This article is exclusively devoted to enquiring into the purpose of equality rights guaranteed by sections 15 and 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By first retracing the concept of equality from both a legal and philosophical perspective, the author comes to the conclusion that the juxtaposition of values of human dignity and social justice has brought on the most powerful change in the concept of equality. By invoking these two values in unison, authoritative writings, legislators and the courts have on the one hand, come to recognize the insufficiency of formal legal equality and thereby integrate the principle of substantial equality and have, on the other, conceived equality not merely with regard to individuals alone, but also by taking into account groups that society tends to neglect or dominate due to the existence of tenacious prejudices.
The author then specifically examines the Canadian legal and socioeconomic context in search of the purpose of equality rights enshrined in the Charter of rights and shows that the addition of section 28 and the enumeration of grounds of discrimination to equality rights in s.s. 15(1) has as its purpose to provide additional protection to women and members of certain underprivileged groups. This special protection is indicative, in the author's view, of a clear constitutional choice in favour of a substantial conception of equality taking into account the collective dimension of discrimination.
The 1987 Constitutional Accord between the prime minister and the ten provincial premiers has caused discontent amongst the Northwest Territories and Yukon governments. They object to various elements in the Accord which do not confer on them rights identical to those of the provinces, to other elements which are likely to affect their future political evolution and to the fact that the Accord was concluded without their participation. By challenging the Accord before the courts, they have drawn national attention to their status within Confederation.
Furthermore, some progress in the status of the Territories was made by the signing of a boundary and constitutional agreement by the Constitutional Assembly of the Western Region and that of Nunavut in Iqaluit on January 15, 1987 for purposes of dividing the Northwest territories. Although the agreement could not be ratified by referendum, it contains the basic principles for guiding the drafting of respective constitutions for the two new entities that will be created.
Within the framework of recent events, the author first presents the main stages in the evolution of governmental organization in the Territories and then goes on to analyse their present legal status. This study makes it possible to see if recent evolution will cause the territorial governments increasingly to resemble provincial governments. Nonetheless, in many ways they still remain in a state of dependency vis-à-vis federal authorities. In conclusion, the author observes that the evolution of the Territories with regard to legislative and executive powers and bodies does not mean that they will necessarily obtain provincial status. Their accession to greater political autonomy could possibly become a reality by the implementation of original solutions, distinct from those of southern Canada and better adapted to the specific needs of the North and its important native population.
Guy Tremblay and Sylvain Bellavance
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the enactment of a Bill of Rights in the United Kingdom is probable but that the constitutional entrenchment of the rights involved is not contemplated. It is submitted that the model proposed for the United Kingdom is very appropriate in a democratic society. The bills which are analysed incorporate international standards in British law, they operate upon Acts of Parliament and they preserve a normal margin of discretion for the political branches of the State. The authors conclude that in Canada the protection of fundamental rights has been more technicalized and that we should pause and reevaluate our approach in this respect. In particular, the repeal of section 33 of the Canadian Charter — which permits express exceptions to certain rights — would be a step in the wrong direction.
Le locus standi dans les actions d'intérêt public et la relator action : l'empire de la common law en droit québécois
The duality of the sources of Quebec law poses special problems for the jurist who must determine the juridical norm applicable to a given situation. He must work within the appropriate body of norms and, at the same time, propose a solution which is acceptable in practice. The authority of common law in Quebec extends to limits which are not well-established and not likely soon to be clarified.
Starting from the vexed question of standing in public interest actions, the author elaborates on the applicability of common law with respect to the Quebec Code of Civil Procedure. The article first discusses briefly the principles of common law which have traditionally governed standing in public interest actions, together with the corresponding legislative framework established in Quebec. Emphasis is given to the rights and duties of the Attorney General, especially in the area of relator proceedings. The author questions the soundness of interpreting the Code of Civil Procedure as if it were an ordinary statute in a common law system. Bearing in mind its underlying purpose, he proposes a protectionist interpretation of the Code of Civil Procedure, less susceptible to the infiltration of common law.
Christian Brunelle and Henri Brun
This article seeks to verify the commonly formulated assertion to the effect that the citizen, the resident and the foreigner have in Canada substantially the same rights. Doing so, it goes through the constitutional and ordinary law of the land in order that the consequences of each of the three status be identified and assessed.
Of course there are differences. The Constitution, for instance, gives to the citizen only the right to enter and stay in Canada. A distinction which goes to the very reason of the existence of citizenship in a sovereign State. The ordinary law, on the other hand, for practical and obvious reasons, reserves certain social rights for residents only.
But on the whole the effective state of the law, constitutional, federal and provincial (in Québec), does not contradict the above mentioned statement. The exceptions that exist do not invalidate it.
Bien que le Canada affiche depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale une feuille de route généralement enviable en ce qui regarde l'accueil des réfugiés, l'existence d'une procédure formelle de revendication du statut de réfugié en sol canadien remonte seulement à la mise en oeuvre de la Loi sur l'immigration de 1976, en 1978. Le nombre de personnes qui se sont prévalues de ce système a toutefois excédé grandement ce qui avait été prévu par les fonctionnaires du Ministère de l'immigration. Ces derniers, en conséquence, insistent aujourd'hui pour que la Loi soit amendée de façon à réduire drastiquement l'accès à la revendication du statut de réfugié sur le territoire.
