Scenes from Doug Ford's rowdy all night meeting to cut Toronto city council

Protesters gathered outside of Queen's Park as lawmakers debated the bill.

by Natalie Alcoba
Sep 17 2018, 1:13pm


With chants of "let us in" and "whose house?" ringing into the night air outside of the Ontario legislature, Doug Ford's conservative government completed a midnight meeting early Monday morning to debate a controversial bill that will cut the size of Toronto's city council by nearly half.

The government fulfilled the required six-and-a-half hours of debate for Bill 31, a repackaged piece of legislation previously known as Bill 5, which was struck down last week by a judge as unconstitutional.

Premier Doug Ford refused to accept that decision, invoking the notwithstanding clause for the first time in Ontario's history to ensure he can slash council from 47 elected representatives, to 25, just weeks before voters go to the polls.

During the debate, Ford said the overnight meeting showed elected representatives were willing to do what it takes to "fix a broken city hall" and save money in the process. Opposition leader Andrea Horwath, with the NDP, called him a bully and said "these are the actions we would expect from a dictator."

Protesters gathered outside to express their outrage over the process, carrying placards and chanting.

"Continue to make some noise, they need to know that you're out here," Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam urged the crowd.

If it passes its second and third reading, the bill is poised to receive royal assent by Thursday, two days before the city's deadline for registering as a municipal candidate.

Here are scenes from the night.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford holds press conference before going into the meeting to debate Bill 31.
Andrea Horwath, leader of NDP, speaks to protesters and reporters outside of Queen's Park during the meeting.

All images by Chris Young/The Canadian Press.

doug ford
Toronto city council
notwithstanding clause