Whose Democracy Is This Anyway?



in the unprecedented dispute over reducing the size of the City Council in Ontario's capital city the premier and his various opponents all claimed that they are standing up for democracy and the democratic rights of Ontarians premier Doug Ford claims to be doing this quote for the people an array of opponents claims to be standing up for the rule of law is this really a fight about opposing versions of democracy let's ask Murray boot rioni she is former minister responsible for democratic renewal now Dean of the Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University Karen stints former Toronto city councilor Past Chair of the TTC candidate for mayor of Toronto in 2014 Deb Hutton former senior adviser to premiers Mike Harris and Ernie eves now a columnist at QP briefing Trisha wood professor of geography at York University and transportation columnist at spacing magazine mark 2e radio host on Newstalk 1010 one time chief of staff to the current premiers brother former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Andrew Coyne columnist at the National Post and all-around good guy and we are delighted to welcome everybody to t vo tonight for a good long meaty conversation about frankly quite an extraordinary time in the history of our province how extraordinary mr. director you want to roll these pictures from the wee small hours of the morning yes here they were in the middle of the night at Queen's Park protesting the fact that the galleries were cleared people were inside then they were outside some on the outside wanted to get in there they aren't trying to bang down the fences and get inside it has been a most unusual a most extraordinary I'll use the word again last couple of weeks in politics and I just want to start frankly with some general reaction to where we are right now you usually get the first word when you do the end so why don't we keep that tradition alive the last word but that's going what do you make of where we're at right now it's crazy it's completely unnecessary it's an invented crisis it's based upon a whole series of statements that are taken as Dogma by the faithful lining up behind for but have no actual factual basis to them that Toronto City Council is dysfunctional or any more so than any other elected body that it the job of the province to fix it if it were rather than the voters at the next election that this is going to fix it or that it had if it was a fix that it has to be done right now this week this minute it's all of it bogus and on top of all of that when he couldn't get his way he starts invoking the notwithstanding Clause to push through legislation that it otherwise been found unconstitutional it's it's a it's a mess more on that clause as we go on Deb Hutton where are you on this just a little I suspect so we have a government elected just a few months ago to bring in some fiscal sanity to the province which I think includes the municipalities as creatures of the province they moved forward with legislation that was legitimately challenged and they are responding legitimately and saying in this case we believe the legislature has the right to make a decision about how big Toronto City Council will be so the institutions are responding and performing as planned it's a temporary measure as we all know in the Charter of Rights that governments have the ability to use Kerr instance where are you well at this point I think you know I'm more pragmatic it's it's all happened and if we're gonna actually have an election on October 22nd then the government needed to use the notwithstanding Clause because there is no way that an election could have taken place unless there was some certainty about the number of wards and so you know I think Deb is right I take a step back I don't actually think it needed to be done right now certainly the government didn't campaign on it I don't think we're gonna see a nickel that saved by it but the reality is he was well within his rights to do it a little bit of consultation may have been nice but it wasn't there and you know the court made a decision and and the government reacted and if we're gonna actually say if we are gonna have an election to municipal election this is the only way it's gonna happen at Richwood I think I'm a little closer to Andrew I think it's reckless from top to bottom it demonstrates a lack of commitment to respecting deliberative democracy in terms of City Council and then on towards the Democratic conventions of the use of the notwithstanding clause and it's also for absolutely no good reason and the government couldn't even bring a reason when they were challenged to court so to do something so reckless it opens up so many crises for no reason except that I guess the province is still afraid of the City of Toronto is not not a good path for a democracy mark ii ii well for something to be reckless there has to be some great peril and there is no peril here I mean this is something that the government has decided to do I will I will grant you that they never campaigned on this and it was a surprise and I think some people are not that happy with it even supporters of the fort's but I think it's something that needed to be done and quite frankly as much as it wasn't done in a very efficient or effective way it's probably the only way you could do it you can't do it after the election when I was because then the council even even the lefties on council have have told me that they'd be fighting at each other's throats for four years to try to jockey for position so you can't do that you can't wait till the end of a four-year mandate because they won't be able to get anything through Queens Park at the end of their mandate it has to be done now the City Council will never agree with it it's like ripping off a band-aid you just got to do it and that's assuming that you like the idea I do reducing the size of council is important it will make it more functional but it's not the only thing that should be done and and it may not be the first thing that needed to be done but there you know something has to be done because it doesn't work down there we we have had all of the advisors now advised and we leave it to the ministers the former minister to hear all that advice