Lawyer who challenged Toronto council cut in court latest to withdraw from race
Published Friday, September 21, 2018 6:10AM EDT Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2018 7:20PM EDT
A lawyer who took the province to court over its plan to slash the size of city council has announced that he will not run in October’s municipal election after all.
Rocco Achampong, who had previously registered as a candidate in Ward 13, was the first person to launch a legal challenge over the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to reduce the size of Toronto council from 47 wards to 25.
The challenge led to a Sept. 10 decision in which Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that the bill slashing the size of council was unconstitutional but on Wednesday a three-judge panel at the Ontario Court of Appeal granted a stay of that decision, ensuring that the election will procced based on a 25-ward model.
“This wasn’t the election as advertised to be candid. Anyone who was deciding to run in this election decided to run in a 47-ward election,” Achampong told CP24 on Friday morning. “This is a 25-ward election. The dynamics have fundamentally changed, there are candidates and incumbents I wasn’t planning on running up against and there are machines on the ground that have been campaigning for a long time. I had a bit of tunnel-vision and was looking forward to running in a 47-ward race and meeting 39,000 people but now they are telling me to meet 100,000 and I don’t think in 30 days I can make up the ground.”
Achampong is the latest council candidate to withdraw from the race following Wednesday’s court decision, joining former TV personality and Twitter executive Jennifer Hollet and current TDSB trustee Chris Moise on the sidelines.
His announcement comes hours ahead of a 4:30 p.m. deadline for candidates to file their paperwork with the city.
According to the clerk’s office, any candidate who had previously registered to run in the 47-ward election must file a change of ward notification form in order to ensure their name is on the ballot for the 25-ward election.
On the first day of the reopened nomination window on Thursday, a total of six candidates registered to run for council, bringing the total number of candidates city-wide to 214.