Ontario legislature seeks to hold midnight sitting to debate council-cutting bill

TORONTO - Ontario's government house leader says the legislature will hold a rare midnight sitting to continue to push through a bill that cuts the size of Toronto's city council nearly in half.

Todd Smith says the Progressive Conservatives will ask the lieutenant-governor to reconvene the house at 12:01 a.m. Monday to continue to expedite passage of the bill after government attempts to pass the legislation with unanimous consent failed today.

The announcement follows an uncommon weekend sitting at Queen's Park today to debate Bill 31, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, which slashes the number of Toronto councillors to 25 from 47.

The session lasted just over 45 minutes as opposition MPPs entered petitions into the record to delay the legislation's passage.

The opposition parties did not support the call for unamimous consent to pass the legislation, meaning the debate is likely to continue 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.