and render her verdict well I think I can take from each side of the table yes he the premier had every right to do what he did but I'll take it from a different practical perspective as someone like you Karen who have run for politics it's a big decision to run and you plan your life around it you may quit your job you you get support you start raising money to be told in the middle of a campaign that that seat doesn't exist anymore and you if you want to run you'll have to run over there where you don't have a chance or you you never planned for it that's just completely unfair the second thing I would disagree with mark I think they could have done it after the this election and they wouldn't have had any legal challenges really and they would have gotten it through and it would have been more democratic and the notwithstanding Clause was not meant to be a convenient thing for someone to push their agenda through it was meant as a clause that would be thought about consulted on and used very very rarely I don't think this fits that criteria and others more experienced than me in these Affairs like those that wrote the Constitution and the the Charter would say the same thing the only what sorry go ahead mark the only people this is unfair to are the politicians and absolutely zero Ontarians outside the political bubble give a damn about whether politicians are in convenient storage sorry that's not true it's unfair to voters as well there are lots of voters who are now complaining to their counselors and to the City Clerk's office that they don't know what Ward they're gonna be in and they don't know you know which candidates they should be paying attention of voters don't know what word they're in now and they never did they show up at the polling station they pick a name off a list they never think so what's the interest in alienating those who are paying attention in voting I don't think the aim was I'm actually campaigning for a couple candidates and going door-to-door and the response is pretty much well you know I think it should be a 25 council like that is generally the response 25 seats 25 seats it should be 25 person council because council doesn't get much done and they don't really see the issue there there is a legitimate concern about the notwithstanding Clause how is used and the statement of I did it this time and I will do it again so that's the concern is what okay whether I think by and large I agree it's 25 whether you should have done it that way I don't really know but the fact that you'd use the notwithstanding Clause now on a true honor I would call relatively trivial provincial issue but when does it become serious let me pick up on that with you Deb Hutton because it was from what I have heard it was one thing for the premier to say I will use the notwithstanding Clause as I'm allowed to to resolve this to my satisfaction you know I have heard it fed back to me that people have said it's another thing to say I'm gonna use it willy-nilly whenever I want to get my way all the time do you see a distinction between the two I to be fair to the premier I I do see a distinction between the two that being said they have been in power for three four months three months I think and look at how many lawsuits have already been launched now those on the other side will say that's because the government is ins with is who they are I would argue as a conservative this is what we were going to face because he is a conservative any because he is going to make changes to the status quo so what choice do you have went out of the gate all your opponents use the courts automatically to oppose what the legislature I believe has the right to do let me give a bit of a checklist to you brother coin on who's standing with whom we see on the one hand former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney whose daughter happens to be the Attorney General of Ontario right now saying I never would have used the notwithstanding Clause I never imagined any circumstances where I could have used it it was unthinkable for me to use you have Bill Davis who was one of the architects of the thing back in 1981 on the same side Sean Christian Roy Roman Oh Roy McMurtry Peter MacKay they are all on the side of this ought not to be happening there are others we've seen actually I think last week Christie Clark the former BC premier Shaw array the former Premier of Quebec one more Brad Wall from Saskatchewan say yep it's okay he can use it it's well within his rights to do so do any of those big players sway you one way or another well it's not entirely surprising to hear that premiers would like to be able to be to be exempted from the Charter that's what people in government like to do they don't they want like to be made easier for governments they don't want to have the tiresome business of having to defend their laws in court bill Davis being a notable exception that's right but what I would say is that for a lot of these people it's a little late in the game to be suddenly saying oh we never intended the notwithstanding clause to be used this way there's a lot of separate issues here but they all kind of join there's what we think about the notwithstanding Clause in general and I'm opposed to it in general for reasons we can get into there's this particular use of it on this case which a lot of people would say is ridiculous it's just because you didn't get your way in one court case when you could have just appealed the case if you didn't like the ruling which is what normal law-abiding governments do and then there's this this threat that he's gonna use it again again again and in fact that other premier is looking at this made follow his example this will set precedents that will normalize the use of notwithstanding Clause if you put all those together it is if you leave a loaded gun lying around somebody's gonna pick it up and shoot it so when they put this clause in the Constitution maybe in their own minds it was only ever going to be used by high-minded salons who are just going to use it for the most extreme examples in extraordinary circumstances but real flesh-and-blood politicians in the real world are going to use it for different purposes if you look at the way the notwithstanding Clause has been