Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

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Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Tribble » 2018-09-10 08:04pm

So here is what our beloved version of Trump has been up to since the Ontario election:
Doug Ford to invoke notwithstanding clause to override judge’s Toronto council ruling

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will recall the Legislature and invoke the Constitution’s rarely-used notwithstanding clause to override a judge’s ruling that declared his move to cut Toronto’s council in half a violation of the Charter of Right and Freedoms.
The Premier said he would use the notwithstanding clause, never before invoked in Ontario, to go ahead with his plan to cut city council down to 25 wards from 47, even in the middle of a municipal election. And he warned he could use the clause again, on other issues.
In a ruling released Monday morning, an Ontario Superior Court judge declared Mr. Ford’s move unconstitutional. In his decision, Justice Edward Belobaba calls Mr. Ford's move to cut the number of city councillors "unprecedented" with a campaign under way, declaring that the Premier's intervention "crossed the line."

The judge’s ruling would have reverted Toronto's election to the 47-ward structure for the Oct. 22 election. Toronto’s city clerk issued a statement Monday saying the city was now preparing to go ahead on this basis.
Addressing reporters two hours later than scheduled on Monday afternoon, Mr. Ford criticized the judge and his ruling, which was issued in the morning.

“I believe the judge's decision is deeply, deeply concerning,” Mr. Ford said at a news conference near Queen’s Park on Monday afternoon. “He’s the judge, I’m the premier. He gets to use his tools. I’ll use every single tool to stand up for the people of Ontario.”
Ontario’s legislature will begin to meet on Wednesday in an emergency session to debate and vote on the use of Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which will override some of the rights of Ontarians for up to five years.
Mr. Ford said the extraordinary move was necessary to follow through with his campaign promise to protect the province’s taxpayers. While the premier did not explicitly campaign on cutting Toronto’s council nearly in half, Mr. Ford said that he would not allow the courts to second-guess what he considers his government’s mandate.
“Democracy is going every four years to elect a government…without worrying about your mandate being overturned,” said Mr. Ford.
“We’re going to fulfill those promises to the people of Ontario, because they are the judge and jury. No one else is the judge and jury with the people of Ontario, except for the people of Ontario.”

Justice Belobaba sided with arguments made by lawyers for the city and some of the candidates who had signed up to run for council who asserted that the move violated their right to free expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – and that the breach could not be justified by the Ontario government.

"The enactment of provincial legislation radically changing the number and size of a city's electoral districts in the middle of the city's election is without parallel in Canadian history," Justice Belobaba wrote.
Justice Belobaba’s ruling said he recognizes the province’s constitutional authority over its municipalities – and may even pass “wrong-headed, unfair or even ‘draconian’ laws," without consultation if it so chooses.
However, the province must still abide by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He left aside arguments made by lawyers for the city and for a number of council candidates about “unwritten constitutional principles” of democracy and the rule of law.
But he ruled that Mr. Ford’s changes, referred to as Bill 5, violate the Charter’s free-expression clause both because they were enacted in the middle of an election campaign and they double the average population size of the city’s wards, to 111,000 from 61,000, breaching “the municipal voter’s right to cast a vote that can result in effective representation.”

