Toronto accuses Doug Ford of behaving like a dictator
How far will Doug Ford go to get his own way?
It's a question many in Ontario are asking today following the Premier's announcement that he wants to invoke a rare and controversial clause to effectively overturn a Super Court Judge's ruling against his move to slash 22 seats from Toronto city council.
Overriding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms at a whim, when you've been found to be violating the constitutional rights of Ontarians, is absolutely terrifying. Doug Ford will use the Notwithstanding clause whenever he fails to get what he wants. The makings of a dictator.— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) September 10, 2018
Ontario Justice Edward Belobaba announced early Monday morning that the new provincial government's council-reducing legislation, Bill 5, violates Canada's charter of rights and freedoms.
The Premier invoking the notwithstanding clause to push ahead with Bill 5 following Justice Belobaba's ruling is unprecedented and not acceptable.— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) September 10, 2018
"The provincial legislature enacted Bill 5, radically redrawing the City of Toronto's electoral districts, in the middle of the City's election," read Belobaba's 21-page ruling in favour of Toronto. "The Province has clearly crossed the line."
Ford was expected only to appeal the ruling, which would have drawn out the process, but left it in the hands of court officials.
Instead, announced that he would use Section 33 — a constitutional "notwithstanding clause" to do what he wants, regardless of any charter rights his laws might appear to violate.
The Ford government is exactly the kind of government the Charter was supposed to restrain. Handing it the notwithstanding clause is like handing a drunk a loaded gun.— Andrew Coyne (@acoyne) September 10, 2018
Ford would be the first premier in Ontario's history to invoke this controversial clause, which was intended to serve as a "safety valve" for governments whose legislative agendas conflict with Canadian charter rights.
The premier also indicated during a press conference on Monday afternoon that he was willing to use this clause as many times as he has to in the future.
Needless to say, his opponents are shocked. Heck, everybody is shocked.
Doug Ford in CP24 studio: "Having a decision brought down by the courts, by one single person, number one, is shocking."— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) September 10, 2018
He doesn't know that he is, in theory, subject to the law.
"Invoking the notwithstanding clause in a case like this is an unprecedented move, literally suspending the Charter rights of Ontario people in order to plow ahead with his revenge plot against his political enemies at Toronto City Hall," said NDP leader Andrea Horwath in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
"A good leader doesn’t just ask if he has the right to do it, but whether it’s the right thing to do."
Doug Ford is suspending Charter rights all for a personal vendetta against his political enemies at City Hall.— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) September 10, 2018
Our democracy includes an independent judiciary & a free media to protect ppl from politicians who believe an electoral majority is a mandate to trample people’s rights.
Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat said similarly in a statement that Ford's conduct is egregious and over the line.
"It is completely unacceptable to suspend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in pursuit of old political grudges," she said.
"And that is what this is about. Premier Ford did not campaign on this issue. He has no democratic mandate to do this. And it is a disgrace to suspend the Charter on this or any other issue."
A constitutional crisis over Doug Ford’s dislike of some people who live in downtown Toronto. This is the pettiest, dumbest thing that’s happened in Canada in some time. #topoli #onpoli #cdnpoli https://t.co/G104pEjTyu— Asif Hossain (@asifintoronto) September 10, 2018
Ford himself maintains that it was Justice Belobaba who acted undemocratically in blocking his council-cutting bill.
Ontario's government will take immediate action to ensure the Better Local Government Act remains in effect as passed by the democratically elected legislature. pic.twitter.com/0eHkXnALWp— Ontario News Now (@OntarioNewsNow) September 10, 2018
He called the decision "deeply, deeply concerning" and said that Ontario voters should have the final say in what happens — three months ago.
"They’re the judge and jury. No one else," he said of those who voted his party into a majority government at Queen's Park in June.
When asked by City News journalist Cynthia Mulligan if he was concerned that he'd be called a dictator for invoking the notwithstanding clause, Ford replied simply: "I was elected. The judge was appointed."
Toronto to Federal government. We need your help.— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) September 10, 2018
Doug Ford says he and his government are above the law. Damn the courts he says. Damn the Canadian constitution. @JustinTrudeau, we know you have a personal connection to the Constitution. Please don't sit this out. 🇨🇦 https://t.co/8rtj27rH1S
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