Toronto municipal election, 2018

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gadar

This makes me worried about the future of minority rights in Canada. Doug Dealer just gave a big blow to the Charter. I can forsee politicians campaigning explicitly on using NWC against certain minority rights. The wearing of turban in RCMP and other religious accomodations, the same sex marriage, cllective bargaining and so on. Huge implications on the healthcare.

Even Gordon Campbell didnt have the guts to use the NWC when the SCC ruled against his Govt. on ripping the hospital employees contracts. Christy Clark didnt use this when SCC ruled in favour of the teachers. 

This, in my view, is going to have far reaching consequences, and that makes me very uncomfortable, even scared.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..includes video

'Grandmothers' handcuffed and detained as Doug Ford moves to suspend constitutional rights

It started with a coughing fit from the public gallery intended to drown out Premier Doug Ford’s statements about defending democracy in the Ontario legislature Wednesday.

Then the jeering started. “Shame!” shouted some people from the gallery. “Bully!” “We are the people.” “This is not democracy.”

Within minutes of Question Period, several older members of the public (National Observer observed three at least) were escorted out in handcuffs and security cleared about 50 people from the public galleries and closed them.

“I am 77 years old and I hate the destruction of democracy,” a woman shouted as she was led out of the legislature....

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The legislature has to pass the bill while using the Not Withstanding Clause. We keep pointing at the asshole at the front of the parade but he can't pass it without the majority of the MPP's voting in favour in the legislature. We are not a fucking republic we have a parliamentary system and that means the caucus is to blame.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..that's the bad apple logic in play. like the cop that violates someone's rights. that way you avoid looking at the systemic problems.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
'Grandmothers' handcuffed and detained as Doug Ford moves to suspend constitutional rights

I'm not quarrelling with concerns over members of the public being escorted out in manacles.

But who cares what sex they are, what age they presumably are, or whether they have children who also have children??

Is it a slightly better government who would have told security "get these riff-raff out of here.  Except those three old ladies, because that would be just wrong!"?

voice of the damned

Magoo wrote:

But who cares what sex they are, what age they presumably are, or whether they have children who also have children??

And that kind of rhetoric is easily picked up by less benevolent political forces.

TRUDEAU SHOUTS DOWN GRANDMOTHER JUST FOR ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRATION!!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

'xactly.

We see no such reverence for the elderly when it's a GRANDFATHER sitting in the back corner of a Tim Horton's, wearing a MAGA hat over top of a "Support our Troops" hat, offering up his wizened opinion on why we need to clone Doug Ford so he can run federally too.

Again, just suggesting that if being led out of the gallery in manacles is wrong, it's wrong no matter how old you are.

cco

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, so anyone who is, feel free to weigh in. My reading of the decision indicates that it relies on two principles: one, the freedom of expression of council candidates, who have been unable to talk about anything but the council cuts (which seemed like a real stretch to me, and likely to get shredded by an appeals court, but is certainly subject to Section 33 override), and two, that the bill violates the "right to effective representation", which would emanate from the right to vote -- and that one's not subject to override, any more than Trudeau could pass a bill using the notwithstanding clause that said nobody west of Kenora got to vote in 2019. No?

voice of the damned

(WRITTEN BEFORE READING CCO'S POST)

Back to the legal aspects for a bit, Chantal Hebert wrote in her Star column on this that the federal government can, in fact, override provincial legislation, but they are highly unlikely to do so in this case.

I guess by the logic that says "Section 33 is there for governments to use, if you don't like it, suck eggs", you could also say "Federal override is there for governments to use, if you don't like it, suck eggs". Though the political fallout from the feds overruling Ford would likely be a lot worse than it is from Ford overruling the judge. If Trudeau quashed a provincial law, it would probably be all 10 Canadian PREMIERS being hauled out of the House Of Commons in handcuffs, kicking and screaming.

voice of the damned

CCO wrote:

My reading of the decision indicates that it relies on two principles: one, the freedom of expression of council candidates, who have been unable to talk about anything but the council cuts

Was that really the basis for the judge's Freedom Of Expression argument, ie. Ford's bill made it difficult to talk about other issues during the campaign? If so, yeah, that's pretty loopy. Election campaigns are subject to outside influence all the time, including actions taken by other levels of government.

And even if most of the candidates start talking about Ford's seat-reducation plan, any individual candidate is still free to ignore that issue and talk about whatever else he thinks is important.

I think you could make a case that introdcing his bill during the middle of the campaign constitutes interference, since the bill threatens the agreed-upon basis on which the campaign was being conducted(ie. a certain number of seats are up for grabs). Not sure that's a Freedom Of Expression issue.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
and two, that the bill violates the "right to effective representation", which would emanate from the right to vote -- and that one's not subject to override, any more than Trudeau could pass a bill using the notwithstanding clause that said nobody west of Kenora got to vote in 2019. No?

One's right to vote is certainly not subject to override.  But what does that have to do with this?

And to be fair, "effective" representation might be a concern if (let's just say) suddenly a whole bunch of GTA federal ridings were compressed into one "super riding" with 4M constituents and one MP.

But unless the sizes of Toronto municipal wards are vastly different, nobody in Toronto is suffering from less representation, municipally, than their neighbour just across that ward line.

I 100% don't agree with Ford's plan, and I 100% wonder exactly what personal vendetta this represents for him, but the idea that it cannot be allowed specifically because we have some right to a certain size of ward (assuming they're all as reasonably similar as provincial or federal ridings) doesn't really make sense.

cco

Here's the ruling. It's not too long a read. I might be misinterpreting it. But the "effective representation" bit leaned heavily on the previous ward boundaries review (see (2)[45] and the next couple of pages). Of course, it also characterizes the right to vote as a freedom of expression issue, not a Section 3 one, which might in and of itself screw up an appeal.

