Embattled Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes history, notwithstanding
September 10, 2018 9:48 PM   Subscribe

Most of MetaFilter has had little political news from Toronto since its, er, colourful mayor Rob Ford (previously) declined to run for re-election due to ill health before passing away at age 46. But wait, there is a sequel: Rob's brother, one-term Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, became premier of Ontario early this summer and is three months into a tempestuous term that is drawing comparisons with that of Donald Trump. Here is an update on what you need to know:

Deep background:

Doug Ford Jr. was born to Doug Ford Sr. and his wife Diane in 1964. The elder Ford had co-founded a successful business Deco Labels and Flexible Packaging Limited, which grew from a branch office for Avery to a concern doing some $100 million annually.

Ford père ran for provincial elected office in 1995 and won, becoming the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Etobicoke-Humber. He was seated as a backbencher in the Mike Harris-led Progressive Conservative government. One of of Harris' aims was smaller government, and in 1996 he reduced the number of provincial ridings from 130 to 103. Unfortunately for Doug Sr., he was pitted against another incumbent for the new riding and he lost, retiring after a single term.

Two of his sons went into politics: the youngest, Rob, about which we have heard much, and the second-youngest, Doug Jr., who entered politics only after brother Rob had served three terms as city councillor. Rob ran for mayor and Doug ran for his old council seat, winning easily with 71% of the vote.

His term as councillor was not without controversy: he pushed for an extension of a little-used subway line, but council voted it down; he pushed to scrap the carefully-planned reclamation of a former industrial area known as the Port Lands and thought up an alternate scheme with a mega-mall, the world's largest Ferris wheel, and a monorail. (Obligatory monorail link.) It was voted down by council.

An investigative report by The Globe and Mail newspaper into the widespread rumours that Ford had been a hash dealer in the eighties found a lot of confirmation. The publication was followed by hot denials and threats of a libel lawsuit by Ford. Ford did not file suit, later saying it would be a "waste of time."

In 2013, he began looking toward provincial politics. Tim Hudak, then the party leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, was tepid at best in his enthusiasm for bringing a scandal-ridden Ford into the provincial leagues. Ford and Hudak met to discuss it in February that year, after which Ford said he would be devoting his energies to running Rob's 2014 re-election campaign.

In 2014, in his role as city councillor, he sought to shut down a home for developmentally disabled youth in his ward, telling the staff and directors:
“You can’t destroy a community like this. People have worked 30 years for their home...My heart goes out to kids with autism. But no one told me they’d be leaving the house. If it comes down to it, I’ll buy the house myself and resell it.”
When Mayor Rob Ford returned from his stint in rehab and announced that he would not continue his run for mayor because of an abdominal tumour, Doug Ford stepped in to replace him, some eight weeks before the municipal election. Indeed, Doug filed his papers literally in the last hour before nominations closed on September 12, 2014. At least one mefite noted a convenient loophole.

His stint as mayoral candidate went much as everything else had. In a mayoral debate hosted by the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs and the United Jewish Appeal, he defended the Ford campaign and family against charges of anti-Semitism by referring to, "My doctor — my Jewish doctor, my Jewish dentist, my Jewish lawyer — Hold on, my Jewish accountant,” (unfortunately, the audience booed him down and the thought was not finished).

Despite the endorsement of John Oliver, Ford placed a fairly distant second to John Tory, a one-time Ford supporter and contributor. After the election, the Ford campaign was fined some $12,000 for illegally placed signs on highways and public buildings. In late 2016 the city's Integrity Commissioner ruled that Ford had improperly used his influence to award city contracts to companies with which Deco labels had business connections, although no sanctions were recommended as Ford had left the public sector.

In January 2018, Hudak's successor as provincial PC leader, Patrick Brown, stepped down following allegations of sexual misconduct and Ford announced his intention to run for party leader. The tumultuous contest climaxed with a leadership vote in March of 2018 with a day that saw the announcement of the results postponed several hours and a statement early the following morning by candidate and long-time party operative Christine Elliott that she was not conceding to Ford, citing "serious irregularities with respect to this leadership race" and asserting that "thousands of members have been assigned to incorrect ridings" resulting in electoral points being misallocated (note, electoral points help to weight the different regional representation, somewhat akin to the US federal electoral college). After a day of backroom struggles, Elliot conceded to Ford and pledged her support. Note: Elliott received 52% of the votes cast on the final ballot but the point allocation meant that Ford was declared the winner.

In June 2018 (despite being sued by Rob Ford's widow days before the election over financial irregularities in Doug's stewardship of Rob's share of Deco), Ford led the PCs into the general election, defeating the tired and unpopular Liberal party after some fifteen years in power (even then-incumbent premier Kathleen Wynne publicly admitted ahead of time that the Liberals would not be reelected).

Upon taking office, Ford almost immediately announced the end of Ontario's involvement in the federal cap-and-trade emissions trading program implemented in 2017. The program involved trading with Quebec and California; companies in those jurisdictions have already purchased $3 billion in credits from Ontario. Analysts suggest that Ontario will now have to refund these but the Ford government has offered no plan for this. As part of the cap-and-trade program, a provincial government rebate on electric vehicles was scrapped, leaving new purchasers who were waiting for delivery with up to an extra $14,000 added to the cost of their cars. Tesla took the Ontario government to court over this and the judge ruled in Tesla's favour. He also recalled the legislature members from their summer recess to end a strike at York University and announce his scheme to cut gas prices by ten cents a litre (unrealized as of this writing).

In July, the Ford government announced it was scrapping the sex-ed curriculum updated in 2015 in public schools in favour of a previous curriculum put in place in 1998. This announcement drew widespread condemnation as the older curriculum predates gay marriage, widespread cell phone usage (and thus, sexting) and doesn't address consent or gender identity. Some boards announced intentions to teach the 2015 curriculum anyway. In response, the premier announced a "snitch line" where people could report teachers who were not teaching as directed. Ford later walked back the remarks.

Ford also announced that he would be privatizing the sale of cannabis (legal in Canada as of October 17), ending a basic income project halfway through the pilot phase (previously), freezing the minimum wage, and that the minimum price for beer would be set at $1.00 despite most brewers being openly dismissive. As well, he announced with no forewarning that the size of Toronto city council would be summarily reduced from 47 to 25, despite the Toronto municipal election campaign already being underway. Perhaps somewhat ironically in light of how Ford Sr.'s political career fizzled, this will pit many incumbents against one another.

This last item brings is to this historic day. The city of Toronto launched a court case to challenge the bill (the "Better Local Government Act"), arguing that it was arbitrary and discriminatory (it targeted no other cities in the province) and that it infringed upon the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

At 8:00 AM today Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba issued his finding in which he ruled against the province, finding that as it was launched in mid-campaign with no public consultation, it infringed upon the rights and freedoms of the candidates and the populace of Toronto: specifically, their right to representation. However, he did allow that the province could table the bill again in the future, before the next municipal election. Ford announced he would address the province at 12:00 PM today. The address was postponed until 1:00, and finally 2:00. Ford announced that he would be invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Charter and recalling all of the members of Provincial Parliament to pass the bill again. The purpose of the notwithstanding clause is essentially to allow a government to proceed with an action that has been found to be unconstitutional. This decision has drawn widespread criticism.

It is Monday September 10th, Doug Ford's 94th day in office.
posted by ricochet biscuit (155 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
At least, it was the 10th when I began writing this. Like President 45, Ford's incompetencies and dubious decisions are fractal. I could have added fifty more links, but I know how busy you are.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:50 PM on September 10 [13 favorites]


Thank you for this post.

So, does the notwithstanding clause allow ANY action to be taken, regardless of what the courts find?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:00 PM on September 10


The Progressive Conservatives must really hate Toronto. Not one person in the PC party is opposing this bananas move.
posted by JamesBay at 10:01 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


It seems a shame to nitpick such an extensive post, but that wasn't the obligatory monorail link I was expecting.
posted by traveler_ at 10:07 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Welcome to America, Ontario!
posted by benzenedream at 10:08 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


The Progressive Conservatives must really hate Toronto

Doug Ford really hates the Toronto city council and the mayor. The Pcs are just along for the ride because Ford got them a majority.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:09 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


It seems a shame to nitpick such an extensive post, but that wasn't the obligatory monorail link I was expecting.

I alerted the mods a minute or so post posting, as soon as I spotted it. I can only plead mental fatigue and SAN loss brought on by thinking about doFo for three hours: that was indeed the intended link.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:11 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


So, does the notwithstanding clause allow ANY action to be taken, regardless of what the courts find?

I wish I could tell you. Today, more than most days, I miss lemurrhea's insights.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:12 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


[Edited for the monorail, carry on.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:17 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


The articles make it sound like Ford will be able to invoke the notwithstanding clause without any real opposition - is this viewpoint accurate? Is it just a matter of time?
posted by reductiondesign at 10:28 PM on September 10


I'm pretty shocked at the existence of the 'notwithstanding' clause. That Doug Ford would want to use this is upsetting, but not as upsetting as the clause existing in the first place.

