Ontario legislature to debate council cut on rare weekend sitting

TORONTO — Ontario’s government house leader is urging opposition parties not to obstruct the passage of a bill that would cut the size of Toronto’s city council.

Todd Smith says the Progressive Conservatives will call for unanimous consent of all parties to expedite passage of the bill during a rare Saturday sitting of the legislature.

Debate on the controversial Bill 31, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, at 1 p.m. at Queen’s Park.

The opposition parties have indicated they will not support the call for unamimous consent, which means that debate is likely to continue on the bill well into next week.

The bill re-introduces legislation that was struck down by an Ontario Superior Court judge, who said it violated the charter rights of candidates and voters in Toronto’s upcoming election. The new legislation will invoke the notwithstanding clause to overrule the court decision.

Ontario’s municipal elections are set for Oct. 22.

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