Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-01 12:38 [p.16627]
Madam Speaker, that is a very good question. The three branches of power in Canada have equal footing with respect to the interpretation of the Constitution, despite what many people might think.
The legislative branch and the executive branch have every constitutional right to decide whether to move forward or act in accordance with the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada. Under the notwithstanding clause, section 33 of the Canadian Constitution, the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada may not be followed. The Jean Chrétien government was skilled at that. When that government disagreed with a Supreme Court ruling, it would bring back a bill and insert a preamble explaining that the Supreme Court had completely misunderstood the purpose of the bill.
For example, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban tobacco advertising at Montreal's Formula 1 because that infringed on private companies' freedom of expression. The Jean Chrétien government reintroduced the legislation saying that the Supreme Court of Canada had erred in its constitutional interpretation.#
Thus, the legislative branch has the right to ignore the Supreme Court of Canada. Competition between the three branches of power guarantees the constitutional supremacy of our great federation.
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