It makes sense that a politician would want to use every tool available to pursue their agenda. It makes no sense that the legislature can create a law that violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I'm surprised this isn't used all of the time, although it sounds like Doug Ford is prepared to use it anytime a law he gets passed is declared illegal.

What a mess.
posted by el io at 10:29 PM on September 10


> Chrysostom:
"So, does the notwithstanding clause allow ANY action to be taken, regardless of what the courts find?"

According to this article: "But a number of other charter rights cannot be overridden. These include democratic rights, mobility rights, and the equality of men and women."
posted by reductiondesign at 10:30 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


It makes no sense that the legislature can create a law that violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I'm surprised this isn't used all of the time, although it sounds like Doug Ford is prepared to use it anytime a law he gets passed is declared illegal.

Andrew Coyne in the final link above writes:
A government that believed in either would respond to a decision it thought was bad law by appealing it to a higher court — not by exempting the law from all judicial scrutiny. No government in the history of Ontario has taken such an extraordinary step; by contrast, Ford has made clear he intends to do this routinely, wherever a provincial law is found to violate the Constitution.

Throughout his blustering afternoon press conference, Ford revealed a view of government, and of democracy, that is essentially pre-constitutional. The past several centuries of effort to constrain government to act within certain legal boundaries were swept away with a peremptory “I was elected,” as if the support of 40 per cent of the voting public entitled the temporary occupants of the executive to do whatever they wanted, the law be damned.
As I say, we are three months into a four-year term. The only consolation so far is that all of DoFo's energy is focused on Toronto, and he seems to view the premier's office as a way to relitigate the election he lost four years ago and get revenge against all the councillors he clashed with on those rare days he turned up to meetings.

Not to put too fine a point on it: those bigger boys made fun of him and called his drawing of a Ferris wheel stupid, but he will get them back, oh yes he will.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:37 PM on September 10 [30 favorites]


Is the restructuring of the Toronto City Council assumed to be an end in and of itself or is the assumption that Ford is warming up and testing the tools in his toolbox with something that it is assumed won't cause widespread public outrage? Or to put it another way, if he manages to use this extraordinary method to circumvent the court decision this time, is it generally understood that he has a list of other priorities already queued up?
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:43 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Well he simply doesn't believe in judicial review ('“What’s extraordinary is … a democratically elected government trying to be shut down by the courts,” Ford told reporters.'). Apparently he doesn't have to though, because other than a narrow list of exceptions, provincial governments are allowed to just pass a law saying 'we'll ignore the constitution' (er Charter of rights), and that's legal.

While it's unheard of in Ontario, it was apparently being used for years in Quebec, in every piece of legislation they passed (ie: "this law will not be allowed get get judicial scrutiny"). That seems like a seriously broken set of checks and balances. According to the Wikipedia link on the subject the only other governments on the planet that have similar clauses are Israel and Victoria, Australia.
posted by el io at 10:52 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Not-withstanding laws also expire at the 5 year mark. They can be renewed, but they do automatically expire.

The Federal government could pull an even crazier move and play their trump card, the Disallowance of Acts, which hasn't been used for decades.

But aside from that, I don't think there are other options.
posted by bonehead at 11:00 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Political scientist Andrew Potter had some interesting (and depressing) insights about Ford's announcement today:

Today has been an interesting reminder of how much constitutional democracy rests on self-restraint amongst all the relevant actors, but especially the judiciary and the executive. [...]

It’s remarkable the extent to which the standard mechanisms — shame, honour, magnanimity, the watchful eye history — are simply inoperable. [...]

The entire Westminster constitutional apparatus can be more or less summarized as “Trust Us”. We could be in for a rough ride.

posted by JamesBay at 11:25 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


An ominous passage from an article in today's Toronto Star:
Ford ... warned that he "won't be shy" about invoking the invoking the notwithstanding [clause] again if the courts get in his way, though he did not elaborate.
What Charter rights will Ford senselessly thrash next?

The right to bargain collectively as well as the right to strike of, say, employees of the provincial government?

The rights of people with addictions issues to receive harm reduction services (e.g. safe injection sites)?

The right of LGBTQ students to a sex education curriculum that is inclusive of their particular needs?

Behold, the perfect visual metaphor for the manner in which this authoritarian thug will treat Charter rights for as long as he remains in power ...
posted by New Frontier at 11:31 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


I'm guessing it's not used all the time because of potential lawsuits.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:59 PM on September 10


While it's unheard of in Ontario, it was apparently being used for years in Quebec, in every piece of legislation they passed (ie: "this law will not be allowed get get judicial scrutiny"). That seems like a seriously broken set of checks and balances.

Worth noting, though, that Québec has its own charter that predates the Canadian charter. (Although not the Canadian bill of rights which may not apply to provinces anyway-- correct me please lawyers!) ...An unrelated but fascinating fact: Québec was the first jurisdiction bigger than a municipality in the wotld to protect against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation (1977).

Not to say the notwithstanding clause hasn't been abused but there are some levels of protection at the provincial level at least, and in the bill of rights.

Ontario has a human rights code, too.

I don't know if either extend to the types of charter protection (for things like right to a lawyer and protection from indefinite detention) that are in the Canadian charter.

In any case I don't think we'd have any Canadian charter without the concession made by the notwithstanding clause and I doubt that will change anytime soon.
posted by chapps at 12:27 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


I hate this timeline.
posted by Fizz at 3:26 AM on September 11 [8 favorites]


It's hard to determine which I hate more - Ford's senseless trampling over norms and rights, or his goddarn voice saying "my friends" and spouting lies and bile. You're no friend of mine - you are poisonous.
posted by parki at 4:57 AM on September 11 [9 favorites]


The purpose of the notwithstanding clause is essentially to allow a government to proceed with an action that has been found to be unconstitutional.

Holy shit. Do our US Republicans know about this? Seems like they would be all over this idea, like being given keys to the kingdom.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:07 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Thank you all for finally, after 20+ years, helping me realize what the line "Douglas, keep your paws /
Off my Notwithstanding clause" actually means in "The Kids' Song" by Moxy Früvous.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:29 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


I'm just... trampling our Charter rights in the name of Democracy of all things. It's monstrous and petty. The court decision was such a great way to start the week first thing Monday morning and then... fuck us, right?
posted by yellowbinder at 5:51 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


I am enough not a fan of Quebec politics that I turned down a big job opportunity because I didn’t want to raise kids there, but it’s probably important to note that the Notwithstanding Clause was included in part because there has been in Canada’s past policies to work actively to disenfranchise francophones economically and politically (we’re apparently very good at that Asia nation, see also: First Nations and residential schools) so the people of Quebec see it as their bulwark against assimilation. It’s disheartening to see it used in this way.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:10 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


You know, people say Trump and Ford are stupid and incompetent, and of course they are...but you know what they are absolute masters of? Taking advantage of broken systems. The Brothers Ford were canny enough to realize that Toronto's political system operated largely on a number of assumptions and honour systems and exploited that opening to the fullest; they probably would have been able to inflict a lot more damage upon Toronto if Rob's highly public substance abuse problems hadn't made it clear that he was unfit to be mayor. And now that Doug is Premier he has discovered that Ontario's political foundations also stand on a base of norms that can be disregarded if you have a majority and no shame, and the notwithstanding clause is basically a hammer he can use to pound down any nail he wants. And why shouldn't he? What people like Ford and Trump and Mitch McConnell understand is that when it comes right down to it, power (in whatever form) exists to be used against your enemies, and following the rules is for nerds and losers.

The Ontario PCs will line up and vote for this (I will be shocked if there is even one PC MPP who votes no) because it's Ford's party now and honestly, most of them are probably ecstatic that they finally have a leader willing to say the quiet parts loud and run roughshod over a system they hate so much. If this works, Ford will keep on using the clause to achieve pretty much any result he wants, long-term consequences be damned because MCGA-types across Canada are going to dig watching Ford trigger the libs and clamour for their own versions. Eventually he'll run for leader of the national Conservative Party, and he'll win because he'll be up against a black hole of charisma like Andrew Scheer (Canada's Jeb!). And once he's leader of the party he'll have as good as chance as whoever the leader of the Liberals is at that point (I'm assuming for this hypothetical scenario that the NDP will be, as they always are, too busy shooting themselves in the foot to do anything but play spoiler to the Liberals) to win a "majority" with less than 40% of the vote, something Trudeau could have prevented if he hadn't broken his campaign promise to get rid of FPTP, because of course winning that way is also the Liberal Party's strategy. Once he's Prime Minister he'll be a kindred spirit with all the other anti-intellectual populist movements sprouting up all over the globe and the pendulum will continue to swing.

