Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Fair Toronto election 'virtually impossible' amid council-cutting fight: city clerk

Fair Toronto election 'virtually impossible' amid council-cutting fight: city clerk

The comments came as Toronto politicians held an emergency meeting to discuss their next steps a day after Ford's Progressive Conservatives reintroduced the council-cutting legislation with the notwithstanding clause.

Ford is moving the legislation to override a court decision which said his plan was unconstitutional by invoking the rarely used notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "Both scenarios are becoming virtually impossible for us to carry out".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it clear he won't try to block Ford's move even though he is disappointed with the premier's decision.

Holyday said he's concerned that these decisions by council will only prolong the uncertainty for the city clerk.

Toronto city clerk Ulli Watkiss said every delay resulting from the battle between the province and the city before the October 22 vote affects her ability to ensure fairness, regardless of whether Toronto's electoral map will retain its current 47 wards, or 25, as the Ontario government wants.

"Cities like Toronto, a major global city, need the ability to be able to not only run its finances and govern under its own authority and purview, but also be able to run orderly, predictable elections without having somebody like Doug Ford blow it up in the middle and create chaos and confusion", Matlow said.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said the government consulted thousands of Ontarians during the election campaign, and arrived at Queen's Park with a mandate to reduce the size and cost of government.

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Toronto Councillor Stephen Holyday said council was told the provincial government has the authority to take this action.

Mulroney said the government is appealing Belobala's ruling, but the notwithstanding clause is a legal option available to the Legislature that allows Bill 5 to be in force for the October 22 municipal election.

Canada's big city mayors are throwing their support behind Toronto in its fight against the Ontario government's unprecedented use of a constitutional provision to push through legislation slashing the size of the city's council.

The opposition parties have vowed to use procedural tools to delay the province's council-cutting bill as much as possible.

"We're all here to keep standing up for Toronto and I know we're all prepared to continue to do that because we believe in this city".

Toronto's city clerk says holding a fair election on October 22 is becoming "virtually impossible" in light of the ongoing battle between the municipality and the province over the size of council.

It says that the elected representatives of the city "want to assure the people of Toronto that we understand and respect the critical role that city hall and local democracy play in building the communities in which we live".

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