Doug Ford “seeking revenge on a handful of his former municipal opponents” MPP Michael Mantha


As a northern MPP I freely admit to readers that my northern NDP colleagues and I have a natural tendency when in Queen’s Park to primarily focus upon how matters affect the people living in northern regions of this province. Of course we care deeply about what is going on all across the province as we are all dedicated to the welfare of all Ontarians. However, in recent days the flurry of events revolving around the changes to the Toronto electoral system has garnered the attention of all Ontarians far and wide. I can’t help but think, if Doug Ford is confident enough to take on the strongest, largest city in the nation, what has he got in store for the rest of us – especially in the North? I know that weeks ago I said everyone better buckle-up for a wild ride, but I certainly didn’t foresee a hairpin curve such as violating our Charter of Rights on the horizon.

There is no need to rehash the entire scenario here. But let’s be very clear. No matter how much he denies it, Ford’s resolve to reduce the number of councillors in Toronto City Hall is entirely based upon seeking revenge on a handful of his former municipal opponents. This became evident this week when things got heated in the Legislature when Ford was challenged by Andrea Horwath during Question Period. Doug Ford made no attempt to disguise his motives. He responded to her question saying, “The leader of the NDP is here to protect her crony buddies: Mike Layton, Joe Cressy, Gord Perks,” referring to left-leaning Toronto councillors – right off the tip of his tongue.

When Judge Belobaba’s handed down his ruling on Bill 5, to put it mildly, Doug Ford had the “China Syndrome” of meltdowns. In the blink of an eye he vowed to invoke section 33, the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s called the Notwithstanding Clause because it permits a government to pass a law that can operate, notwithstanding certain provisions in the Charter. As a result, no one is able to challenge the law on the basis that it violates the Charter. In short, Doug Ford is willfully suspending the Charter of Rights of Ontario people in order to plow ahead with his revenge plot against his political enemies at Toronto City Hall.

When questioned why he believed he has the right to act contrary to the decision of our justice system, Ford said, “I was elected. The judge was appointed. He was appointed by one person, (former Liberal Premier) Dalton McGuinty.” In other words Ford believes that the knowledge and designs of a rookie premier with no provincial experience of any kind, outweighs the worth of a respected judge with years of experience, education and impeccable character conducive to dispensing blind justice.

What’s worse, Ford has openly stated that he will not hesitate to use the “tool” as needed in implementing any future Conservative changes in this province. Bill Davis, the highly respected former Ontario Premier, emphatically stated, “That it might now be used regularly to assert the dominance of any government or elected politician over the rule of law or the legitimate jurisdiction of our courts of law was never anticipated or agreed to.”

After serving almost 7 years as an MPP, it was extremely disturbing to watch
Assembly security guards as they handcuffed and removed moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas from the public gallery who were there to make their displeasure known to the Premier. So much for being Ontario’s first ever “Government for the People.”

Speaking to protestors outside the Legislature, Andrea said, “In the most paternalistic and insulting way possible, Doug Ford has interfered in municipal and regional elections.   Without any consultation and ignoring the wishes of democratically elected municipal leaders he is ripping up ward boundaries, and cancelling elections in the middle of the campaign. This is an assault on local democracy, and shows a fundamental lack of respect for municipal governments and local decision-making.”

The Ontario NDP Caucus. photo courtesy Michael Mantha MPP

Andrea Horwath and the NDP have been clear that we won’t stand idly by while Doug Ford attempts to revoke people’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ford’s rights-revoking bill is an attempt to over-ride the court decision which concluded that a bill to rig Toronto’s municipal elections violates those rights due to its ill-timed passage.

Without question or debate, it is the duty of every elected official to act in the best interests and for the good for all the people he or she represents. We are elected to serve the all people in Ontario. We are not there for personal gain or to use any influence to undermine or diminish others. My staff and I pride ourselves in helping people to overcome government hurdles they may face. We work to make life better for the people of Algoma-Manitoulin.

As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at [email protected] or by phone at 705-461-9710 or Toll free 1-800-831-1899.

Michael Mantha MPP/député  Algoma-Manitoulin



    I voted for Ford, but, like others, I’m having difficulty justifying his rationale for using this clause. There are no obvious fundamental freedoms of expression being violated that a notwithstanding clause is required to mitigate. I think the judge is correct, although I find his legal explanation a bit awkward (and no, I’m no lawyer).

    The above article is short and interesting, and like often, the BBC is where I find things not reported on liberally at home, such as Amnesty Canada being upset with Ford.

    As to the Premier’s motives, I am no clairvoyant, but I can see where his motives can be legitimately questioned. It is too close to an election *not* to appear as though there is a personal score to settle, or that there is questionably a veiled gerrymandering scheme of sorts in play; I can’t read minds, but I see where people are suspicious. I don’t think changing Toronto’s election rules this year is going to save much money; I worry that legal fees will compound from rounds of argument. Ford could have tabled this post election for future Toronto elections, both to save money, with less public upheaval, with no need for a notwithstanding clause.
    As to the argument that judges are *appointed* and a premier is *elected”: that’s all well and good, but a Premier still has to play by the rules, and that includes using the notwithstanding clause *as allowed* by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; if he doesn’t stay within that box, a judge has the right and the obligation really, if tasked, to rule on Ford’s actions as being appropriate or not. The courts are the only safeguard of our charter, to keep elected officials from running amok. Sorry to be such a windbag :>).