In the meantime, I spent some time yesterday wading through the comments sections of various newspaper articles about this mess (something I almost never do, because I'm already depressed), and of course it was full of the usual mix of people cheerleading Ford as he spikes the football in the libtards' faces, "well, actually" takes from wannabe experts on constitutional law, and "GAS PLANTS!" (the Ontario version of "BUT HER EMAILS!"), but mostly the first type, because this is the world we live in now and the internet is just going to continue to make it worse.

I'm particularly glum about all of this because I work for the Toronto Public Library, an organization that had a public feud with the FordMayors, and you're dreaming if you think Ford has forgotten this or that he will not take active measures to undermine this institution and its non-management employees in any way he can. And next year our contract is up for renegotiation, which is nice.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:39 AM on September 11 [43 favorites]


The Card Cheat, please put me on your mailing list to go door to door for the TPL, it is a treasure.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:42 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


The merits of cutting the size of Toronto City Council aside, no-one is disputing that the Province has the right to make such a change if it wants. Ontario municipalities are creations of the Province, and it can change the rules as it sees fit. It can rename Toronto 'Raccoonville' if it wants. It just needs to go through the proper procedures first, and these things take time.

But this change has been rushed and petulant, and that's the source of the problem. If DoFo would just take his time and do this properly, he would have no legal difficulty. Instead, he is meeting this problem with more petulance, and expecting everything to be solved. He's gotten his way, after all! He wasn't going to wait for his cookie.

Listening to the ceeb last night, there were some callers I found pretty troubling. Some DoFo supporters (on the ceeb? what?) were fully supportive of the move, and had no issue with going for the nuclear option. But hey, it's not their Charter rights being overridden, and it's a win for their team, so who cares? Tribalism and privilege is written all over this. NONE of us should want Charter rights trampled -- they're not anyone's Charter rights, they're there for us all.

There will be a cost -- eventually. Or maybe not. How do you meet such juvenile audacity? How do adults win at Calvinball?

I do take solace, though, that rising stars like Caroline Mulroney will need to wear this for the next 30+ years. 'I'd like to ask you about your vote to suspend the Charter..?'
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:50 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


So wait, is Doug Ford racist, too? Like how did he get elected?

I just...

How is this happening in so many places at once? Doug Ford isn’t exactly like Trump, but he’s close. Brexit appears to have a number of moronic figureheads to choose from. I hear Trump-y things about Modi. Then there’s Duterte, and now apparently things are getting weird in Germany? And they all seem like slightly sloppier Putins.

How is it possible that they all turn up at around the same time, spewing the same poisonous invective designed to hack directly into the lizard brains of the stupid and mean, like an army of fucking synchronized gremlins?
posted by schadenfrau at 6:50 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


It's because there was some gentle pushback against the racist patriarchy by society, and even a few gains made here and there, and it has reacted with disproportionate fury.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:56 AM on September 11 [16 favorites]


So wait, is Doug Ford racist, too?

I don't know if he is himself, but his brother was, and a fair number of his supporters are. For now, perhaps it's safe to call him racist-adjacent?
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:56 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


*makes sign of the cross in ricochet biscuit's general direction*

You're truly doing the lord's work with this context-rich post. Thank you.

I'm highly convinced that Doug Ford did not know there was such a thing as the notwithstanding clause until his Attorney General informed him it was an option, because Doug Ford is one ignorant motherfucker.

But this change has been rushed and petulant, and that's the source of the problem. If DoFo would just take his time and do this properly, he would have no legal difficulty.

Yeah, that's the thing. He's not stupid. Show him a blunt instrument and he'll start swinging it around to inflict maximum damage. He is, to quote Michael McKean's character in Better Call Saul, a "chimp with a machine gun."

But that ignorance led to the trial judge noting that a thought-out response to questions about why it was doing what it was doing (it responded instead with "Crickets," in his words), could have probably resulted in a different decision - because, as you say, it's completely within the province's jurisdiction to change the statutes that municipalities are the creatures of.

One of the reasons the notwithstanding clause is infrequently invoked (even as a threat) is that it tends to be an unpopular move and, generally speaking, politicians in this country are bounded by vestiges of shame, or a least a desire to consider the optics, even if cynically. Ford has no such inhibitions.

A desire for adherence to the rule of common law, as established by the courts, tends to be another barrier to its use - this consideration is moot in Ford's mind.

Not to pick on Alberta, but two examples I could think of offhand of where it's been waved around in the past, but not actually invoked are:

1998, Alberta:

In response to the cases brought to court against the government by eugenics survivors in Alberta, Bill 26 (also known as the Institutional Confinement and Sexual Sterilization Compensation Act) was introduced by Justice Minister Jon Havelock. The bill, which was introduced in 1998, attempted to invoke the 'notwithstanding clause' in section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It intended to limit the amount of monetary compensation victims of sexual sterilization would receive in their settlement with the government. Within 24 hours of being introduced, the bill was withdrawn by Premier Klein because of such strong opposition and outrage from the public.

2005, Alberta:

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said at a press conference in Calgary Jul 12 that “much to our chagrin” Alberta would recognize same-sex marriage in accordance with the federal gay marriage legislation now before the Senate.

He said his government would develop “legislative options” to ensure Albertans who object to same-sex marriage will “not be required to advocate, promote or teach about marriage that conflicts with their beliefs.” He said if an Alberta marriage commissioner refused to perform same-sex marriages, he or she wouldn’t be required to.

Klein threatened repeatedly over the past two years to invoke the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ notwithstanding clause to keep Alberta marriages straight but has acknowledged that he won’t be doing that.

Klein says Alberta will continue to use every legal option to fight gay marriage, but “that our chances of winning are virtually none.”


The "interesting" thing is that all this is a crash course in the sausage-making of legislation for a lot of Ontarians.

This is precisely what people in Toronto went through when things began to go off the rails for Rob Ford - a lot of reasonably well-informed people were very surprised that the Municipal Act didn't allow for an "impeachment-style" removal of a mayor for any reason.

Now Ontario as a whole is getting a crash course in Charter law, the hard way - via the goddamned Ford family.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:09 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


I'm in a bit of a rush, so I only skimmed the post and comments, so I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but Ford has also decreed that universities develop "free speech" policies, and if they don't, they get their funding slashed.
posted by sardonyx at 7:11 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


An ominous passage from an article in today's Toronto Star:
Ford ... warned that he "won't be shy" about invoking the invoking the notwithstanding [clause] again if the courts get in his way, though he did not elaborate.
What Charter rights will Ford senselessly thrash next?


I think the relevant allusion is "Just watch me."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:25 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


is Doug Ford racist, too?

Doug Ford is definitely racist. He’s been stoking fear of immigrants and refugees and talking about “taking care of our own.” It’s a big part of his appeal, I’m sure.
posted by rodlymight at 7:41 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


entire Westminster constitutional apparatus can be more or less summarized as “Trust Us”. We could be in for a rough ride.

Right, and I'm with Mandolin Conspiracy on this, I'm not convinced that Ford knew that he could do this with the Clause (or even aware that it existed). Using the Clause for such a, frankly, small potatoes issue is kind of nuts. The Clause, as mentioned above, was specifically added as a sop to Quebec to protect from assimilation and most provinces have been unwilling to use it because of the potential political fallout. So yes he can use it to facilitate his petty vengeance but it will likely result in dissent within and without his party especially if he continues to use it as the mood strikes him (as he's threatened to do). While it likely plays well at the moment because it is has little direct ramifications on the rest of the province I'm not overly convinced that all the PCs are entirely on Ford's side with his personal vendetta against the downtown elites of Toronto. The party members are with him now because he won them an easy election but for how long are they going to want to follow lock step with crazy? It wouldn't shock me if some of the previous leadership candidates are watching closely and biding their time (and maybe sharpening their knives).

Like how did he get elected?

He was up against a long serving and deeply unpopular ruling party plagued by scandal and overheated dogwhistles. Ford could say just about anything and very little would have changed the trajectory of the election.

Ford has also decreed that universities develop "free speech" policies

I'm loathe to point this out for fear of summoning him Beetlejuice-like in this thread but that "great champion" of university free speech, Jordan Peterson (the subject of many Previouslies) is buddies with Ford.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:09 AM on September 11 [9 favorites]


Of course he is.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:17 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]




Also notwithstanding clause...

(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.

So we get the Councillors back in 5 years. Ridonkulous.
posted by Damienmce at 8:27 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Also,if we're going to have a constitutional shitshow can't Lieutenant Governor withhold royal assent or bump it up the Governor General?
posted by Damienmce at 8:46 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Presumably the advantage of using the notwithstanding clause is that it lets Ford force through the reduction in city council size now for the current election, and then he can appeal the court decision at his leisure with the changes he wants already in place. He's hoping he can make the changes permanent before the 5 year expiry date is reached.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:50 AM on September 11


IIRC the Crown has the authority to unilaterally dissolve the parliament. By convention it has never been done before...
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 8:59 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


It's important to note that while it's probable that Ford is himself racist and he's definitely Racist-adjacent, his (and his brother's) campaigns were quite popular with new immigrants, and had broad appeal across the racial and economic spectrum.

