Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 13, 2018
City council candidates in ‘entirely uncharted waters’ amid chaos over nomination deadlines
After an unprecedented day comes unprecedented chaos.
Premier Doug Ford’s move to trump a judicial ruling in order to secure a Toronto city council with 25 wards has left candidates and lawyers scrambling and voters in limbo ahead of the upcoming municipal election.
That includes at least eight incumbent city councillors who had planned to run for re-election but who could be locked out of the 25-ward race depending on how the legislation is worded, with legal experts unsure of what to expect from Ford’s government.
When a Superior Court judge ruled Monday that Ford’s legislation cutting the size of council to 25 from 47 wards was unconstitutional, city advocates believed for a short time that they had won the day.
But Ford’s announcement hours later that he would invoke the rarely used “notwithstanding” clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to override Justice Edward Belobaba’s ruling led to a flurry of unanswered questions, including whether the election can even proceed as planned on Oct. 22.
The legislature will resume Wednesday after Ford recalled MPPs from recess. Ford indicated the new bill would be tabled then. What it will say, his officials refuse to tell.
The province doesn’t expect the new legislation to be passed before Sept. 24, with MPPs off for two days next week to attend the International Plowing Match near Chatham-Kent. That leaves a very small window between a fundamental shift in the election process and the start of advance polling days, which are currently scheduled to begin Oct. 10. City clerk Ulli Watkiss earlier raised concerns about having enough time to prepare an election, including printing ballots for the whole city.
City council will have an emergency meeting Thursday to again discuss their current legal options and what happens next. (Source: Toronto Star)