Canadian Legal System Analysis

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The judicial branch of Canada has played one of the most unique roles in history due to their shaping of Canada. The decisions rendered by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (hereby referred to as the JCPC) and the Supreme Court of Canada impacted the values of Canadian citizens. These decisions were often contradictory and exposed the legal system as flawed, inflexible and stubborn. Throughout the decades the judiciary sought to maintain rules crafted by the Fathers of Confederation in 1867, rather than adopt more effective standards for judgement. The Canadian federal and provincial powers were broken into sections 91 and 92 in the British North America Act of 1867. Many interpreted the British North America Act as strongly…show more content…
The JCPC’s ruling in Board of Commerce, solidified the changing interpretation of Russell v. The Queen. In Board of Commerce, the federal government argued that although wartime had passed with the end of World War One in 1918, they needed to expand their powers and regulate financial markets. As a result, the government passed legislation to control distribution and sale. This legislation greatly impacted Canadian citizens economically and regulated numerous markets. In 1921, the JCPC examined this case with the federal government claiming emergency to avoid price gouging and monopolies. Lord Haldane (of the JCPC) clarified that usage of emergency powers by the federal government could only be used in common sense emergency situations, not general conditions. These emergency situations included war and famine. This was a stark contrast to Russell v. The Queen, which argued for broad federal powers and Local Prohibition which argued the federal government could enact POGG powers as long as it was an emergency. In this case, the JCPC did not feel as though economic regulation was sufficient an emergency to warrant the POGG clause and then defined emergency. Yet at the same time, the judicial branch did not view the contradiction in their rulings. In 1882, Canada was not experiencing a wartime or…show more content…
The Queen, the POGG provision was applied solely because Canadian survival was at risk. This proves that the rules were so vague and ever-changing over the application of POGG powers that even the Supreme Court of Canada and JCPC disagree on the usage and interpretation. When both branches of the judiciary cannot come to an agreement about a power that is expansive and impactful as POGG, it only makes the case stronger for abolition of the POGG clause. Instead the judicial branch continued to enforce laws through the perspective of 1867 onto the Canadian

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