Toronto council backs fight against Quebec’s Bill 21, calling it ‘contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians’
On December 14, 2017, Toronto City Council voted 13-3 to approve a motion that would be presented to the provincial legislature and seek to pass Bill 21, the controversial Bill. The province voted against the proposal, 6-1. Bill 21 would amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by adding a public faith and freedom of expression clause to the Charter.
The motion, which was introduced by Councillor Janet Davis, proposed that the city should ask the Ontario Court of Appeal to overturn the province’s decision to reject the Bill. However, in the short amount of time since it was introduced, support for the resolution waned.
The debate became more heated about the issue after Mayor John Tory and many councillors voiced their opposition to the motion. Shortly after the debate started, Davis announced the intent to table the resolution in opposition to Bill 21.
The debate was heated and tense, especially between Tory and NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Councillor Janet Davis. As the debate got closer to its conclusion, Tory became increasingly emotional during the debate. He became upset that council was trying to pass a motion he did not support.
While the resolution was tabled, Tory’s concerns were ignored by council and he called them out in front of the media with a string of angry tweets.
Now that council has finally voted to back the resolution and Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she is listening to his concerns, the mayor finally took a stand and issued a statement.
“I believe that the motion introduced today is the right decision and the right vote,” he said. “However, the motion does not reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of Torontonians and does not reflect the values of Torontonians and Canadians.”
In response, City Clerk Margaret MacLean said, “I disagree with you,” adding that the mayor is “clearly wrong.”