The appeal of racist Rob
Why Doug Ford’s populist politics are resonating with Ontarians
New research suggests Rob Ford’s populist appeal could be duplicated across Canada
Why Doug Ford’s appeal transcends racial lines

Doug has been a little better then Rob was about keeping the quiet part quiet... at least with regards to the racism.

Rob was very good with the mechanics of street level politics, shaking hands, answering the phone, getting small stupid things done (fixing your pothole), and this reputation has (wrongly) transfered to Doug. Of course none of that really transfers to either the job of Mayor or Premier, but it definitely has a stupid kind of appeal. The Fords stroke the populist (I hate that word) instincts of a certain portion of the population. Doug definitely gets how to manipulate anger (especially at downtown Toronto), and add in the definite sexism (it's notable that most of the real contenders he ran against were women) and you have the toxic appeal of Ford.

It's been said before, but his super power is a total lack of shame, and a willingness (if not desire) to break all the traditional norms. It's toxic and I really don't know where it's going. I can only hope that some of his party won't be able to stomach it for long... but he won them an election so I don't have much hope.
posted by cirhosis at 9:14 AM on September 11 [13 favorites]


Doug Ford: Because what's the point of democracy if the premier of Ontario can't suspend the constitution to meddle with Toronto city council?
posted by sfenders at 9:15 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


...can't Lieutenant Governor withhold royal assent...

For a hundred bucks, I could not have told you who our Lieutenant Governor is. Even reading her page on Teh Wiki just now, I still couldn't tell you who she is. Only Steve Paikin would know.

posted by Capt. Renault at 9:15 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


The mantra of Ford, the PCPO and their defenders with respect to governing seems to be "because it can be done, it is fine that it will be done". Small government conservatism my ass.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 9:17 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


The comments above that the Notwithstanding Clause was added to appease Quebec are misleading. The clause was proposed by Alberta and hammered out in large part during the "Kitchen Accord" with Saskatchewan and Ontario to break an impasse in Constitutional negotiations. Quebec was not involved in any of the negotiations and didn't endorse the deal.

The clause was added to ensure the tradition of parliamentary supremacy. Many provinces were loathe to cede their legislative powers to the courts, not just Quebec.
posted by rocket88 at 9:21 AM on September 11 [8 favorites]


As far as I'm aware, the Notwithstanding Clause has only been invoked once in Quebec.

Quebec's premier, Robert Bourassa, invoked the Notwithstanding Clause in the late 1980s, to preserve Bill 178's demand that signage be exclusively in French. The Supreme Court of Canada was like "uh, no, that's not cool, mes amis" and so Bourassa invoked the Notwithstanding Clause.

The joke was "What came down Bourassa's chimney at Christmas?" "The Notwithstanding Clause."

Within five years, this was rewritten to say that signs may be in French as well as another language, so long as French is literally twice as prominent (either in size or in numbers of signs).

... and yes, this law is still in effect.
posted by juliebug at 9:42 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Notwithstanding Clause was added to appease Quebec are misleading

I stand corrected. It is worth noting that the Notwithstanding Clause is often presented as an appeasement to Quebec likely stemming from the fact that they are one of the few provinces to use it.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:47 AM on September 11


My mistake too, thanks for the history lesson.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:55 AM on September 11


cirhosis: It's important to note that while it's probable that Ford is himself racist and he's definitely Racist-adjacent, his (and his brother's) campaigns were quite popular with new immigrants, and had broad appeal across the racial and economic spectrum. ... Doug has been a little better then Rob was about keeping the quiet part quiet... at least with regards to the racism.

Anecdotally, most of my (few) encounters with vocal Ford supporters have been with recent immigrants. The things that they've talked about are working hard and paying too much in taxes. My impression is that they see government as mostly populated by a bloated rentier class.

Many government are - and have always been, throughout history - populated mostly by a bloated rentier class. In Canada we've tried to create a competent, professional civil service, and we've succeeded reasonably well, but there's still the opportunity for people like Ford to bluster about how big and bloated government is and how it never gets things done even though you're paying all those taxes to it, etc. The appeal of that rhetoric crosses racial lines, especially if your personal history predisposes you to view government as bloated and useless.
posted by clawsoon at 10:01 AM on September 11 [11 favorites]


Clawsoon: The appeal of that rhetoric crosses racial lines, especially if your personal history predisposes you to view government as bloated and useless.

Totally agree... the good old "Gravy train" that they love endlessly going on about. It's kind of astonishing how often it turns out to be a a lie (not amazed at all). Just like pretty much all his arguments about the council size

I get what they are selling and why it all appeals to low information voters... I just really don't get how it keeps working once it's obvious that it's a lie. Why does the constant lying and BS continue to appeal? I mean I get our current reality.. I just don't want to.

We really do have a good, professional civil service (I'm not just saying that because of a fair number of family members that have worked for it), and it pains to see it the constant target of lies and attacks.
posted by cirhosis at 10:26 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Saskatchewan used it a year ago to clean up a technical constitutional requirement to allow the province to fund non-Catholic kids attending "separate" Catholic public schools. This is one of the old guarantees made in our original Constitution about religion that really doesn't have a place in a non-discriminatory society. But that's not where Canada was in the 1870s.

This is a good contrast to what Ford has done. Saskatchewan used it to fix a "bug" in the historical constitution in the interest of fairness. It's not the only way, other provinces have made other choices, but it works, if it's a bit clunky. It was done in a limited way in the interests of fundamental justice, as well as the education of 10,000+ kids. No one was or is really fussed about it.

Ford's use is not rooted in any principle beyond "because I say so".
posted by bonehead at 10:43 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


getting small stupid things done (fixing your pothole), and this reputation has (wrongly) transfered to Doug

And the supreme irony is that the sort of small-stakes retail politics that Rob reveled in are just not possible with the ward sizes that Bill 5 creates.

Anecdotally, most of my (few) encounters with vocal Ford supporters have been with recent immigrants. The things that they've talked about are working hard and paying too much in taxes. My impression is that they see government as mostly populated by a bloated rentier class.

The other piece of this is that Ford has made a specific appeal to religious conservatives of all sorts - whether those are, uh, "old stock" Canadians or newcomers. Kinda like Jason Kenney (e.g., cut assistance for refugees with one hand while, with the other hand, point at queer and trans people and hiss "DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO BE TAUGHT TO BE LIKE THIS?").

Kenney doth flop-sweatedly protest too much, methinks, but that's his cross to Baird. Uh, I mean bear.

Meanwhile, Doug has taken the PCPO down a path that Mike Harris refused to tread (Harris preferred to keep the focus on fiscal conservatism), and a path that John Tory tumbled down, ass-over-tea kettle, when he decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the 2007 provincial election by allowing the party's religious conservatives to convince him to take up the cause of funding for religious schools.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:47 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Looks like Saskatchewan used it in 1986 to break a strike by public workers.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:24 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


So wait, is Doug Ford racist, too? Like how did he get elected?

Why is there this expectation that Canada is somehow less racist than the United States?
posted by JamesBay at 11:51 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


Why is there this expectation that Canada is somehow less racist than the United States?

Official multiculturalism - like this bit in our constitution - means that we are theoretically less institutionally racist. Theoretically.

I'm not sure if the Notwithstanding Clause applies to that section or not.
posted by clawsoon at 12:10 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Why is there this expectation that Canada is somehow less racist than the United States?

I mean, there isn't, really, unless you're an American who's ever been in a conversation with a Canadian, in which case there's a decent chance you will have gotten the politely implied sense that Canada is vastly superior and doesn't have that weird racism problem.

But that wasn't really why I asked. I asked because explicit appeals to racism weren't covered in the FPP, and I was trying to gauge what the hell his deal was, and how it compares to the right wing populist nuttery in the US.

And it kind of seems like, given Ford's popularity with recent immigrants, he's actually poised to be more popular than our right wing garbage fires. Which is terrifying!
posted by schadenfrau at 12:14 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


While racism obviously exists in Canada, the ongoing issue, as I see it, is the splitting of the left. This happens time and again in Canada. That's how the Conservatives won the 2011 federal election, it's how Doug Ford won the 2018 Ontario provincial election and I bet it's how the CAQ (ugh) will win (ugh ugh) the 2018 Quebec provincial election.

I talked about this, as it pertained to the 2011 federal election, back in this old thread comment:

https://www.metafilter.com/132584/You-say-Canamerica-I-say-Americanada#5224020

Additionally, regarding Ontario's recent election:

Over three million people voted for the NDP or the Liberal parties of Ontario in this past election, while only 2.3 million voted for the Progressive Conservatives. Once again, vote splitting among the left-leaning parties has led to a win by a right-of-center party in several ridings:

- Parry Sound-Muskoka
- Simcoe North
- Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte
- Pickering-Uxbridge
- Markham-Stouffville
- Scarborough-Rouge Park
- Whitby
- Durham

Further, the provincial turnout was just under 58%, which is the highest turnout since 1999, but still disappointingly low.

