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Ford fights back against ruling striking down council-cutting plan
TORONTO - The Ontario government is invoking the rarely used notwithstanding clause so it can proceed with efforts to slash the size of Toronto city council in the middle of a municipal election.
Doug Ford says his Progressive Conservative government will also be appealing an Ontario judge's decision that found the province's move was unconstitutional.
Ford's comments come hours after a judge ruled the province crossed the line when it hurriedly enacted the Better Local Government Act last month without any consultation.
Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba said the government interfered with the right to freedom of expression for both candidates and voters and called the law unconstitutional.
Bill 5 cut the size of Toronto's city council from 47 seats to 25, aligning them with federal ridings, despite the fact that the campaign for the Oct. 22 municipal election was already underway.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, who kicked off his re-election campaign this on the weekend, welcomed the court decision, saying democracy belongs to everyone and no law should ever fail to take that into account.