NDP’s Joel Harden says party will slow down Toronto council bill


Ottawa MPP Joel Harden said he and his colleagues will slow the Ford government down in their efforts to force through changes to Toronto’s upcoming election.


Premier Doug Ford called the legislature back to order earlier this week to pass a bill that will cut down the size of Toronto’s council to 25 wards from 47.

A Superior Court Judge has ruled that legislation is unconstitutional.

The government is appealing that decision, but is also passing legislation including the notwithstanding clause — which lets governments override some parts of the Constitution — to ensure the changes happen before the upcoming vote. 

Ottawa Centre’s Harden was among the NDP MPPs who were thrown out of the legislature on Wednesday for banging on their desks and refusing to come to order.

He said he dislikes heckling in the legislature, but this was about pushing back against Ford’s move.

“We are making sure that Doug Ford doesn’t think he owns the province. There has to be limits to this kind of erratic, self-interested behaviour,” he said on CBC Radio’s All In A Day Thursday.

The NDP move delayed the legislature temporarily and briefly prevented the introduction of the bill.  

‘Slow them down’ 

Harden said people he talks to in Ottawa and Toronto are telling him this plan should not be pushed through.

“We will use every single tool in our means to slow them down,” he said.

“Having a majority government  doesn’t mean you have a dictatorship to do whatever you want.”

He also encouraged anyone upset with the plan to contact their local MPP.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser, the MPP for Ottawa South, has also said his party would introduce an amendment to the legislation that could delay its passage.

Ford maintains cutting Toronto city council to 25 from 47 is necessary to streamline decision-making and save taxpayer money.

Their actions were in opposition to the Ford government invoking the notwithstanding clause. This after the court deemed legislation to cut the size of Toronto city council during an election unconstitutional. 9:14