In all of the talk about the Ontario government using the Notwithstanding Clause, you hear things like, the “bill violated “unwritten constitutional principles” of democracy and rule of law” or as Andrea Horwath said, “Doug Ford is literally suspending the Charter of Rights for Ontario’s people” and other such nonsense.
“Unwritten constitutional principles”? Really? They had all the words in both official languages at their disposal but they thought they’d leave some out and we could all just surmise what they meant by not putting them in? The Constitution is a written document, and too often, judges have *read in* words that are not on that document.
Are there “unwritten constitutional principles*? It would seem to me that when judges impute meanings or infer things from the largely unambiguous language, what they are doing is pruning it, or growing it to fit their own vision of justice. They are not interpreting anything — they are inventing. Stretching. Creating. Imagining. Because they can. Because who is going to stop them…. except maybe a lawmaker, finally using the means afforded to him within the constitution to pass the legislation.
If you read the ruling, you know its specious. The law does not impede the charter rights of any citizen. It doesn’t suppress freedom of expression and it doesn’t prevent adequate representation — but even if you think it does — Ford will be judged in four years’ time by us and the law will be challengeable again in five. Big deal.