Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling Premier Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause to force through his plan to shrink Toronto City Council a political misfire of epic proportions.
“Ford has launched a full frontal attack on democracy, and for what?” said President Thomas. “Does he really think the number of seats on Toronto City Council is our province’s most pressing issue? I don’t think the people would agree.
Thomas urged Conservative backbenchers to join opposition members to defeat legislation to slash Toronto council.
“Ontario’s political system isn’t supposed to be a dictatorship,” said Thomas. “Like Australian lawmakers who recently dumped their prime minister, you too can take back your party and your government.
“Many Ontarians are struggling,” added Thomas. “We’ve got bigger fish to fry than using something as serious as the notwithstanding clause to satisfy one of Ford’s bizarre personal revenge plots.”
Elected with only 40 per cent of popular support, OPSEU pointed to the fact that more Ontarians opposed Ford and his policies than supported him when they cast ballots on Election Day.
“Doug keeps spouting off about his election win,” said Thomas. “But I think our tin pot premier would be well-advised to step down from his soap box and stop making a complete mockery of our democracy.
“Nobody’s buying Ford’s bologna,” said Thomas. “He didn’t run on a platform to reduce Toronto City Council, he’s never consulted the public on it, and he doesn’t have the mandate to do it.”
Seen as highly controversial, the notwithstanding clause has never been used in Ontario, and has only been used a handful of times in Canadian history.
“The use of the notwithstanding clause comes with a heavy political cost,” said Thomas. “Ford’s been in power for three months, and at the first whiff of judicial opposition, he’s already playing his trump card. This power play reeks of desperation, and Ontarians are picking up the scent.
“There’s work to be done in rebuilding this province,” said Thomas. “We’ve already had enough with the gimmicks and rhetoric. Respect for the people means respect for democracy, not a Ford fuddle duddle.
“He must start focusing on the issues that people face, like access to quality public services.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931