Copyright © Graeme MacKay. Please check for MacKay's posting and publication rules by clicking here.
Wednesday January 11, 2006
Liberal Leader Paul Martin dropped the most surprising
news of Monday's leaders' debate, revealing an unexpected
plan to amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to bar
federal use of the notwithstanding clause.

In the name of defending the Charter, Martin proposed the
Amendment to End Federal Ability to Invoke
Notwithstanding Clause.

The details were quickly posted on the Liberal website,
which billed it as "the boldest defence of rights and
freedoms in Canada since the creation of the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms in 1982."

As it now stands, the clause gives the government the
power to overrule court rulings on Charter issues. It has
never been used federally.

Martin revealed his plan during the debate, and challenged
Harper to also commit to banning federal use of the clause.
Harper ignored the goading.

The amendment would ban federal Parliament from using
the clause, but would still grant the right to provincial
Martin vows to end federal notwithstanding clause
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