The controversial bill, titled The Efficient Local Government Act will reduce the size of the Toronto city council from 47 sitting members to merely 25.
While Ford never campaigned on the decision to reduce the size of Toronto city council, the Premier claimed he “promised to reduce the size of government and end the culture of waste.”
Los Angeles, a city with the population of almost 4 million inhabitants has a city council of 15 seats. In comparison, Toronto, a city with a population of 2.8 million has a sizeable 47 members of city council.
Since 1997, the size of government employees has increased by 43%, while the private sector only grew 33% in Ontario. At the same time government employees earn an average of 13.4% more than private sector employees in the province.
The move comes only a month before municipal elections take place on October 22, 2018.
Ever since Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that Bill 31 was unconstitutional, Doug Ford chose to invoke the notwithstanding clause to circumvent the court’s authority.
Several former Premiers have denounced the move, calling it an abuse of power including Bob Rae (NDP) and Bill Davis (PC).
After the Ford government invoked the clause, protests broke out outside and within the viewing gallery of Queen’s Park.
Among those standing outside of city hall was first-time candidate Megann Willson, an NDP advocate and supporter. Megann Willson is an unabashed NDP supporter who has tweeted in defense of the opposition throughout her bid for the council seat.
77 Year-old Ester Reiter, an associate professor in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University also recently made headlines after being escorted out of Queen’s Park for shouting out “I am 77-and-a-half years old and I hate the destruction of democracy,” during proceedings.
Ester Reiter is the author of A Future Without Hate or Need: The Promise of the Jewish Left in Canada which endorses socialism and “revolutionary sensibilities”.
In response to the rushed Bill, NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson asked Speaker Ted Arnott to rule the legislature as out of order.
Although protests and anger towards Bill 31 continue, the majority PC government has decided to continue with plans to implement the law before the elections take place in October.