OrilliaMatters received the following letter from Doug Lewis in response to a letter from his former law partner, Don Crawford, who criticized Lewis and MPP Doug Downey for not "standing up" against the use of the notwithstanding clause.
I enjoyed discussions with my former partner Don Crawford. Mind you, I always tried to keep the tone of the argument at a certain level and tried not to resort to allegations such as “partisan tendencies and bias”, preferring to base my argument on logic.
My approach to the “nothwithstanding clause” is simple. If it is there for elected representatives to use, why is this Ontario government not allowed to use it? Sure it hasn't been used often, but is that a reason not to use it at all?
My argument goes further. I submit that the people make the laws, either formal through legislation by their elected representatives, or informal, through longstanding tradition enforced by the courts.
In this case, Don Crawford criticizes his former associate Doug Downey, now an elected Member of the Parliament of Ontario, and myself, for letting our partisan tendencies and biases overrule our “commitment as lawyers to the established rule of law as determined by the courts”.
If the “notwithstanding clause” is an established law, why can't legislators use it?
Back to my final argument. Ultimately, legislatures get their power from the people. The people of Ontario will get to judge for themselves when the next election is called.
As for keeping the word “progressive” in the title of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, I would argue that we should keep it. It drives those to the left of Doug and I crazy as the “progressives” think they own all progressive thoughts.