Transcript: What is the notwithstanding clause? | Jun 14, 2021

A blue slate reads "What is the notwithstanding clause?"

A Male Narrator says LET'S GO ALL THE WAY BACK TO 1981.
PIERRE TRUDEAU, THE PRIME MINISTER
AT THE TIME,
WAS IN THE PROCESS OF PATRATING
CANADA'S CONSTITUTION.
AND THE GOVERNMENT HAD DECIDED
TO INCLUDE A CHARTER OF RIGHTS
AND FREEDOMS INSIDE IT.
BUT SEVERAL OF CANADA'S PROVINCIAL
PREMIERS WERE WORRIED
THE CHARTER WOULD GIVE
THE COURTS TOO MUCH POWER.

Pictures show a political meeting, a document and a map of Canada.

He continues AND TAKE AWAY DECISION-MAKING ABILITIES
FROM THE PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES.
SO AFTER SOME LAST-MINUTE NEGOTIATING,
THE PROVINCES AGREED TO
SUPPORT THE CHARTER,
ON ONE CONDITION-
THAT IT INCLUDED A CLAUSE THAT
WOULD ALLOW PARLIAMENT OR
THE PROVINCES TO OVERRIDE A COURT'S
RUING ON CERTAIN PARTS
OF THE CHARTER INVOLVING
FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, LEGAL
RIGHTS, OR EQUALITY RIGHTS.

A highlighted text reads "the Act of a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter."

He continues THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE
IS ALSO KNOWN AS SECTION 33.
OR AS SOME LIKE TO CALL IT,
THE NUCLEAR OPTION.
THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S A BIG DEAL
TO USE THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE.
SINCE ITS CREATION, MANY PROVINCES
HAVE PROMISED TO TRIGGER IT
BUT BACKED DOWN OR FOUND IT
UNNECESSARY IN THE END.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
HAS NEVER USED IT.
ONTARIO ALMOST USED
THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE
IN 2018 AFTER THE FORD GOVERNMENT
PASSED A LAW TO REDUCE
THE SIZE OF TORONTO'S CITY COUNCIL.
A JUDGE RULED THAT THIS
VIOLATED CHARTER RIGHTS.
IN RESPONSE, THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVES
THREATENED TO INVOKE
THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE.

A Male Politician in his fifties says OUR FIRST ORDER
OF BUSINESS WILL BE TO REINTRODUCE
THE BETTER LOCAL GOVERNEMTN ACT
AND WITH IT INVOKE
SECTION 33 OF THE CONSTITUTION.

The Narrator says THEY EVENTUALLY
BACKED DOWN AFTER THE APPEALS
COURT GRANTES A STAY ON THE
ORIGINAL COURT DECISION.
QUEBEC IS THE ONLY PROVINCE
TO EFFECTIVELY USE THE CLAUSE
TO RE-ENEACT LEGISLATION
STRUCK DOWN BY THE COURT.
ANY SUSPENSION OF A COURT
RULING USING
THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE
IS SUBJECT TO REVIEW
AFTER FIVE YEARS.

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