Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 11, 2018
Ford plans to invoke notwithstanding clause for first time in province’s history
Premier Doug Ford is taking an unprecedented step, invoking the province’s powers and using the “notwithstanding” clause to override a court decision that shut down his plans to cut the size of Toronto’s city council.
For the first time in the province’s history, Ford says he plans to use a rarely reached-for tool in the Charter to allow the cut to 25 wards from 47 for the upcoming election to continue — and warned he will use it more than once if he has to.
He said his government is also appealing a court decision released Monday morning and will resume the legislature this week to reintroduce the bill that forced changes to Toronto’s ongoing election.
“I believe the judge’s decision is deeply concerning and the result is unacceptable to the people of Ontario,” Ford said.
Ford made the announcement at a news conference Monday afternoon just hours after a bombshell ruling that shut down his government’s plans to align city council wards with provincial and federal ridings.
“I was elected,” Ford told reporters, while saying the judge “was appointed.”
The actions of the Ford government were harshly criticized in the ruling by Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba, who said the province’s Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, infringed Charter rights and deemed it unconstitutional.
The judge called that move “unprecedented” and ruled it “substantially interfered with both the candidate’s and the voter’s right to freedom of expression” guaranteed by the Charter.
In doing so, he ordered an election continue on the basis of 47 wards, returning the campaign to a state before Bill 5 was tabled at Queen’s Park. (Source: Toronto Star)