Ford’s Bill Threatens to Cancel Regional Chair Election in Niagara – a Move at least some call an “Assault on our Democracy”
“Doug Ford is cancelling public hearings on his vindictive law that determines the scope of municipal elections already underway, cuts representation for Torontonians in half, and ends elections for voters who used to decide on their regional chairs.” – John Vanthof, Ontario NDP MPP. and Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies
News from Ontario’s New Democratic Party
Posted August 13th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Queen’s Park, Toronto – The NDP has successfully delayed Doug Ford’s draconian bill to slash the number of Toronto City Councillors in half and end regional chair elections already underway.
Fighting back on behalf of the people of Toronto, and the regions where Ford cancelled the election of regional chairs, New Democrat MPPs Gilles Bisson and John Vanthof moved amendments on Ford’s bill after the Ford government cancelled public consultations and cut off legislative debate on Ford’s election-meddling bill.
“We will continue fighting like hell to allow people to have their say in what happens to their local representation,” said Bisson, NDP House Leader who introduced one of two amendments this past Thursday, August 9th.
“We will do whatever we can to stop Doug Ford from silencing the voices of the people in the middle of an election.”
The NDP’s amendments to reinstate public hearings has delayed the passing of the election-rigging bill until next week when the government will vote on the last of the NDPs amendments.
“By delaying Ford’s ant-democratic bill, we want to give the people of Toronto, Peel, York, Niagara, and Muskoka, more time to join the fight against Doug Ford and his attempts to rip away their voices and their power from local decision making,” said Vanthof, who is the Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.
“Doug Ford is cancelling public hearings on his vindictive law that determines the scope of municipal elections already underway, cuts representation for Torontonians in half, and ends elections for voters who used to decide on their regional chairs. It’s an abuse of power and the NDP will keep fighting for the rights of all Ontarians to have their say.”
A Footnote from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper –
Up to Friday, July 27th, when Ontario’s ‘buck-a-beer’ premier Doug Ford circulated his sudden and shocking decision to cancel elections in Niagara and three other regions in the province for the position of regional chair, Niagara voters had – for the first time in almost five decades – a real race going on for that position. The current regional chair, Al Caslin, was facing at least two formidable challengers in former Welland mayor Damian Goulbourne and Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn.
Since then, Niagara’s three NDP MPPs, Jennie Stevens for St. Catharines, Wayne Gates for Niagara Falls, and Jeff Burch for Niagara Centre, along with numerous other local politicians and citizens across Niagara, have joined in condemning this 11th-hour, game-changing decision.
Then, on the very last day for candidates to register to run in this coming October 22nd municipal elections, Ford and his self-described “Government for the People” drop their announcement.
Dave Augustyn, for his part, was able to scramble before the final hour to re-register to run as a regional council candidate in Pelham – thus putting himself in a position, should he win , to put his name in the hat to be appointed by a newly elected council late this year to the regional chair position.
Caslin also managed to get his name in the running for a regional council seat in St. Catharines before the deadline.
Over the past few weeks, Karrie Porter, who is running for the first time for a seat on St. Catharines city council in St. Patrick’s Ward 4, launched a petition, calling on Ford to reverse his government’s decision. That petition, containing names from across the region, was recently delivered to the government by Niagara MPPs Jennie Stevens and Jeff Burch.
To read two of the recent Niagara At Large posts on this issue, click on – https://voiceofniagara.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=32848&action=edit .
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