Tory says he intends to support the legal challenge of Ford's bill to scrap the board

Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto

Published Monday, August 20, 2018 06:47 AM EDT

Last updated on Monday, August 20, 2018 2:31 PM EDT

Mayor John Tory says he intends to take a legal challenge with provincial legislation that will nearly halve the number of city councilors.

At the town hall today there is a special meeting for aldermen to discuss possible legal options to combat the provincial legislation that reduces the number of council members from the planned 47 to only 25.

Aldermen assess a confidential report from the city attorney's office about possible legal challenges for the Better Local Government Act, which was submitted by Prime Minister Doug Ford's government and received royal approval last week.

In the run-up to the meeting, Tory said that the rapid introduction of legislation put many people in a "complex and unprecedented situation." has posted.

"The process by which this monumental change was implemented was wrong and unacceptable," Tory said.

In a statement released Monday, Tory said he plans to stand up for Torontonians and fight the bill.

"We take the representation of Toronto residents seriously," said Tory.

"We take the governance of this city seriously and, as a municipality, we must always recognize that we exist and work within the context of a Canadian Constitution, it is our duty to represent the residents of Toronto and the best interests of this country. city ​​at all times – and to make our position clear if we do not believe that the actions of other levels of government are in the interest of our city. "

The prime minister claims that reducing the size of the council will make the city run more efficiently, thus ending unnecessarily long debates at the city hall.

The province has also suggested that the move will save the city $ 25 million.

But opponents of the bill have accused that changing the rules during a local council election is undemocratic. Critics have also beaten Ford for taking the decision without formal public consultation.

NDP leader in Ontario Andrea Horwath accused Ford of using the bill earlier to settle political scores.

Ford defended the bill while speaking at the annual conference for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) in Ottawa on Monday.

"The feedback we receive from people taking this step was overwhelmingly positive," he said.

"My friends, I've been in politics for a long time, no matter what I've done in municipal politics or provincial politics, I have never had a more positive feedback than what we did in the city of Toronto."

Ford went on to say that he has no immediate plans to introduce similar legislation elsewhere in Ontario.

Keesmaat accuses Tory of & # 39; weak & # 39; to be

Mayoral candidate and former head city planner Jennifer Keesmaat used the meeting in the town hall as an opportunity to criticize Tory's response to the bill.

"It was a weak reaction from a weak mayor, it took a week before he wrote a letter, and it took him another month to say that we had to take on a legal challenge," Keesmaat said to CP24 on Monday. "We need someone to get up immediately with Torontonians, who works with Torontonians to strengthen their democracy."

Tory's campaign issued a statement in response to Keesmaat's comments and accused the candidate of "playing politics."

"Only Jennifer Keesmaat would use the important debate in the city council as an opportunity to attack mayor John Tory," the statement said.

"Mayor John Tory leads the city and the Council while Mrs. Keesmaat tries to play politics."

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