Column: the curse of the notwithstanding clause

Defeat, in politics, is almost always preceded by some sort of an overreaction.

You know: Paul Martin, desperate to avoid defeat in the 2006 federal election, declares that he will take away the federal government’s ability to use the notwithstanding clause.  Didn’t work. He lost.

The Grant Devine government in Saskatchewan used it in 1986, desperate to ensure some public sector workers were forced back to work.  His government was subsequently defeated, and a bunch of his MLAs and...

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