Only if the SCC finds a basis other than Section 2 to strike the law down on. I think Section 3 (democratic rights) might be possible but IANAL so I’m not sure.
I find your latter point the more compelling. Changing the rules in the middle of an election is problematic, since, as Justice Belobaba stated, it limits freedom of expression. Using Section 33 is more problematic in that what election rules could you change in this manner? Not wining a riding? Change the boundaries during the election. Too many people of one sort set to vote against you? Move their polling station to some place they can’t get to. Think your opposition is doing to well? Rewrite campaign finance law to hobble them.
I have no problem with Ford’s idea that council(s) should be smaller (maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse, maybe it has no effect – but likely it needs to be studied), but because that changes representation those changes should be consistent, and apply all councils. Where the veneer or cost saving or efficiency falls apart is that there are other jurisdictions with the same ratios that are not included in this legislation, which means in some places your vote is ‘worth’ more than in others. This is an abrogation of the principle of fairness.
Ford’s promised use of Section 33, is indeed problematic, if a Premier or sitting government uses it to simply ignore any Charter Rights in sections 2, and 7 through 15 it could lead to some particularly undesirable outcomes.
I think Section 3 applies only to Federal and Provincial elections (but I am also not a lawyer).
I’m less concerned about future elections (although that is a concern) than the actual legal cases in which his government is currently embroiled. His stated willingness to invoke section 33 for other rulings suggests that he intends to apply it should the court challenge of his changes to the Health Curriculum win on charter grounds. He is also facing challenges on his rollback of environmental legislation…
And there can be no question that his stated willingness to use it as a political tool will have a chilling effect upon future legal opposition to things he has not yet done. The fact is that it takes a lot of money and time and effort to mount a legal challenge. If you know that, even if you win, the premier intends to invoke Section 33 then why bother?
They should have the 47 and 25 councilor elections simultaneously and sort out which one counts later.
The Bumblefuck puts the pedal to the mental:
Democracy dies in the darkness?
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