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

Accused killer Colin John found unfit for trial

The man accused of killing a Chemainus man more than three years… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Thirst aid

Chemainus kids take a stand to sell lemonade, and at only 25 cents a glass

Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary outlines its mandate at North Cowichan council meeting

President Beaubier states her case for group’s tireless efforts

Current MP opens Cowichan-Malahat-Langford campaign office

MacGregor vowing to return to Ottawa for another four years

VIDEO: B.C. Mountie killed by drunk driver honoured by memorial playground

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Most Read