Ontario legislature to debate council cut on rare weekend sitting

The Ontario government will hold a rare sitting of the legislature today in an effort to expedite passage of a bill that will cut the size of Toronto's city council.  

The Progressive Conservatives will begin debates on controversial Bill 31, dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act, at 1 p.m. at Queen's Park.   

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.  

On Friday, three architects of that clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms condemned the Ontario government's use of the rare provision.  

Former prime minister Jean Chretien, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry say the clause was meant to be used only in exceptional circumstances, and not as a means to circumvent proper processes.  

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