Ford's constitutional override to slash city council is 'disappointing': LeBlanc

PressProgress

The court ruling Monday that struck down Ford's attempt to cut Toronto city council to 25 seats from 47 cited the Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 2 (b), saying passing the bill during an election infringes on candidates' and voters' freedom of expression.

"That is why we are asking the court to require the Ford government to listen to the very public it claims to represent, as well as scientists and groups like ours, before gutting the province's legislative regime for combatting climate change", he said.

Greenpeace says the province's Environmental Bill of Rights allows Ontario residents up to 30 days to consult on significant environmental legislation and regulation. The premier announced that the government would not only be appealing his decision, but also recalling the legislature to reintroduce the bill and invoke Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is a clause that has never been used in Ontario.

"The premier rammed through undemocratic changes to Toronto's elections - changes that he didn't have the guts to mention at all during the election campaign - (and) a judge ruled that that wasn't just reckless and irresponsible, but a violation of people's basic rights", she said in the legislature. It came into force as an amendment to the Constitution in 1982. "We're following the constitution, because if it wasn't in the constitution, we wouldn't be doing it". "I was elected. The judge was appointed".

The law "cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society", Belobaba said.

Ford's readiness to violate constitutional rights to overcome opposition within the bourgeoisie underscores that he leads a hard-right government that is viciously hostile to the working class. Hours later, Ford promised to appeal the decision and forge ahead with his council-cutting plan by invoking the notwithstanding clause, which gives governments the power to override parts of the charter for a five-year term.

Wynne told Galloway that Ford's move was an "explosive" and "Trump-like" distraction from important issues like jobs and trade.

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Ford knows full well that he has no mandate for this deeply unpopular agenda and is therefore mobilizing all the tools of state power at his disposal to put down an emerging working-class movement.

Pressed again, she echoed her comments: "The government made a decision yesterday that we're going to support the notwithstanding clause for Bill 5".

NDP leader Andrea Horwath will hold a news conference after the Premier's.

Premier Doug Ford campaigned during the spring election to end the cap and trade program that had introduced by the former Liberal government. From the Trump administration in the United States to Emmanuel Macron's government, which has "normalized" emergency provisions in France, and the German government's embrace of the anti-immigrant chauvinism of the Alternative for Germany, ruling elites the world over are dispensing with traditional bourgeois-democratic norms to enforce the interests of the corporate elite and super-rich in the face of mounting working-class opposition.

"Doug Ford sounds like Donald Trump and that's because he is like Donald Trump". "I wish we were talking about how close we were going to come to protecting supply management in this province". "That's the only thing that stands in between me and my government or anyone else who is trying to do me wrong", Sharon Howarth said while standing in line.

"The Ford government's first action when it stepped into office was to gut a program created to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, without offering any immediate alternative", said Charles Hatt, Ecojustice lawyer, in a statement.

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