used the government of Alberta for example used to exempt themselves from lawsuits from mentally handicapped people who'd been forcibly sterilized in the 40s what a high and shining ideal was upheld there or they tried to use it to exempt themselves from them from the same sex marriage when until they were informed that's not actually provincial jurisdiction so the real world of where it's actually used is not this you know it's only gonna be using the extraordinary circumstances and the people who put it in the Constitution in the first place should look at themselves in the mirror Karen stands but to your point though in the real world it's not it has a time limit it's a five year clause so it's not like it's in perpetuity and it does reflect the will of the population and that's why I was put in there with a five year so then if the public doesn't like what the government's doing and invoke me the notwithstanding Clause the public can vote the government out a new government in along the way so if you're bringing a law that beats up on an unpopular minority for example in Quebec then yeah you can go back to the majority and ask them again hey how did you feel about us beating up on an unpopular minority chances are they may be okay with it it's not actually that much of a check-and-balance it seems to me it's something i grant you it's something but the whole premise of the thing was that this was somehow necessary that we couldn't just actually live up to the Charter of Rights that we just finished passing because that would be inconvenient I think is it's typically Canadian to face in this frankly it's not the actual compromise that it's tell with me it's compromises section one the cotton lies is the reasonable limits clause we don't need an unreasonable limits clause on top of it go ahead I would also question the motivation behind it is it really for efficiency or is this a payback for how the late Rob Ford was you know seems very petty as speaking as a psychologist III do think he it's revenge and it was not on the campaign platform if it was on the campaign platform fair enough and to say oh we were going to make government more you know more if efficient and that and therefore that translates into what we're doing now that's so bogus you didn't like this not a psychologist and I'm not a professor but I don't think and and both Karen and Mark can speak to this better than me but I don't think Toronto City Council has been functioning well I think there is a lot of heavy lifting that needs to be done over the next four years that will involve the province and quite frankly I find it petty to say that this is somehow a vindictive act as opposed to smaller government for many of us works more effective that is out there though you've got to acknowledge it's out there there's an opponents to this very but it's a it's out there in mark oh I'll put this to you since you were there when Doug Ford was at City Hall the suggestion is that Doug Ford's experience as a Toronto city councilor on one term was so appalling ly awful for him that he couldn't wait to get his revenge and now he's seeking it would you say there's absolutely nothing to that view I think any pleasure that he takes that is vengeful is as a bonus I think what Doug learned working on council is that council doesn't work right and it doesn't and it's not about the people on council it's not it's it's about the structure of council it's about the fact that it's there they're all equal that in the midst of a debate on subways someone can stand up and move a motion to ban plastic bags and the whole council gets sidetracked down a rabbit hole that shouldn't be possible they have a committee structure that doesn't do anything because you can vote one way at committee and then vote the opposite way at Council everything is relitigated again at Council why have a committee structure then how does an Executive Committee have any executive change if you just reduce the number of council well it does it needs to be more than more than just that but what reducing the number of councillors does is it reduces the amount of time it takes to do nothing you can do nothing much more efficient because at three minutes to ask questions per member and five minutes to speak per member eight minutes times forty seven minutes on every issue of about forty that are debated during an average council session there's over a hundred usually but a lot of them are adopted on consent it makes for ridiculous meetings no one even pays attention anything that happens after eight o'clock is is is absolutely nuts yeah so it doesn't if the structure needs to trician want to make appointment there's no evidence that smaller councils work more effectively you can't just measure it in terms of time it's not like Toronto City Council is meeting every day on how much research have you done on that how many councils have you measured and what metrics did you use to determine this so the City of Brampton also has reversed its transit decisions in the same chaotic way they have ten council members the city of Sarnia has eight and they still had a toxic mayor situation where you've done no research your anecdotes equal – olfaction yeah it's anecdotal no it's not well it's a fact it's a fact that the marijuana Don LRT and Brampton to go a certain way and the council voted against her I mean these are all I mean these are the kinds of issues that have been raised as demonstrations of Toronto's ineffectiveness as a council and I'm telling you that there are smaller councils in this province that have struggled and fallen apart and the same divisiveness with eight and ten councillors you can shrink it to 25 but but there's no evidence that that's gonna make it more effective or less dysfunctional I would also dispute that it's dysfunctional in the first place I mean yes there are political divisions on City Council but it doesn't prevent them from making decisions and the decisions don't always go the same way let's go Karen a minute well I mean I will agree with you that I don't think there's any evidence to suggest that council was dysfunctional it operates the way it's intended to as a body with no parties it's a canary single vote as a consensus based vote and arguably at a time of real