June 17, 2024
Revisiting 2018's wildest roller-coaster — the fight over Toronto's election
The whole matter, brought forward by the City of Toronto against its parent government, has become theoretical
The whole matter, brought forward by the City of Toronto against its parent government, has become theoretical

On Thursday, the Ontario Court of Appeal brought everyone’s attention back to the case of Dynamite Doug and the Exploding Election. You may remember how, approximately a million years ago (actually just last summer—ed.), the Ontario legislature passed a bill reducing the number of wards in Toronto’s city government from 47 to 25. There was a city election technically already underway in Toronto, and the sudden change to the map was disruptive. Candidates found that their name recognition and campaigning in smaller wards might not get them elected in larger ones, or that they were facing new opponents. Many dropped out in despair.

And, this being Canada, some of them sued. There was an obvious problem for them: municipal governments are creatures of provincial law, and the provincial legislature was ostensibly within its own rights to change the map in a way that didn’t affect voter equality per se. One’s instinct in fighting a government is always to reach for the Charter of Rights, but the “democratic rights” part of the Charter does not include elected municipal governments. It does not, indeed, require that a city or town have elected government at all.

What to do? The trick, fellow laymen, was to argue that by changing the electoral map in the middle of the vote, the Ford government was infringing on the disappointed candidates’ free-expression rights under the Charter. To be sure, the province hadn’t prevented anyone from campaigning on or talking about city issues. It hadn’t destroyed or suppressed any campaign literature or any other kind of expression.

[…]

See Also:

(1) What has happened to my city? (Jack: Short answer…John Tory.)

Loading