He said the bill interfered with the candidates’ right to free speech of the most protected kind: political speech.
Bill 5 caused “widespread confusion and uncertainty,” the judge says. “The evidence is that the candidates spent more time on doorsteps addressing the confusing state of affairs with potential voters than discussing relevant political issues,” the ruling reads. “The candidates’ efforts to convey their political message about the issues in their particular ward were severely frustrated and disrupted. Some candidates persevered; others dropped out of the race entirely.”
But Justice Belobaba suggested that even enacting the law six months before the start of the city’s election – instead of three-and-a-half months in – would have nullified the Charter breach: “This midstream legislative intervention not only interfered with the candidates' freedom of expression, it undermined an otherwise fair and equitable election process.”
In finding that the bill also violates the rights of Toronto voters to “effective representation,” Justice Belobaba cited the results of the city’s own extensive ward boundary review, which recommended a 47-ward system to keep up with the city’s population growth and was upheld by the Ontario Municipal Board.
He also concluded that the province failed to provide winning arguments to justify the Charter breach in a “free and democratic society,” as allowed for in the Charter’s Section 1. He said the province provided little evidence for the stated reasons for its move: that Toronto council was “dysfunctional” or that cutting the number of councillors would fix it.
“It appears that Bill 5 was hurriedly enacted to take effect in the middle of the city’s election without much thought at all, more out of pique than principle,” the ruling reads.
Nor was any reason given for addressing the issue of voter parity in the middle of an election, the judge ruled, summing up the province’s evidence in one word: “Crickets.”
Mayor John Tory said the ruling vindicated the city’s decision to challenge Mr. Ford’s council cut.
“We have stood up for Toronto and for our rights as city,” Mr. Tory said. “I have been pushing back against this legislation since it was introduced, because I firmly believe that you can't change the rules in the middle of an election campaign.”
The province’s opposition celebrated the court’s decision and said that it had warned Mr. Ford that his bill aimed at Toronto council was “dangerous for democracy,” according to a statement from the Liberal caucus.
“We urge the government to stop playing with municipal democracy, to obey the court’s ruling and let the elections take place on October 22 in the 47 wards as they should,” said the Liberals in a statement from interim leader John Fraser’s office. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was expected to comment on the court’s decision later in the afternoon.
Mr. Tory’s main rival, former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, came out swinging against Mr. Tory after the ruling. She jumped into the race after seeing his reaction to Mr. Ford’s announcement of the move in July, when the mayor called for a referendum on the matter.
“While today’s ruling is good news, we didn’t have to get here,” Ms. Keesmaat said in a statement issued on Monday. “When the chips were down, John Tory didn’t have our city's back and this entire episode has shown us that we need new leadership at City Hall – leadership that will stand up for Toronto when it matters most – that’s why I decided to run to be your Mayor.”
Mr. Tory shot back, dropping a reference to Ms. Keesmaat’s tweets after Mr. Ford’s July announcement, when she called for Toronto’s “secession” – something she has subsequently said was not a policy position but remarks made in frustration. He also said he called in lawyers for advice and that at council he took a “leadership role” in calling for a legal challenge.
“I think this [Ms. Keesmaat’s statement] is a feeble attempt to deflect attention away first of all from her response at the time, which was that Toronto should secede from Ontario,” Mr. Tory said. “ … I stood up from the beginning and said this was being rammed down our throats in the middle of an election.”
An expert on municipal law said he was “dumbfounded” by the ruling.
“I think there was quite a bit of shock today,” said John Mascarin, a partner at Toronto law firm Aird & Berlis LLP. “I really didn’t think that the judge would come in and say it breached the Charter. I thought he was going to rely strictly on Section 92 of the Constitution Act and say it’s within the jurisdiction of the province to do it. But he didn’t.”
Mr. Mascarin said that the immediate effect of the ruling was to halt only this legislation, but that its significance could ripple across the country.
“I think it certainly is a ruling that’s going to be looked at nationally, because every jurisdiction of course is set up like Ontario,” he said. “The province or the territory sets the rules for the municipalities. So it clearly says, while there is broad authority there, they have to be careful in how that exercise that power.”
Justice Belobaba's ruling comes after a day-long hearing Aug. 31 before a packed public gallery, where the judge told his courtroom he had no idea which way his ruling would go.
The province argued that cities are created by provincial legislation and have no constitutional status, and that Queen’s Park is well within it rights to redraw Toronto’s ward boundaries – even with an election under way.
Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, was rushed through the Ontario Legislature and passed Aug. 14, even though campaigning for Toronto’s municipal election began May 1. The move reduced the number of wards to 25 from 47, using the federal and provincial riding boundaries instead of new wards approved by the city and the Ontario Municipal Board after a four-year review.
While the idea was never mentioned during the campaign before the June 7 provincial vote that put Mr. Ford into power at Queen’s Park, the former Toronto councillor and mayoral candidate had long held that Toronto’s “dysfunctional” council needed to be cut down in size.
The Toronto District School Board was granted intervenor status in support of the city’s legal challenge to overturn the Ford government’s legislation. The TDSB had voted earlier this year to adjust its 22 trustee ward boundaries to align with the 47 city councilor wards. Robin Pilkey, the TDSB’s chairwoman, said on Monday that she was pleased with the court’s decision.
“We have said since day one that to change Toronto’s electoral boundaries in the middle of an election and without any opportunity for public input is unfair and not reflective of reasonable public expectations for consultation,” she said.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/ ... o-council/

