Premier Doug Ford and his government have introduced legislation Monday to cut the size of Toronto city council by almost half.
On Friday, Ford announced a proposed plan to reduce the number of councillors on council to 25 from 47, sparking outrage from Mayor John Tory and other councillors.
Tempers flared at the start of the legislative session at Queen’s Park, beginning with Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath who went straight after Ford for his decision.
“The Premier cooked up his backroom plot to steal power from the people and kept it hidden from 14 million Ontarians for the entire election campaign. There was no consultation and no fair process,” Horwath said.
Ford defended himself saying “we were very clear we were going to have a smaller government.” However, he did not specifically make mention of reducing the size of Toronto city council during the election.
Aside from Horwath, other MPPs also stood up to voice their concerns.
“Mr. Speaker, the Premier is acting like a dictator,” NDP MPP Gurratan Singh said in the legislature.
“Again and again you drive chaos through the system,” Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter said.
Earlier in the day, protesters shouted “Our City” as they gathered outside Queen’s Park to rally against the plan.
Horwath, who was at the protest, accused Ford of trying to “kneecap” his political opponents.
“He’s acting like he has a say over the way people choose their democratically-elected governments. That’s not the way we operate in Canada or in Ontario. Earth to Mr. Ford, you’re doing the wrong thing here,” Horwarth said.
Meanwhile, councillors will debate an emergency motion at an afternoon council meeting that is meant to battle back against the proposed plan.