Montreal

City of Montreal declares support for Toronto council as Ford prepares to push through cuts

Montreal's city council unanimously passed a motion in support of the City of Toronto on Tuesday, denouncing Ontario Premier Doug Ford's plan to cut its council seats almost in half.

Two-party motion denouncing Ontario premier's move was passed unanimously at Montreal council Tuesday

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante tabled the motion in support of Toronto council jointly with the leader of the opposition Ensemble Montréal, Lionel Perez. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Montreal's city council has unanimously passed a motion in support of the City of Toronto, denouncing Ontario Premier Doug Ford's plan to cut the council seats almost in half.

Ford's Conservative government passed legislation to cut the number of Toronto council seats from 47 districts to 25. The bill — known as the Efficient Local Government Act — was struck down by Ontario's Superior Court.

In response, Ford said his majority government is prepared to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the constitution to override that ruling. The latest version of the bill is poised to be passed by the end of the week.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Tuesday she spoke with Toronto Mayor John Tory to express her solidarity with his situation.

"No city is safe from such interference," she said. "This is exactly why we need to stand up and say loudly, 'No. It doesn't work that way.'"

The motion in support of Toronto was originally proposed by Ensemble Montréal's leader, Lionel Perez, but on Tuesday, Perez and Plante tabled it together.

"We want respect. We don't want to have agendas imposed on us by other levels of government," said Plante.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford pledged to half the size of Toronto's city council. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The motion notes that the notwithstanding clause has never been used to change the size of a city council during an election period.

Toronto's municipal election is Oct. 22.

Based on a report by Radio-Canada.

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