Short version:

Ford gets a majority, but loses in Toronto.

In retaliation he decides to cut the city council in half (since the majority of council is usually left-leaning) despite being in the middle of the election season, and despite nothing of the sort being mentioned in his campaign. Or even mentioned to his own support base.

Judge rules that while overall Ford can do what he wants to the city, cutting the council size in half in the middle of an election campaign is unconstitutional.

Ford immediately decides to go nuclear and use the notwithstanding clause even though all the judge told him to do was wait until after the election. Or wait for the appeal process.

Ford also mentions that he will not hesistate to use the notwithstanding clause on other court decisions that go agaisnt the "will of the people" aka against things that he wants passed. At a minimum this will likely inlucde the current court challenge over his revamped sex-ed curriculum, (where wants to return it to the good ol' days of "Sex is bad and Gays have AIDS").

Naturally his support base is lapping it all up, which will embolden him to use it whenever he feels like it. Presumably this will also have a big impact on the courts as judges will hesitate to issue ruling against Ford lest he use the notwithstanding clause to make it all moot (for 5 years anyways).

And all of this in just 3 months of being in office! We're in for some interesting times.


Edit: I am not necessarily against the idea of reducing council size (at least for city-wide votes and issues), but the implementation is horrid.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Tribble » 2018-09-10 08:27pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention Ford said that the only reason the Judge ruled against him... was solely because he was appointed by a Liberal. Surprise, surprise.

For those not in the know, here is Sec 33 of the Charter aka the "NotWithstanding Cause":
Section 33.
(1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15.
(2) An Act or a provision of an Act in respect of which a declaration made under this section is in effect shall have such operation as it would have but for the provision of this Charter referred to in the declaration.
(3) A declaration made under subsection (1) shall cease to have effect five years after it comes into force or on such earlier date as may be specified in the declaration.
(4) Parliament or the legislature of a province may re-enact a declaration made under subsection (1).
(5) Subsection (3) applies in respect of a re-enactment made under subsection (4).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_3 ... d_Freedoms

Basically by putting this clause into legislation, the government is declaring that the legislation is not subject to the charter and court review. Fortunately there is an automatic sunset clause, but this is going to be a bad precedent in Ontario, particularly since Ford's pretty open as to why he is doing it.

And yes, I really wish they had called it Section 33 instead of Section 31 in DS9, though they are still pretty close :P
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Coop D'etat » 2018-09-10 09:49pm

Using the Notwithstanding Clause in this situation isn't so bad if you were committed to the underlying policy in question. The court ruling against the bill was a particularly egregious case of motivated reasoning, using poor legal analysis and defying existing precedent to get the result the court wanted. The kind of analysis appropriate to a s.3 violation was inappropriately ported into a s.2 analysis, and the court gave far to little consideration to s.1 in terms of choosing which tests to use in considering how much deference to give the legislature. Legally speaking, its a bad ruling that probably would be rejected on appeal.

In the circumstances where the court uses the Charter badly to overturn legislation, its fairly reasonable to use the NWC to overrule the court rather than to go through the time and expense of a appeal.



