Toronto Mayor John Tory welcomed the court’s decision this morning to keep City Council’s number at 47 wards.
Earlier today, an Ontario judge ruled against Premier Doug Ford’s planned cuts to the size of Toronto city council. Justice Edward Belobaba found Bill 5 to be a breach of the Charter and not justified.
This means the election will go ahead next month with the same amount of councillors as this term.
“You can’t change the rules in the middle of a game. That’s not fair to anyone, and this isn’t a game,” said Tory in a press conference.
In the court documents, Justice Belobaba said Ford’s plans would be “radically redrawing” the city’s electoral districts, in the middle of the election.
“The province has clearly crossed the line,” said Belobaba.
The judge found that the bill “substantially interfered with both the candidate’s and the voter’s right to freedom of expression.”
He ruled that the October 22 election shall proceed as scheduled but on the basis of 47 wards, not 25.
“If the province wishes to enact another Bill 5-type law at some future date to affect future city elections, it may certainly attempt to do so,” he said. “As things now stand – and until a constitutionally valid provincial law says otherwise – the city has 47 wards.”
Other city councillors expressed their feelings regarding this morning’s ruling.
“Our city, the nearly 2.9 million people who live here, and local democracy was worth defending,” tweeted Joe Cressy. “Today, in the face of a vindictive attack by Doug Ford, we won. Onwards.”
Our City, the nearly 2.9 million people who live here, and local democracy was worth defending. Today, in the face of a vindictive attack by Doug Ford, we won. Onwards.
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) September 10, 2018
Coun. Josh Matlow also tweeted the words “we won.”
We took a stand for democracy and justice. And we won. https://t.co/io6WDJUbiY
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) September 10, 2018
Mayoral hopeful Jennifer Keesmaat thanked Torontonians for fighting against Ford’s plan.
“While today’s ruling is good news, we didn’t have to get here,” she said, taking the time to attack Tory along with giving input on the decision. “When the chips were down, John Tory didn’t have our city’s back, and this entire episode has shown us we need new leadership at city hall — leadership that will stand up for Toronto when it matters most.”
I want to thank every Torontonian who fought so hard over the last few weeks against the Premier’s plan to upend our democracy without consulting the people — you are what standing up for Toronto looks like. #Bill5
— Jennifer Keesmaat (@jen_keesmaat) September 10, 2018
As for Ford, he said that he would have more to say at noon.
Re: the judge’s ruling this morning, I’ll have more to say about this at noon. Stay tuned…. #onpoli
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 10, 2018