Home > News and politics > Defending the Notwithstanding Clause

Defending the Notwithstanding Clause

10-Jan-06 03:27 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

The english language leadership debate
on CBC TV, January 9, 2006.

Since my days in University, I’ve heard arguments over an instrument that, I’m told, was once unique to Canada’s constitutional apparatus – the "notwithstanding clause".  Originally, tihis was a political response to getting all provinces (except Québec) to sign Canada’s constitution.  A concession that let Canada amend the old British North America (BNA) Act and claim its constitution as its own.

Both then, as now, it was a controversial decision.  None of my college professors liked it – all though it was weak of then Prime Minsiter Pierre Elliott Trudeau to let it stand.  The clause would let any provincial or the federal government occasionally override court rulings on any part save for the first thirteen sections of the constitution for any reason (practically speaking).  And insodoing what, said the cirtics, was the point in having a constituion at all?  For all practical purposes; the governemnt had no "checks" to balance the executive arm of government.

Well times sure have changed….because now the Tories (which then championed opposition to the Constitution’s repatriation as outlined) are the proponents of the notwithstanding clause.  And the Liberal Party (yes, the same party of Pierre Elliott Trudeau) has now emerged as its opponent.

Why the change?  Well it’s not hard to imagine the Liberals need a distraction from current political woes to help them win the election.  And it’s a pretty cynnical move if that’s the case.  Regardless, I never understood why the notwithstanding clause was such a bad idea – my college professors never did a very good job of explaining why this forumla doesn’t work – and indeed, it seem to hae worked just fine for 20 years or so.

So where is there really a need to change it again?


Categories: News and politics
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Terry Glavin


Techno Manor

Geek's Corner


an IT blog.. and an occasional rant

Yammer Site Status

Is Yammer down? Offline? Broken? Undergoing scheduled maintenance? When will it be back? Find out here.


A journey full of wonderful experiences

Azure and beyond

My thoughts on Microsoft Azure and cloud technologies


Startup and Technology News

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Latest News, Breaking Headlines & Sports

National Post

Canadian News, World News and Breaking Headlines

Targeted individuals's

One Government to rule them all.

Joey Li's IT Zone

Everything about IT


Unravelling the magik of code...

The Bike Escape

Because Cycling is Life

The Ross Report

Now you know where you need to know more...

Lights in the Dark

A journal of space exploration

Strength Rehabilitation Institute

Bridging the gap between physiotherapy and exercise.

Little Girl's Mostly Linux Blog

Nothing to see here. Move along...

David Eedle

Geek, tech, programmer, business owner. Serial starter of things. Occasional finisher. Oh, and please don't call me Dave.

Vector Beta

Doling out sparks of information

%d bloggers like this: