There's a massive Doug Ford protest at Queen's Park in Toronto
Hundreds of angry Torontonians are gathered today on the front lawn of Queen's Park, where Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his new PC government just announced that they'll be taking Canada to court over a federal carbon tax program.
That's not why the people are protesting, though — not today, anyway.
The masses have gathered for what NDP and official opposition Leader Andrea Horwath calls "a democracy rally" in light of Ford's recently-announced plan to cut Toronto City Council nearly in half.
Hundreds lineup for an already packed gallery at Queen's Park for a massive show of support to stop Doug Ford's takeover of Toronto!#onpoli #TOpoli #Toronto #StopFord @progresstoronto pic.twitter.com/IjXvglbCsk— Javier Davila (@XjusticeXpeace) August 2, 2018
The Toronto-specific measure is part of something Ontario's ruling party calls the "Better Local Government Act" (Bill 5 for short).
The move was swiftly decried by Mayor John Tory and other local leaders when it was announced last week, as well as thousands of residents who showed up for a protest at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday night.
Today, concerned citizens started arriving as early as 9 a.m. to pack the Legislature gallery during Question Period. By 10 a.m., they had formed a lineup down the street and around the corner.
Needless to say, the gallery filled up quickly.
Those who weren't able to score a seat inside waited patiently outside for Horwath to hold a press conference on the front lawn.
Hundreds here on the lawn who couldn't get into Queen's Park to make their voices heard on Doug Ford's election plans. The gallery is packed - it can only hold a little more than 200. #onpoli #topoli pic.twitter.com/HL4JzLF4GI— Sarah Barmak 🏳️🌈 (@sarahbarmak) August 2, 2018
"Rejections that Mr. Ford has had by the people of the City of Toronto aren't sitting well with him," said Horwath to the gathered crowd shortly after noon. "And so by edict here, he's going to try to grab that power that he couldn't get in the democratic way."
This is about basic and fundamental democracy says @AndreaHorwath. People have a right to access their city representatives to fight the fight for them. It’s important! #topoli #onpoli #canlab pic.twitter.com/kvYWSeBYFO— Denise Hammond (@denisenhammond) August 2, 2018
The audience exploded briefly with cries of "shame! shame!" and "dirty Doug!" before Horwath continued.
"Instead, he's going to grab that power from the Premier's chair," she said. "A complete abuse of power is what we're talking about."
MPPs are scheduled to debate the controversial motion at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, and the public has once again been invited in to support Horwath's call for the withdrawal of Bill 5 from inside the gallery.
Judging by the crowds at present, most people will have to follow what happens on their phones from the front lawn of the Legislature.
We are listening to @AndreaHorwath address the media and the crowds attending her press conference to speak out against #Bill5 which severely limits municipal democracy in Toronto, Niagara, Peel, York and Muskoka. #killbill5 #resistford #onpoli #ONDP pic.twitter.com/kGjVDoOzlq— Michelle Langlois (@michellel) August 2, 2018
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