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John Tory plans to propose referendum on city council size

Last Updated Jul 27, 2018 at 11:39 am EDT

Toronto Mayor John Tory says he is planning to propose a referendum, asking Torontonians if they want the size of city council to be cut.

This move comes amid Premier Doug Ford’s plan to reduce the size of city council to 25 seats from 47.

“It is my job to stand up for the City of Toronto … protect democracy that binds our society,” Tory told reporters at City Hall on Friday.

“When elections are meddled with, people, regardless of their political stripe, are rightly angry.”

Tory said this process of altering the size of council should be put to the people, which is why he plans to move a motion to instruct city clerks to hold a referendum. The question be would be simple, he said: “Do you support reducing the size of council from 47 to 25?”

The mayor said the question could either be posed on the Oct. 22 election ballot or at another time.

“What I can’t support is change being rammed down our throats without a single second of public consultation,” Tory said, adding that this a “gigantic decision” that affects the city and its residents.

“Don’t they deserve a say in how they are governed?,” he asked.

Tory also wants to move a motion asking lawyers inside and outside government to weigh in on the legality of this change.

“First thing I want to do is to get a legal opinion … as to what exactly our legal position is,” he said.

Tory said when he heard the news about this, he then spoke to Ford and had a lengthy and animated discussion with him.

The mayor that while he is willing to have the discussion about altering the size of council, he takes issue with the way this is being done.

This latest move by Ford comes on the deadline day for candidates to register for the municipal election.

“You don’t change the rules in the middle of the game,” Tory said, adding that change of this magnitude should always take place with consultation.