Court nukes Ontario's Trumpian government bid to gut Toronto city council

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promise to make beer cost $1 in the province (this promise was not fulfilled).

Roger That!


They’ll have ramp-up gerrymandering efforts instead.


I could walk into a Beer Store today and buy a 4 pack of “Cool Beer” for $4 + deposit. The promise that was broken was that $1 beer wouldn’t be subsidized. Doug Ford gave expensive end cap displays to participating brewers.


I live in SW Ontario. I have friends and family members that voted for the Ford Nation (as they like to call themselves). This ruling will serve as further “evidence” to members of the Ford Nation that the elite ruling class really does have it out for them (which is true), because Doug has their best interests at heart (which is false).


The notwithstanding clause can only be applied to get out from under certain sections of the Charter. You cannot use the notwithstanding clause to enact a law which violates one of the “democratic rights” contained in sections 3-5. So to the extent that this judgment held that this re-districting exercise violated one of the democratic rights, the notwithstanding clause won’t help him any.

But the devil will be in the details. I don’t see the judgment up on CanLII yet so I haven’t read it so maybe he has a chance yet.

Edited to add: it’s not on CanLII yet but it IS on the Superior Court of Justice website. So I guess I have no excuse but to read it now.

Edited EVEN FURTHER to add: It looks like decisions focuses on freedom of expression which is something the notwithstanding clause can apply to. So I guess he can go ahead with that. Ain’t life grand.


Notwithstanding clause invocations are rare and not always successful (and there is some occasional political backlash). A Premiere who attempted to rule by the notwithstanding clause would be a fool indeed.

It’s unfortunate that Justice Belababa’s decision relied almost exclusively on freedom of expression. You now can’t have confidence that any (Provincial at least) election might be upended even at the last minute on the whims of a Premiere. My objection is that, since this only applies to Toronto, it much goes against procedural fairness whereby all citizens have an equal opportunity to influence political outcomes. (Ottawa, Hamilton, et al, have as similar ratios, and yet legislation was not enacted that would effect them as well.) It’s all well and good to say Toronto has too many counselors, but there should be a criteria for determining how many is appropriate and then that applied to all.


You’ll need to update this post. DoFo is not finished with this.

But the issue is twofold.

  1. Doug Ford believes the council would be more efficient were it a lot smaller
  2. Doug Ford is determined to radically change the structure of council in the middle of the election. Those who had already invested considerable time and money canvassing, printing leaflets, renting offices, etc were now thrown out of the races they entered.

Even if you believed the former (which I do not) there is no compelling reason for the latter. He could have waited until the election was complete and revise the structure of municipal government for the next election. This is throwing our local government into chaos.

Evoking the Notwithstanding clause, and threateneing to do so again on other issues, makes it clear that he is in contempt of the rule of law. This is not about pressing a particular agenda, this is about doing what he wants when he wants regardless of whether it is fair or legal. It is a dark day in Ontario. :slightly_frowning_face::cry::sob:


A couple of important points to keep in mind here:

  1. Ford’s late brother tried to do this when he was mayor of Toronto, and (predictably) couldn’t get the votes in council to get it passed.
  2. Doug subsequently ran for mayor of Toronto on a platform prominently featuring this policy, and lost.
  3. This would not impact Ontarians outside of Toronto in the slightest. This should be a purely local decision; the fact the province has authority to do this in the first place is just a sign that the Municipal Act (or whatever it is) is fucked up.

So this is where we are: a petty tyrant of a premier threatening to override the constitution to impose a policy that does nothing for his constituents, just to spite his personal political nemeses on Toronto city council and the people of the city who rejected him twice at the ballot box.

Fuck. That. Asshole.


The promise was fulfilled though. There is dollar beer. Only three breweries are participating (and one already stopped, citing it was a limited time promotion [two weeks]), and it’s swill. But there is dollar beer.


If the assessments I’ve been hearing lately on the rise of illiberal democracy are accurate then we can expect, contrary to past uses of Section 33, there will be public support for the premier opposing the judicial elite. :frowning:

Except the ruling was based on Section 2 of the Charter, so the notwithstanding clause can (and in all likelihood will) be used.

Unbelievable that he’s going to use a very rare provincial power to resolve his tiny snit with the Toronto council.

I wonder if, when it goes to the Canadian Supreme Court (full of those appointed judges), that they could still lose?

And the only reason to use the Notwithstanding Clause is to force this in the middle of the current Toronto election, stomping on the rights of the voters. He would be well within the Ontario government’s normal power to enact his change for the next Toronto election.

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He would be well within the Ontario government’s normal power to enact his change for the next Toronto election.

Strictly speaking, yes, although even then I don’t think it’s common practice for them to wield it unilaterally; normally, as I understand it, these types of changes are only made at the request of the municipality. A motion to make such a request was what Mayor RoFo failed to pass, and what Mayoral Candidate DoFo failed to get an election mandate for. So for him to turn around and use his position as Premier to end-run the wishes of city council and the citizens of Toronto and ram through his personal pet project was already good and scummy, even before he invoked the constitutional nuclear option to override the courts on it. Which is just really, truly beyond the pale.


To be fair, $1 is the minimum or floor price for a 355lm bottle or can. Which I support, 'cause I loves me some cheap beer!
By my account, it’s gone over like a led balloon. All but the the huge macro brewers said “OK, no thanks, we’ll keep making a wide selection of tasty beers and charge a fair price, but not $1.” Which I support, cause I loves my some craft beers!


/grabs “normally”, rips it free and throws it out of the car. “What’sa behind you is not important!”

When the BumbleFord wants to use the Notwithstanding Clause to win a revenge piss with the Toronto council, it’s time to hold a wake for normally, or pray for its second coming.

He’s going to use the Notwithstanding Clause whenever he loses a court case. He’ll probably try to use it against Rob Ford’s widow’s lawsuit.