I predict something similar for the CAQ vs. Liberals in Quebec, with the PQ (with a promise of no referendum in a first mandate) stealing some left-leaning votes, while Quebec Solidaire may pull enough left-leaning votes from the Liberals and the PQ combined to open the door for the CAQ. And the CAQ is about making immigrants take a Quebec values test. So, yeah, they're pretty racist. But will likely come to power in my province.
posted by juliebug at 12:18 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Except that the Quebec Liberals aren't really to the left in any way, except for their rejection of anti-immigrant rhetoric.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:24 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Well, just found out I'm about to get a big pay cut thanks to Ford. Hopefully temporary but fuck him and his entire party forever.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 12:29 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]


Monday, stony Monday - They're more left than the CAQ and are historically centre-left, but I agree -- they've been more conservative since Charest (who was a Tory at the federal level) was the Liberal leader. Still, they remain the sort of default choice for the anglophones/federalists in Quebec because they're federalist, while the PQ (obviously) and Quebec Solidaire are staunch separatists. The CAQ claims they want more power for Quebec within Canada, but I don't trust them not to push beyond that. The xenophobia stemming from them is exactly what I hate most about my province and the Liberals offer the least terrible option of the lot of them, for non-separatists.

(Seriously, Quebec Solidaire doesn't look too bad, except for that pesky separation thing.)
posted by juliebug at 12:36 PM on September 11


Once again, vote splitting among the left-leaning parties has led to a win by a right-of-center party in several ridings

There are people who consider the Ontario Liberals as left? Ok, but that's certainly hasn't been my impression for a long time.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:38 PM on September 11


juliebug: the ongoing issue, as I see it, is the splitting of the left.

Thankfully the right wing in Canada is almost as fractious. Was it just this morning that the federal Conservatives split?
posted by clawsoon at 12:40 PM on September 11


The Liberals are conservative, the Cinservatives are regressive (and the New Democratic Party is pretty fucking old at this point).
posted by rodlymight at 12:41 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


At this point I'm pretty much done voting Liberal. The results of that (federally and provincially) have been disappointing. So as far as I'm concerned anyone worried about non-Conservatives splitting the vote can come on over and join the NDP.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 12:44 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Ashwagandha - centre/centre-left is certainly further left than any flavour of conservative, no?

clawsoon - I'm interested to see what Bernier brings, although I wouldn't vote for them. Still, having more options on the right lessens the possibility that the Conservatives or the new party would win, due to splitting votes there. I'm not sure they'll make much of an impact federally for the next election. Guess we'll see.

rodlymight - well, that's a pretty fair assessment. :D

Secret Sparrow - that's essentially the conclusion I've come to, federally -- particularly since I loathe my Liberal MP -- but I think too many people still worry about throwing their votes away by voting NDP.
posted by juliebug at 1:15 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


All Liberal and Conservative parties in Canada are corporatist and small-c conservative economically. Both parties are anti-union and adhere to some degree with supply-side economic principles.
Conservative supporters consider their party to be fighting for "the little guy" and see Liberals as serving the "elite". Liberal supporters consider themselves progressive as long as they don't have to pay a penny more in taxes.
The NDP and Green parties both have solid progressive policies and (to me) seem 95% aligned with each other, but show no signs of being open to merging.
posted by rocket88 at 1:26 PM on September 11


centre/centre-left is certainly further left than any flavour of conservative, no?

No. The Ontario Liberals were at best centre-right corporatists with a handful of left seeming policies so that their upper middle class voter base wouldn't think of themselves as right wing cranks for voting Liberal. The last Ontario election is not an illustration of vote splitting but a great illustration of what happens when a party in power ceases to be able to "read the room".
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:33 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Maybe a better way of regarding Ford is that he represents surburban values -- big house, two cars, roads to drive them on, low taxes. There's a lot of commonalities across all ethnic groups.

And, as anyone who has ever had a dispute with a neighboring property owner can tell you, suburban values are not particularly liberal or democratic. Suburbanites are authoritarian by nature.

They're also the most powerful voting bloc in Canada.
posted by JamesBay at 1:49 PM on September 11 [13 favorites]


Lost in the Suburbs by Stephen Dale taught me some of what you're talking about, JamesBay, tracing the ideas from Reagan's California in the 1960s to Ontario in the 1990s. Interesting read if you haven't read it before.
posted by clawsoon at 1:53 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


I like this article because it confirmed my biases: City growth dominated by car-driving suburbs, whose votes decide elections
posted by JamesBay at 1:59 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Maybe a better way of regarding Ford is that he represents suburban values

Yes, that's it exactly. Look at the ridings the PCs won - rural areas & suburbia (which often abut those conservative rural areas). Where did the NDP win? Inner cities and areas with strong union representation.
posted by Ashwagandha at 2:05 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


We're at a point where, for many white men, ending the world is preferable to facing the judgement of history. This sort of reckless, shameless government is a reflection of a psyche that will inflict any horror rather than admit to a mistake.

But you can only push things so far before you're hanging in a meat hook outside a service station. Let destruction, humiliation and lifelong shame come to these monsters quickly. They better pray that a god exists to forgive them, because they will find no peace or forgiveness on earth.
posted by howfar at 5:59 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


In any non-Canadians are still in this thread, Ford, the son of a former Ontario cabinet minister is attempting to change the governance of the city his own brother was once the mayor of. The prime minister of Canada is the son of the former prime minister who added the "notwithstanding clause" to Canada's Constitution. Ford's attorney general who is executing the notwithstanding clause in this case is the daughter of a former prime minister who continues to oppose the notwithstanding clause, and who attempted Constitutional revision that, as a by-effect, would have resulted in the notwithstanding clause being removed.

So, Canada, the best of all possible worlds, politics is often a dynastic affair.
posted by JamesBay at 6:16 PM on September 11 [8 favorites]


My hatred of Ford and his stupid face and his stupid voice and his goddamn stupid bullshit is so intense and burning that while I was driving the 401 today and listening to sound-bytes of his idiotic justifications for invoking section 33, it was all I could do to keep from driving 160/kph with my middle finger hoisted out the window, snarling obscenities.

Seriously. Fuck Ford. Fuck him in Hell, forever.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:30 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


So, Canada, the best of all possible worlds, politics is often a dynastic affair.

Does Canada have sort of an approved pathway to political power, like what you see in the UK (Eton/Harrow, then Oxford/Cambridge) or France (Sciences Po)?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:57 PM on September 11


Yep, mostly a select group of boarding school, mostly in Toronto, and Montreal. (Selwyn House, Royal St Georges, Trinity, Upper Canada College, Lower Canada College, Havergill, Branksome Hall)
posted by PinkMoose at 7:39 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


There are people who consider the Ontario Liberals as left? Ok, but that's certainly hasn't been my impression for a long time.

Yes! The criticism of the liberals from the left blows my mind. Kathlene Wynne introduced Universal Basic Income, Pharmacare for certain income classes, free post-secondary tuition for certain income classes, carbon cap and trade, feed-in-tariffs for renewable electricity (actually that was McGuinty?), Pay transparency, and a half dozen billion dollar rapid-transit investments. Those are all left-wing projects that the NDP would implement in their dreams. Expect them all to be repealed in short order by premiere Nothwithstanding.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:52 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


So, Canada, the best of all possible worlds, politics is often a dynastic affair.

I'm not sure i would agree. The Fords are unusual (in many, many ways), and if Rob had not won a city council election with an unremarkable plurality of 43% of votes cast eighteen years ago, the Fords would have been limited to Doug Sr.'s single backbencher term in the nineties. Ford's attorney general Catherine Mulroney is indeed the daughter of former PM Brian Mulroney, but Brian's son Ben is a host on Canadian Idol and a Good Morning America correspondent with no apparent political interests. Justin Trudeau's brother Alexandre, the other surviving son of Pierre Trudeau is a filmmaker who has not been a prominent figure save for the day of his father's funeral.

Looking down the list of Canadian political dynasties, I think the highest-profile ones apart from these are maybe the the father-son pairs of premiers (the Ghizes in PEI, the Johnsons in Quebec, the Bennetts in BC) and a few times that siblings or spouses both served as MLAs or MPPs or even federal cabinet ministers. Trudeau père et fils are the only thing remotely comparable to American families like the Kennedys, the Bushes, or the Clintons

Does Canada have sort of an approved pathway to political power, like what you see in the UK (Eton/Harrow, then Oxford/Cambridge) or France (Sciences Po)?