crisis in our city when we didn't hatch they have a functioning there at the helm council continued to govern and the city continued to function so I don't think there's any evidence that council is dysfunctional what I what I do think is that up to your point that there is some heavy lifting that has to get done in the province and using Toronto City Council as an example of fortitude and decision making will be useful down the road when there's other difficult decisions to be made because no one is gonna question the resolve of the premier to do what he said he's gonna do because all he has to say is look what I did in Toronto Andrew the budget of the provincial governments one hundred and fifty billion the budget of City Council's ten billion the savings here are trivial and they're achieved at the expense of representation people talk about fewer politicians what they're really saying is larger Ward's it's a bit like saying let's have larger class sizes because we'll have fewer teachers it's that beyond a certain point it's a false economy it may be something to recommend it we can argue back and forth about whether 25 or 47 I've seen no evidence whatsoever this is such an emergency such a crisis that it has to be pass through right away by means of emergency legislation all of the things that have been wrapped around this they're basically mounted the Premier's not getting away and he's his own weight he's not happy but I should follow up on this because sure I think the only one around this table who has sat on Toronto City Council yes if you had you had what 50 60 thousand constituents when you were a city councilor if you had that bumped up to say 120 or 130 thousand as will be the case on a 25 member council how would your life as a politician trying to serve constituents have been different well it would shift my role significantly because you just can't deal with the constituency matters so you can't deal with parking pads and street issues and potholes and fences and neighbor disputes and compost days and the things that councillors are typically known for in their communities because the smaller council is gonna be dealing with more citywide issues so when people call City Hall asking why my garbage didn't get picked up today their chances of getting you are 0 3 1 1 call 3-1-1 call 3-1-1 which is what is there for yeah that's what that is a system that is intended to do just that and if you find that you're irritated with the number of speed bumps in the city well then you'll probably be happy because there'll be less of them because no one will be there to administer that request anymore I thought Rob Ford's calling card was calling people back customer service is the premier now putting in place a new council which will make customer service harder I don't know Rob Ford managed to make phone calls back to people when he was covering the whole city as a councillor from war 2 and it was quite well known for that Rob Ford opposed the idea of 3 & 1 1 he thought that it should be a councilors job to return those calls not a staff servants job civil servants job counsel overruled him the very counselors now who are arguing that their job returning those phone calls is so indispensable you can't have your cake and eat it too is there too much hypocrisy going on here absolutely I think all and I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong and we we don't know we didn't have a chance to consult we didn't have a chance to have any say in this it was undemocratic the way it was done the use of the clause was extreme the the architects of the Charter and that Clause have come out and said so yes there are people that have supported of course we didn't have time to to consult and getting back to this only hurts the politicians when you poison the well and you and and you affect the quality of politicians that bother to go into politics after these kinds of things are done it does affect the people it does affect the people and we need good politicians we all we're always saying we need better politicians this is not a step towards that and again I could be wrong you could be right but we who knows we did not have that time to insult and I think that's the thing we just don't know yeah we don't know what it's mean yes reassuring no Steve so so once the premier made this decision to move forward four reasons I believe have to do as I said with how the next four years works in the province in the city then I think he would have been extremely hard pressed to back down from that when the court challenge was brought and he lost because I think that with this sitting there and and for him to have said okay I'll do legislation that will be in effect in 2022 it would have been complete dysfunction over the next four years as councillors were worried about that we're fighting that as opposed to what we really need them to get doing over the next four years he's worried if I can use the analogy used earlier do you worry about that loaded gun sitting there on the counter and somebody finally picking it up and firing it so as I said earlier I'm not a fan of that particular piece of the tone and the only African but I don't disagree and I didn't at the outside of your show but I do believe in this situation he chose a path he's following the path – Andrews earlier point he is appealing the decision but for the for the sake of timing and so that we can get on with the October 22nd election he's also chosen this temporary defection 33 years but the government has other tools its command as well work they're gonna be in court Tuesday getting a stay and we're seeking a stay so if the immediacy of the thing is an issue that deals with that you're not you know you can you can set aside the ruling temporarily the the notion that you had to leap immediately to notwithstanding as if this is a exists if this was some sort of crisis it's just completely self-serving I believe Saskatchewan the first time it invoked section 30 through had 33 had a similar position which was we're going to fight in a meantime it was over a union issue I believe we're going to fight and in the meantime we're going to invoke section 33 in the end section 33 wasn't necessary but they headed down that path probably also for a timing which is