Doug Ford makes it known that he will not be stopped

Mae Love
September 11, 2018

"I was elected. The judge was appointed", said Ford when asked if he was concerned with being labelled a dictator for this unprecedented move.

Ford announced that his government will immediately recall Ontario's Legislature and introduce legislation that, if passed, will invoke Section 33 of the Constitution and ensure the Better Local Government Act is preserved in time for the October 22 Municipal Election.

"We have instructed our legal council to immediately commence appeal proceedings to the Ontario court of appeal", Ford said Monday. Belobaba called Bill 5 "profoundly unfair" and found that nothing the government's lawyers had presented could reasonably explain why the 47-ward election for a city of almost 3 million people needed to be cancelled by legislative fiat.

"This premier has served notice that he doesn't respect other peoples' rights and, despite his token protestations to the contrary, he doesn't respect the role of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing them."

The judge acknowledged the importance of exercising judicial restraint when it comes to the decisions of governments but said that in this case, it was appropriate for the court to act. "That is disturbing to the public that elected democratically elected governments", Ford said. We appoint judges and grant them security of tenure to preserve their impartiality and protect them from political reprisal. "The current gridlock has crippled Toronto City Hall and we'll replace this broken system where transit, infrastructure and housing can not get built", said Ford. Belobaba relied instead on Section 2's freedom of expression rights - meaning the door was open for the government to use Section 33 to overrule his decision.

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

Opposition leader Andrea Horwath said Ford's actions are a "personal vendetta" and she will not support any move by Ford to appeal the court's decision.

The move comes after a judge ruled earlier on Monday not to allow the province to cut Toronto city council by almost half because it would have "substantially interfered with both the candidate's and the voter's right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms". Second, by dramatically increasing the size of the wards themselves, the law affected Toronto voters' right to "effective representation".

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The judge said Bill 5 "substantially interfered with both the candidate's and the voter's right to freedom of expression" guaranteed by the Charter.

And if the courts keep striking down his bad laws as unconstitutional, Ford says he's ready to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override the constitution "again in the future" too.

"The province has clearly crossed the line".

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

As Toronto Mayor John Tory stated on Monday, the clause was put in the Charter for "very extraordinary circumstances". Canada, he said, needs independent courts. "This has been used only a handful of times across this country".

A number of Toronto city councillors also applauded the judgement.

His plan wasn't outlined during the province's spring election campaign or mentioned in the throne speech, but the premier, a failed Toronto mayoral candidate and single-term city councillor, said he had wanted to make the change since his days at city hall.

That's exactly what the Progressive Conservatives are going to do now - and there's really nothing, at this point, that anyone can do to stop them from passing a successor to Bill 5 before the end of the month. The clause can not be used on a number of other sections of the Charter, including those concerning democratic rights, mobility, and language rights.

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