Not really, at least in post-secondary, although PinkMoose rightly points out that some prep schools (UCC in particular) produce more prominent folk. Arguably the two most highly-esteemed schools are University of Toronto and McGill University (in Montreal) followed at a short remove by Laval University and University of British Columbia. The last half-century has seen nine PMs, and their alma maters include all four of these schools at about two per. But that is as many of these Canadian PMs as are alumni of the London School of Economics as well.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:09 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


Does Canada have sort of an approved pathway to political power, like what you see in the UK (Eton/Harrow, then Oxford/Cambridge) or France (Sciences Po)?


Personally, I await the day Bruno and Boots of MacDonald Hall are cabinet ministers in a government led by PM Cathy and Finance Minister Diane of Miss Scrimmages F··ishing School.

(Sorry).
posted by chapps at 8:56 PM on September 11 [12 favorites]


I do a pretty killer Mr. Sturgeon voice.

("Walton...O'Neal.")
posted by Chrysostom at 9:14 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


I have a theory Mr. Wizzle designed the Pheonix Payroll system.
posted by chapps at 10:45 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Just as a sidenote, Selwyn House and Lower Canada College aren't boarding schools. They're private day-schools. Selwyn is all-boys and LCC used to be all-boys, but has been co-ed for several years now.

Also, chapps, from what I remember of the Selwyn and LCC boys I knew growing up, I'd much prefer your scenario. ;)
posted by juliebug at 12:00 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Ricochet Biscuit, in terms of current Ontario dynastic politicians, it’s worth noting that Deputy Premier Christine Elliott is the widow of the late federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. She was elected into his MPP seat when he went MP.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:04 AM on September 12


Fair cop Julie, though both have extensive billetting options.
posted by PinkMoose at 1:53 AM on September 12


I'm not going to link to it, but the front page of today's Toronto Sun is predictable nausea-inducing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:23 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Christine Elliott is the widow of the late federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Of course. But she has been elected by her constituents three or four times, was deputy leader of the party for six years under Hudak, has run for party leader three times. I’m not so much a Tory supporter, but she seems to be far more qualified than DoFo to run the show. Ford is the first newbie MPP to become premier on day one since, what, Hepburn? And Hepburn had a couple of terms in the House of Commons under his belt, not a single term as a city councillor/hype man/radio host.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:24 AM on September 12


Is Doug getting any of that sweet Murdoch/Putin backing yet?
posted by benzenedream at 8:03 AM on September 12


Personally, I await the day Bruno and Boots of MacDonald Hall are cabinet ministers in a government led by PM Cathy and Finance Minister Diane of Miss Scrimmages F··ishing School.

With our luck George Wexford-Smyth III is going to end up with the Finance portfolio. Which might work out o.k., actually, if his Lorelei Mining stock pick wasn't just a fluke.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:29 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Looks like they cleared the public gallery in the legislature at Queen's Park this morning:

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns asks if Deputy Premier Christine Elliott will keep the premier in check.

The premier rises to answer. "The people will keep us in check."

The public gallery remains empty, after being cleared earlier due to vocal protest.


And, I mean we all knew this, but per this Toronto Star report...Christ, what an asshole:

But the [PCPO] doves, who worry that the preoccupation with the size of Toronto council deflects attention from more pressing business, did manage to temper the line of attack used against Belobaba.

While Ford noted that he “was elected” and “the judge was appointed,” the premier held his tongue on additional criticism.

“They wanted (Ford) to say ‘he was the Khadr judge’ and all this kind of crazy stuff,” said another PC insider, who also requested anonymity to speak freely.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:49 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


In regards to the "Khadr judge" from the last comment, here's a perfectly mainstream Canadian opinion about Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen and child soldier who was held in detention at Guantanamo Bay.

I think one of the unspoken conventions in Canadian politics (besides Quebec) that is being thrown by the wayside is to avoid cultural politics, and focus on "fiscal responsibility" (balanced budgets, restraint etc).

It's been flipped. Less talk about "fiscal responsibility", more talk about "immigrants".
posted by JamesBay at 8:55 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]




I hear Doug's musing about cutting the size of Ottawa council, too.

So rather than doing the online petition, I dug out fax numbers for all of the OLA PC MPPs. About ¼ of the 75 were no answer between 7-9 am this morning. Not all of the members list e-mails, and the OLA CSV feed was clearly designed not to be machine-readable. Every PC MPP got a customized note, all thanks to TeX and my wonderful networked Epson MFC that provides fax services as a CUPS print queue. Biggest hassle was working out which of the 905/289 numbers were long-distance.

It's pretty clear that the Legislature office fax machines disconnect overnight.
posted by scruss at 9:37 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


> Some Tory ministers and MPPs could be seen squirming in their seats as Speaker Ted Arnott cleared the public galleries after people jeered at Ford.

Conservative politicians everywhere have McCain-style "concerns" about the actions of their leaders, but none of them ever do anything about it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:08 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


The Hansard link from mandolin conspiracy reveals Doug Ford's seekrit plan at last:
Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is for the Premier. The Premier’s plot to undermine Toronto city council and stop elections in Peel, York, Niagara and Muskoka is an assault on our democracy. It robs people of their voice. It robs the people of Toronto of their right to decide how many councillors they elect, and it shows that the Premier is not interested in doing what’s right for Ontario. He’s driven by his own desire for power.

Why is this Premier trying to control Toronto city hall from the Premier’s office?

Hon. Doug Ford: In the city of Toronto, we have 25 MPs, we have 25 MPPs, and some of those ridings are larger than Prince Edward Island. They’re larger than some provinces that your MPPs and my MPPs have to cover. I can assure you that when we have 25 councillors, it’s going to be 500,000 less sheets of paper. I’m protecting the environment. I’m protecting trees, because there’s going to be less bureaucracy.
Notwithstanding (heh) his newfound conversion to the cause of environmentalism, I am baffled at the linkage of ideas. Some ridings are indeed physically larger than PEI, but the north of Ontario is very big without a lot of population density. The most populous riding in Ontario (and indeed in all of Canada) is Brantford-Brant, which has a little over 90% the population of PEI (~133k vs ~142k). And the city of Brantford, incidentally, itself sees fit to administer itself with a council of ten councillors.

So is anyone able to parse this PEI thing? Is he talking about physical size of the province for some unknowable reason? Is it just an echo of 45 promoting maps* showing lots of big red counties and a bunch of little blue ones because the 2,000 people of Edwards County TX went R, but it is three times the size of Dutchess County NY (with 300,000 people) which went D?


*I was pleased to learn recently that such maps are known as choropleth maps. This has been rb's Vocab Moment.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:42 AM on September 12


“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." -- Bill Davis, Ontario's 18th premier and one of the authors of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, speaking on 11 September 2018.

Unlike some countries, we can still ask the framers of our constitution what their intent was.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:55 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


The Ontario Public Service has their big annual awards ceremony tomorrow. If Ford, or frankly any Conservative MPP shows up, I'm going to have a hard time not cussing at him.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 3:29 PM on September 12


The Ontario Public Service has their big annual awards ceremony tomorrow. If Ford, or frankly any Conservative MPP shows up, I'm going to have a hard time not cussing at him.

I emptied a few past-their-prime pieces of produce from the crisper today. You want?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:37 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Wow, I don't know if anyone has the stomach to summarize what happened today in the legislature. I watched it unfold a bit on the train, and from what I saw:

Bill 5 reintroduced amidst mass protest.
Arrests in the public gallery.
Nearly all NDP MPPs ejected for civil disobedience.
NDP motions filed to delay the bill by a few days, max.
Ford remains defiant and disgusting.

Did I miss anything?
posted by mrjohnmuller at 5:03 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Well, a lot of Sun readers became constitutional scholars.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:06 PM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Oh good.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:23 PM on September 12


All this because Patrick Brown couldn't stop creeping on teenage girls. Men's dicks will be the end of us.
posted by dry white toast at 7:09 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Patrick Brown may fit in with Bernier's party next Federal election.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:51 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


here's a perfectly mainstream Canadian opinion about Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen and child soldier who was held in detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Dammit do you know how long I've managed to go without giving Margaret Wente even an accidental page-view? It's been years. Four, at least. You outta include a Content Warning if you're going to link to any of her toxicity. 😷
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:06 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Me too Secret Sparrow, though I'd not successfully avoided her for as long.
James Bay has Wente-rolled us!!!!!!!
posted by chapps at 11:10 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


So is anyone able to parse this PEI thing? Is he talking about physical size of the province for some unknowable reason? Is it just an echo of 45 promoting maps* showing lots of big red counties and a bunch of little blue ones because the 2,000 people of Edwards County TX went R, but it is three times the size of Dutchess County NY (with 300,000 people) which went D?

I'm of the strong opinion that parsing off-the-cuff statements by Ford assumes facts not in evidence: that it's something he's a.) thought about; b) knows about; or c.) been advised by the smartest people in the room to say.

That being said, I thought I'd burrow into population density stats for federal electoral districts as a basis for comparison (in Ontario, with the exception of a number of ridings in the north, they're the same as federal electoral districts).

