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article imageToronto Court of Appeal rules in favor of council-cutting case

By Karen Graham     Sep 19, 2018 in Politics
The Court of Appeal for Ontario has granted the province’s request to stay a lower court judge’s decision that set aside a law slashing the size of Toronto city council.
On Wednesday morning, a three-judge panel handed down their decision, staying a lower court's September 10 ruling that struck down a bill that will cut the council down to 25 from 47, reports the Global News.
Today's decision means that city staff can immediately begin preparing for the upcoming election on October 22, with just 25 wards instead of the original 47 as originally set out in Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act.
Bill 5 threw election into chaos
Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative party threw Toronto's election into chaos when on August 14, they unexpectedly passed Bill 5 without public consultation. Bill 5 stripped Toronto’s powers, while the remainder of Ontario’s municipalities maintains their power to govern pursuant to Section 222 of the Municipal Act, 2001.
The city took the province to court over Bill 5 and on September 10, Justice Belobaba - in his ruling - called the Better Local Government Act, also known as Bill 5, "unconstitutional."
"Passing a law that changes the city's electoral districts in the middle of its election and undermines the overall fairness of the election is antithetical to the core principles of our democracy," Belobaba says in his written decision.
In just a few hours after Judge Belobaba's decision, Premier Ford announced that his government would file an appeal in court and retable the law in the Ontario legislature while invoking the "notwithstanding clause."
In court on Tuesday, Robin Basu, a lawyer for the province of Ontario, said the government wouldn’t vote on Bill 31 (the Efficient Local Government Act) if the court quashed Belobaba’s decision.
It's not quite over yet because, after Tuesday’s hearing, some of the lawyers representing candidates floated the possibility of appealing a stay decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. So we will just have to wait and see what happens next.
More about Toronto Court of Appeal, ward system, Biill 5, notwithstanding clause, Ontario
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