Les amendements que proposent les projets de lois C-55 et C-84 ne sont pas sans rapport avec ce qui s'est fait récemment dans d'autres pays industrialisés, spécialement en Europe de l'ouest, où de nombreux obstacles à l'entrée des réfugiés ont été dressés. Mais quand on sait que les réfugiés sont au Canada protégés par la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, il ne fait pas de doute que les nombreuses dispositions des projets de lois C-55 et C-84 qui semblent porter atteinte à des droits de la Charte vont faire l'objet de contestations judiciaires qui, il faut l'espérer, auront pour vertu de définir les obligations internationales du Canada à l'égard des réfugiés.
Réforme des tribunaux administratifs et contrôle judiciaire: les inconsistances et les hésitations du Rapport Ouellette
Are privative clauses useless in contemporaneous Administrative Law ? That is what the Report of Groupe de travail sur les tribunaux administratifs presided by professor Yves Ouellette appears to assume when it recommends their abolishment to Quebec legislators. Privative clauses are statutory protection given to administrative tribunals against any judicial interference, except in the cases of want or excess of juridiction. Since the Alliance case in 1953 it has been held that superior courts cannot be deprived of their supervisory jurisdiction on jurisdictional errors of law or fact ; a full privative clause would even be unconstitutional since Crevier in 1982.
More recently, in New Brunswick Liquor Corporation and in Control Data, the Supreme Court specified that jurisdictional control extends to pattently unreasonable intrajurisdictional errors of law or fact.
Nevertheless, the Superior Court cannot get involved in the review of any other question of law or fact in the presence of a privative clause. That is the very reason of the enactment of such a clause as the Supreme Court recalls in Control Data. Otherwise the control of the Superior Court extends to all aspects of legality.
The Ouellette Report favours on the one hand, the autonomy of Administrative Tribunals; and on the other, it recommends a more extensive control by the Courts... Not easy to reconcile !
The author provides a critical analysis of the recent Supreme Court judgment in the Morgentaler case. Focussing on an examination of the main question addressed to the Court, that is the compliance of Criminal Code Section 251 with the Canadian Charter, he examines the various motives that led the judges to declare Section 251 unconstitutional. While underlining various weaknesses in the judges' reasoning, he criticizes Section 7 as being too wide and a source of future confusion.
Christopher B. Gray
Cette note a pour objet l'institution juridique de ce qu'on appelle en droit criminel les infractions incluses. La jurisprudence nous enseigne que la « substance de l'infraction », au sens du par. 510(1) du Code criminel, dépend de l'acteur. Mais les concepts juridiques ne nous disent pas clairement quel est la nature de ce lien entre l'acteur et la substance des infractions.
Et ce principe, par ailleurs n'est pas absolu. En revanche, le fait qu'existe une ou des infractions incluses est d'une importance énorme pour l'acteur. Comme ces différentes données semblent avoir été perdues de vue, il devient impérieux que la jurisprudence en tienne compte.
The case of Matamajaw Salmon Club v. Duchaine1 certainly remains one of the notorioustly outstanding decisions on a civil law issue handed down by the Privy Council. For many, the decision seems difficult to reconciliate with the civil law concept of ownership. None the less, most authors and judges attempt to minimize the incoherency. Here the decision is first presented and then the ration decidendi is analysed while its impact on the concept of property is considered.
Third-party leasing is now part and parcel of new contractual forms that have appeared with the development of commerce. Moreover, progress in new technologies has given birth to computer contracts. In the same way that the originality of third-party leasing has stimulated thinking on the legal nature of this operation in Civil law, the technical complexity of considerations due under computer contracts has brought about the adoption of clauses specifically adapted to this type of covenant. Since the third-party lease is used to finance the acquisition of computer equipment, the ensuing note attempts to analyse the legal consequences of two converging enigmas.
Briefly stated, third-party computer leasing is characterized by the distinction between hardware and software (of which the latter does not in principle lend itself to leasing operations), the particular importance of obligations on guarantees by the supplier with regard to the user, and to the presumption of technical ignorance on the part of the user. The second of these characteristics is normal in third-party leases and the last occurs frequently in computer contracts.
À la recherche du temps perdu: la Cour suprême et l'interprétation des droits linguistiques constitutionnels dans les années 80
During the seventies and early eighties, the Supreme Court adopted a broad, purposive and organic approach to the interpretation of language rights in the Constitution. In 1986, however, the Court implicitely repudiated this approach and returned to a narrow, literal and static interpretation of these rights, reminiscent ofthat espoused by the Privy Council during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The author attacks the policy considerations which underlie this recent change in the Court's approach. He argues that besides impeding further enhancement of bilingualism, the change poses a threat to all minority rights and indeed to the stability of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In his view, the terms of the Meech Lake Accord are too ambiguous to have much effect on the Supreme Court's future interpretation of the Constitution and should therefore be altered to ensure that the Court is induced to adopt a more generous approach when interpreting French language rights.
Tous droits réservés © Faculté de droit de l’Université Laval, 1988