2018.09.11 Sometimes democracy has some real problems in it’s outcomes. Case in point, Doug Ford. This is a guy who ran for the position of Premier of Ontario. Ontario is the second largest province in Canada, and has roughly 40% of the total population of Canada. Ontario carries some weight so to speak. Then…. along comes Doug Ford. Part of his platform..?? Let’s reduce the minimum price that beer can be sold for in Ontario to 1 dollar plus deposit. Really? That’s part of his platform? That’s the most transparent and superficial thing I think I’ve heard of in a long time. It’s an obvious attempt to appeal to the guy who would otherwise not be all that likely to vote. It’s a way to expand the voting base. During the campaign a reporter asks him if he can explain how a bill gets passed and becomes law and he replies with
Then.. can you believe it? It worked! He got in. So now what does Ontario have?
Ontario has a Premier who within weeks of getting into office takes steps to cut the number of City Councillors in Toronto in half. Now have in mind that Doug’s extensive experience with city council, prior to being elected as Premier of the Province of Ontario was a grand total of one term in office. This is a guy with a pretty limited political background. It’s absolutely obvious that he has quite an axe to grind with the City Council for Toronto.
Doug Ford brings forward the legislation to make this reduction, and the Court tells him in no uncertain terms that the legislation is unconstitutional. His response.. he says he’s going to use the Notwithstanding Clause in the Charter. CBC gives a pretty nice explanation of the Notwithstanding Clause here. I’ve gone on about the Charter from time to time here. It’s a very important document that sets out the absolutely fundamental freedoms that we in Canada enjoy. Those rights are synonymous with what it is to be Canadian. The very idea of invoking the notwithstanding clause to override the fundamental rights of Canadians on an issue such as the size of the City Council of Toronto is astounding. The idea is reflective of a shocking pettiness, an immediate willingness to use the “nuclear option”, and a complete failure to understand the real meaning behind the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Disastrous Doug Ford is indeed a disaster and he’s only in the first months of office. His conduct perhaps puts him in commonality with President Donald Trump in that they have similar styles. Surely no one in Canada thinks that’s a good thing? Given his performance thus far I would hope that the next time around the polls even the beer drinkers of Ontario have the good sense to kick him beyond the curb and out to the street.
2018.09.12 Today I learn that Doug is complaining that the courts have usurped the function of the legislature. Doug still doesn’t get it. It’s not about the courts trying to usurp the legislature. It’s about a premier of a province only attempting to use the notwithstanding clause in the most compelling of public circumstances. Trying to pursue a tiff with the City of Toronto City Council is not a compelling public circumstance. The size of the city council is the business of the people of the City of Toronto and were the people of Toronto all that concerned they could bring that forward by way of a plebiscite or something similar.