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Ford v. Quebec, [1988] 2 SCR 712


*Challenge to QC Charter of French Language requiring French-only signs.


Whether Quebec’s standard, omnibus use of override clause is valid
**Clause: “Operate notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 and 7 to 15”


S. 33 cannot be used retroactively. If it is used, it must be spelled out clearly what sections will be overwritten.


*Challenger claimed that in order to be valid, declaration pursuant to s.33 must specify a particular provision within those sections intending to be overridden
**QCCA agreed and explained that specificity needs to be there for citizens to understand what exactly is being overridden
*SCC not interested in scrutinizing legislature’s decision
*Requirement of form only - no warrant for imposing grounds for substantive review of legislative policy
**Legislature is not in a position to guess which rights might be successfully challenged because an override was included

*S. 33 cannot be used retroactively


Use of standard override provision is valid. Challenge dismissed.


*Court takes itself out of the equation and confirms the strongest reading of parliamentary supremacy that comes out of the opt-out clause
*Very formal analysis, not interested in substantial review
*S.33 is a unique case – court did have regard to original intent behind s.33 and the negotiation process
*The outrage was so large (because majority did not identify with the purpose of the override) that now it’s seen as political taboo to use the clause
*Also, now the burden and political cost of using s.33 is all on the legislature

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