Fair election 'virtually impossible' to pull off Oct. 22, says Toronto city clerk

Whether Toronto voters cast ballots in a 25-ward structure or 47, the city clerk has dwindling faith that a fair and democratic municipal election is possible on October 22.

"We have hit a tipping point, Ulli Watkiss told councillors during a special meeting Thursday. "Both scenarios are becoming virtually impossible for us to carry out."

Watkiss revealed that she has hired outside legal counsel for advice on issues including whether she has the authority to move election day if she doesn't believe a proper vote is possible.

While the province's just-introduced Efficient Local Government Act gives Toronto the right to skip advanced voting, Watkiss is not inclined to take them up on it.

"I believe that that would result in an election that is not fair, that does not meet the principles of the Act, that does not meet any integrity of process."

While Watkiss pledges to do her utmost to allow for voting in before election day, she says that won't be possible over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Watkiss detailed more concerns about getting voter information cards and proxy ballots out in the face of a potential work stoppage at Canada Post.

An Ontario government appeal of the Superior Court ruling that deemed their Better Local Government Act that reduced the number of Toronto wards to 25 unconstitutional will be heard on Tuesday. Doug Ford's PCs are also asking for a stay of Justice Edward Belobaba's decision, which if granted, would see the fall election proceed with a 25-ward structure.

At the same time, the government is using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' not withstanding clause to forge ahead with the reduction in the size of Toronto city council once it passes through the legislature and is signed into law.