what I see this to that is a good point if the court comes out for the provincial government tomorrow then section 33 disappears as and the gun sits there on the table still having not been used always inviting issue so that's always our the problem with but that was the point of section 33 to put it in the first place there wouldn't be a charter Andrew well if there if there wasn't that no that was the people say this all the time as if it's as if it clinches the argument all that says is to get the people who happen to be around at the time to come to the table maybe or maybe not this was part of that no necessary part of the deal we can't run counterfactuals to argue one way or the other on that but what it doesn't say is therefore you can't criticize it now you can't object to its use now you can't say that we shouldn't be doing this now it's all it says it was that was the terms of that deal then it doesn't he's not wholly ripped because of Patricia I saw you trying to get him no I was just thinking that even before we get to section 33 and questions are the timing introducing this legislation at all is a bit of a crushing of deliberative democracy that I think we should be concerned with City Council had the authority under the City of Toronto act to do the consultation and to pass the there the change from 44 to 47 Ward's it was done through a very solid process that held up at court and the OMB and and and if we believe in deliberative democracy we shouldn't be comfortable with another government just overturning that especially without a cause that is all true but some will also argue that going from a forty-five member council which it is today to a 47 member council putting even more members on City Council you know we're actually including the mayor for 48 including the mayor you know what politician in his or her right mind is going to vote to end his or her job even if it means a smoother functioning council but they didn't do it out of a partisan basis I mean they may have chosen that because yes they didn't want but 38 out of the 44 Ward's had their boundaries change so it's not like they were unaffected by this decision they might have voted for the status quo that might have made sense but it's also based on a very good study done by an independent third party not true yes the Canadian urban that is true there's another aspect of this just than the numbers and that was trying to move towards greater equality between the different wards in terms of the number of voters within the reform that she's talking about what moved City Council closer towards equality whereas going back to the going to the 25 federal provincial ridings they're notably less equal and are going to get less equal over time which may explain what's going on here because not coincidentally what that will result in is the seat that is the council that is over representing the suburbs and over representing the types of voters that vote for doug ford so it may be that that's really what's going on again I mean the conversation shifted in turn but but okay and what all the study may have been demonstrating that a better effective representation is done by a lower ratio of Representatives to politician but I can tell you at the door and I've been in Midtown and I've been in Scarborough knocking on doors for candidates the general consensus is 25 is though is an OK number and people aren't that worried about the fact that it's gonna be eighty or a hundred thousand people to a representative there but they you know as I say they expressed worry about how it was done why it was done the use of an office standing cause whether that was too much let me pick up on the hell yeah is there anybody she'll me yeah wide shot that's what I need right now is there anybody at this table who thinks Doug Ford campaigned on this during the last punch election of course but I wouldn't argue that it was unexpected in the sense that he is on a path for leaner more efficient government that's my kids being very clear yes he did campaign on leaner more efficient government without ever specifying what he was going to cut also true yeah okay she's that problematic for you that he got elected to do that and I would consider this provincial government then well if you recall we have the Conservative Party in the past has shrunk the provincial government he said no that is his plan but we have done that in the past he specifically said he was not gonna cut a single civil service job now trends with the account city councillors I suppose the civil servants or not public employees so you know he stoled a thing he was not gonna cut any spending but somehow they're gonna be magically efficiencies we're gonna appear that's a long way from oh by the way I'm gonna cut Council on half if you disagree with the actual policy Andrew like you think forget timing forget all of the mechanisms you disagree with the notion you should go to 25 certainly skeptical of it in the in the arguments that I see made for it are so baseless that it causes me to have a lot of doubt about the article I just you know I I find when people push back on this being anti-democratic at its core I will have a vote as a Toronto resident on October the 22nd and following that vote I will be represented at City Hall that to me is pretty much democracy actually if I feel that I am underrepresented because we're at 25 in the city as opposed to 47 or 48 then I have an opportunity to vote against Doug Ford in four years well are you represented if that's the councillor you elect who then participates in a larger body with other city councillors and makes a decision they have the authority to make and they do in a thorough and proper way then that decision is overturned you're not represented at all if the province can reverse the decision of City Council it doesn't matter that you can vote for city councilor but I still maintain the notion that the size of the municipality is fully within the jurisdiction of the that's different than what you're saying which is anytime Toronto does something that the city the province is going to overrule it they've done that that's exactly what they're doing right now but city council made a decision to she's already decided on the the inherent makeup of the city