protesters arrested queens park

Protesters handcuffed at Queen's Park after yelling at Doug Ford

Legislative proceedings at Queen's Park devolved into complete and utter chaos this morning as protesters in the public gallery scream such things as "Shame!" "This is not democracy!" and "No means no!" at members of Ontario's ruling PC party.

Premier Doug Ford was expected to invoke the rare and controversial "notwithstanding clause" clause on Wednesday, effectively overturning a Super Court Judge's recent ruling against his bill to slash 22 seats from Toronto city council.

Ford announced on Monday that he would be using the clause for the first time in Ontario's history after Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that his Better Local Government Act (aka Bill 5) violates Canada's charter of rights and freedoms.

"The matter before me is unprecedented," read Belobaba's 21-page ruling in favour of the City of Toronto. "The Province has clearly crossed the line."

News of Ford's plan to overturn the ruling (and do it again, as many times as he wants to, in the future) has shocked the citizens of Toronto.

Many are now accusing the Premier of acting like a dictator and say that they are gravely concerned about the state of democracy in this province.

A long line of protesters were seen waiting outside Queen's Park this morning in anticipation of the legislature meeting, dozens of which made their way indoors to watch the proceedings.

Until they got kicked out, at least.

Members of the public started jeering, coughing and yelling over Ford and members of his party as they spoke almost immediately after the meeting started.

The legislature was forced to take a 10 minute recess amidst the commotion, at which point Ford left the room to cries of "Shame on you!" 

Some protestors were reportedly asked to leave, but refused. At least two of them were arrested by security and escorted out of the legislature.

One woman stood up to shout a statement before peacefully walking away with security guards.

"I'm 77 and a half years old!" she cried. "And I hate the destruction of democracy!"

She continued to speak but cheers and applause overwhelmed the sound of her words.

A recess was called in Parliament around noon, but legislative proceedings are expected to resume around 3 p.m.

You can watch the drama unfold live via webcam on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario's website.

Lead photo by

John Michael McGrath

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