If leading by example is best practice, Doug Ford is a poor teacher.
Invoking the notwithstanding clause encourages tyrants and would-be tyrants across the country. Mr. Ford now joins Francois Legault, Danielle Smith, and Scott Moe in assaults against democracy.
Democracy is fragile and must be defended. It depends on a balance between the legislature, the bureaucracy, and the courts. Ford has disturbed that balance, using the notwithstanding clause to leverage power over the courts, and the Charter of Rights. He used the clause last year, refusing to accept a court decision that his election financing law violated the Charter’s freedom of expression and now he has tried to force his will and undermine the right to collective bargaining
Canadians died for on the battlefield to defend the rule of law and Canada is supporting Ukraine to defend the rule of law against another tyrant.
Mr. Rickford has told us that his government had no alternative and that the means—the notwithstanding clause and a legislated contract—justified the end of keeping students in the classroom.
Nothing could be less fair than to refuse to recognize the hard fought for right to collective bargaining or to refuse to honour the constitution. The alternative—continuing to bargain and compromise—were always on, and as Doug Ford has now clearly recognized, remain on, the table. A peaceful end—a fair contract—were always in sight.
Mr. Ford and Mr. Rickford forget that a minority of the people of Ontario returned their government to office—40 per cent. They have no mandate for radical, unconstitutional, undemocratic action.
It is good that Mr. Ford and Mr. Rickford have put their fingers in the air, listened to the polls and retreated. They know that the people are not happy. Both should also know that in the next election the electorate will not easily forget their assault on our freedoms.