Doug Ford calls emergency meeting to finalize Toronto city council cuts
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has ordered his team to come into work on a Saturday (!) for a rare weekend sitting of the legislature at Queen's Park.
Progressive Conservative MPPs were reportedly sent an email late Thursday night with the label "strictly confidential." The email is said to have announced a mandatory legislature session at 1 p.m. on Saturday "in order to pass Bill 31 in a timely manner."
Bill 31 is the second version of Ford's controversial "Better Local Government Act" — the same act that was deemed unconstitutional by Ontario Superior Court on Monday.
Since this is happening on a Saturday, I'd encourage everyone who isn't working then to go down to Queen's Park and protest the hell out of this. https://t.co/kBWsNSsgKF— Jan Vykydal (@JanVykydal) September 14, 2018
Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that Ford's move to slash the number of seats on Toronto city council from 47 to 25 (in the middle of an election, no less) violated Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Ford decided to move forward with the legislation anyway by invoking the Charter's questionable Section 33 (or "notwithstanding clause") loophole, prompting many to accuse him of acting like a dictator in order to get his way. Amnesty International called this decision "a blatant human rights escape clause."
A municipal election is currently set for October 22 — just over five weeks from today — and it has yet to be confirmed how many candidates can even run.
Will Toronto have 47 or 25 wards next month? Nobody knows, but it's incredibly pressing to those in charge of running the election.
"We have hit a tipping point and both election scenarios are becoming virtually impossible for us to carry out," said City Clerk Ulli Watkiss during a special meeting at city council on Thursday.
Watkiss, who is responsible for running the election, said that she is concerned about whether or not it can even move forward as scheduled amidst the confusion.
"Every hour that goes by, every day that goes by, creates greater uncertainty and raises in me a huge concern over the proper conduct of this election," she said, noting that she had retained independent legal council to discuss to the matter of postponing the election.
Toronto residents can be on the lookout for hecklers getting handcuffed at Queen's Park this weekend.
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