Premier Ford and his cabinet are using the ‘notwithstanding clause’ to dismiss the rejection of his proposal to extend a 12-month cap on third-party political advertising.
The proposed legislation was turned down by Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Morgan. The law limits the amount of money that non-political parties such as unions and/or corporations can spend on ads promoting political agendas.
A restriction of the finance law was already in place but Ford’s government wants to extend it for another 12 months, while keeping the funding limit of $600,000 intact.
Fittingly, the next election is set to take place in roughly 12 months, on or before June 2, 2022.
When it was first introduced, Morgan denied the legislation and wrote that “there is no justification or explanation” as to why the extension was doubled.
He added the “lack of explanation has to be taken seriously,” according to The Canadian Press via CTV News Toronto.
Regardless, Premier Ford will invoke the notwithstanding clause, completely rendering Morgan’s decision useless.
As found in Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the notwithstanding clause exists “to prevent a person from bringing an action in court claiming that a law violates fundamental freedoms, legal rights, or equality rights and is therefore invalid.”
It’s only been used a total of 17 times between Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon. This makes it the first time in Ontario’s history that the clause will come into effect.
Attorney General Doug Downy argued that these measures were recommended so that the election process was free of any “outside interference.”
Opposing leaders have been vocal with their thoughts on the Premiers decision to force this legislation, especially after the tragic attack on a family in London.
Steven Del Duca, Liberal Party Leader, has been going in on Ford all day.
Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, Mike Schreiner, released a statement that also put heat on the Premier and his latest actions:
“Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause for a self-serving purpose is a blatant abuse of power. He’s throwing a constitutional fit because he lost in court — once again. And all for what? To silence his critics ahead of the 2022 election. That’s not how democracy works, Premier.”
Several Ontario residents have expressed frustration with Ford’s decision-making, especially during the last two-to-three months when COVID cases were ramping up.