The municipal election in Toronto may not happen on October 22nd and if it does, the election may not be legitimate.
Those are messages coming from Ontario’s opposition parties at Queen’s Park as they try for a second day to delay legislation that would reduce the size of Toronto city council from 47 members to 25.
On Monday, a judge ruled the legislation unconstitutional so the government re-convened at Queen’s Park early to use the notwithstanding clause and continue with the bill.
Today Premier Doug Ford and his caucus stood firm on the use of the notwithstanding clause to push through legislation. Although NDP MPP Nathalie Desrosiers, a lawyer and an expert in the constitution, says the upcoming election in Toronto could be considered illegitimate.
“When you use the notwithstanding clause you admit to a violations of rights, you say I want to move forward despite rights being violated. It creates legal uncertainty and a problem of legitimacy.”
Steve Clark, the minister for municipal affairs dismissed concerns from Toronto that there is no longer time to plan an election for October 22nd.
On Wednesday, NDP members pounded on their desks in protest and were escorted from the legislature one by one. Today leader Andrea Horwath says she’s asked the speaker to consider whether the government has broken rules.
The debate over this legislation is on hold until after the annual tradition of the International Plowing Match coming up on Monday and Tuesday next week.
The bill is not expected to pass before September 24th, leaving less than a month before the municipal elections.