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Ontario passes election spending bill with notwithstanding clause

Last Updated Jun 14, 2021 at 10:05 pm EDT

The Ontario government has passed a bill limiting third-party election advertising by employing a rarely used legislative power.

Bill 307 used the notwithstanding clause to reintroduce parts of a law struck down by a judge last week.

The clause allows legislatures to override portions of the charter for a five-year term.

A judge found it was unconstitutional for the government to double the restricted pre-election spending period for third-party advertisements to 12 months before an election call.

The Progressive Conservative government argued the extended restriction was necessary to protect elections from outside influence.

The bill passed this afternoon after a marathon weekend debate in which opposition politicians argued the government was trying to silence criticism ahead of next June’s provincial election.

Opposition politicians are accusing the government of prioritizing the election law debate over more important pandemic issues.

In an apparent stall tactic earlier today, the NDP introduced 134 unanimous consent motions.