that is the purview of the province because municipalities are creatures of the I wonder how far that purview goes and I want to go to mark on this one if if in fact as he did Doug Ford campaigned on smaller more efficient government in the province of Ontario why is he only taking on Toronto what about all the other city councils out there well do you do one at a time and one is the in frankly Toronto has a different problem perhaps than the other cities the problem with Toronto isn't the proportionality of representation of number of voters per councillor it's the it's the it's the structure of council and the size of it they cannot have a meeting and discuss things in a productive way it's not physically possible now this is a very blunt instrument to try to and one change address that and it's probably not the one that I would have picked to do first but it is one of a number of them and it's the one that the people want I mean what people who are know because we did a study through the Canadian Urban Institute that said that and the reason why I think that study was bogus is because of the political involvement in that study that study the very first conclusion and it's very first report said that the vast majority of Torontonians wanted 20 wanted an equal number of wards as they wanted writings that was the overwhelming majority overwhelming but yes it was a majority it was overwhelming and that's exactly the note that was raised by the Finnish talk their opinion changed the more information and discussion had no that's not true opinion – yes adoption was taken very stable after the first iteration of that study because wiser minds decided that that wouldn't work why is their minds decided it wasn't removed from the table permanently City Council sent him back to look at it again and they did and they came back with 47 instance Karen Stinson well and I think that there's another theme as well that that the premier is tapping into which is the government can't get things done anymore whether it's a city of the province like transit can't get built things don't get done appeals or OE so I think what the premier is tapping into now is that I'm gonna do this to show people that I can get it done and I'm gonna get transit done and I'm gonna get City Council reformed and I'm gonna get I don't even know what his next thing is gonna be unfortunately that's that's what we voted for we voted for our government without a platform well let's go a little bit more from him shall we yeah control room Doug Ford at his press conference unveiling all of this not that long ago go the courts use every tool in their toolbox to make this happen well guess what I'm gonna use every tool our disposal to make sure we hold up the Constitution and the democratic right of the people of Ontario and I will not waver from representing the people we ran our whole campaign on for the people and the people elected a government and that government is gonna serve the people we do hear the premier use this expression for the people quite a bit and I want to get into some discussion here tonight if I can now on who the people are that this premier is working on behalf of go ahead Deb way in short answer taxpayers all of us thirteen and a half million Ontarians absolutely that's what happens when you become the premier do you believe he's representing all thirteen and a half million Ontarians the number he used was 2.3 million the ones who voted for many of whom are outside of the City of Toronto I mean it's absolutely true that that cities are creatures of the provinces it's another question whether they should be and whether they should be treated quite so cavalierly by another level of government if you know if usually when councils or election illness assemblies aren't working very well the remedy is the voters change the participants if it's a structural thing maybe the voters of the City of Toronto should be consulted on what structural changes they would like to see made the City Council rather than it being imposed run high from another level of government he certainly made a point in that press conference of counter posing the rule of the courts rule of law versus democratic assemblies but it was a democratic assembly was the Parliament Canada and the nine get nine of the ten governments who passed the Charter of Rights in the first place so the notion that this is pitting courts versus legislators is untrue it's picking one law passed by one legislature versus another and higher law that is the constitution of Canada and if again if you didn't like the ruling you got from the judge and a lot of people questioned the reasoning in that ruling that's when you appeal 33 of section 33 of what and it is part of the Constitution your abscess the Queen so if the Queen started willy-nilly denying royal assent to legislation I think some of us would have a problem even though each individual instance of it would be technically legal under the Constitution so what matters it's not just the letter of the law but the norms surrounding it the norms surrounding the the notwithstanding Clause we're supposedly going to be that was gonna be used rarely I think they were naive in assuming that an assuming that you wouldn't get a premier coming along who would use it in ways that perhaps the framers didn't intend that's not the way that the people who put it in there intended I don't think I think we've heard from some of them that they did not intend it should be used to you know fix fights between city council consider councilors but let me get back to Murray on this for the people who are the people you think this premier represents well I agree with Deb you should be representing all of us you think he is but he himself has said to Andrews point for the 2.8 million people that will report 2.3 sorry people that voted for my party this is what I'm doing so it's a question mark and I think time will tell now politically doing it right now it was kind of smart because in four years you know people have forgotten if he had done it closer to four years it would have been more chaotic it reminds me when the Ernie eves government just had the budget speech done in a hotel as opposed to it was in the Magna plan and the Magna plan thank you as opposed to