TORONTO – Today, the Ford Conservative government used the notwithstanding clause to ram through Bill 307, formerly Bill 254, anti-democratic legislation that takes aim squarely at critics of Doug Ford and his party. Today’s Bill 307 reinstates parts of Bill 254 deemed unconstitutional in an Ontario Superior Court decision released just last week by Justice Morgan. The Ontario Federation of Labour is outraged at Ford’s unprecedented use of the notwithstanding clause to trample Ontarians’ Charter Rights.
“The freedom to peacefully express dissatisfaction with the government is a principle that must never be bent,” said Coates. “The Bill that Ford’s Conservatives rammed through today, after it was already deemed unconstitutional, attempts to do just that. It’s simply an end-run on our democracy and it is unacceptable. We won’t forget this government’s self-serving attempt to silence critics and rig the next election in their favour.”
The Ontario Federation of Labour is not opposed to limits on election spending and has pointed to jurisdictions across Canada that have successfully introduced third-party limits. However, the OFL warned the government that parts of the original Bill 254, repackaged as Bill 307, were unconstitutional and would restrict the ability of organizations to engage with citizens on issues of public policy importance.
“Doug Ford’s unprecedented use of the nuclear option of the notwithstanding clause is a threat to Ontario’s democracy,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President. “Ford’s changes to Ontario’s Elections Finances Act attempt to silence his critics and the courts, rightfully, determined his changes to be unconstitutional. Today, Ford’s government charged ahead with those changes anyway.”
At this morning’s Virtual Rally to Defend Our Democracy people from across the province sent a message that Ontarians, “will not let Doug Ford destroy our democracy”. Despite Ford’s power grab, and attempt to silence his critics, the Ontario Federation of Labour is committed to speaking out about the needs of working people in Ontario.
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