According to Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and federal electoral districts (2013 Representation Order), 2016 and 2011 censuses, we can look at the electoral district of Charlottetown and, say, Toronto Centre as a sample.

Population density per square kilometre, 2016:

Charlottetown: 816.1

Toronto Centre: 17,784.9

From this, I feel it is safe to conclude that your "Is it just an echo of 45 promoting maps* showing lots of big red counties and a bunch of little blue ones because the 2,000 people of Edwards County TX went R, but it is three times the size of Dutchess County NY (with 300,000 people) which went D?" scenario is the likely one.

I mean, Charlottetown as a municipality would have been a better basis for comparison in a discussion about councillor representation. Even if we take that as a basis for comparison, it has 10 councillors for roughly 36,000 people, meaning that Toronto has almost double the number of residents per councillor than Charlottetown does.

*shrug emoji*

*I was pleased to learn recently that such maps are known as choropleth maps. This has been rb's Vocab Moment.

I like having a term for those maps now! Thanks.

My vocabulary lesson for today courtesy of Statistics Canada:

Ecumene:

[A] term used by geographers to mean inhabited land. It generally refers to land where people have made their permanent home, and to all work areas that are considered occupied and used for agricultural or any other economic purpose.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:10 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Learning more about maps is the one good thing to come out of this. Thanks!

BTW, what were the Liberals doing in the legislature yesterday?
posted by clawsoon at 8:48 AM on September 13


Liberals? Probably having a nap. They no longer have official party status so they are not up to much.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:52 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


There are lots of reasons not to like Tom Flanagan, but I did find his translation of Margaret Canovan's thoughts on populism to a Canadian context useful (PDF):
Another example of monistic politics is the phenomenon known as populism, described by Margaret Canovan in these terms:
The notion that 'the people' are one; that divisions among them are not genuine conflicts of interest but are manufactured by a few men of ill will; that parties are merely self-serving factions; and that the people will be best looked after by a single unpolitical leadership that will put their interest first - these ideas are anti-political, but they are nevertheless essential elements in a political strategy that has often been used to gain power.
All populist movements, whether of the left, right, or centre, treat 'the people' as an undifferentiated whole animated by a common set of desires. Although William Riker has demonstrated the fallacies of this notion in Liberalism Against Populism, populist rhetoric continues to trade heavily upon expressions such as the 'will of the people'. For example, Preston Manning, a self-styled populist and leader of the Reform Party of Canada, which won 52 seats in the 1993 federal election, claims to draw his inspiration from 'the common sense of the common people'. In the socialist tradition, Mao Zedong has been considered a populist because he emphasized the overwhelmingly agricultural character of the whole Chinese people, as did the so-called narodniki (narod means 'people') in Imperial Russia.

When populist leaders posit enemies, they typically point to small 'elites' or 'special interests' said to be out of touch with the common people. Often these elites are geographically remote (eastern bankers, foreign capitalists) or ethnically different (Jews), and thus not really part of 'the people'. Populist political rhetoric emphasizes breaking the domination of the elites and returning power to the hands of the people. In comparison to the scope and intensity of class struggle within the Marxist perspective, populists see it as relatively easy to accomplish their aims because they see the people as so huge and so united, and the elites as so small and remote from the people. The people have only to shrug their giant shoulders, so to speak, to rid themselves of the elites or the special interests. Populists thus conceive politics as intrinsically monistic. Even in the present, there is one undifferentiated people, not divided by fundamental conflicts of interest. The presence of elites or special interests is only an irritating detail; once their power is broken, politics can assume its natural, conflict-free condition.
Downtown Toronto "elites" are geographically remote from "the people" because you have to commute down the constantly-clogged Gardiner Expressway to get there.

And the Notwithstanding Clause no doubt seems like an easy way for Ford to "shrug the giant shoulders of the people" and rid "the people" of the malign influence of those downtown Toronto elites.
posted by clawsoon at 9:07 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


One of the best MF threads on Canadian politics in quite a while, IMHO.
posted by JamesBay at 10:23 AM on September 13


You outta include a Content Warning if you're going to link to any of her toxicity.

Sorry, in all seriousness, I should have done that. But I do think she usually represents a mainstream perspective.
posted by JamesBay at 10:24 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


> All this because Patrick Brown couldn't stop creeping on teenage girls. Men's dicks will be the end of us.

Back when that shit was going down and Ford was first making noises about dropping out of the race for mayor of Toronto to run for leader of the PCs, I made a joke here about how I was looking forward to watching him lose two elections in one year. I'll never make the mistake of giving my fellow citizens of Ontario that much credit again.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:29 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Sorry, in all seriousness, I should have done that. But I do think she usually represents a mainstream perspective.

Heh. I will also admit to succumbing to the Wente-roll myself. Yeah, she does, actually. I think I was on a two-ish year run of not clicking her.

One of the best MF threads on Canadian politics in quite a while, IMHO.

It is indeed! Particularly given the depth of backstory needed to explain how we got here, la famille Ford, the actions of the Ford government so far, some of the more arcane points of Canadian constitutional law, and the division of powers between federal, provincial, and municipal governments. It was a lot to package up, and ricochet biscuit did an awesome job of it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:31 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


So now Amnesty International Canada has condemned Ford's move.

“No government in Canada should take the contemptuous step of disregard for the Charter of Rights that the notwithstanding clause offers them,”

...the group, which usually speaks out against grave violations of human rights by rogue governments in various parts of the world, had never had to condemn any level of government in Canada.

posted by cirhosis at 11:43 AM on September 13


Re: Dynastic Canadian political families (such as they are) - there's also Mike Harris Jr., failed frozen yogurt store owner turned unqualified MP, and his dad Mike Harris, former golf pro turned premier of Ontario. Interestingly, Mike Harris Jr. ran in the riding vacated by Michael Harris (no relation to the other two), a well-liked Tory who got caught up in a sex scandal which the paranoid feel may have been part of a party purge.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:48 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


BTW, what were the Liberals doing in the legislature yesterday?

I seem to recall reading that Premier-as-was Kathleen Wynne was audibly expressing dismay at the treatment of the visitors’ gallery (specifically, “Oh, come on!” at the sight of an elderly woman being handcuffed and frogmarched out).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:03 PM on September 13


It was a lot to package up, and ricochet biscuit did an awesome job of it.

(Shoves hands in pockets, looks at ground, kicks at loose pebble.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:05 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]




The Johnsons weren't a pair of Quebec Premiers, they were a trio! Daniel Johnson père was PM from 1966 until his death in 1968. He led the Union Nationale, Duplessis's party, but kept the Quiet Revolution going. His son Pierre-Marc was PM as a member of the PQ for two months in late 1985, following René Lévesque's retirement from politics. His other son Daniel fils similarly was PM as a member of the Liberals for about nine months in 1994 after Robert Bourassa resigned.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:56 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I had forgotten about Pierre-Marc. Merci, MsM!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:38 PM on September 13


My image of suburban populism is of someone stuck in an endless traffic jam, road rage boiling, wishing for a tank to run over all the idiots in their way.

A few minutes ago a government representative was on the radio, being asked why the Notwithstanding Clause needed to be invoked. Twice he answered, "Because millions of people are stuck in traffic."

I thought it was a metaphor, but I guess it's literal. Charter rights are nothing in the face of rage at being stuck in traffic.
posted by clawsoon at 4:40 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Nothing is a metaphor anymore. You would think that with the leglaity of the elections of the biggest city in the country hanging in the balance, this would be top priority, but MPPs are taking two days next week to visit the International Plowing Match.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:24 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Y'know, I think I'd rather have them plowing.
posted by clawsoon at 8:36 AM on September 14


They see me plowin', they hatin'....
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 AM on September 14


I thought it was a metaphor, but I guess it's literal. Charter rights are nothing in the face of rage at being stuck in traffic.

In Victoria there is a lot of hate -- and hate is the right word -- for new bike lanes in the downtown core. Most of the hate comes from people who live in suburbs and neighboring municipalities. I feel really lucky that Greater Victoria (population: 350,000) is a patchwork of different municipalities, and that suburbanites from Saanich and Langford cannot vote in City of Victoria elections.
posted by JamesBay at 9:56 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


From the "this ain't ovahhh..." file. A number of people are point out that Ontario's Municipal Elections Act contains the following provisions:

Controverted Elections

Application

83 (1) A person who is entitled to vote in an election may make an application to the Superior Court of Justice requesting that it determine,

(a) whether the election is valid;

(b) whether a person’s election to an office in the election is valid;

(c) if a person’s election to an office is not valid, whether another person was validly elected or is entitled to the office;

(d) if an election is not valid or a person’s election to an office is not valid, whether a by-election should be held. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 83 (1); 2002, c. 17, Sched. D, s. 34 (1).

Time

(2) The application shall be commenced within 90 days after voting day. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 83 (2).

