Ford's constitutional override to slash city council is 'disappointing': LeBlanc

Ford's constitutional override to slash city council is 'disappointing': LeBlanc

Lisa MacLeod was speaking at an Ottawa Board of Trade event on September 11, the morning after Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he'd invoke the constitution's notwithstanding clause, something never before done in the province, in order to override a court ruling.

Trudeau said he and his government are staunch supporters and defenders of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it provides a set of guarantees that Canadians value and identify with as fundamental safeguards.

The New Democrats attempted to drown out the reading of the bill by banging on their desks, prompting the Speaker to kick most of their ranks, including Leader Andrea Horwath, out of the house.

The latest concerns were triggered by a series of events on Monday that began when a judge struck down provincial legislation slashing the size of Toronto city council in the middle of an election campaign.

"Second to Toronto, the number one amount of from the Ottawa and Ottawa region talking about that but, for now, we're going to leave well enough alone", he said.

Mayor John Tory, who met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday evening to discuss the matter, acknowledges any legal battle against the notwithstanding clause would be steeply uphill, but says city lawyers have been told to look at all possibilities.

She said the Ford government was elected "overwhelmingly by the people, for the people" and assured the crowd that "I am Ottawa's voice at Queen's Park, not the other way around". "It's a shame that our premier is such a petty, vindictive human being whose focus is on himself and his own quest to show those folks in Toronto that he's the boss of them".

And if the courts keep striking down his bad laws as unconstitutional, Ford says he's ready to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override the constitution "again in the future" too.

"There was chaos inside here today", he said.

"This premier has served notice that he doesn't respect other peoples' rights and, despite his token protestations to the contrary, he doesn't respect the role of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing them."
"He is bringing a unsafe view of democracy to Queen's Park, predicated on his belief that he can rule by decree".

Early reaction to the move has not been good for Ford. "And that is just what you are doing".

Wynne's interview came a day after a Superior Court Justice slapped down Ford's Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act.

Political analysts said it's hard to gauge just how the move is playing out among residents in the absence of public opinion polls on the issue, but predicted it would have a polarizing effect.

She said Ford's assertion that the courts are interfering with a democratically elected government goes too far, since democracy depends on the checks and balances provided by an independent judiciary. "But I think it's outrageous, frankly, that the first time Ontario uses the notwithstanding in an anti-democratic move that I don't think was well thought out and that certainly, from a process point of view, was quite horrific".

The promise to scrap cap-and-trade helped Ford and his Progressive-Conservative party win a majority in the Ontario legislature in June. She said one in seven Ontarians was "living in poverty" and that she took issue with "siloed" social programs that weren't, in her eyes, getting the job done.

"An elected official doesn't have full power to do whatever he wants, she wants - there are some rules to follow, those of the constitution", she said.