Loading articles...

Notwithstanding clause comes under federal lens following Ford's move

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks in question period in side the legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The appropriate use of the Constitution’s contentious notwithstanding clause could soon be examined by a House of Commons committee.

NDP justice critic Murray Rankin says he will formally ask the justice and human rights committee to delve into the issue after the Ontario government invoked the constitutional override in its bid to slash the size of Toronto city council.

Rankin says while his request is prompted by the recent tumult at Queen’s Park, the goal is not to draw attention to one premier or event.

The notwithstanding clause gives provincial legislatures and Parliament the ability to usher in legislation that overrides provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year period.

Rankin says he has had informal discussions with committee colleagues and they are keeping open minds about his proposal.

He’s hoping the committee will hold at least five meetings and agree to invite constitutional experts and attorney generals to testify.