An Update On The Toronto Election: A City Council With 25 Wards – For Now

Toronto election

The Toronto election will go ahead with a 25-ward council, a court ruling Wednesday determined.

A three-judge panel granted a stay, pausing the court proceedings launched by opponents to the provincial government’s move to slash city council almost in half, the Toronto Star reports.

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government sprung the cut on unsuspecting voters back in July.

Last week a judge had found the move to reduce council t0 25 from 47 wards in the midst of the election was unconstitutional. The province said it would appeal that decision, but it also asked the court proceedings be put on hold in the form of a stay.

The Ford government is hailing the decision as a victory.

“I’m very grateful for the court’s decision,” Ford told reporters while on a trip to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, according to CBC News.

READ: How Doug Ford Exploits Ontario’s Growing Urban/Suburban Divide

Meantime Mayor John Tory has welcomed the “certainty” the decision brings, but also vowed to continue to fight the cut.

“There are real issues that people want City Council and Queen’s Park to deal with. That’s what we should all be focused on,” Tory wrote on Twitter.

Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat also called for the court challenges to proceed in the name of protecting the city from “the province’s overreach into our local democracy,” she wrote on Twitter.

The stay has negated the need to pass Bill 31, the legislation that saw a rare all-night sitting of the legislature on Monday at Queen’s Park, which included the use of the notwithstanding clause, officials confirmed to the Star.

READ: Jennifer Keesmaat’s Plan: Affordable Housing, Possible Property Tax Hike [EXCLUSIVE]

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government’s move “falls into the camp of, ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should.'”

While PC MPPs applauded the decision.

City council candidate Rocco Achampong, who is a member of the Ontario PC party, according to Global News, and was one of the people who opposed the cuts in court, says the results of the Toronto election may be cast into doubt given the turmoil.

“Do I think it’s fair? I have 32 days to campaign in an election season that started on May 1,” he told CBC News.

Torontonians go to the polls Oct. 22.

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