Ontario introduces new bill cutting Toronto council to 25 seats
The Ontario government met today to reintroduce the Better Local Government Act (Bill 5), invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The province is using the clause to reverse a court decision that blocked Doug Ford's cuts to Toronto's council, reducing the number of city councillors from 47 to 25.
As protestors lined up around the block at Queen's Park, the province voted 63-17 to pass the bill through its first reading, overturning the court's decision.
Full passing of the bill could take place by next week, but may be delayed by the official opposition.
One notable change is that the bill allows city council candidates to register for up to two days after the bill receives royal assent.
It took much longer than normal to get through the meeting, as protestors and the opposition jeered, "coughed," and shouted over top of Ford and his party.
"This is not democracy!" and "Shame!" could be heard from the gallery repeatedly, until Ford was forced to leave for a break from the onslaught.
Some protestors were arrested by legislature security and escorted out during Ford's break from the room.
Premier Ford announced on Monday that the clause would be invoked to reverse the court decision, and that the legislature would reconvene today to decide.
The federal government is not getting involved.
Toronto City Council is also meeting to discuss its legal options to challenging the notwithstanding clause. It will meet tomorrow at 9:30 p.m.
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