the legislature which who would have thought that would have been such a big deal but it was to the people of Ontario was quite interesting so I think if he had done this later on that point I'll agree with Deb for different reasons it would have been more chaotic mark do you I mean that that magnet example of introducing the budget which I think all the people around the premier thought was a pretty clever idea at the time turned out it was not people actually expected their government to behave in a way that was consistent with true you know do new things but in a way that was consistent with legislative practice do you think any of the people around this premiere are worried that that precedent could come back to bite them in the butt on this case I suspect the people closest to him are but I think that the people writ large don't care one whit I mean speaking as a radio host you know the people that I talked to yesterday don't not not one of them give a damn about the now where does it go interest they call in from all over southern Ontario right and a few from further afield yeah they just they don't right it's not in Hamilton really cares except maybe some people that really watch these things closely political people and sort of legal people are all wrapped up and that was the point I think it was the way it was done right I don't think that I should ask Patricia this though I mean that the four one six has it's and even beyond the four one six the old city of Toronto as a particular way of looking at the world do you think once you get outside the four one six this is a big yawn for people in some instances yes although in the last couple of days there have been indications that it's not only going to be Toronto so I think others are paying attention I think it's also worth noting that mayors of other Ontario cities and cities across the country are speaking out about this so it is beyond the four one six for sure it may be not so than Ontario but definitely across the country or in just one point not just outside the four one six and not but also within the four on six I will say that there are some people who I've spoken with who are Ford supporters who voted for him who are a little miffed because they they're concerned that this is getting in the way of the stuff that they want to see John which Toronto time for the premiering well too much not getting rid of carbon tax not getting what not all the other stuff reducing taxes that kind of stuff I don't think that's a substantive reality because those things are gonna take time and this really hasn't taken that much time it's taking a lot of our attention but the reality is that perception of it and the media bandwidth has been consumed by this so your your only input is this is all the government cares I want to if I can bit of an audible here Sheldon but if you could bring the clip of the premiere back up and play it with no sound on it though I have a question for everybody around this table here some things in politics deal with reality some things deal with optics I want to know what the optics are of the premiere deciding to use section 33 the notwithstanding Clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Constitution and his Attorney General is nowhere in sight the Attorney General has had very little to say about the first time a legal matter has ever happened in the 37 year history of this province since the constitutional agreement was come to I've noticed this I don't know if this is a big deal so I'm going to ask all of you for your advice Andrew what do you think I'm not sure I would put particular focus on Caroline Mulrooney as I would on the cabinet in general and I think one of the things we're seeing I mean this is the intersection of a lot of things that are wrong with the structure of Canadian politics one of which is the total leader domination so the people in that cabinet know if they ever want to serve in cabinet and never want to be around the table they better line up behind the premier and his coterie of advisors who came up with this isn't that the same for every government that's absolutely but it's it's we're seeing an egregious example of where this can lead one would hope that people would stand up to this kind of arbitrary government one would hope people in the caucus and the people in the cabinet would it's unfortunate that they're not would you as a former cabinet minister if the government of your day we're going to make a significant announcement having to do with the Constitution would you have expected the Attorney General to be at the press conference to say something at some point about any of this I would have expected a lot more I would have expected consultation with caucus I would have expected consultation with cabinet with the civil service again I go back to my original words that it's maybe the result is not negative but certainly the process to get to the result was wrong and dangerous and precedent setting it definitely definitely there should have been much more consultation and I know for a fact that there wasn't with caucus and with and with cabinet I dug for decision right and me everybody's acknowledged that the the I'll acknowledge that what's the word I'm looking for consistency being the hobgoblin of a small mind and I plead guilty but I do remember when Mike Harris was premier if there was a significant legal announcement to be made as Attorney General was standing beside him why isn't that happening today but always it depended on the venue what I will say is in operation for this evening I read an incredibly eloquent and strong speech by Attorney General Caroline Mulroney on second reading of this bill so I push back on the notion that she's not been around because no she certainly spoke to it in the house absolutely and she has done users on at press conferences since this all broke so I I do push back let's let's be clear though she was a new minister to go against this would mean she would not be a minister the next day I mean to be just sworn in and to be put in this position she was putting in a possible position as was a Christine Elliot the other day when she got up to answer question and done four kind of got up to answer for her I mean I think that's a–that's different we