He said it was undisputed that the province has the authority to do what it did with Bill 5; the only catch is that the legislation must comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Bill 5 was promptly appealed by the City of Toronto and by one of those candidates and supported by various intervenor groups, including the Toronto District School Board, where trustees also stood to see their numbers cut.
He said he still wants 25 councillors to run in the next election. "The current gridlock has crippled Toronto City Hall and we'll replace this broken system where transit, infrastructure and housing can not get built", said Ford.
The judge acknowledged the importance of exercising judicial restraint when it comes to the decisions of governments but said that in this case, it was appropriate for the court to act.
The judge argued, surprisingly to many legal experts, that the Ford government had "clearly crossed the line" with Bill 5 "more out of pique than principle", despite the fact Section 92 of the Constitution Act of 1867, regarding "subjects of exclusive provincial jurisdiction", clearly states that: "In each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to ... municipal institutions in the province". If Mr. Ford's new legislation does not change the deadline, some at city hall fear that could leave those councillors off the October 22 ballot.
Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause, which gives provincial legislatures or Parliament the ability to override certain portions of the charter for a five-year term, drew swift condemnation from critics, who said the size of Toronto's city council was not the kind of issue the constitutional provision was created to deal with.
A judge has struck down provincial legislation that would have cut the size of Toronto city council almost in half in the middle of an election.
"Now that the court decision has been issued, I think it is extremely important that we hear from the premier and the government of Ontario and from other Ontario legislative leaders (on) why a reduction in the size of the city council in the middle of an election campaign is more important than considering such change... at a different time and in a much different manner?"
"This is an extraordinary power that should be used in the most extraordinary of circumstances".
Samantha Beattie is a city hall reporter based in Toronto. But the premier said Monday that he was elected on a mandate of making the province more efficient.
Ford said he'd be recalling the legislature this week to introduce legislation that will invoke the notwithstanding clause. "He can't invoke the notwithstanding clause over an election, 25 seats or 47 seats".
"We are disappointed by the provincial government in Ontario's choice to invoke the notwithstanding clause, but I won't be weighing in on the debate on how big Toronto's municipal council should be", he said.
A number of Toronto city councillors also applauded the judgement.
Council Chambers at city hall in Toronto, Ont. on Monday August 20, 2018.
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the decision confirms that not even Ford is "above the law".
At his press conference, Ford complained to reporters that a "democratically elected government" is being "shut down by the courts".
Jennifer Hollett, another council candidate, said in a tweet: "We did it!"
"You notice that a lot of the progressive councillors did not register in the 25-ward system".
"I have a lot of friends who were running in this particular election, people who I've mentored, people who I've encouraged to run, and the last thing we wanted to do was engage in some form of 'The Hunger Games, '" she said. We were very calmly waiting for the judge's decision.
Um, "Crickets"? Really? That's now a valid argument by a judge in Ontario?
"Respect the taxpayer and abort the costly appeal", she wrote.
"This ruling on Bill 5 establishes a strong role for the judiciary during times when autocratic governments feel they can just ram through unjust laws", Coun.