The egregious conduct by the government was making the change in the first place, which was so blatantly unfair and in bad faith that the court was motivated to rule against them even if it did stretch the law to do so. The government then doubled down on their bad decision to invoke the NWC, which is supposed to be a drastic step of last resort for important policies, not the first resort of a leader who is having a fit of pique and looking to settle personal scores. This didn't address an urgent and vital issue and it leaves a bad precendent on the books rather than properly challenging it in a higher court.


TLDR: Its a bad policy that shouldn't have been done, but constitutionally the Province has a lot of power to do what it did and the court was probably wrong to strike it down. The Province is being even more terrible by doubling down on its bad policy by using its powers to overrule the court in a procedurally correct, but politically and ethically dubious fashion.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-13 09:19pm

A Right-wing candidate using loopholes to undermine democracy for the sake of solidifying his power/punishing his opponents? Who'd have thought it?

Alt. Reichism has truly come to Canada, and is initiating its campaign to erode our civil liberties and democratic institutions, just as it has across the Western World. All that's left is a story tying Ford to Russia, and we'll have the full fucking set.

This is a time when we all need to be very vigilant.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Solauren » 2018-09-13 10:22pm

Ford should be very careful.

He pulls stunts like this, his approval rating will drop to far, and there will be protests and backlash.

Then, the actual PC leadership will make him step aside, rather then risk him causing serious enough problems to result in the PCs themselves going back into the political non-relevance.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-13 10:26pm

Solauren wrote:
2018-09-13 10:22pm
Ford should be very careful.

He pulls stunts like this, his approval rating will drop to far, and there will be protests and backlash.

Then, the actual PC leadership will make him step aside, rather then risk him causing serious enough problems to result in the PCs themselves going back into the political non-relevance.
One can only hope. But I feel that there is a dangerous complacency from the Canadian electorate, even more than from the American one, and I can't help but fear that the PC will decide to follow the same path as the Republicans, and condone authoritarians and crooks within their ranks as long as they get votes.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by aerius » 2018-09-13 10:46pm

I'm going to say this again: like it or not, we the people get exactly what we deserve. We were happy to sit on our asses while Wynn went from one debacle to another, we didn't force her out of the party leadership and we even re-elected her because fuck, I don't know, we just did. And when the PC party was having its leadership convention we let them pick Ford, then we elected the dumb schmuck into office.

All this shit could've been stopped years ago, but that would take actual effort and not just yelling on Facebook and other social media. We the people support these assholes through our complacency, stupidity, and lack of action.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-13 10:53pm

And do the people who voted and campaigned against him also "deserve" to have their democracy blatantly undermined?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Zaune » 2018-09-14 04:42am

I think I preferred his brother. He was relatively harmless.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Tribble » 2018-09-14 02:34pm

Coop D'etat wrote:
2018-09-10 09:49pm
Using the Notwithstanding Clause in this situation isn't so bad if you were committed to the underlying policy in question. The court ruling against the bill was a particularly egregious case of motivated reasoning, using poor legal analysis and defying existing precedent to get the result the court wanted. The kind of analysis appropriate to a s.3 violation was inappropriately ported into a s.2 analysis, and the court gave far to little consideration to s.1 in terms of choosing which tests to use in considering how much deference to give the legislature. Legally speaking, its a bad ruling that probably would be rejected on appeal.

In the circumstances where the court uses the Charter badly to overturn legislation, its fairly reasonable to use the NWC to overrule the court rather than to go through the time and expense of a appeal.



The egregious conduct by the government was making the change in the first place, which was so blatantly unfair and in bad faith that the court was motivated to rule against them even if it did stretch the law to do so. The government then doubled down on their bad decision to invoke the NWC, which is supposed to be a drastic step of last resort for important policies, not the first resort of a leader who is having a fit of pique and looking to settle personal scores. This didn't address an urgent and vital issue and it leaves a bad precendent on the books rather than properly challenging it in a higher court.


