Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario

Ford Meddling in Local Elections attacking Democracy

Published on October 30, 2020

Ford Attacks Democracy

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPPs Peggy Sattler (London West), Democratic Reform critic, and Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre), Municipal Affairs critic, are demanding Doug Ford withdraw his latest attack on local democracy, a sneaky plan to scrap municipalities’ right to hold ranked-ballot elections.

The change is buried within an act the government claims is about COVID-19 recovery, but is not.

“Last year Doug Ford and his government claimed they would respect mayors and municipal councils, after attacking and meddling in municipal elections,” said Sattler.

“Can the premier tell us which municipalities asked for this assault on their local decision-making?” Sattler asked during question period at Queen’s Park Wednesday.

The government was not able to name any municipalities or municipal leaders that were consulted.

“In London, where a historic and successful election was held with ranked ballots in 2018, councillors have denounced this interference.” said Sattler. “The city of Toronto voted overwhelmingly in favour of ranked ballots for the 2026 election. In fact, one of the only objections came from the Premier’s nephew. Why does Doug Ford think it’s urgent to undermine democracy yet again and meddle in municipal politics?”

Burch says no municipality has asked for this change, and in Kingston over 60 per cent of local residents also voted to move to ranked ballots in a referendum in 2018.

“Doug Ford wants to override the views of Ontarians and their local elected representatives by shamelessly trying to push through changes to election law that nobody wants, and are driven by his own political agenda,” said Burch.

“Local people know best and have the right to decide how their votes are counted. Doug Ford should be focused on dealing with the second wave of COVID-19 and saving lives. Instead, he is using the pandemic as cover to meddle in local elections by denying people their democratic rights and imposing his will on local municipalities,” added Burch.