TORONTO – In light of Doug Ford and Francois Legault’s rampant use of the Notwithstanding Clause to pass legislation that violates the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms some political analysts say including the ‘oops all your rights are gone’ provision may have been a mistake.
“Pierre Trudeau and the Premiers of the day enshrined a magnificent Charter that guarantees fundamental rights like religion, speech and collective action,” said Marc Leonard. “And then they added a little bonus section that makes those rights go ‘poof’ when you say the magic words.”
“Should we at least have required something more than a simple majority to pass a law that explicitly violates rights we thought were so important that we amended our Constitution to protect them? Maybe. But you know hindsight is 20-20.”
Many constitutional scholars at the time said ‘the button that when politicians push it means they can do whatever they want’ was a mere paper tiger that was unlikely to be used due to constitutional conventions, political norms, and other things that were relevant in the 20th century and now seem as old-fashioned as malt shops, Pogs, and owning your own home.
“We just never anticipated that the majority of people might approve of a government violating the rights of a minority. When has that ever happened in history?” asked Leonard.
“But it’s not like the Framers didn’t anticipate some problems. They included a provision saying the Charter violation can only be in place for 5 years unless it is renewed. So good news education support staff! You can only be illegally forced to work for sub-market wages for 5 years. Again unless it’s renewed.”