Toronto Lib­eral MPs slam Ford’s move

PressReader - Tke Channel - Toronto Lib­eral MPs slam Ford’s move
All 25 Lib­eral MPs from Toronto say On­tario Pre­mier Doug Ford is be­ing heavy-handed and dis­re­spect­ful in us­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion’s not­with­stand­ing clause to push ahead with plans to slash the size of the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal’s city coun­cil.In a state­ment made pub­lic Thurs­day, the MPs im­plored On­tario leg­is­la­tors from all par­ties to de­feat a bill tabled by Ford’s Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment to cut the num­ber of seats on coun­cil by al­most half.Ford is in­vok­ing the rarely used not­with­stand­ing clause in the Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms to over­ride a court de­ci­sion that found the move un­con­sti­tu­tional.In the state­ment, the Lib­eral MPs — in­clud­ing sev­eral cab­i­net min­is­ters — said mem­bers of the On­tario leg­is­la­ture from Toronto have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to de­fend the city, its demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions, and the rights of cit­i­zens to a free and fair mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion this fall.“As elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the city, we 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,” the state­ment said.“As Toronto MPs, we have worked hard to build a strong and ef­fec­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween our gov­ern­ment and the city.“This part­ner­ship has, and will con­tinue to, de­liver con­crete re­sults for com­mu­ni­ties across the city.“A strong Canada needs a strong Toronto.”Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau, For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land and Sci­ence Min­is­ter Kirsty Dun­can are among the more than two dozen Liberals rep­re­sent­ing Toronto rid­ings.Pre­vi­ous On­tario pre­miers have faced tough de­ci­sions over the decades with­out hav­ing to re­sort to the not­with­stand­ing clause, said Lib­eral MP Julie Dabrusin, a spokes­woman for the Toronto cau­cus.On­tario leg­is­la­tors “need to be the voice of On­tar­i­ans on this, that this isn’t the right way to go,” she said in an in­ter­view.The Lib­eral MPs say the is­sue is not par­ti­san and that the cor­rect re­sponse to a court de­ci­sion is to file an ap­peal.Toronto city coun­cil­lors voted Thurs­day to ask the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to halt the On­tario bill.A pro­vi­sion of the Con­sti­tu­tion tech­ni­cally per­mits the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to dis­al­low pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion, but it was last used 75 years ago, rais­ing le­gal ques­tions about whether it has be­come ob­so­lete and there­fore un­work­able.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 — a po­si­tion he re­it­er­ated Thurs­day at the end of a Lib­eral cau­cus re­treat in Saska­toon.“I don’t think that’s a role that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment needs to take on,” he said.How­ever, the prime min­is­ter added he was pleased to see the Toronto Liberals speak­ing out.“Quite frankly, it’s some­thing that I ex­pect of all our MPs — to be strong voices for their com­mu­ni­ties in Ottawa,” he said.

Doug Ford is the first On­tario pre­mier to in­voke the not­with­stand­ing clause to over­ride a court rul­ing.

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