TLDR: Its a bad policy that shouldn't have been done, but constitutionally the Province has a lot of power to do what it did and the court was probably wrong to strike it down. The Province is being even more terrible by doubling down on its bad policy by using its powers to overrule the court in a procedurally correct, but politically and ethically dubious fashion.
Agreed. The biggest problem isnt the use of the notwithstanding clause itself so much as the intent behind it.

Even worse is Ford's declaration that he wont hesitate to use it again whenever a court decision doesn't go his way. Since he has a majority, this automatically means he is right. Plus the judges are all appointed Liberals anyways, so why bother with them?

I suspect this may just be a trial run before the fun really starts, though hopefully I am mistaken.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-14 09:30pm

So in short, Doug Ford is openly declaring himself above the rule of law for partisan reasons?

And to think some people thought comparing him to Trump was premature or unfair.

Hell, why not go all the way and name himself Dictator of Ontario while he's at it?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Tribble » 2018-09-15 06:17am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-14 09:30pm
So in short, Doug Ford is openly declaring himself above the rule of law for partisan reasons?

And to think some people thought comparing him to Trump was premature or unfair.

Hell, why not go all the way and name himself Dictator of Ontario while he's at it?
Well, technically no since the notwithstanding clause is part of the constitution. He did mention that if voters dont like what hes doing they can vote for another party next election.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-15 08:07pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-09-15 06:17am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-14 09:30pm
So in short, Doug Ford is openly declaring himself above the rule of law for partisan reasons?

And to think some people thought comparing him to Trump was premature or unfair.

Hell, why not go all the way and name himself Dictator of Ontario while he's at it?
Well, technically no since the notwithstanding clause is part of the constitution. He did mention that if voters dont like what hes doing they can vote for another party next election.
Yeah... but contrary to what Doug Ford seems to think, democracy is about more than just getting to vote for someone every four years. There are supposed to be checks and balances, rules in which powerful people have to operate to ensure that they can't stack the deck too much.

Constitutional, yeah, but I doubt the intent was to allow politicians to say "Fuck the courts if they don't give me everything I want."
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Vendetta » 2018-09-16 01:49pm

It wasn't, some of the people who wrote it have said "this wasn't what we intended".

Ford is using the letter of the law to violate its spirit.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Rogue 9 » 2018-09-16 10:16pm

So... Why DOES Canada's constitution have a clause that lets a provincial executive give the finger to the judiciary?
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-17 01:08am

Vendetta wrote:
2018-09-16 01:49pm
It wasn't, some of the people who wrote it have said "this wasn't what we intended".

Ford is using the letter of the law to violate its spirit.
Another thing the Alt. Reich unfortunately excels at is turning democratic and legal institutions against themselves. This then erodes public faith in democracy and the rule of law, increasing voter cynicism and apathy, playing into "both sides" narratives, and providing fodder for those who want a "strongman".
Rogue 9 wrote:
2018-09-16 10:16pm
So... Why DOES Canada's constitution have a clause that lets a provincial executive give the finger to the judiciary?
Canada's constitution is full of some horribly undemocratic shit. It actually in some ways has much weaker checks on despotism than the US does. Canada has remained a relatively free country because no one in a position of power has really tried to exploit those loopholes to their fullest. In my opinion, Canada is systemically very vulnerable to someone like Trump, or Ford, even more so in some ways than America.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Coop D'etat » 2018-09-17 08:25pm

Rogue 9 wrote:
2018-09-16 10:16pm
So... Why DOES Canada's constitution have a clause that lets a provincial executive give the finger to the judiciary?
It was a compromise to have a Charter of Rights at all, the provinces wouldn't sign on to changing the consitution to add it in 1982 without it.

Keep in mind that this is well within the Westminister tradition of Parlimentary Supremacy, traditionally Parliaments can write whatever laws they wish and many weren't comfortable with moving to an American style ability for the courts to overrule governments so they wanted a safety valve. Compared to Austrailia, New Zealand and the UK, Canadian law has significantly stronger judicial review powers even with the NWC.

