Toronto election: Coun. Sarah Doucette not running under 25-ward model, backs Gord Perks

Click to play video: 'Confusion, protests continue at Toronto city hall over Ford government’s move' Confusion, protests continue at Toronto city hall over Ford government’s move
WATCH ABOVE: Those running for Toronto city council say they find themselves thrown into chaos following the Doug Ford government's use of Section 33. While they say they'll cope, hundreds gathered at city hall to protest the move. Matthew Bingley reports – Sep 12, 2018

As the Ontario government moved ahead on Wednesday to reintroduce a bill to cut the number of Toronto city council seats nearly by half, Sarah Doucette has announced she is backing fellow Councillor Gord Perks in the upcoming election.

Doucette, who was first elected as Ward 13 Parkdale–High Park councillor in 2010, made the announcement in a statement posted online Wednesday evening.

“I have always been a councillor that prefers to help solve the problems on the street rather than sit in committee rooms discussing policy. As we move towards the 25-ward system, I am sad to think that the hands-on community activity must be replaced, as councillors’ roles will have to focus primarily on city-wide issues, with the day-to-day operations being left to staff,” Doucette wrote in part, touting her work to save the High Park Zoo, to create safe school zones and to implement heritage districts in the ward.

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READ MORE: NDP MPPs removed from legislature as Ford government reintroduces bill to slash Toronto city council

“With the role of councillor changing, I had to decide where my heart lies. I knew I could not leave our community without the representation it deserves. It is clear to me that having my friend and colleague Gord Perks at city council is essential to help the City to move forward in the right direction.”

Perks represents Ward 14 Parkdale–High Park and under the new 25-ward model being implemented by the province, which matches federal and provincial riding boundaries, it will see Perks and Doucette’s wards merged.

After Doucette tweeted out the announcement, Perks shared the post on his account and paid tribute to Doucette.

“This breaks my heart. Sarah has been a powerful voice for her community. Sarah is one of the most decent people in government I have ever known,” Perks wrote.

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“Shame on you Doug Ford for robbing the people of Ward 13 of this remarkable leader. Words fail.”

READ MORE: Doug Ford plans to invoke notwithstanding clause. So what happens next?

On Wednesday, the Doug Ford government tabled Bill 31, the Efficient Local Government Act, while invoking the notwithstanding clause. If passed, the law would reduce the number of council seats to 25 from 47 in the upcoming municipal election.

Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba set aside Bill 5 (the Better Local Government Act) in a ruling issued on Monday. He found the government interfered with the right to freedom of expression for both candidates and voters when the province passed the law last month.

Belobaba found the reduction of wards in the middle of the Toronto election substantially interfered with municipal voters’ freedom of expression and the “right to cast a vote that can result in effective representation.”

Election day is on Oct. 22.

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