Scheer says Ford's move to override judge's decision is 'within the law'

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney and his daughter Caroline arrives for the Spirit of Hope benefit in Toronto

Darren Calabrese CP Former prime minister Brian Mulroney and his daughter Caroline arrives for the Spirit of Hope benefit in Toronto

The premier said using the clause is necessary to ensure the will of elected politicians trumps the court ruling. The provincial government has appealed the ruling and reintroduced its changes this week in a new bill, compounding the chaos facing the clerk as she oversees preparation for the election.

"I firmly believe you don't make a bad law better by overriding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms", he said.

The new bill, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, says the nomination deadline for candidates seeking to run in the October 22 election would be set for two days after the legislation passes.

In a statement made public Thursday, the MPs implored Ontario legislators from all parties to defeat a bill tabled by Ford's Progressive Conservative government to cut the number of seats on council by nearly half.

Scheer refused to speculate about whether he would use the notwithstanding clause if he forms government.

Ford, a former city councillor and failed mayoral candidate, has said his plan will save $25 million and improve decision making on council.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said he still believes the city can head to the polls as scheduled.

"As Toronto MPs, we have worked hard to build a strong and effective relationship between our government and the city". He wouldn't say, however, if the province has a backup plan should Toronto's clerk find that the city can not be ready for the vote in time.

"While the NDP are playing procedural games to delay the passage of the Efficient Local Government Act, the PCs are willing to work around the clock through the weekend to speed up the passage of the bill", he said in the statement.

Bill 31 is a resurrected version of Bill 5 - set aside earlier this week by an Ontario Superior Court decision which ruled it violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Big City Mayors' Caucus at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities also threw its support behind Toronto on Thursday, criticizing Ford for his actions.

So we have a government that had the support of only 40 per cent of Ontario voters, deciding to ram through legislation without public consultation or supportive data, and who seem intent on thumbing their nose at the judicial oversight that is the foundation of our democratic system. New Democrats were later booted from the house as they attempted to drown out the reading of the bill.

Latest News