UPDATE: On September 19, a stay of the Judge’s decision to strike down Bill 5 was granted by the Court of Appeals. This means that this fall’s election will happen under the 25-ward boundaries.
Doug Ford’s attack on our city has been relentless. He has shown he is committed to trampling on our city’s democracy, and on our fundamental rights. Together with so many across our city, we must continue to fight back.
Now more than ever, we need to ensure we protect our vision for our city - a city that is liveable, that is safe, and that is welcoming for everyone.
I am running for City Council in Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York - to stand up for our city and to represent you and our shared vision for a more liveable Toronto for all.
To say a lot has happened in the last 5 days would be an understatement.
On Monday, we received positive news that the legal challenge against Bill 5 - Doug Ford’s attempt to slash Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 wards - was successful. Judge Belobaba ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional and that the Province had “clearly crossed the line”. This victory was fought for by Torontonians who stood up against Ford and his undemocratic attack on our city. They fought on behalf of the 2.9 million residents who call our city home. We had won.
Following the judge’s ruling, Doug Ford took the unprecedented step of invoking the notwithstanding clause, for the first time in Ontario’s history, to overturn the Superior Court’s ruling quashing Bill 5. This move is chilling. Doug Ford has made it clear that he will abuse his power and use the notwithstanding clause whenever he fails to get what he wants.
Like so many, I am angry and disappointed. I will continue to fight back against this unprecedented attack on our city, and on our fundamental rights - and for the 47-ward scenario. Yesterday, I joined together with downtown candidates to stand firm against the unprecedented attacks on our city and our democracy.
While the legislation has yet to be passed at Queen’s Park, a final vote is expected next week. Should the legislation pass, we will be forced into a system with 25 Wards for this fall’s election.
Now more than ever, we need to ensure we protect our vision for our city - a city that is liveable, that is safe, and that is welcoming for everyone. I remain committed to running for City Council - to stand up for our city and to represent you and our shared vision for a more liveable Toronto for all.
Under the 25-ward City Council boundary system, each Ward will be aligned with Provincial and Federal riding boundaries. That means that our existing Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina) will become part of two wards: Ward 10 (Spadina-Fort York) and Ward 11 (University-Rosedale).
Over the last four years I have had the privilege of representing many of you in both of the new wards, as has my Council colleague and dear friend Mike Layton. After many conversations with friends and family, neighbours and residents' associations during this difficult time, I have decided to run for re-election in Ward 10 (Spadina-Fort York).
This has not been an easy decision. In fact, it has been among the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. And unfortunately, like so many others I have been forced to make a decision on where to run twice this year, choosing between communities that I have deep connections to.
At the end of the day, I could not abandon the revitalization of Alexandra Park (a world renowned project to build a truly liveable mixed income community in the heart of downtown) and our ongoing work to build a more liveable and sustainable downtown vertical community. From the ongoing revitalization of the waterfront to the King Street Pilot to Rail Deck Park, there are just too many important city-building projects at critical junctures. I'm committed to carrying on the work we started, together.
I also know that communities in the northern part of Ward 20 - communities with so much critical work underway - will be exceptionally-represented by Mike Layton, a strong and progressive voice and community-builder in our city.
In so many ways Doug Ford's attack on our City was directed at our downtown communities. It has resulted in so many courageous and strong candidates deciding not to run in if we are in a 25 Ward scenario. People like Ausma Malik – an exceptional individual who had planned to run in a new open seat in the 47-ward system. We need her continued leadership, and I continue to fight and work alongside Ausma in our community.
The truth is that Doug Ford's attack on City Council is meant to divide us, to undermine our local democracy to consolidate power in the hands of the few. This attack is targeted at our downtown communities, and at the very heart of our vision of what our city should be - a city that invests in its people, in our communities, and stands for inclusion. In downtown, we will not let Doug Ford divide us.
In the upcoming election will not be swayed. We will stand up for our City, and for everyone who lives here. We will work harder than ever before to build the city we all want. We will continue to build a city that is liveable, that is safe and that is welcoming - not just for some, but for everyone.