Summary procedure

(3) The application shall be dealt with in a summary manner, without application records or factums. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 83 (3).

Service

(3.1) The applicant shall serve a copy of the application on the clerk or secretary of the municipality or local board to which the application relates within 5 days after the day the application was made under this section. 2002, c. 17, Sched. D, s. 34 (2).

No other avenue

(4) A proceeding to determine a matter described in clause (1) (a), (b), (c) or (d) may be commenced only under subsection (1). 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 83 (4).


For the non Twitter-averse (I use it solely as a news feed from good journalists and a few other credible and non-toxic sources of info), Matt Elliot, David Hains, and Jennifer Pagliaro are good follows on the topic.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:24 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Charter rights are nothing in the face of rage at being stuck in traffic

Wouldn't it be just awful if all of Toronto went for a drive around Queen's Park just before they were due to convene tomorrow?

Also, I see that the new bill has an immunity from judicial review rider, so The People cannot challenge it. Little Dougie never got a chance to play at being mayor, but his little brother did …
posted by scruss at 11:13 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


but MPPs are taking two days next week to visit the International Plowing Match.

Hey the International Plowing Match is a pretty big deal!
posted by Ashwagandha at 3:32 PM on September 14


And now the PCs are changing the legislature's rules of procedure so that the stall tactics they used so effectively in opposition cannot be used by anyone else.

I do not feel remotely bad about quote-tweeting this at roughly ⅓ of the PC members this morning.
posted by scruss at 9:46 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


And now it seems he has the legislature returning at midnight tomorrow for a 12:01 AM session to hustle this through. I cannot imagine how many taxpayer dollars are being spent so he can play fantasy football with an election he lost years ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:00 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


12:01? Can't work on the Sabbath, must make it out for the plowing and they get to show how virtuous and hard-working they are. Pure theatre.
posted by scruss at 6:47 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


I remember when somebody - I'm pretty sure it was a member of the Reform Party - gave me a copy of the Canadian Constitution back in the late 1980s, and I first read the Notwithstanding Clause. I thought to myself, "Wow, that's a pretty serious power to use... I guess that's something that you'd reserve for a war situation or something like that."

I did not expect to see it used in the context of traffic in downtown Toronto being too slow.
posted by clawsoon at 3:54 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


International Plowing Match 2018:

7579 Pain Court Line
Pain Court, Ontario


A little on the nose, no?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:00 PM on September 16


In English it does but in French it means shortbread. Chatham-Kent does have historical French settlements in that area. Why they would name their town after shortbread is another story...
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:12 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


In English it does but in French it means shortbread. Chatham-Kent does have historical French settlements in that area. Why they would name their town after shortbread is another story...

A detente between the French and the Scots?

Heh. Shoulda caught that. I used to live on what was, at one time, a seignury in Windsor-Essex.

Well, here we go...

The public gallery is filling in very slowly. It is proceeding at a much slower pace than, say, your average Toronto Blue Jays security clearance.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:31 PM on September 16


A detente between the French and the Scots?

The Auld Alliance will never die.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:51 PM on September 16


I used to wonder how repressive dystopias could arise out of liberal democracies. Now I see how many of my fellow citizens think a majority government should be free to shut down constitutional rights whenever... well, just whenever.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:15 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]


A few years ago I'd have said some combination of hyperinflation, mass unemployment, food riots, and the odd putsch here and there before we stood a real chance of seeing Enabling Acts and midnight goose-stepping come to vogue in the Anglosphere. Now tho
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 4:02 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


The dynastic nature of politics in Canada has really been bothering me lately. It certainly seems to be giving polarization a boost.

My proposal is that once a politician has achieved any elected position, they are allowed to continue their career as long as it progresses. However, no one related to them can hold office for, say, four generations? Five generations? An even century? Long enough that there is no living memory. Long enough that historians have had their due, and all the dirt has been dug up, analyzed, and put back. Long enough that no one can say "his father was a good man". (We are almost purely talking about mediocre white men here.)

I'd like to see this separation so ingrained that the mere possibility that an office holder could use their position to benefit a family member should be scandal in itself. If you're gonna grift, grift out in the open like everyone else.

It would never fly. Among other reasons, it contravenes the Charter.
posted by TheHuntForBlueMonday at 6:10 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


This is starting to sound like a bad mobster movie, isn't it?
"Nice Charter of Rights and Freedoms you got here. Too bad if something... (knocks ashtray off the desk)... happened to it."
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:19 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Apparently some people unfurled a banner reading "Don't Plow Our Charter" during Doug Ford's speech at the International Plowing Match.

*golf claps*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:09 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]


This is starting to sound like a bad mobster movie, isn't it?

I always felt the Fords fancied themselves as some kind of hoser Sopranos so I think the comparison is accurate.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:48 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


I always felt the Fords fancied themselves as some kind of hoser Sopranos so I think the comparison is accurate.

Surprise level when Ford announced that he was scrapping the Liberal's plan to sell marijuana via government stores and give the job to private dealers instead: Zero.
posted by clawsoon at 1:06 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


So, as regards the plowing match (I grew up a Brigden Fair man, myself), Shawn Micalleff provided a fairly exhaustive Twitter rundown of the whole affair...I know Twitter threads can be tedious, but he really delivers:

I find myself back home, a short drive to Pain Court & the Int’l Plowing Match & Rural Expo that has figured so acutely into Toronto politics. So I’ll head there today before returning to chaos-city. Will tweet observations.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:24 PM on September 18


As an aside, speaking from my perspective as a Fall Fair aficionado, the Brigden Fair is excellent fair.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:48 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Bah:

The Court of Appeal has granted the provincial government’s request for a stay of an earlier court ruling, returning Toronto’s election to a 25-ward race.

Jennifer Pagliaro:

The Court of Appeal now says that s.3 (tied to right to effective representation) "does not apply to municipal elections and has no bearing on the issues raised in this case."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:46 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


I am not excited to vote in this sham election.
posted by Evstar at 8:36 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


So now they get to say “What Notwithstanding Clause?" and celebrate the legitimacy of the courts and decry any appeals delayed after the election as wasting taxpayers money?

Fffuuuuuuuuu …

The only semi bright point is that our entirely useless and absent councillor will be standing against actually qualified people. Holland-Berardinetti has the second-worst attendance record after Mammo, oversaw a net reduction in bike lines in the ward, and until recently was a public advocate of Highway 448, the zombie highway that cut through the eastern hydro corridors to join on to the DVP.
posted by scruss at 8:51 AM on September 19


What are the pragmatic realities of the ward elections with changing wards... I am not in a ward system so a bit unclear of the impact ... Do you vote for only candidates in your own ward, and do voters even know who their candidates are with the wards changing like this?
Even if the charter is not violated, could this change result in a challenge under the municipal elections act?

My thoughts are with every poll administrator and elections clerk in Ontario. Administering a fair election is tough work. Administering a fair election under these ever changing conditions must be extremely trying.
posted by chapps at 5:35 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Even if the charter is not violated, could this change result in a challenge under the municipal elections act?

Possibly, since it has a section dealing with "controverted elections," but my non-lawyerly understanding is that any challenge under that section needs to be brought after an election.

Spare a thought for Toronto City Clerk Ulli Watkiss and her role in navigating all of this. I do not envy her that job.

From the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario:

No other office in municipal service has so many contacts. It serves the mayor, the city
council, the city manager (when there is one), and all administrative departments
without exception. All of them call upon it, almost daily, for some service or information.

Its work is not spectacular, but it demands versatility, alertness, accuracy, and no end
of patience. The public does not realize how many loose ends of city administration this office pulls together.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:40 PM on September 19


What are the pragmatic realities of the ward elections with changing wards... I am not in a ward system so a bit unclear of the impact ... Do you vote for only candidates in your own ward, and do voters even know who their candidates are with the wards changing like this?

posted by chapps at 5:35 PM on September 19


Short answer: yes and no.

Each ward typically has one councillor, so voters typically cast a vote for the mayor (of the whole city) and for the councilor of their ward.

As to whether people know what ward they're in, that's a toss up. If they're politically aware or active, then they know. If they're not, odds are they need to be informed what ward they're in (usually via candidates' election signs in their area).

Changing the ward boundaries in the middle of an election is going to cause massive amounts of confusion. It's going to be chaos all the way.
posted by sardonyx at 7:03 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Even if the charter is not violated, could this change result in a challenge under the municipal elections act?

I think now is the time for ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:11 PM on September 19


My local city councilor, John Filion, was going to retire and not run in the coming election. He endorsed two new candidates (we were getting a new ward because ours has a lot of people) who he felt had similar positions as he did and had decent chances of winning. After Ford announced the ward reduction he decided to run again because as an incumbent he would have significantly more name recognition and there's a very real possibility that someone with a more suburban mindset would win if he didn't run. On the whole Filion has been a good councilor but it is well past time for him to retire and get some newer blood in there.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:35 AM on September 20


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