Ward

If the Toronto city council really wanted to demonstrate some bravado they could just invoke their own not with standing motion and direct the election office to follow the courts order.

jerrym

gadar wrote:

This makes me worried about the future of minority rights in Canada. Doug Dealer just gave a big blow to the Charter. I can forsee politicians campaigning explicitly on using NWC against certain minority rights. The wearing of turban in RCMP and other religious accomodations, the same sex marriage, cllective bargaining and so on. Huge implications on the healthcare.

Even Gordon Campbell didnt have the guts to use the NWC when the SCC ruled against his Govt. on ripping the hospital employees contracts. Christy Clark didnt use this when SCC ruled in favour of the teachers. 

This, in my view, is going to have far reaching consequences, and that makes me very uncomfortable, even scared.

I am afraid that I agree totally and not just for what people traditionally call minorities but for any group a government thinks it can abuse without severe electoral consequences by invoking this clause, or for that matter, for majorities that are split into different camps politically but opposed to this or another autocratic government. If Ford is re-elected, and quite possibly before that, other governments will be road testing the notwithstanding clause. Already, when asked, Scheer has not supported Ford. 

Andrew Scheer, federal Tories back Doug Ford’s use of notwithstanding clause

The federal Conservatives say Ontario Premier Doug Ford has the legal right to use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to move ahead with plans to cut the size of Toronto city council.

Brock Harrison, a spokesman for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the constitution places municipal administration under provincial authority.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4443804/andrew-scheer-doug-ford-notwithstandi...

voice of the damned

Bill Davis has what seems(to me anyway) like a rather unique interpretation of Section 33...

Davis warned “the sole purpose of the notwithstanding clause was only for those exceptionally rare circumstances when a province wanted to bring in a specific benefit or program provision for a part of their population — people of a certain age, for example — that might have seemed discriminatory under the Charter.”

I believe there IS a section of the Charter that talks about how the rights enumerated should not be interpreted as outlawing affirmative action(or whatever terminolgy is used), but it's certainly not Section 33. And even if that's what was going through the minds of the premiers, they didn't write it into the clause, so it's hard to argue, for legal purposes anyway, that that was the sole intent.

https://tinyurl.com/y995l7xo

 

voice of the damned

So, I guess this means Ford WON'T be invoking Notwithstanding then.

https://tinyurl.com/y7oex6rt

 

 

 

 

cco

Let's say he doesn't, and the election goes forward with 25 wards, but then the appeal rules that Belobaba was correct. Does council get to stay for another 4 years, or is it retroactively invalidated and a new election called?

Mobo2000

That would be a mess, but it isn't going to happen:

"“However, unfairness alone does not establish a Charter breach,” the court’s judgment reads. “The question for the courts is not whether Bill 5 is unfair but whether it is unconstitutional. On that crucial question, we have concluded that there is a strong likelihood that application judge erred in law and that the Attorney-General’s appeal to this court will succeed.”

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Mobo2000 wrote:

That would be a mess, but it isn't going to happen:

"“However, unfairness alone does not establish a Charter breach,” the court’s judgment reads. “The question for the courts is not whether Bill 5 is unfair but whether it is unconstitutional. On that crucial question, we have concluded that there is a strong likelihood that application judge erred in law and that the Attorney-General’s appeal to this court will succeed.”

This was the type of reasoning I expected from the courts all along. I found the trial judge's decision quite shocking. It is no surprise to me that the Court of Appeal would take this position.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Let's say he doesn't, and the election goes forward with 25 wards, but then the appeal rules that Belobaba was correct. Does council get to stay for another 4 years, or is it retroactively invalidated and a new election called?

My guess would be that council remains until the next election.  One problem with trying to make this all about violated charter rights is that if the "real" problems were changing the number of wards during an election and that the candidates' freedom of expression was violated is that once the election is over, those problems are water under the bridge, in that a new election can't reasonably go back in time and fix them.

Mobo2000

Yes.   This whole situation really pisses me off.   It's an outrageous move by Ford, if it was an important part of his plan, he could have and should have let the voters know that beforehand instead of pretending he didn't have a platform.   But this judge's decision was perhaps well intentioned but obviously a stretch, and reinforces all the "unelected activist judges vs democratically elected politician" tropes favoured by the right.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Conservative Party of Ontario has changed a significant municipal law without running on the issue. In our system as long its MPP's control the legislature it is legal and within the government's power. The BC Liberals knowingly breached most of the public sector union's Charter rights but FPTP afforded absolute power to the majority of MLA's.

This highlights that our system itself is far from a democracy.  The timing of this change is clearly the only thing to complain about in a political system that legally cedes ultimate power to minority opinons. The interesting thing for me is that if the Ont. Cons had held a few phoney balony consultation meetings it could have completely deflected any real criticism.

Mobo2000

Yes, that's all depressingly true.   It just rankles.   I thought the public backlash against the sale of Hydro One, also unannounced during the election, was great.   Hoping for more of the same with this issue, I guess.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It would be interesting to see how many people who live in the GTA agree or disagree with Ford's slashing of the Toronto Council.

We've all heard plenty about how the elite, latte-sipping metrosexuals of the GTA impose their electoral will on the rest of the province.  Maybe this time it's "rest of the province payback".

I say this as someone who lives in Toronto and disagrees with Ford.  But here we are anyway.

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