Judicial Branch In History

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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…
In 1925, the Supreme Court of Canada and the JCPC heard Toronto Electric Commissioners v. Snider, a case which showed the splinter between the two courts and a complete reversal by the judicial system. The central issue of the case was over the application of the POGG power, a decision in which the JCPC overturned the Supreme Court. The case itself, was launched over usage of the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act. The provincial government’s authority was thwarted by the Supreme Court, as a majority of the judges argued the Act was within the federal government’s jurisdiction over economic law and criminal law, as well as POGG powers. The JCPC disagreed with the majority on the Supreme Court and argued the federal government overreached with their application of the Act and the issue fell under provincial
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