Toronto council backs fight against Quebec’s Bill 21, calling it ‘contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians’
MONTREAL – Quebec City, Canada, May 25, 2019 – Toronto council voted 11-2 in favor of the city’s bill, Bill 21, that would prohibit city council from repealing or amending legislation when it has been duly passed by the province. The vote followed months of public consultation, public hearings and an analysis of the bill. The legislation would amend the city’s Municipal Act and make explicit what had been in law for years, that municipal government has no power to amend or repeal municipal legislation passed at a provincial level.
“This legislation would prevent cities from exercising any control over legislation passed by the province or from allowing citizens to exercise the same right as provinces to rescind or to amend provincial legislation,” said Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
The bill passed despite the overwhelming support from the public and councillors from across the city in the face of a vociferous and partisan backlash from Quebec’s Parti Québécois, which launched a coordinated effort to prevent passage of the bill.
“Quebec’s position has already been made clear. You are not an independent province and the province has no authority to tell you what to do,” said Quebec MP Alain Therrien, who introduced the bill in the House of Commons.
“Quebec is the sovereign authority in matters of municipal government and I don’t think the City of Toronto should be exercising powers that should reside in the provinces,” said Therrien.
“We are in a free country, a free city and we are not here to take away a little bit of control,” said Toronto’s Mayor John Tory, who has been clear in his opposition to the bill. “We’re here to protect our city’s interests and I’ve been trying to build support to bring it forward.”
“It’s really important for the people of Toronto, and for Torontonians at large, to make sure that this bill is not passed,” said Tory. “But it’s also important to make sure that we maintain the rights and opportunities we’