Distressing day for democracy in Ontario as Premier Ford threatens to invoke the Notwithstanding Clause
“Our constitution was created for a reason – to protect all Canadians and our fundamental democracy. Invoking the Notwithstanding Clause to override local democracy, when those actions violate our constitution, is a terrifying precedent for a government to set,” says Hahn. “We need a moment of sober second thought here. We need to ask all our MPPs to set partisanship aside and stop this from going ahead.”
In response to today’s ruling that Bill 5 unequivocally violates the constitution, Premier Ford announced his intent to recall the legislature Wednesday, to bring in legislation that would allow him to enact the Notwithstanding Clause to override the decision. If the Premier were to be successful, this would be the first time the Notwithstanding Clause is used in the history of Ontario.
“This is much bigger than a Toronto issue,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer for CUPE Ontario “If this is allowed to go ahead we can be sure that municipalities all across the province will experience similar interference. Our municipal governments are the level of government that most directly impacts our lives. We should not be allowing one Premier to take that power away from us.”
CUPE provided funding for the legal challenge brought by candidate Chris Moise and electors Ish Aderonmu and Prabha Khosla. One of a group of cases that was successful in challenging the constitutionality of Bill 5.
“Now that Bill 5 has been deemed unconstitutional the election must be allowed to unfold as it had originally been planned,” says Hahn. “Further threats to our democratic process only make an already difficult situation worse.”
Hahn and Rennick urge municipal residents to fight Ford’s agenda by electing progressive candidates across the province. Ontario’s municipal elections will happen on October 22nd, 2018.
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CUPE Ontario is the political wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees—Canada’s largest union—in the country’s largest province. With more than 258,000 members, CUPE Ontario is a strong voice for rights and fairness for our members and our communities. We work at the provincial level for legislative, policy and political change on issues affecting public services, equality, healthy communities and a better Ontario for everyone.
For more information, contact: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638 www.cupe.on.ca
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Source: CUPE Ontario