A new poll has found that a majority of Toronto residents are “strongly opposed” to Premier Doug Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause to carry out his controversial plan to cut the size of Toronto City Council nearly in half.
The poll, which was conducted on September 15 and 16 by Mainstreet Research, randomly sampled 802 Torontonians over the age of 18 and found that 65% said they oppose Ford’s use of the clause.
Additionally, approximately 56% of respondents said they “strongly oppose” the move.
“Make no mistake about it: Doug Ford is on the wrong side of public opinion when it comes to his use of the notwithstanding clause,” said Quito Maggi, President and CEO of Mainstreet Research.
The poll also found Torontonians don’t agree with slashing the size of council, with just over 55% of respondents saying they disapprove of the decision, and 46% saying they “strongly disagree” with having a smaller council.
Just last week, a superior court judged ruled that the provincial government’s legislation to slash the size of the council in the middle of an election violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In reaction to the judge’s decision, Ford announced that for the first time in Ontario’s history, the PC Party would use Section 33 of the Charter, a provision known as the notwithstanding clause, to override the court ruling and move forward with cutting the size of council.
“What is interesting is that opposition to both the use of the notwithstanding clause and the reduction of city council is opposed strongly by residents in nearly all areas in Toronto – including the Premier’s home neighbourhood in Etobicoke,” said Maggi.
“Only in North York do we find more people narrowly agreeing with having fewer councillors.”