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Tory says he’ll seek legal advice on Premier Ford’s plan to cut city council

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory meet inside the Premier's office at Queen's Park in Toronto on July 9, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

They’re no strangers to conflict after battling it out during the heated 2014 mayoral election.

And now it looks like Toronto Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford could have a rematch in court.

Tory said Friday that he’ll be seeking legal advice on Ford’s vow to almost halve what he considers a bloated Toronto city council.

The premier, who was once a Toronto city councilor himself, said he would introduce legislation to cut council from 47 to just 25 councillors.

Tory, who once practiced law, admitted that the province has broad powers over the city, but hinted that there could be language within the City of Toronto Act that could power a defence.

“I start from a premise that I do understand, whether I like it or not, that the province has very broad latitude to do things that affect the City of Toronto, especially when there is a majority government at Queen’s Park,” Tory said.

“I am a lawyer and the City of Toronto Act is a provincial piece of legislation,” he added.

But Tory believes the lack of consultation that took place before Ford announced his plans to cut council could open the door for a legal challenge.

The City of Toronto Act states that:  “it is in the best interests of the Province and the City to engage in ongoing consultations with each other about matters of mutual interest…”

 

“There are those types of words in the City of Toronto Act,” Tory said. “I haven’t had time … review all these statutes overnight (but) we have experts here that can do that and we will set the ball in motion to have them look at it and I will hopefully formalize that with a motion in council to …. give us a formal legal opinion.”

“While I don’t question that the province has a broad authority to deal with the City of Toronto, there are words in different statutes that may allow for us to assert very forcefully the notion that there is some degree of cooperation and consultation that is expected and required here … and if the law backs that, then that’s something we will obviously want to assert in court.”