notwithstanding clause

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notwithstanding clause (plural notwithstanding clauses)

  1. (Canada, law) Section 33 of Part I (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) of the Canadian Constitution Act (1982), which permits the creation of laws without regard for certain constitutional rights. Specifically, under section 33 the federal and provincial governments may enact laws "notwithstanding" section 2 (Fundamental Freedoms) and sections 7 through 15 (Legal and Equality Rights) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Such laws may be in effect for up to five years and are renewable.
    • 1989, Ross Howard, "Bouchard stands firm in defending Quebec on language move," The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 12 Jan, p. A4:
      Secretary of State Lucien Bouchard is standing firm on his defence of Quebec's use of the constitutional "notwithstanding" clause to safeguard the French language in that province.
    • 1990, Keith Henderson, "Creative ambiguity" (Review of A Canadian Challenge by Christian Dufour), The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 15 Dec, p. C24:
      Literary critic William Empson identified seven kinds of ambiguity. Had he looked further, he might have discerned an eighth—Canada's constitutional debate, complete with notwithstanding clauses, devolutions and non-derogations, asymmetries and distinct identities.
    • 1999, Kirk Makin, "Gay couples win rights," The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 21 May, p. A1:
      The struggle for gay rights took a historic leap forward yesterday with a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision. . . . Alberta Premier Ralph Klein suggested his province might use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to override any similar decision affecting Alberta.


  • The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2nd edition, Hurtig Publishers, Edmonton Canada, 1988. See "Constitution Act", pp. 499ff, and "Opting-Out," p. 1580.