NDP wants emergency debate in Commons on notwithstanding clause

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NDP wants emergency debate in Commons on notwithstanding clause

The NDP is concerned that the Ford government's use of the notwithstanding clause will encourage other governments to use it more often.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) is calling for an emergency debate in the Commons on the recent use of the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by the Ontario government of Doug Ford.

< p class="e-p">The Ontario government used this provision, also erroneously called the “notwithstanding clause”, to force an expedited end to the education support staff labor dispute of his province.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh argued in a scrum Wednesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while he expressed concern about the situation, has not committed to taking action. real action.

“We heard from the Liberals who said this is a problem, but it is not It is not enough to just point out the problem. This is an attack on workers.

—Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP

He argued that Ottawa could decide to use other laws to protect workers' rights, but did not specify which ones. He also said he favors the idea of ​​submitting a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada to clarify the circumstances in which the notwithstanding clause can be used.

What we want to see is that the government takes this issue seriously and is committed to finding solutions […]. If it's a question of a bill, we are ready to support a bill, added Mr. Singh.

Minutes before taking part in question period, Mr. Trudeau reiterated to reporters that his government was weighing its options. It is unacceptable for a government to use the notwithstanding clause preemptively because it prevents the [courts] from even being able to look at whether it is constitutional or not, he argued. It removes the political consequences of using the notwithstanding clause. We are in the process of suspending the fundamental rights of Canadians without having any consequences.

Asked to clarify what laws the NDP has in mind to counter this use of the notwithstanding clause by the government Ford, deputy party leader Alexandre Boulerice, remained vague.

There are different avenues. There is legislation that has very rarely been used – we're cautious about that – on disallowance, but I think it's up to the […] Prime Minister himself to look at exploring whatever is possible to use, [and] maybe [that] we should regulate the use of the notwithstanding clause in the future, he replied.

The NDP also says it fears that the Ford government's departure from the Charter will encourage other provinces to use this constitutional tool more and more often.

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