Toronto politicians to weigh steps as province revives bill to reduce council

Ford orders Legislature to sit Saturday to speed up passage of bill to slash Toronto council

Ford orders Legislature to sit Saturday to speed up passage of bill to slash Toronto council

Toronto's city clerk says that, as uncertainty continues to swirl around the city's fall election, she increasingly has "huge concern" whether she can fairly administer the October 22 vote.

The NDP said Thursday that it will challenge the bill under rules that preclude legislators from introducing substantially the same bill twice in one session, and that bar the legislature from debating a item now before the courts.

The city challenged the legislation in court and a Toronto judge agreed earlier this week that passing the bill in the middle of municipal election campaign violated the freedom of expression rights of both candidates and voters.

The judge's decision has also been described variously as flimsy, poorly reasoned, incoherent, and "looney tunes". It invokes the notwithstanding clause to override Monday's Ontario Superior Court ruling, which found the Ford government's previous attempt to reduce the number of wards in Toronto unconstitutional.

Mr. Ford says using the notwithstanding clause is necessary to ensure the will of elected politicians trumps the court ruling.

The new bill, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, says the nomination deadline for candidates seeking to run in the October 22 election would be set for two days after the legislation passes.

He would only say that the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Ontario provincial government and that is up to Ford to explain his decision.

He previously served as a Toronto city councilor for a single term during his late brother's tumultuous tenure as mayor, which was marked by his admission to using crack cocaine while in office.

Now a tropical storm, Florence spreads watery mayhem across Carolina
As the storm sat along the edge of the Atlantic, some stretches along the coastal Carolinas received close to 20 inches of rain. Though Florence did not arrive with winds as violent as once feared, forecasters got the storm surge and rainfall correct.

"Today we will be reintroducing a bill that will make the City of Toronto operate more efficiently for its citizens".

I still think that the bill is nothing more than Doug Ford's vindictive attempt to punish his political enemies on council, but that's nearly a moot point at this stage.

The Speaker, Progressive Conservative Ted Arnott, will be called to rule on the matter, though it's unclear how long it will take him to decide.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath noted that several provincial and federal Conservatives have spoken out against the notwithstanding clause.

"On behalf of FCM's Big City Mayors' Caucus, I am offering full support to the City of Toronto's efforts to protect local democracy".

"If it wasn't there to be used, it would not be there", he said. "This is going to be the will of the people".

Tabled Wednesday, the controversial bill passed first reading during a raucous session that saw New Democrat MPPs engage in a noisy protest that resulted in many of them ejected from the legislature.

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