have to say I just have to explain what you're talking about there cuz cuz Christine Elliot the deputy premier was asked a question in the legislature by the opposition and as she got up to answer it she punted it to the premier now usually the way these things work the premier punts it to a minister I've never seen a question being punted up before that's not well I haven't seen it I'm sure it's out there for ten years as you know and the little backdrop at Queen's Park and you make a decision as a caucus in the cabinet on who's going to carry the ball on something you think it's problematic that Cristiano is being muzzled on this I do not agree with your premise Steve so no it's something problematic she's not being muzzled and and caroline has responded to a number of these things and and i you know i disagree with the notion that she disagrees with the premier this one thing she is well know maria is actually she said George that she was in an impossible position how is she an integral possible position this is early Haller the former Prime Minister of the country that's all that's awkward and and and she's probably talked herself into saying this is the right thing but I'm pretty sure Attorney General was allowed to have her on the Ford administration mark and I we both worked for the for administration I'll be in a City Council there is no question you're either on the team or you're not on the team and at the point when I went off the team you know what it was it was I certainly understood what it meant to be off the team in a very material way and so I wouldn't expect any member of his cabinet er caucus to come out and say anything other than publicly support the premier and if the premiers position was if you can't support me then don't show up and they just maybe made a choice not to show up but they're certainly not going to say anything in opposition to this with just a few minutes to go here I do want to Patricia let me get you to start off on this we are so polarized in our politics in this province now in this world now can you see on the other side of the table that they may have they may be a little bit right in some of what they're saying can you give them something on this question yeah no think of many you've got a study and a report and a deliberative democracy process that's all being crushed I can't get on the side of any of that not on the side of it but can you can you see in any of their arguments something where you know a little bit of sincerity I will give you is I do believe I'm sorry sincerity is what I would give you I do believe that they believe in smaller government right so III think that they are sincere in believing that this is going to make a difference I think it's a very weak understanding of how City Council works and what actually would make it more effective or more efficient you know questions of you know speakers time and the committee structure I think there I think there are lots of things you can do to make city council better I think they genuinely believe smaller government you know can make a difference there just isn't any evidence to back that up and along the way you're stepping on so many important Democratic conventions you know things that actually sustain democracy that it isn't worth okay let me try the other side mark can you see in the arguments of the other side that okay I can understand why they think the norms of politics are being run roughshod on I do see that absolutely however I would say that the average person who wants them to they don't like the norms of politics they like some of the trappings in the history and that you know the the tricorn hats and the provinces that still have them for the lieutenant governor's but they don't like politics as usual and so the idea that something's unfair to politicians no one gives a damn believe me the idea that you know city councilors are going to lose their jobs no one cares what they want from their government at the city level is the garbage picked up on time the water to be safe the sewers to work the basements not to fly in color and representation yeah but they're getting that from three one one which the council set up because the council ten years ago said we can't do this anymore I don't know you don't need to do it anymore and those people are going to be cruelly and deeply disappointed everything just by moving from 47 to 25 suddenly all of Toronto problems are gonna disappear and they're gonna get wonderfully effective representation I predict to you now the problems will still be with us the note I do dispute the notion that Doug Ford has any sincere belief in smaller government I don't see any evidence from that from anything he's campaigned on he will mouth those words when it suits him and then he'll promise people are chicken in every pot in the next breath I do think it's there's a tenable argument to be made notwithstanding my just doubts about it but there's a tenable argument to be made for the principle of reducing the size of the council people can argue that one back and forth I don't think there's any tenable argument we made that it has to be done exactly now or that it requires the emergency legislation to counterman the Constitution I don't think there's any basis for that whatsoever I'm down to 30 seconds Karen you want it yeah I think so because yes I do you want counsel the way he did it how he did it the tools he said this tool is here for me to use and when you use it it's setting the stage for the next four years and if he's gonna pick a fight this was a pretty good one to pick because it's immediate he's demonstrating his strength and I think there's more to come normally when our discussions end I thank each of you individually but we have the cast of Ben Hur here tonight I'm sure we have time for that so I'll simply say as a group thank you good of all of you to make time in your schedules for us on TV Oh tonight thanks so much thank you the agenda with Steve bacon is brought to you by the chartered professional accountants of Ontario helping businesses stay on the right side of change with strategic thinking insightful decisions and business leadership are you on the right side of change ask an Ontario CPA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *