark would not say whether the province has a backup plan should the clerk find that the city can not be ready in time, despite repeated questions on the issue.

"We're committed to ending the gridlock and dysfunction down at City Hall, saving taxpayers more than $25 million, and delivering smaller, better government", said Tory House Leader Todd Smith, who accused Opposition MPPs of playing "procedural games" to delay passage of the legislation.

The Speaker, Progressive Conservative Ted Arnott, will be called to rule on the matter, though it's unclear how long it will take him to decide.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath noted that several provincial and federal Conservatives have spoken out against the notwithstanding clause. She said the Toronto caucus is satisfied with Trudeau's decision not to intervene.

"I was elected. He was appointed", Ford has also said of Justice Edward Belobaba - the judge whose ruling found the government's move to slash the size of Toronto city council violated the Constitution.

The constitutional provision Ford plans to invoke, known as the notwithstanding clause, has never been used in the province before and critics have condemned the move, saying the clause was not created to deal with this kind of issue.

"If it wasn't there to be used, it would not be there", he said.

So we have a government that had the support of only 40 per cent of Ontario voters, deciding to ram through legislation without public consultation or supportive data, and who seem intent on thumbing their nose at the judicial oversight that is the foundation of our democratic system.

"That's the whole point of the charter, it outlives and outlasts any one political movement or goes to our fundamental rights as people".

Earlier on Thursday, the legislature was adjourned until Wednesday of next week.

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