Generallly the norm over the past 4 decades is that the Charter has strong public support and its considered politically dicey to invoke s.33 and immunize a law from Charter review. It looks like Ford is trying to challange that notion (while very publically looking to launch a court case against the Federal government for carbon taxation on dubious legal grounds, the man gets no points for consistency).

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-18 10:39pm

Personally, I'm not sure you can really call them "Rights" if the provinces get an opt-out button whenever they don't think those rights should apply.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Coop D'etat » 2018-09-20 10:24am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-18 10:39pm
Personally, I'm not sure you can really call them "Rights" if the provinces get an opt-out button whenever they don't think those rights should apply.
Under that theory of law, the citizens of New Zealand, Austrailia and the UK have no rights at all. I think that would be a controversial statement.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Zaune » 2018-09-20 12:09pm

Coop D'etat wrote:
2018-09-20 10:24am
Under that theory of law, the citizens of New Zealand, Austrailia and the UK have no rights at all. I think that would be a controversial statement.
Which isn't to say there isn't a grain of truth in it. Case in point: "I'm clear: if human rights laws get in the way of tackling extremism and terrorism, we will change those laws to keep British people safe."

The principle of parliamentary sovereignty and HARD MEN (or HARD WOMEN) making HARD DECISIONS don't mix well.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-20 02:24pm

Indeed.

If the government can suspend something whenever they feel like it, then it is not being treated as a right, but as a privilege- a luxury to be dispensed with when it becomes inconvenient to the Powers That Be.

This, I feel, is frequently the case in Canada. Our system is highly vulnerable to exploitation by a Trumpian would-be strongman, to an extent that genuinely terrifies me. In my opinion, the only reason we are a free country is because we have a relatively... relaxed political culture, for lack of a better word, and no one in power has thus far really tried, with the support of a significant percentage of the country, to use those loopholes to their fullest extent.

Edit: Having lived in, and participated in the politics of, both Canada and the United States, my strong suspicion is that if you paired the US political culture with Canada's political system, it would end in despotism or chaos very quickly.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Tribble » 2018-09-20 10:23pm

Update: Ontario Court of Appeal granted a stay for the original court ruling:
Toronto’s municipal election is set to proceed with a 25-ward map imposed by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, after a panel of appeal judges sided with the province and froze a lower-court ruling declaring his intervention in the Oct. 22 vote unconstitutional.
While the decision appeared to put to rest much of the uncertainty swirling around the municipal vote, it has prompted several of Mr. Ford’s opponents at city hall to wonder what other designs the Premier – a former councillor and failed candidate for mayor – has for Canada’s largest city. It has also set off a series of intense political battles for local council seats, pitting incumbents against one another in new, larger wards.
Toronto’s fight with Ontario has higher stakes than the size of a municipal council. The city encompasses more citizens than most provinces, and its financial sector is an engine for the broader national economy.

Explainer: Everything you need to know about Toronto’s election
The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed Mr. Ford’s Progressive Conservative government to back off its rush in the legislature to pass Bill 31, which would use the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and cut Toronto’s city council almost in half.

“I’m feeling real positive,” said Mr. Ford, who was in Washington for a briefing on trade talks. “I’m very grateful for the court’s decision.”
The appeal court’s ruling reinstates Mr. Ford’s Bill 5, which was originally passed on Aug. 14, 3 1/2 months into Toronto’s election campaign. The bill redrew the city’s council map and cut the number of wards to 25 from 47. On Sept. 10, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled Mr. Ford’s intervention in the election violated the Charter’s free-expression guarantee.
The stay granted on Wednesday by the appeal court is not a final decision in the case. But the province’s appeal will now not be heard for months, long after the vote. The city clerk said nominations for the new election would be reopened and accepted Thursday and Friday.

