Achampong launches legal challenge against seat slashing legislation


Toronto lawyer Rocco Achampong launches a legal challenge against legislation to slash the number of Toronto City Councillors from
47 to 25. Achampong is running for a seat on Toronto City Council in municipal elections due to be held on October 22.

Toronto lawyer Rocco  Kusi Achampong  says he is ready to fight the Progressive Conservative govermnent of  Premier Doug Ford over  legislation – The Better Local Government Act – to  slash the number of Toronto City Councillors from  47  to 25.

Ghana-born Achampong  who is  one of several persons in  Toronto’s Black community who entered the municipal race  for a seat on the Council before the  legislation was passed,  has launched a legal challenge against  the Ford government’s  seat slashing law.

He told  the  Caribbean Camera that he is  asking the court  ” to  restrain the coming into force of the Better Local  Government Act. and to say that it does not apply to the  Toronto 2018  election. ”

Since  Achampong  filed notice in court  with respect  to The  Better Local Government  Act,  the City of Toronto has also voted  to mount  a legal challenge against the legislation.

Toronto

Carol Royer, Rocco K. Achampong and Michelle Garcia

Mayor John Tory said the timing of the provincial legislation — coming before the Oct. 22 municipal election — puts even  the City in an unprecedented situation.

“The process by which this monumental change was made was wrong and unacceptable,” he said.

“It is our duty to represent the people of Toronto and the best interests of this city at all times — and to make our position clear when we do not believe the actions of other levels of government are in our city’s best interest.

“We have instructed city legal staff to challenge this monumental change to our City’s governance in the courts,” Mayor Tory said in a statement

Don Peat,  a spokesman for  the  Mayor,  said the City will now take part in a Superior Court hearing on Aug. 31 and any other legal proceedings related to the legislation.

Toronto Council also voted to ask the clerk to push back the election date, if necessary.

Achampong  who was officially listed as a candidate in Ward 13,  has not returned to City Hall to  register for the area  in which he will be running under the restructured system.

“But I will be a  candidate for that area,” he said.

Meanwhile, several persons from Toronto’s Black  community  who were officially listed  as candidates for Toronto City  Council  in  the October 22  municipal  elections, have welcomed the court challenge launched  by Achampong  and  the City of Toronto.

“I think it is a  good thing,” said Trinidad-born Carol Royer who is running in  Etobicoke.

Royer is upset about the  legislation coming in effect just  weeks before  the municipal  elections.

“I now have to raise more money for my campaign in a very short period of  time,”                                     she  noted.

She said that with all the confusion over  the  elections, some candidates  may be discouraged  and drop  out of  the  race.

Another candidate in Etobicoke,  Trinidad-born Michelle Garcia, said she is happy about the court  challenge.

She said she is determined to run and is already” busy working on my campaign, despite the  confusion  caused by the restructuring  legislation.”