Toronto city council was just officially cut to 25 wards
It looks like the City of Toronto will have a 25-ward election on October 22 after all.
In a massive win for Ontario's PC government, a panel of three Ontario Court of Appeal justices just stayed an earlier court ruling that struck down Ford's controversial Better Local Government Act, or Bill 5.
This means that Bill 31 — which Ford was invoking the Canadian charter's notwithstanding clause to push through — will be withdrawn. There's no need for the revised bill at this time, as the original bill is allowed to stand.
This is very disappointing.— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) September 19, 2018
I thank everyone who stood up against Ford's unconstitutional attacks on Toronto's democracy in the courts, at City Hall and Queen's Park. This fight isn't over. Ford may have reduced the size of Council but he will not take #Toronto. #VoteTO #TOelxn https://t.co/NFCS4am6RB
Toronto is expected to appeal the decision, but not before its municipal election in just over four weeks.
"Given the urgency of this matter, an immediate decision on this stay motion is required to ensure that the Toronto municipal elections, set for October 22, 2018, proceed in as orderly a manner as possible," reads this morning's Court of Appeal for Ontario ruling.
The written ruling concludes that Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba, who shot down Bill 5 on September 10 as unconstitutional, is likely to lose the Ontario government's appeal of his decision.
" In light of the time remaining for candidates to conduct their campaigns after its enactment, we are doubtful of the claim that the disruption Bill 5 caused constituted a substantial interference with the candidates’ freedom of expression." 6/n— Emmett Macfarlane (@EmmMacfarlane) September 19, 2018
"The application judge was understandably motivated by the fact that the timing of Bill 5 changed the rules for the election mid-campaign, which he perceived as being unfair to candidates and voters," it reads.
"However, unfairness alone does not establish a Charter breach," the ruling continues.
"We have concluded that there is a strong likelihood that application judge erred in law and that the Attorney General's appeal to this court will succeed."
Some may try to call this legal decision a win for Doug Ford. Don’t believe it for a second. His vindictive attack against Toronto has spurred a new popular urban movement. Now more than ever, our work to build a truly fair and just city will continue. Onwards.— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) September 19, 2018
As it stands now, the city will have 25 seats on city council (as opposed to the current 47) come election day.
Of course, if the province ultimately loses its appeal, the City of Toronto would have to figure out how to add back all 22 of the council seats it just lost.
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