Ontario’s NDP MPPs fight back against Premier Ford’s move to rig municipal elections
Ford claims that slashing the number of municipal councillors will help “protect the environment, … protect trees.”
News from Ontario’s New Democratic Party
Posted July 30th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Queen’s Park, Toronto – With municipal elections well under way, Doug Ford’s move to take revenge on his political enemies by interfering in races across the province is petty and mean-spirited, says Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath — who led Monday, July 30th’s question period with a sharp indictment of the move.
“Doug Ford cooked up his backroom plot to steal power from the people, and kept it hidden from 14 million Ontarians for an entire election campaign,” said Horwath.
“And that means, today, there’s absolutely no legitimate mandate for Ford to cancel regional elections and rip up Toronto’s wards.”
Ford’s changes to Toronto ward boundaries, and his cancellation of democratic regional elections, targets former political opponents at Toronto City Hall, where he was ostracized and rejected, as well as regional elections in Peel, Muskoka, York and Niagara, where other political enemies were running.
“Interfering in the middle of local elections to steal power away from the voters is not an act of leadership – it’s an abuse of power,” said Horwath.
“Taking revenge on political opponents does not show strength – it is a deeply chilling sign of weakness and insecurity. And hiding one’s secret plans during an entire election campaign does not show respect for voters – it demonstrates utter contempt for the people of Ontario.”
Horwath’s questions were followed by a slew of Toronto area, Peel and Niagara region NDP MPPs, one after another, who asked about the cost of lawsuits certain to follow, the complete lack of consultation, the secrecy, and other glaring problems with Ford’s shocking decree that he will force elections already underway to be halted.
On behalf of the people of Ontario, Horwath asked: “Why is he acting like a dictator, instead of a premier?”
What follows are some excerpts from the exchange in the Ontario legislature, taken from the official hanxard, between Ontario NDP and Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath and Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford –
Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is for the Premier.
The Premier’s plot to undermine Toronto city council and stop elections in Peel, York, Niagara and Muskoka is an assault on our democracy. It robs people of their voice. It robs the people of Toronto of their right to decide how many councillors they elect, and it shows that the Premier is not interested in doing what’s right for Ontario. He’s driven by his own desire for power.
Why is this Premier trying to control Toronto city hall from the Premier’s office?
Hon. Doug Ford: In the city of Toronto, we have 25 MPs, we have 25 MPPs, and some of those ridings are larger than Prince Edward Island. They’re larger than some provinces that your MPPs and my MPPs have to cover.
I can assure you that when we have 25 councillors, it’s going to be 500,000 less sheets of paper. I’m protecting the environment. I’m protecting trees. ??Because ??there’s going to be less bureaucracy, it’s going to make the mayor’s job easier. It’s going to make fellow councillors’ jobs easier. It’s going to make the Clerk’s job a lot easier, because right now, with 47 people, it would be dysfunctional. Nothing gets done at city hall. There’s gridlock on our streets, and there’s gridlock at city hall. Nothing—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. Stop the clock.
Take your seats, please. Restart the clock.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: The number of councillors that Toronto needs to serve the people of this city is a decision that belongs to the people of this city. But this Premier doesn’t care. All he cares about is inflicting his will and his own whims on the people of this city.
Why is this Premier trying to rig local elections, just to put more power in his own hands?
Hon. Doug Ford: The Leader of the Opposition wouldn’t know what it is to serve the people of Toronto because you’ve never done it. You’ve never gone out there. You’ve never talked to the people of Toronto.
Let’s do a little comparison here: We have Los Angeles at 4 million people. We’re about half the size, and we have 47 councillors. Mr. Speaker, when I went to Los Angeles and I told the people we had 44 councillors, they said, “How can you get anything done?” My answer is, we never got anything done. No one gets anything done, because there are too many politicians, too many fiefdoms down there, in the interest of themselves.
I’m glad that my neighbour Councillor Perruzza is here, because we had many conversations, and every other councillor, all 44, have agreed that city hall is dysfunctional. Nothing is happening but spending—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Members will please take their seats. Restart the clock.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: Interfering in the middle of local elections to steal power away from the voters is not an act—
Hon. Todd Smith: He runs the House.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I don’t need any help, thank you.
I have to ask the member to withdraw.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: Withdraw.
Interfering in the middle of local elections to take power away from the voters is not an act of leadership, Speaker; it is an abuse of power.
Taking revenge on political opponents does not show strength. It is a deeply chilling sign of weakness and insecurity.
And hiding one’s secret plans during an entire election campaign does not show respect for voters. It demonstrates utter contempt for the people of Ontario.
Why is this Premier acting like a dictator?
Hon. Doug Ford: Mr. Speaker, to the Leader of the Opposition: You go to the people. Maybe we should go out to the people in the streets, door-knock, and ask what they want. Do they want 25 more politicians that they weren’t consulted with, or do they want less politicians? Do they want more police or do they want 800 less police than when I was there to protect the streets? Do they want more transit or do they want less transit? Do they want higher taxes or lower taxes?
Because we know you want higher taxes. You want big government. You want a dysfunctional government.
We’re going to reduce the size and cost of government. We’re going to save the taxpayers $25 million, and we’re going to get things going for once and for all with transit. We will get this city moving again.
To listen to or watch the exchange between Horwath and Ford, click on the following links –
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