Goldie Ghamari, PC MPP for Carleton. (Barry Gray)
Goldie Ghamari, the PC MPP for Carleton (who is also a lawyer), has posted an explainer on her website on why she supports Premier Doug Ford’s choice to use the Notwithstanding Clause to pass a controversial law.
It’s the first time Ontario has used the rarely-invoked section of the Constitution, which allows governments to pass laws even if they violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The province is doing so in order to pass a law cutting the size of Toronto city council, despite a court ruling that it would be unconstitutional to do so given the city’s election campaign is already underway.
Although the proposed law would only affect Toronto’s city council, it has raised the question of whether the government would later set its sights on Ottawa (area MPP Lisa MacLeod and Ford said they wouldn’t, although Ford suggested some Ottawans would like him to.)
Here’s a point form passage from Ghamari’s legal reasoning:
- Our democratic institutions are informed by the concept of Parliamentary Supremacy.
- Section 33 of the Charter allows the Province to enact legislation if it is of the view that there is a judicial error.
- The Province has full legal authority under the Charter to invoke Section 33, while concurrently bringing an order to stay the decision and initiating an appeal.
- These actions are in full compliance with the Charter.
- Justice Belobaba (in my respectful opinion) improperly defined Section 2(b) of the Charter.
- This improper definition enabled him to improperly declare Bill 5 as unconstitutional.
- But for (emphasis original) this improper definition, Bill 5 is a valid piece of legislation that does not infringe Charter”
You can read the full post on her website.