Christine Elliott met with Doug Ford on Sunday evening to congratulate him on his narrow win in the race to lead Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ontario wins stay on ruling that struck down council-cutting plan

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote, and the Court of Appeal agreed.

Ontario’s top court has stayed a ruling that upended the provincial government’s plans to cut Toronto city council in the middle of a municipal election.

The legal victory for the Progressive Conservative government means city staff can immediately focus on planning for an election using 25 wards and abandon the 47-ward model that was revived by the lower court’s decision.

It also means the government won’t have to immediately move forward with reintroduced council-cutting legislation that invoked a constitutional provision known as the notwithstanding clause to override the lower court ruling.

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote, and the Court of Appeal agreed.

“It is not in the public interest to permit the impending election to proceed on the basis of a dubious ruling that invalidates legislation duly passed by the legislature,” the three-judge panel wrote.

The appeal court rejected arguments from those opposed to the stay that the province was responsible for the chaos surrounding the election and thus shouldn’t be granted relief.

“We do not accept the respondents’ submission that, because Ontario exercised its legislative authority to enact Bill 5, it does not have ‘clean hands’ and should not be entitled to the equitable relief of a stay from this court,” the panel wrote.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford to slash size of Toronto city council nearly by half

An Ontario judge last week found that the province’s Bill 5, which reduced Toronto city council to 25 seats from 47, violated freedom of expression rights for candidates and voters.

Premier Doug Ford contested the ruling and took the unprecedented step of invoking the notwithstanding clause in reintroduced legislation to push through with his plan.

The new bill won’t be up for a final vote until Thursday at the earliest, and the province’s lawyers said legislators wouldn’t move forward with the vote if the stay was granted.

The province is also appealing the lower court ruling and lawyers said the case could be heard on an expedited basis in order to resolve the issue before a new council is sworn in on Dec. 1.

In their decision Wednesday, the judges weighing the stay said they believe the decision to strike down Bill 5 will be overturned on appeal.

“The question for the courts is not whether Bill 5 is unfair but whether it is unconstitutional,” they wrote.

“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.”

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Teen sexually assaulted at Radley Beach

A sexual assault took place at Radley Beach in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Topley 4-H helps Landon

This year the Topley 4-H Club will be auctioning off a steer… Continue reading

4-H club to raise money for Houston teen

The Houston teen is fighting bone cancer

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read