September 18, 2018 2:56 pm
Updated: September 18, 2018 3:04 pm

Majority of Torontonians against Doug Ford’s use of notwithstanding clause: poll


Nearly two thirds of Torontonians are opposed to the premier invoking a controversial section of the Charter to move forward with a plan to shrink city council, a new poll shows.

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Mainstreet Research said almost 65 per cent of respondents were against Doug Ford‘s use of the notwithstanding clause, a section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms never before used in Ontario, to pass legislation deemed unconstitutional by a Superior Court judge.

READ MORE: Ontario legislature closer to passing Toronto council bill after overnight sitting

About 56 per cent were strongly opposed.

“Make no mistake about it: Doug Ford is on the wrong side of public opinion when it comes to his use of the notwithstanding clause,” said Quito Maggi, president and CEO of Mainstreet Research, in a news release.

The poll found that opposition was the strongest among downtown residents, but found elsewhere as well.

A majority either disagreed or strongly disagreed with using notwithstanding in Etobicoke (69 per cent), Scarborough (61 per cent) and North York (55 per cent).

READ MORE: Appeal court to rule on staying decision that set aside law cutting Toronto city council size

Just over 55 per cent of those polled said they disagreed with Ford’s bill to cut Toronto council down to 25 from 47 seats, a move that would see city ward boundaries aligned with federal and provincial ones. North York was the only area where a majority, about 53 per cent, agreed or strongly agreed with that plan.

Bill 31, the Efficient Local Government Act, is set for more debate at Queen’s Park following an overnight session on Monday.

READ MORE: Doug Ford says Toronto council decision is popular, says he’s getting ‘endless calls’ about Ottawa

The results were collected over the weekend as part of a wider poll ahead of Toronto’s Oct. 22 election.

Mainstreet found that nearly 46 per cent of voters were leaning toward John Tory for mayor, while over a quarter were undecided and 19 per cent favoured former city planner Jennifer Keesmaat. Faith Goldy, a former broadcaster with The Rebel, a far-right media outlet, received over four per cent of support.

The poll also gauged support for the idea of Toronto seceding from Ontario, which was briefly floated by Keesmaat, though she has since clarified that is not part of her platform.

Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) said they disagreed with Toronto becoming autonomous.

WATCH: Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat backtracks on secession talk

Voters were also asked about which issues matter to them the most ahead of the election. Housing affordability was most commonly identified as a top concern (21 per cent), followed by crime and safety (16 per cent) and accountability and transparency (13 per cent).

The poll, conducted Sept. 15-16, was completed by 802 Toronto residents who were reached by phone. Mainstreet said the margin of error is plus or minus 3.46 per cent, accurate 19 times out of 20.


© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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