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Liberal MPs reject request to study use of notwithstanding clause

NDP MP Murray Rankin asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 in Ottawa. NDP justice critic Murray Rankin formally asked the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights committee to study the appropriate use of the notwithstanding clause. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Liberal MPs have shot down the request to delve into the issue of whether it is appropriate for a politician to routinely use the Constitution’s controversial notwithstanding clause to override a court’s decision.

The governing MPs voted against NDP justice critic Murray Rankin’s motion proposing the justice and human rights committee study the routine use of the clause.

Rankin says his motion, while prompted by recent comments made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, is not intended to single out a 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’s motion was defeated five to four.

Conservative MPs Tony Clement, Michael Cooper and Dave MacKenzie supported Rankin’s motion.