The architecture of the Canadian Constitution has been dramatically altered, with the emergence of a third level of government, after the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that Indigenous people possess an existing right of self-government that is protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, according to legal experts.
The “bold” decision, a reference case brought by the Attorney General of Québec after it challenged the constitutionality of the federal government’s Indigenous child welfare law, marks the first time a self-government right has been clearly recognized by the courts as a right of all Indigenous peoples in Canada, added aboriginal and constitutional legal experts.
“The Court recognized that Indigenous peoples in Canada have a right to self-government over child and family services recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982,” said Claire Truesdale, a Vancouver lawyer with JFK Law Corporation who practices Aboriginal, environmental and constitutional law. “This is remarkable.”
A Quebec Superior Court ruling that struck down the provincial ban on homegrown cannabis may set the stage for yet another constitutional legal battle over the province’s proposed strict draft regulations on cannabis edibles, according to legal experts.
In a ruling that elated cannabis users but disheartened proponents of cooperative and flexible federalism, Quebec Superior Court Justice Manon Lavoie held that the two sections of the Quebec Cannabis Regulation Act that prohibited Quebec residents from growing or possessing cannabis plants at home for personal use were unconstitutional because it infringes upon the federal Parliament’s exclusive authority on criminal law.
In an extraordinary development at a time when the justice system in Quebec is grappling with the after-effects of the landmark Jordan ruling, Quebec Superior Court judges have launched a suit against the federal and provincial government over the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Quebec in some civil matters.
In a ruling hailed as a victory for federalism, the Quebec Court of Appeal struck down dozens of provisions of the federal Assisted Human Reproduction Act it deemed to be unconstitutional because it encroached on provincial jurisdictions.
“If we want to demonstrate that federalism is capable of working, then it must be capable of respecting the jurisdiction of provinces – this was a wise ruling,” remarked Jocelyne Provost, the Quebec Crown prosecutor who successfully argued the case before the appellate court.