"I'm disappointed that the provincial government chose to take this decision to override people's rights and freedoms but at the same time, I'm not going to weigh in on the actual debate over the size of the municipal governments in Ontario, in Toronto", he said.
The city had challenged the province's legislation in court and a Toronto judge agreed earlier this week that passing the bill in the middle of municipal election campaign violated the freedom of expression rights for voters and candidates.
"We're working on our platform right now and we're confident we'll be able to implement the types of proposals that we're working on right now through the normal legislative process", said Scheer.
"I know we can do better than this when it comes to recognizing and respecting cities for the important role they play in every aspect of our lives in Canada", said Tory.
The Efficient Local Government Act, also known as Bill 31, was tabled on Wednesday after a judge ruled that a previous piece of legislation reducing the number of Toronto city councillors from 47 to 25 was unconstitutional. The provincial government has appealed the ruling and reintroduced its changes this week in a new bill, compounding the chaos facing the clerk as she oversees preparation for the election.
And since there is no longer a question of whether or not Premier Doug Ford will invoke the clause, the next question is whether or not he will use it again and again if he's not satisfied with a result.
Ontario NDP members were booted one by one out of the Ontario Legislature - starting with Leader Andrea Horwath - as the official opposition protested the government's use of the notwithstanding clause in the Charter. "The dysfunction is Doug Ford".
"The only Conservatives defending the premier's decision are the ones who rely on him for their jobs", she said. "We live in a democracy". The legislation has passed first reading and the Tory house leader has said it is expected to pass final reading on the week of September 24.
An email marked "Strictly Confidential" was sent to Progressive Conservative MPPs Thursday night ordering them back to the Legislature Saturday at 1 p.m.