A man was taken away in handcuffs from the Queen’s Park public gallery on Wednesday following a raucous start to question period as the Doug Ford government defended its move to invoke the notwithstanding clause to reduce the size of Toronto city council.
Several members of the public gallery shouted down the premier as he responded to questions from the official opposition.
“Stand up to your bully! We are the people!” the crowd yelled.
After issuing multiple warnings, Ted Arnott, the Speaker of the house, had to briefly suspend the session and have Queen’s Park security clear the gallery.
One person was heard shouting “Shame!” at Ford while he and his caucus left the house chamber.
VIDEO: Rally at Queen’s Park as Premier Ford set to invoke notwithstanding clause to retable bill on Toronto council cuts
The group of roughly 50 people attended the session on Wednesday to protest Bill 5, which, if passed for a second time, would reduce the number of council seats to 25 from 47 for the upcoming Toronto municipal election.
On Monday, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba said in a ruling that the Progressive Conservative government interfered with the right to freedom of expression for both candidates and voters when the province initially passed the law last month.
Following the decision, Ford said his government would appeal the decision, reintroduce the legislation and invoke the notwithstanding clause, known as Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to push through the council cuts.
Question period resumed on Wednesday with the public gallery empty.
— With a file from Travis Dhanraj
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