Toronto council hopeful Rocco Achampong wants court to stop Ford from axing wards

Toronto council hopeful Rocco Achampong wants court to stop Ford from axing wards

Toronto lawyer and Ward 13 candidate Rocco Achampong says he will ask the Superior Court of Ontario to stop Premier Doug Ford from shrinking city council from 47 wards down to 25, a move that he says unfairly interferes with the upcoming municipal election in October.

Achampong, a member of the PC Party of Ontario who ran for mayor in 2010 before eventually endorsing Rob Ford’s candidacy, says he believes Doug Ford’s intentions are good, but that his move is unconstitutional this close to an election.

He says he will file a notice of application Monday asking the court to review whether Ford has the constitutional right to redraw Toronto’s municipal boundaries for the 2018 election cycle.

“I agree that he has the power to do this, but I do not agree — while his intentions are good, I do not agree — that he can do this for 2018 because of legal reasons that I’ll be exploring tomorrow,” Achampong told Global News.

“There are processes one must go through before one affects change… [Ford] has basically changed the rules of the game in the middle of an election. It is wrong, it is unconstitutional, it is unconventional and I’ll be asking the Superior Court judge to restrain the actions of the legislature of Ontario.”

Achampong, who registered to run in the newly-created Ward 13 in the Eglinton-Lawrence area, says he doesn’t necessarily take issue with the wisdom of Ford’s move, but rather its timing.

The Ontario government was “quick out of the blocks here and it’s a false start,” said the 39-year-old lawyer, adding that Ford “can eventually do it for 2022 or in the long term if he wishes, but not for 2018.”

READ MORE: Toronto council could shrink to 25 members – here’s how cities around the world compare

Achampong said he believes that he has “strong legs to stand on” as far as his legal action is concerned.

“I don’t have much of an issue with [Ford]… but my interest is Ward 13 and Eglinton-Lawrence and on this specific move, yes, we have a slight disagreement. But that’s in the nature of democracy, friends disagreeing with friends, and I’m going to put it before a judge and see who’s right.”

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