OFL: Ford’s use of notwithstanding clause threatens democracy | The Ontario Federation of Labour

OFL: Ford’s use of notwithstanding clause threatens democracy

TORONTO – After a decisive judgement by Justice Edward M. Morgan recognized the unconstitutionality of Bill 254’s amendments to the Ontario Election Act, Ford’s Conservative government has announced they will recall the legislature and invoke the notwithstanding clause to overturn the ruling. The Ontario Federation of Labour is deeply concerned by Ford’s move to silence his critics and trample Ontarian’s constitutionally protected Charter Rights.

“The Ford Conservative’s decision to invoke the notwithstanding clause, to reinstate a Bill that has been ruled unconstitutional, is a desperate move from a government that has lost the confidence of the people of Ontario,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President. “This move is an attempt to silence the people who lost family members in disastrous long-term care conditions, families and education workers who called for safer classrooms, and workers who demanded paid sick days. It is a power grab, an abuse of power, and it is unacceptable. We will not be silenced.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour warned the Ford Government about the unconstitutionality of Bill 254 and that the government’s proposed changes to the Ontario Election Act would undermine electoral fairness. Bill 254 imposed arbitrary restrictions on the ability of organizations to engage with citizens on issues of public importance like paid sick days, fixing long-term care, and keeping classrooms safe. At the same time as restricting third-party speech on issues of public importance, the Bill privileged the wealthy by doubling individual contribution limits.

“Ford’s decision to ram through this blatant power grab with the unprecedented use of the notwithstanding clause makes it clear that he cares more about protecting himself and his party than about electoral fairness and democracy,” said Coates. “We will not let Ford silence his critics in a desperate attempt to cling to power.”

Coates added, “Ontarians are in a state of shock. We are still mourning last weekend’s attack in London, still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, still concerned about access to vaccinations, and Doug Ford is focused on his re-election? It’s simply disgusting”.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Palermo 
Director of Communications 
Ontario Federation of Labour
mpalermo@ofl-org.flywheelsites.com l 416-894-3456