Monday, January 09, 2006

Notwithstanding clause could be the clincher.

CBC: Martin says he would ban notwithstanding clause

Liberal Leader Paul Martin pledged he would seek a constitutional amendment to ensure the federal government would not be allowed to use the notwithstanding clause as the final English debate got underway in Montreal.

CTV: Party leaders stake out ground in debate

Martin revealed something new during the ethics debate. He said the Liberals would have the Constitution amended so that the federal government could not use the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights.

"Quite frankly ... the courts shouldn't be overturned by politicians," he said.

In return, Harper said a Conservative government would seek to entrench property rights protection in the Constitution.

On the issue of the not-withstanding clause, Harper said: "I think our Constitution strikes a balance between the British system, where there's just Parliament supremacy ... and on the other hand, the American system, where the courts are always supreme. I think our Charter provides a balance."

National Post: Martin targets Harper in election debate
Martin vows to end federal notwithstanding clause

The prime minister then dropped a constitutional bombshell, promising to introduce an amendment to remove Ottawa's right to use the notwithstanding clause, which provides the power to overrule court rulings on charter issues.
The clause has never been used by the federal government, but the Liberals have suggested the Tories would wield it on controversial social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion.
Globe & Mail: Martin wants to remove notwithstanding clause

The rising popularity of the Conservative party translated into attacks on Leader Stephen Harper during the opening of the second round of election debates and prompted a startling promise from Liberal Leader Paul Martin to remove the opt-out clause of the Charter of Rights.
Toronto Sun: Martin targets Harper.
PM vows to end federal notwithstanding clause

Text as above.


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