Published on Tuesday, 19th Feb, 2019 at 7:33am
Ford said on September 10th that he will invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution to force through Bill 5– The Better Local Government Act, 2018, which reduces the number of wards – and City Councillors – from 47 to 25. Earlier that same day an Ontario Superior Court Justice ruled that Bill 5 violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In his decision, Justice Edward Belobaba said that, by passing the legislation in the middle of an election, the Ontario government had “substantially interfered with both the candidate’s and the voter’s right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
The escalating battle between the province and city has meant that the electoral map of the Beach has changed three times so far this year. Known as Ward 32 Beaches-East York since 2003, the ward boundaries were changed in November 2016 when Toronto City Council voted 28-to-13 to increase the number of wards in the city from 44 to 47. The decision came following a two-year study which determined that population growth had led to unequal representation. The City was concerned that the value of a resident’s vote may not be equal across all wards if the trend continued.
The move meant that Ward 32 became Ward 37, also Beaches-East York. The geographic boundary remained largely unchanged, except for the loss of a small area west of Coxwell Ave., north of Queen Street East. The population of the new ward dropped to 54,020, from 59,165 under the old system.
With Ford’s stunning announcement it’s a pretty sure bet that when Beachers head to the polls on Election Day, it will be to vote in Ward 19 Beaches-East York. The new Ward 19 effectively combines Ward 37 with most of Ward 35 to create a super-ward, one that aligns with Provincial and Federal riding boundaries. The change roughly doubles the population of the ward, from 54,020 to 107,084.
These machinations have meant chaos and confusion for both candidates and voters. Candidates who were legally registered to run under the 47-ward system faced a stark choice under the new regime: re-register under the new 25-ward system, or possibly be shut out of the election. That outcome now seems unlikely, as Ford’s new Bill 31 - The Efficient Local Government Act, provides a two-day window for candidates to register once the new bill becomes law.
Many of the candidates who had previously registered to run in Ward 37 did not re-register in Ward 19, as at least some of them chose to wait it out in anticipation of the decision being overturned. Only four of the eleven City Council candidates who were registered to run in Ward 37 are registered to run in Ward 19 as of September 16th. They are joined by a host of new candidates who were originally registered to run in the adjoining Ward 35, which would be part of Ward 19 under the new 25-ward system.
Ten candidates are currently registered to run in Ward 19 Beaches-East York, listed alphabetically in the table below:
|Brad Bradford||bradbradford.ca||Urban Planner with the City of Toronto, Bradford has a Masters Degree in urban planning from the University of Waterloo. Endorsed by former Chief Planner and Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat.|
|David Del Grande||daviddelgrande.ca||Originally registered in Ward 35 (north of Danforth) and now running in the expanded Ward 19, Del Grande serves on the board of the Community Advisory Council at the Michael Garron Hospital (formerly TEGH)|
|Brenda MacDonald||brendamacdonaldward19||Originally registered in Ward 35, MacDonald is a music educator and singer who advocates term limits and no-party affiliation for Councillors.|
|Joshua Makuch||votejosh.ca||Beach resident Josh Makuch is Canadian Armed Forces veteran and Management Consultant with an MBA from Ryerson. Makuch's priorities include community safety, local economic development, and reopening the debate about bike lanes on Woodbine Ave.|
|Valérie Maltais||vmaltais.com||Maltais has a BS in Environmental earth sciences and volunteers with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. She advocates term limits for Councillors.|
|Frank Marra||Mystery candidate Frank Marra has no active campaign that we can discern, and provided no contact information on his registration.|
|Paul Murton||toronto.paulmurton.com||Originally registered in Ward 35, Paul Murton is a photographer and fringe candidate, whose largely incomprehensible platform seems to focus on corruption, tax reform - and trying to sell you stuff.|
|Morley Rosenberg||morleyrosenberg.com||Originally registered in Ward 35, former Kitchener Mayor Morley Rosenberg is a lawyer with an impressive list of credentials. At 81, Rosenberg is by far the oldest candidate, but certainly one of the most experienced in municipal politics.|
|Adam Smith||adamsmith.to||Beach resident, community activist and perennial volunteer Adam Smith was a board member of the Beach Village BIA for six years. Smith, who has been Chairman of the Ward 32 Transportation Committee for eight years, is heavily involved in local transportation, sustainability, and social service initiatives.|
|Veronica Stephen||voteveronica.ca||Long time City of Toronto employee Veronica Stephen’s platform centers on increasing community policing, reducing government waste, and enhancing infrastructure.|
Candidates who were registered to run in Ward 37:
|Andrew Balodis||Facebook page||Andrew Balodis is an independent candidate who espouses a Pay It Forward platform that emphasizes making service delivery more fair and efficient, allowing individuals and families to channel how the taxes they pay are used.|
|Brent Bittner||We were unable to find a website or other information for this candidate.|
|Brad Bradford||bradbradford.ca||See Ward 19|
|Paul Bura||paulbura.ca||Paul Bura is a Beaches resident and long-time Federal civil servant. Bura’s platform centers on ensuring safe streets and a fluid transportation system, promoting local economic development, and improving aging infrastructure while maintaining the character of the Beach.|
|Jon Game||We were unable to find a website or other information for this candidate.|
|Matthew Kellway||matthewkellway.ca||Probably the best-known candidate in the field, Kellway was the NDP MP for Beaches-East York from 2011 until 2015. Noted for his involvement with the Out of the Cold program at St. Aidan’s Church, Kellway is a long-time climate change activist who also served as the first-ever urban affairs critic for the NDP.|
|Joshua Makuch||votejosh.ca||See Ward 19|
|Valérie Maltais||vmaltais.com||See Ward 19|
|Darlene Mitrovica||Twitter page||Darlene Mitrovica’s is a life-long union activist. Her platform includes ending the IATSE Local 58 lockout, support for workers and unions, and updating aging infrastructure in the City.|
|Adam Smith||adamsmith.to||See Ward 19|
|Kathryn Sussman||votekathrynsussman.ca||Kathryn Sussman is a passionate animal rights activist with a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Sussman’s platform includes community safety and mental health reform, local economic development, and affordable housing.|
Over the coming weeks Beachify will be running in-depth profiles of each of the candidates, so stay tuned.
All of this is predicated on the assumption that the election will go ahead as planned on October 22 under the 25-ward system, which is by no means a certainty. In an emergency session at City Hall on Thursday, Toronto city clerk Ulli Watkiss said that ensuring a fair election on October 22 was becoming "virtually impossible". Watkiss added that she has retained her own independent legal counsel to explore the options and ramifications of delaying the election.
Councillors subsequently voted 29-to-7 in favour of directing City lawyers to challenge the province's reintroduction of the legislation, and Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause. The City also asked the federal government to invalidate the bill.
While a provision of the Constitution technically allows the federal government to override provincial legislation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that "I don't think that is a role that the federal government needs to take on." Trudeau has repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the City to get the federal government to intercede.
"I'm not going to weigh in on the actual debate over the size of the municipal governments in Ontario, in Toronto," Trudeau said.
In any event, given the turmoil and controversy surrounding the election, it’s unlikely that the results of the vote will go uncontested. Expect to see court challenges and legal wrangling over the fairness of the election drag on long after voting day.
We will keep you updated as the drama unfolds.