QUEEN'S PARK — In the wake of continuous attacks on the democratic rights of Ontarians, NDP MPP Chris Glover (Spadina—Fort York) has tabled a motion to create an Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights to ensure people’s rights are upheld and protected.
“Ontarians trust that they have the right to freedom of speech and association, and that when they mark an X on a ballot that their votes will be respected,” Glover said.
“But the Ford Conservatives have twice used the 'notwithstanding clause' to strip Ontarians of their fundamental freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition, Doug Ford interfered in Toronto’s municipal elections, weakened democratic institutions by allowing minority rule in Toronto and Ottawa, and allowed his minister to hand-pick the heads of regional councils.
“We need an Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights to enshrine our democratic rights.”
Glover’s motion calls for the government to have a broad public consultation on what the Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights should look like. It highlights the need for the Charter to include that Ontarians have the right to democratic municipal elections and governance and that the legislature commit to not using the 'notwithstanding clause' to suspend the Charter rights and freedoms of the people of Ontario.
Glover was joined at a press conference Tuesday to denounce the Ford government’s latest affront to democracy by MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam, the NDP’s critic for the Attorney General.
“Doug Ford has flouted democratic principles for years,” said Wong-Tam. "His most recent strike against democracy is allowing the selection of Ontario’s chief justice to be brought under the sole purview of his Attorney General. This violates the separation of powers that is foundational to Ontario’s democratic government.
“People expect the province’s judicial system to be fair, transparent and independent from political influence. By taking sole control of the process by which to select the next chief justice, the Ford government is compromising the integrity of the judiciary. This is another reason why I support my colleague’s motion to begin public consultation on an Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights.”
MPP Chris Glover's Motion to establish an Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights:
That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly should begin a consultation process to develop an Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights and that this consultation start with the following principles for discussion:
1. Ontarians have the right to democratic municipal elections and governance;
2. That the Legislature will not use the 'notwithstanding clause' to suspend the Charter rights and freedoms of the people of Ontario;
3. That the Legislature will not override the Ontario Human Rights Code;
3. That the scope of the Ombudsman’s office should be expanded to include protecting our democratic rights;
4. That the Oath of Office for all newly elected MPPs will include a commitment to uphold the Ontario Charter of Democratic Rights.