Looks like Toronto's municipal battle is heading back to court. With Ontario Premier Doug Ford imposing the all-powerful "notwithstanding" clause to slash the city council in half, councilors voted 26-10 Thursday to fight back by all legal means, the Toronto Star reports. The decision came after Toronto's city clerk said the city had reached a "tipping point" in which it was "virtually impossible" to have a fair election by Oct. 22: "Every hour that goes by, every day that goes by creates greater uncertainty and raises in me a huge concern over the proper conduct of this election," she said at the emergency Thursday meeting, per CP24. Meanwhile, the provincial bill to cut Toronto's council passed its first reading this week amid protests and arrests at Queen's Park, per the Star.
At issue is Ford's use of the "notwithstanding" clause to override a court ruling against his proposed council cut; the judge deemed it a violation of free speech because it was enacted right before the municipal election. As the BBC explains, the clause allows Ontario to override "fundamental freedoms" of association, expression, and religion, and deny people the right to life, liberty, and personal security. Critics say that Ford—dubbed "Canada's Donald Trump" for his aggressive political conservatism—is misusing a clause intended only for emergencies, per the Globe & Mail. Others accuse Ford of gerrymandering the council to be more conservative, per PressProgress. Ford maintains that his election victory gives him the mandate to reduce Toronto's council by any possible means. Both sides are expected before an appeals court on Tuesday. (More Toronto stories.)