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Toronto May Go to Court Over Council Cuts

Toronto’s municipal government has voted to allow its lawyers to review the possible legal routes that could be taken to stop Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford from reducing the size of the city council. Even though a good number of councillors have supported this move by Mayor Ford, a majority of the city’s councillors are vehemently opposed to it and have decried it as unfair.

News reports on The Star.com, state that some of the councillors spoke out about their issues with Doug Ford’s decision, “(Ford) wants us distracted. He wants us back on our heels, fighting with each other. He wants us to not notice that he’s trying to gut the things that make Toronto great,” said Councillor Gord Perks. Another was also reported to have said

“It was a clear signal today by the City of Toronto that this fly-by-night attack on our residents, on our local democracy and on this institution will not stand,” said Joe Cressy, who was among the left-leaning downtown councillors who pushed for the city to challenge the move in court. "... The fight to stop this is one we have agreed as a council to take up.” The site reports.

The council votes were counted at a 24-17 votes with a majority agreeing to oppose the province’s intention of cutting council seats. They also voted to ask the province to conduct a referendum on the issue before the coming elections.

Ford has promised that the cuts would save the city $25 million in addition to making it more efficient.

Richard Tindal, a retired professor, as reported on The Star.com, has saiddespite being under the ultimate control of provincial legislatures, cities like Toronto are emerging as major centres of culture and economic activity. The law gave Toronto special powers to tax things like alcohol, land transfers and vehicle registrations.The level of sovereignty already practised by Toronto, may be to its legal advantage, as it shows that the city has always governed over their own decisions.

Chief opposition to this move,Toronto Mayor John Tory also condemned the Premier’s intentions, saying the issue needs a referendum. He described the move as an attempt to ram a change down his throat. According to a report on Ottawacitizen.com,Tory accused Ford of “meddling” with the city’s affairs and said the premier should not be interfering as candidates begin campaigning and fundraising for the October vote. Ford has scheduled a news conference for Friday morning, just hours before the 2 p.m. deadline to register for the Toronto municipal race.

Doug Ford plans to introduce legislation to cut the number of council seats from 47 to 25.He gave his major reasons for this as cited in the Ottawa-sun, “Good governance in any company says you should not have more than 7 to 9 people on the board, you could have 20 of the smartest people around the table, nothing gets done, we are going to get things done, we are going to run city hall a lot more efficiently than before.”