Greenpeace suing Ontario government over cap-and-trade cancellation

Judge rules against Ford - Canada News

Judge rules against Ford - Canada News

The judge acknowledged the importance of exercising judicial restraint when it comes to the decisions of governments but said that in this case, it was appropriate for the court to act.

The notwithstanding clause is contained in Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, approved by Parliament in 1982, so its use can hardly be described as unconstitutional.

"Introducing and passing Bill 5 would have reduced Toronto City Council to 25 sets doubling the number of residents to be served in every ward and lessening the ability of voters to receive effective representation and service from their elected councillors". Belobaba called Bill 5 "profoundly unfair" and found that nothing the government's lawyers had presented could reasonably explain why the 47-ward election for a city of almost 3 million people needed to be cancelled by legislative fiat.

"This ruling on Bill 5 establishes a strong role for the judiciary during times when autocratic governments feel they can just ram through unjust laws", Coun.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will override Canada's Constitution to overturn a court decision that ruled his move to redraw Toronto's political boundaries in the middle of the city's municipal election is "unconstitutional".

In his ruling, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba found the province crossed the line when it rushed to enact the legislation - known as Bill 5 - in July without any consultation. "Governments must follow good democratic processes".

"By invoking the notwithstanding clause, Doug Ford is actually putting all of us in a hard situation", Wynne said, later noting that she thinks the move is risky and like taking a "sledgehammer to a fly".

"I believe this decision is deeply concerning and wrong and the result is unacceptable to the people of Ontario", Ford said.

Until then, democracy will survive intact because Toronto council will have 25 members (plus the mayor), instead of 47, despite the hysteria of Ford's critics.

Belobaba said the province's Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, infringed Charter rights "because the Bill was enacted in the middle of an ongoing election campaign and it breached the municipal candidate's freedom of expression".

Belobaba said he could not make a ruling in regards to the selection process for the regional chair positions in York Region, Muskoka, Niagara, and Peel Region.

In a news release at the time, Environment Minister Rod Phillips said the new proposed legislation, if passed, would compensate eligible companies that bought credits as part of the program, and would also include new measures to replace cap-and-trade with "a better plan for achieving real environmental goals".

"(Reducing and streamlining council) will fix this dysfunctional government.

Toronto Mayor John Tory called the premier's reaction a "gross overreach" of the province's powers and said in a tweet Monday night he had met with Trudeau, who was in the provincial capital for a women's summit, to discuss his concerns.

"The only people who are fighting this bill are left-wing councillors who want to continue their free ride on the taxpayers, along with a network of activist groups that have entrenched themselves with power over the years", said Ford.

"Democracy does not belong to a few of us, it belongs to all of us", he said.

In light of the ruling, a spokesperson for the city confirmed Monday that the election will proceed as scheduled on October 22 on the basis of 47 wards. Belobaba has noted that he was certain the losing party would appeal.

Tory said the city will oppose an application expected from the province to stay the judge's decision pending an appeal.

"I have a lot of friends who were running in this particular election, people who I've mentored, people who I've encouraged to run, and the last thing we wanted to do was engage in some form of 'The Hunger Games, '" she said.

Ford had previously said that Ottawa was a special case.

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