  2. Government of the people, by the people and for the people.
    Yikes! We just can’t have that now can we?
    Get a grip people, the winds of democracy are blowing.

  3. At least Doug is creating change that so many wanted. People are tired of politicians doing nothing, speaking double talk and having childish temper tantrums in front of the camera at Queens Park. Many Northern MPPs do very little for their constituents besides showing up for parades,BBQs or for the mighty photo ops. If the North is to survive we need to start voting for candidates who can deliver change like Doug Ford’s government is doing

      • Like Hitler what a stupid uninformed moronic comment. I see follow the other lemmings is strong with you. Watched a bunch of other lemmings on CTV today including Katie Wynne. Bloated wind bags everyone of them. Ya had power for 15 years, and you all managed to FUBAR Ontario but good and yet you still believe it is okay.
        Good for Ford.
        Hope to see him use it again and again and again. Get Ontario back for the people.

    • Margaret Rafter took away your charter rights, hows that? Because he’s exercising his own. Notwithstanding law was put into place for cases of which he was put in, where the corrupt judge didn’t agree with what he wanted, but. The judge wasn’t elected by the people, our premier was… in fact I’m pretty sure the judges are elected by the government, in which the judge answers to the government which the government answers to the people. The people want government cut backs. Think of government like business, when your in debt or your business isn’t doing well, what do you do.. you make cut backs, go back to the basics… ford is doing the right thing. Stop believing in news propaganda!

    • Mike Premo ummmmm, before you go spouting off, you might want to take some basic civics lessons. Judges are appointed, judges do NOT answer to the government. Invoking the notwithstanding clause in Ontario for the first time since there has been a notwithstanding clause for THIS is asinine and petty….and cowardly…he’s too chicken-shit to appeal the ruling. Once a thug, always a thug. People may want government cutbacks but SMART people want sensible, well-thought-out and well-researched actions…not knee-jerk retaliation by a pissed-off vengeful doughboy. His kind of action will wind up costing more money and bring more problems than it solves.

      • Come on Karen he is an elected official who made some rule changes and just like the US the libs and dems are revolting. When an elected official makes changes they should not be challenged until the new elected official is ELECTED

    • Margaret Rafter Ford didn’t take away your charter rights, the Provincial government can set the number of city councilors across the province. The Judge made a poor ruling and his decision would have been overturned on appeal, how this would cost both the GTA and provincial taxpayers more money in legal fees. The truth is this is a fight about political fat cats who want to remain in power and get nothing accomplished. Doug is fixing this mess and using the tools available to him both Quebec and Saskatchewan has used this clause in the past.

    • Myles Clayton The judge ruled that coming out with the bill on the deadline day for nominations infringed on peoples rights ro fair representation, and for the candidates freedom of speech. Had he came out and said it would impact the next election the judge would not have ruled against it. Also Doug never campaigned on this issue but has declared he is doing the will of the people. Doug and his brother were both on council and not once did they mention reducing the size of council. Also on the day that he used the clause he stood up in the legislature and started listing names of councilors who were against him, basically just proving that this is just spite driven. Also, the size of TO council and the city budget has exactly zero impact on the provincial budget, which he was actually elected to get under control.

    • Mark Fluter but the costs of the lawyers on both sides are paid by the tax payers. Many legal experts agreed with Doug Ford and believe the Judge unwisely tried to involve freedom of speech into the battle which wasn’t an issue. Most people from the polls I see support this and the cost savings it will bring.

    • Myles Clayton Yes many experts agreed with Doug and many also agreed with the judge, which is not unusual in cases like this. Which is why there is an appeals process. Doug new this would be challenged but went ahead anyways, and any ‘cost savings’ have probably already been spent on the lawyers. I don’t really care that he is reducing the TO council (Thou I believe that should be a decision made by the people of TO and not the Premier), its the timing of the bill which throws the municipal election into diss aray, and the fact that he never campaigned on this but claims he is doing the will of the people

    • Mike Premo DoFo may be doing the right thing for the wrong reasons OR the wrong thing for the right reasons-regardless his agenda is desperate and vindictive and flies in the face of our rights -his rights in the Charter are the same as mine and yours BUT he is using his position to make my rights lesser-taking “power” that he wrongly perceives he has like a dictator. Government should be for the people not against them-how is the reduction of representation without due process not against the people? DoFo’s political cohorts should be ashamed of themselves for not standing up to this zealot!

    • Margaret Rafter What, like the liberals shoving their illegal immigration and carbon tax agendas down our throats… at least he’s attempting to do good for ontarians, rather then burry us in the ground in debt.
      It has zero to do wit a dictatorship, it’s his right to use the notwithstanding law. It was put in place for the reasons of the judge blocking him… he is right whether anyone thinks he isn’t. Toronto doesn’t need a council as large as it does!

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