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Toronto councillors vote for binding referendum on Ford's plan to shrink council

Last Updated Jul 31, 2018 at 6:36 am EDT

Toronto city council is battling back against Premier Doug Ford’s plan to slash the size council by nearly half.

On Monday, councillors voted in favour of an emergency motion in response to the province’s plan to reduce the number of council seats to 25 from 47 before the October 22 municipal election.

Mayor John Tory’s emergency motion will have council request the province conduct a binding referendum on the legislation before proceeding with it.

The motion passed 28-13.

Council is also looking at proposals to consider legal action against the province to block the move.

“This is a flawed process, a deeply flawed process where something is being jammed on the City of Toronto without consultation, without proper discussion, without seeking the views of the public in any way — and that is wrong,” Tory told reporters on Monday.

Tory also reiterated that he heard rumours but wasn’t aware of any definite action on plan by the province to cut council until media reports on Thursday night. He said he then called the Ford around 9:30 p.m.

“Until I heard the premier tell me on the telephone he was moving ahead the next day and that it definitely applied to this election, I was not sure at all as to what was going to happen, if anything,” the mayor said.

On Friday, the debate over the emergency motion on the planned cuts, Coun. Mike Layton triggered a shouting match by implying Tory knew about the plan beforehand and didn’t give council any warning. Tory replied he had a 50-second discussion that went nowhere and gave him no indication that the Ontario government had any intention of taking action.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself Our City Hall assembled at Queen’s Park on Monday to demonstrate their opposition to cutting council.

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