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CCLA STATEMENT ON FORD'S EXTRAORDINARY USE OF THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 9, 2021

TORONTO — Michael Bryant, Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who was the 35th Attorney General of Ontario, made the following statement:

Given the subject of the law, and its impact on the next provincial election, this is a cravenly self-interested abuse of this extraordinary power.  No Ontario Premier has ever invoked this nuclear constitutional option, until this one, who has a rash constitutional tantrum whenever a court dares to enforce Ontarians’ constitutional rights – first with the Toronto election, in 2018, and now the Ontario provincial election.

Changing the election rules to favour an incumbent government is unconstitutional, and undemocratic.  The more constitutional, less political, way of disagreeing with a court decision would be to seek a stay, and file an appeal, which is what happened the last time the Premier threatened the notwithstanding clause.  

The notwithstanding clause was designed to be a democratic safety valve, not a brazen power grab to tilt election rules in a government’s favour.

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About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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