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Canada  

Ford gets legal victory

UPDATE 8:14 a.m.

Ontario's top court has stayed a ruling that upended the provincial government's plans to cut Toronto city council in the middle of a municipal election.

The legal victory for the Progressive Conservative government means city staff can immediately focus on planning for an election using 25 wards and abandon the 47-ward model that was revived by the lower court's decision.

It also means the government won't have to immediately move forward with reintroduced council-cutting legislation that invoked a constitutional provision known as the notwithstanding clause to override the lower court ruling.

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote, and the Court of Appeal agreed.

"It is not in the public interest to permit the impending election to proceed on the basis of a dubious ruling that invalidates legislation duly passed by the legislature," the three-judge panel wrote.


ORIGINAL 7:07 a.m.

The Ontario government has won a stay of a court ruling that upended its plan to cut Toronto city council in the middle of a municipal election campaign.

That means city staff can immediately focus their efforts on planning for an election using 25 wards and abandon the 47-ward model that was revived by the lower court's decision.

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote and allow the city to move forward with its preparations.

An Ontario judge last week found that the province's Bill 5, which reduced Toronto city council to 25 seats from 47, violated freedom of expression rights for candidates and voters.

Premier Doug Ford contested the ruling and invoked a constitutional provision known as the notwithstanding clause to reintroduce the legislation.

The new bill won't be up for a final vote until Thursday at the earliest, and the province's lawyers said legislators wouldn't move forward with the vote if the stay was granted.



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