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Toronto city council wants referendum in wake of Doug Ford cuts

The provincial government has just released the legislation it promised would cut back Toronto's city council to almost half its size

The Better Local Government Act 2018 solidifies Premier Doug Ford's new policies, aligning Toronto's municipal ward boundaries with the provincial ridings. 

The Act, which makes amendments and repeals to the City of Toronto Act (2006), the Municipal Act (2001), and the Municipal Elections Act (1996), also states that the regional chairs of York, Niagara, and Peel will be appointed, rather than elected. 

The new legislation does not contain any surprises. That is, only the changes promised by Ford last week are present. 

Some expected term limits for city councillors to be a new addition, but they were not. It looks like Toronto's councillors can continue to serve for life for now. 

During the meeting at Queen's Park earlier today, official opposition leader Andrea Horwath grilled Ford on several aspects of the bill, including calling the premier a "dictator" and asking if he plans to use the new shakeup to rig the city elections. 

Ford replied that the new cutbacks to council would "save 500,000 pieces of paper."

However, some analysts are already beginning to examine the legislation to see if it will hold up in court, should it end up there. 

Toronto City Council itself called for a referendum on the topic at a special meeting this afternoon. Mayor John Tory suggested a referendum was the only way to get "the views of the people" and engage in a "full debate."

The bill could also be subject to a number of legal challenges. Should it proceed, the bill must then receive Royal Assent before becoming law. 

Lead photo by

Doug Ford


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