“Doug, it’s Don. I sure like your notwithstanding thing. Can you explain it to me? Could I use it to get rid of Mueller and Sessions?” “Uh, I’ll have my people call your people.” “Yeah, that might be best. We don’t want to get tangled up in all that legalize stuff. How about those Blue Jays, eh Doug? Ha Ha.”
We have one of those overriding notwithstanding clauses at our house. However, I know better than to invoke it. Usually, we just talk things out and I’m a good listener. But yesterday, in the spirit of Ontario and Canadian politics I did invoke the notwithoutstanding clause under Section 34 of the Yard Work Bill of Rights. William, herself said, as I was busy doing a Sudoku puzzle sitting in the Lazy Boy, isn’t it time you did your flower pots? Not without standing, I said.
Standing outside moments later I thought about how we used to stand for certain things that we now do without standing. This harkens back a few years, but Dad always stood behind his chair at the kitchen table until Mother sat. We boys did the same – even for my sister when we realized she was of the female persuasion. Back in the day, gentlemen stood at restaurants until the ladies were seated, but now we usually just slide into a booth so we can tuck into the all-you-can-eat salad and dinner rolls. Maybe if we dined out in restaurants that had tables and chairs I could try standing, maybe even holding my wife’s chair – but in those fancy places, the wait staff usually does that. In fact, they would probably hold my chair now – in deference to my age. It used to be only my wife who called me ‘Dearie’.
Back in the good old days we always said the “For the food we are about to receive . . .” thing but now we just tuck in. At social dinners, we used to stand for the saying of the Grace, but now we sit, some bow their heads, but many just stare off into the distance thinking they should invoke a notwithstanding clause to be rid of the religious trappings of eating a meal. And as an aside, we surely didn’t wear a ball cap to dinner.
During the playing and singing (if you know the words) of national anthems many people seem to invoke their notwithstanding rights. Standing at attention is foreign to most unless they have been in the service of their country. Holding a cell phone to your ear doesn’t count as a salute to the flag, but then how many care about a little decorum? If somebody nudges you and indicates you should remove a cap or stand up, just say you are invoking your notwithstanding clause – like those footballers in the USA who take a knee.
Surely things are changing – I almost said progressing, but that will be an opinion of history. We are electing bullies and oligarchs and tearing down statues of past leaders. We care not for precedent in law or in many cases even the laws of the land. Doug Ford will try to bully Toronto and eventually all of us because we gave him the reins of power in Ontario. Notwithstanding that many of us did not vote for him. Or so we say now. Wednesday’s ‘free’ vote will tell us where we stand.