TORONTO — Three prominent former politicians who negotiated the inclusion of the notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are condemning the Ontario government’s use of the rare provision to push through legislation that was deemed unconstitutional by the courts.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry issued a statement Friday saying the clause wasn’t meant to be used in this way.
“The clause was designed to be invoked by legislatures in exceptional situations, and only as a last resort after careful consideration,” they said. “It was not designed to be used by governments as a convenience or as a means to circumvent proper process.”
The three men urged Ontario’s Progressive Conservative legislators to break ranks with Premier Doug Ford, who announced Monday he would invoke the notwithstanding clause to override a judge’s ruling on legislation concerning the size of Toronto’s city council.
“We condemn his actions and call on those in his cabinet and caucus to stand up to him,” they said. “History will judge them by their silence.”
When asked about the comments, a spokeswoman for Ford said the Ontario government was using the part of Constitution “designed specifically to ensure that the will of an elected legislature is respected.”
We condemn his actions and call on those in his cabinet and caucus to stand up to him…History will judge them by their silence.Chretien, Romanow, McMurtry
“Section 33 makes it clear that the elected legislature, not the judiciary, should have the final say over certain laws,” Laryssa Waler said in a statement.
A Toronto judge this week struck down legislation to slash the size of Toronto city council in the middle of an election, saying it infringed on voters’ and candidates’ right to free expression.
Ford justified using the notwithstanding clause when he reintroduced the …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Music