Lisa MacLeod was speaking at an Ottawa Board of Trade event on September 11, the morning after Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he'd invoke the constitution's notwithstanding clause, something never before done in the province, in order to override a court ruling.
"What is very concerning moving forward is if our decisions in changing the law to make this province better.is being shot down by the courts", Ford said Monday.
With Ontario Premier Doug Ford saying he will be using the notwithstanding clause to force cuts to Toronto's city council despite a scathing court ruling that said it violated the Charter, and amid Alberta's suggestion that it's an option for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to revive the now stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, here's an explainer on the often-controversial clause.
She said Ford's assertion that the courts are interfering with a democratically elected government goes too far, since democracy depends on the checks and balances provided by an independent judiciary.
Former Ontario premier Bob Rae has compared that to living in an "elected dictatorship".
"You're not the king of Ontario, Mr. Ford", she said. He added he had a similar banner commissioned for the late Rob Ford.More news: IPhone Xs Max: 5 Reasons Why to Go to the Max
"The premier rammed through undemocratic changes to Toronto's elections - changes that he didn't have the guts to mention at all during the election campaign - (and) a judge ruled that that wasn't just reckless and irresponsible, but a violation of people's basic rights", she said in the legislature.
The council-cutting bill and the notwithstanding clause that will ensure its implementation were introduced by Ford's government Wednesday afternoon following a commotion from the Opposition benches.
Mulroney's daughter, Caroline Mulroney, is Ontario's attorney general. The government is still new and legislators won't want to jeopardize their futures by publicly opposing their leader so early on, she said.
It was a sentiment echoed by Nepean MPP and social services minister Lisa MacLeod on Twitter Tuesday morning.
And he said his Progressive Conservative government - which faces other legal challenges, including one over its move to scrap a modernized sex-ed curriculum - would be prepared to use the notwithstanding clause again in the future.
Plus, using terminology like the "notwithstanding clause" only adds fuel to a fire that is not a burning issue for most Ontarians. But I've had numerous calls from Ottawa.More news: Elon Musk’s SpaceX signs up first passenger for round-the-moon trip
"Second to Toronto, the number one amount of calls.is from the Ottawa and Ottawa region talking about that but, for now, we're going to leave well enough alone", he said.
But MacLeod, who is the MPP for Nepean-Carleton in Ottawa's southwest, emphasized the government wasn't about to do that.
Ford has said he is continuing with the legislation because city council at its current size is "dysfunctional" and shrinking would save $25 million per term.
"The Ford government's first action when it stepped into office was to gut a program created to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, without offering any immediate alternative", said Charles Hatt, Ecojustice lawyer, in a statement.
"This premier has served notice that he doesn't respect other peoples' rights and, despite his token protestations to the contrary, he doesn't respect the role of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing them."
Much of her speech was devoted to the welfare of citizens.More news: Former Patriots among 2019 HOF nominees
Despite the complications, however, Macfarlane said there would be value in revisiting the issue.