Lawyers for the city and for the council candidates who challenged Mr. Ford’s Bill 5 in court were still mulling their next move. They could try to appeal the stay to the Supreme Court of Canada, but there is no guarantee the country’s highest court would agree to hear the case.
The Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, say the dispute should spark a national discussion over the role of cities, which are home to the vast majority of citizens live but left powerless in the Constitution’s division of powers.

While noting that the city’s lawyers have council’s authority to exhaust every legal avenue in their fight against Mr. Ford’s move, Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday he was not aware whether they would appeal the stay itself.
It could be the first of many battles to pit Mr. Ford against the province’s largest city, a looming conflict reminiscent of the 1990s, when the PC government of Mike Harris cut funding, downloaded responsibilities on the city and imposed amalgamation.
Mr. Ford’s government has already said it intends to take ownership of Toronto’s subway system. And during the tumultuous term that his late brother Rob Ford served as mayor, when the Premier was a city councillor, he pushed for a Ferris wheel and a megamall on the waterfront, where he also supported setting up a casino. In his 2014 run at the mayoralty, Mr. Ford also called for an end to the city’s land-transfer tax, on which the city relies heavily to balance its books. While a city councillor, he supported allowing jets to land at the island airport, something opposed by many residents on the waterfront and prohibited by a long-standing deal between the city, PortsToronto and Ottawa.//
“We have a shadow mayor and we have a shadow council just up the street at Queen’s Park,” City Councillor Paula Fletcher said.
Mr. Tory says he is prepared to work with the Premier as he has with other leaders: “Everybody’s different to deal with. But as I have said many times before, I believe that Premier Ford and myself have common interests in moving the city of Toronto forward and getting transit built.”

His chief rival for the mayor’s job, former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, charges that Mr. Tory failed to stand up strongly enough to Mr. Ford, noting that the mayor says he dismissed Mr. Ford’s mentioning of the idea of cutting council at a meeting in early July as just an offhand remark.
“He should have fought this vigorously then. The mess we’re in now is an outcome of that leadership,” Ms. Keesmaat said in interview at City Hall.
The Premier has suggested his opponents were only interested in protecting the jobs of downtown left-wing councillor “crony buddies” of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. But some on council’s left predict incumbent members of city hall’s left-leaning wing will do fairly well in the 25-ward system.

“Quite frankly, I think progressive voices will [do well], it will just be a diminished number of all different sides of council,” Councillor Joe Mihevc said. “ ... It all depends on a few close races.”

But he and others say the cut in the number of councillors will cause problems for the way city hall functions. New councillors with larger wards will need to hire more staff, reducing dramatically the $25-million the Premier has said his reforms would save. The city will also have to scramble to sort out what to do with the seats normally filled by councillors on scores of agencies, boards and commissions, including the Toronto Zoo and the Toronto Transit Commission.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government acknowledged that Bill 31, and its use of the notwithstanding clause, will remain on the order paper, in case of a future setback in court.

With Mr. Ford in Washington on Wednesday, Stephen Lecce, his deputy government house leader, spoke to reporters at City Hall.
He repeated Mr. Ford’s assertion that a small council would save money and get more done, accusing Ms. Horwath and the Opposition of being more interested in “saving 20-odd political jobs at city hall” than in saving taxpayers money.

“We believe a smaller, more nimble government is in the public interest,” he said, calling the current council “dysfunctional” for voting on the $3.5-billion Scarborough subway eight times and spending “two full days” discussing a proposed ban on shark-fin soup.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/ ... mier-ford/

Given that most legal experts thought the initial judge erred in his decision, it's not much of a surprise that the Ontario Court of Appeal granted a stay, which means that the revised 25-member ward election goes forward. It makes you wonder why Ford bothered to invoke Sec 33 given the controversy that move generated... well, who am I kidding? He did it to threaten the courts to fall in line and because he knew his supporters would love him for it.

