June 24, 2011 - The Foundation

The Foundation
When Canada was instituted as a colony of Britain a constitution was written to clarify and establish the relationship between these entities. This constitution was initially called the British North American Act of 1867, also known as the
Constitution Act of 1867

Within this act, and supported as follows by a Supreme Court of Canada decision, we find that the exclusive responsibilities and limitations of the federal and provincial governments are clearly and irrevocably written in sections 91 and 92 respectively:

"The Parliament of Canada and the Legislatures of the several Provinces ... can exercise only the legislative powers respectively given to them by sections 91 and 92 of the Act, and these powers must be found in either of these sections."

That same Supreme Court decision stated it is not within the power of either branch to amend or alter their powers:

"Neither legislative bodies, federal or provincial, possess any portion of the powers respectively vested in the other and they cannot receive it by delegation. In that connection the word "exclusively" used both in section 91 and in section 92 indicates a settled line of demarcation and it does not belong to either Parliament, or the Legislatures,"

In section 91(27) of the BNA Act we find that the federal government is given power in matters of criminal law:

“27. The Criminal Law, except the Constitution of Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction, but including the Procedure in Criminal Matters.”

In section 92(13) of that Act we find that the provinces were given power in matters of civil law:

“13. Property and Civil Rights in the Province.”

This is significant in that the courts (the lower courts by my experience) have stated that Highway Traffic Act offences are Quasi-Criminal in nature. Well, if that is true the province does not have jurisdiction. Case dismissed!

What if they concede that the Highway Traffic Act is civil in nature? That's great news. Check back here for that soon...

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