Queens Park working overtime

Governing PC's trying to speed up debate and passage on Bill 31 ahead of October 22nd election

Queen’s Park will be burning the midnight oil on Bill 31.

Government House Leader Todd Smith says the Progressive Conservatives will ask the lieutenant-governor to reconvene the house at 12:01 a.m. Monday to continue to expedite passage of the bill.

The move comes after the government attempts to pass the legislation with unanimous consent failed Saturday.

Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Bill 31, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, that will cut the size of Toronto’s city council. The bill re-introduces legislation that was struck down by an Ontario Superior Court judge, who said it violated the charter rights of candidates and voters in Toronto’s upcoming election. The new legislation will invoke the notwithstanding clause to overrule the court decision.

Three architects of that clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms condemned the Ontario government’s use of the rare provision.

“We condemn his actions and call on those in his cabinet and caucus to stand up to him. History will judge them by their silence.”

Former prime minister Jean Chretien, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry say the clause was meant to be used only in exceptional circumstances, and not as a means to circumvent proper processes.