If he's willing to go that far over something this minor, and more or less out of spite and revenge, it's not hard to imagine what will happen when he tackles something like LGBT rights. No doubt many of his supporters are hoping he'll use the Notwithstanding Clause on these issues too, and are busy getting the pitchforks and stakes ready.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Zaune » 2018-09-21 04:13am

Tribble wrote:
2018-09-20 10:23pm
If he's willing to go that far over something this minor, and more or less out of spite and revenge, it's not hard to imagine what will happen when he tackles something like LGBT rights. No doubt many of his supporters are hoping he'll use the Notwithstanding Clause on these issues too, and are busy getting the pitchforks and stakes ready.
Not necessarily. He probably only feels like he can get away with it because it's so minor; I don't know exactly how much power city/county councils have in Canada, but even if they get to decide anything that really matters, nobody outside the Toronto city council's jurisdiction has any personal stake in this. If he tries using that clause to force through a bill adding a "religious freedom" exemption in the anti-discrimination laws then a statistically significant fraction of the entire country have skin in that game, and the backlash will be too large and widespread to bullshit his way out of.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by Tribble » 2018-09-21 11:03am

Zaune wrote: Not necessarily. He probably only feels like he can get away with it because it's so minor;
That and the fact that "Ford Nation" loves it when he sticks it to the so-called liberal downtown elites.
Zaune wrote:I don't know exactly how much power city/county councils have in Canada
Constitutionally they have zero power and serve solely at the whims of the province. In large cities like Toronto they have informal power in the sense that they can influence provincial / federal policy assuming that the province / federal government cares about the constituents in that area and wants their support. Doug Ford deliberately campaigned on the premise that he would not win Toronto, that he doesn't need Toronto and that he wants revenge on Toronto... and won. So ya, the influence Toronto (or more specifically downtown) will have on the province over the next few years is effectively zero.

On day to day issues though you could argue that they matter more than the province / federal government.
Zaune wrote:but even if they get to decide anything that really matters, nobody outside the Toronto city council's jurisdiction has any personal stake in this.
Well he has started making noises that Ottawa might next to see a downsize, so I'm not so sure about that.

What hasn't been talked about so much was his decision to cancel elections for the regional chairs in York Region and Peel Region, based solely on the fact that some of his political opponents were running in them. This would have been the first elections in those areas, but still.

Does that strike you as the kind of person who will show restraint?
Zaune wrote:If he tries using that clause to force through a bill adding a "religious freedom" exemption in the anti-discrimination laws then a statistically significant fraction of the entire country have skin in that game, and the backlash will be too large and widespread to bullshit his way out of.
He is already making moves in that direction via the remove the gays revamp the sex-ed mandate, and his threats to cut university funding unless they start supporting far-right conservatism "freedom of speech". There are court challenges on these issues already, and if the courts rule against him I'm pretty positive he'll invoke Sec 33 again

The key here is that he doesn't care what the rest of the country thinks; the only thing that matters to him is that his support base approves of him. And right now they absolutely love the fact that he's making liberals and leftists squeal, it's like music to their ears.

I'm beginning to think that invoking Sec. 33 in this instance was at least partially done to gauge what his supporters think of it.
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Re: Doug Ford is going to use the Notwithstanding Clause... to screw with Toronto

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-21 03:48pm

So basically Ford will likely declare himself above the courts/the law whenever he doesn't get his way, and use that to discriminate against minorities, in addition to having already used it to shut down democratic elections in which opponents of his were running (ie the most obvious and blatant sign of a dictator possible)?

And people thought comparing him to Trump was excessive. Even Trump hasn't got to the "cancel elections" phase yet. Sure its only at the provincial level, but see what I mean about Canada being systemically vulnerable to this kind of shit?

If the courts are powerless to stop him, then what are the options? Suck it up for four years and hope we can beat him next time? Or call for mass public demonstrations/strikes to shut down the province until the fucker resigns?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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