Nobody ever said that Toronto politics was dull. Yesterday after getting judicially spanked for re-arranging Toronto Council’s seats, Premier Doug Ford went nuclear. He used the ‘Notwithstanding Clause’ contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; originally designed to hold confederation together during constitutional impasses. Under the clause, provinces can declare a law too important for it to be judged as unconstitutional.
The NC was designed to be used in exceptional circumstances; not in anger, petulance or bloody mindedness. What Ford has done is something like finding that there are no seats in a subway car and pulling the emergency cord; someone forgot the pepperoni on his pizza so he phoned 911 (insert your own meme here).
Ford actually dissed the judge yesterday on the basis that judges are unelected and this one, Edward Belobaba was tainted, having been appointed by Premier McGuinty (actually it was Paul Martin). What’s worrying is that Ford seems likely during his time as premier to take any actions he deems necessary in order to get his way. The possibilities are frightening.
The Legislature will meet tomorrow to begin the process of passing Bill 5 once again. So, barring a mutiny of MPPs, or a blockade of the Legislature, we’re going to be back to 25 seats, gerrymandered (thanks to being out of date) to favour the suburbs rather than downtown. Our new Ward 5, using the York South-Weston boundaries will once again feature a showdown between decades long incumbents Frank Di Giorgio and Frances Nunziata pitted against new main challengers, Lekan Olayowe and Chiara Padovani.
Mount Dennis Residents’ Association held an information meeting last night at the York Civic Centre. Several speakers were in attendance as well as Provincial Citizenship and Immigration Minister Laura Albanese and Toronto Councillors Frances Nunziata and Frank Di Giorgio. Also of note, in the audience was a small contingent of attentive young people from the For Youth Initiative.
For the first part of the meeting, several speakers discussed greener methods of power generation and conservation.
Once the floor was opened to residents’ questions, the most pertinent comment came in response MDCA’s Rick Ciccarelli. He asked the City’s Fernando Carou (Community Energy Planning) for confirmation that Metrolinx has withdrawn its site plan application for a gas generator on the Kodak Lands. He then asked what is now being planned. Carou replied that the application has indeed been withdrawn and that Metrolinx and Toronto Hydro are currently working on more environmentally acceptable ways of providing back-up power.
According to the politicians present at the meeting, a further announcement will be forthcoming in about a month and that residents will be consulted on any further proposals.
Interestingly, one of the speakers, Jason Rioux, Vice President of NRSTOR, confirmed that battery storage is capable of providing emergency power and that instead of using one site, several smaller battery modules could be installed along the crosstown line. This would provide more efficiency during a power outage and would eliminate the need for a large building on the Kodak lands site. The batteries would be charged at night with cheap electricity while trains weren’t running.
For now, residents can breathe a sigh of relief. The generator is off the table. Well done to all involved who applied political pressure to ensure this option was eliminated and to the politicians who responded to the people’s wishes. It remains to be seen what Metrolinx will come up with next but according to the politicians present, people will be consulted on any new proposals. A further announcement will be forthcoming in about a month.