Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Martin targets Harper in election debate

Paul's big new promise last night was to amend the Constitution to remove the "Notwithstanding" clause.

Now if you heard that you may be asking yourself, 'self' what does it take to amend the Canadian constitution?

Here is what the Wikipedia writes about amending the Canadian Constitution: "With the Constitution Act, 1982, amendments to the constitution must be done in accordance with Part V of the Constitution Act, 1982 which provides for five different amending formulas. Amendments can be brought forward under section 46(1) by any province or either level of the federal government. The general formula is set out in section 38(1), known as the "7/50 formula", requires: (a) assent from both the House of Commons and the Senate; (b) the approval of two-thirds of the provincial legislatures (at least seven provinces), representing at least 50% of the population (effectively, this would include at least Quebec or Ontario, as they are the most populous provinces). This formula specifically applies to amendments related to the proportionate representation in Parliament, powers, selection, and composition of the Senate, the Supreme Court, the addition of provinces or territories. The other amendment formulas are for exceptional cases as provided by in the Act:

* In the case of an amendment related to the Office of the Queen, the number of senators, the use of either official language (subject to section 43), or the composition of the Supreme Court, the amendment must be adopted by unanimous consent of all the provinces in accordance with section 41.
* However, in the case of an amendment related to provincial boundaries or the use of an official language within a province alone, the amendment must be passed by the legislatures affected by the amendment (section 43).
* In the case of an amendment that affects the federal government alone, the amendment does not need approval of the provinces (section 44). The same applies to amendments affecting the provincial government alone (section 45).
". In other words, it isn't happening, especially if no one is interesting in doing this. That quote is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_constitution#Amending_formula.

Why would Paul do this? Because he is desperate that's why. Nothing else has worked for him, so he chooses this issue that no one is interested in, in the hope no one will try to learn what it will take to amend a constitution. The 'notwithstanding' clause is there for a few reason, one is to correct an inbalance caused by a court decision. While it has not been used federally, it stands there poised to protect Canadians from a brain dead Supreme Court.

Nice try Paul. I hope you enjoy your retirement.

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