Ontario: Ontario’s top court has struck down third-party rule introduced by Premier Doug Ford’s government, calling it unconstitutional.
Before 2021, third parties were allowed to spend $600,000 on advertising in the six months before the elections, but that year the government extended the pre-election limited period for expenditure to one year but there was no increase in the amount to be spent.
The Progressive Conservatives argued that the increase made in this period was necessary in order to avoid outside influence. But critics say all this seemed as if the government wanted to silence critics ahead of the 2022 provincial elections.
The act was found to be unconstitutional on the ground of expressing its views freely. So the government reintroduced these provisions using the notwithstanding clause.
Several groups publishing ads for third parties, including the Working Families Coalition and Teachers’ Unions, have challenged the new law introduced by the Ford government, and now the Ontario Court of Appeals has also favored such groups.
The court has given the Ford government time to bring a new bill in accordance with the charter within a year. Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfelvie said the government will evaluate the decision and then consider what to do about it.