Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), 1998 ABCA 305

JudgeFraser, C.J.A., Hetherington, Irving, Conrad and Berger, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Alberta)
Case DateNovember 05, 1997
Citations1998 ABCA 305;(1998), 219 A.R. 201 (CA)

Ref. Re Firearms Act (1998), 219 A.R. 201 (CA);

   179 W.A.C. 201

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [1998] A.R. TBEd. OC.029

In The Matter Of Section 27(1) of the Judicature Act, R.S.A. 1980, Chapter J-1

And In The Matter Of a Reference by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to the Court of Appeal of Alberta for hearing and consideration of the questions set out in order in council 461/96 respecting the Firearms Act, S.C. 1995, Chapter 39

(9603-0497-AC; 1998 ABCA 305)

Indexed As: Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.)

Alberta Court of Appeal

Fraser, C.J.A., Hetherington, Irving, Conrad and Berger, JJ.A.

September 29, 1998.

Summary:

The Federal Government introduced the Firearms Act. The Act, inter alia, required that a licence be secured to acquire or possess firearms and that each firearm be registered. Alberta initiated a reference challenging the licensing and registration provisions of the Firearms Act and related enforcement provisions of the Criminal Code. The questions referred to the court were:

2(1) Do the licensing provisions, insofar as they relate to an ordinary firearm, constitute an infringement of the jurisdiction of the Legislature of Alberta with respect to the regulation of property and civil rights pursuant to s. 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867?

2(2) If the answer to the question posed in subsection (1) is "yes", are the licensing provisions ultra vires the Parliament of Canada insofar as they regulate the possession or ownership of an ordinary firearm?

3(1) Do the registration provisions, as they relate to an ordinary firearm, constitute an infringement of the jurisdiction of the Legislature of Alberta with respect to the regulation of property and civil rights pursuant to s. 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867?

3(2) If the answer to the question posed in subsection (1) is "yes", are the registration provisions ultra vires the Parliament of Canada insofar as they require registration of an ordinary firearm?

The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., and Hetherington, J.A. (in separate decisions), answered yes to questions 2(1) and 3(1), but answered no to questions 2(2) and 3(2). Berger, J.A., answered no to questions 2(2) and 3(2) and held that it was unnecessary to answer questions 2(1) and 3(1). Conrad, J.A. (Irving, J.A., concurring), in dissent, answered yes to all four questions.

Civil Rights - Topic 8467.1

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Interpretation - Relationship between Charter rights and other constitutional provisions - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., stated that "[t]here is no reason to exclude the Charter, a part of the Canadian Constitution -- the supreme law of the land -- from an interpretation of the division of powers provision in the Constitution Act, 1867. Of course, Charter provisions do not trump other provisions of the Constitution Act. However, where possible, these provisions should be harmoniously applied and interpreted ..." - See paragraph 35.

Constitutional Law - Topic 1003

Interpretation of Constitution Act - General principles - Division of legislative powers -The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Berger, J.A., set out the following principles of constitutional interpretation: 1) There is a legal presumption that the legislature intends to confine itself to matters within its competence; 2) One must first consider the category of legislative powers listed in the Constitution Act, 1867 to ascertain whether the impugned provisions fall within one or more of the legislature's powers; 3) If the provisions are in pith and substance within the parameters of any such power they are constitutionally valid; 4) "Pith and substance" means "dominant purpose" or "true character", the relevant inquiry is "what is the dominant or most important characteristic of the challenged law?"; 5) The impugned provisions are valid if they are really aimed at promoting the dominant purpose of the statute; 6) A legislative provision's validity must be tested against the specific characteristic of the head of power under which it is proposed to justify it - See paragraph 383.

Constitutional Law - Topic 1003

Interpretation of Constitution Act - General principles - Division of legislative powers -[See Civil Rights - Topic 8467.1 ].

Constitutional Law - Topic 1761

Extent of powers conferred - Necessarily incidental doctrine - General - The Federal Government introduced the Firearms Act, which, inter alia, required licensing and registration of firearms - Alberta et al. challenged the licensing and registration provisions of the Act, claiming that they infringed on the provincial powers of property and civil rights (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 92(13)) - Alberta et al. argued that when considering whether the impugned provisions were sufficiently integrated into the overall legislative scheme, the court should use a s. 1 Charter analysis (i.e., R. v. Oakes (S.C.C.)) in assessing whether the efficacy of the legislation warranted the level of intrusion into the provincial sphere - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., rejected the argument - See paragraphs 323 to 327.

Constitutional Law - Topic 2701

Determination of validity of statutes or acts - Colourability - The Federal Government introduced the Firearms Act, which, inter alia, required licensing and registration of firearms - Alberta et al. challenged the licensing and registration provisions of the Act, claiming that they infringed on the provincial powers of property and civil rights (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 92(13)) - Alberta et al. invoked the "colourability" doctrine - The Federal Government argued that it could not have acted colourably because there was no ulterior motive for the legislation - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., held that an ulterior motive was not a prerequisite to a finding of colourability - Colourability included overbreadth of legislation, i.e., when one level of government invalidly entered into the other's domain - See paragraphs 126 to 129.

Constitutional Law - Topic 4604

Peace, order and good government - General principles - Scope of power - The Federal Government (Canada) introduced the Firearms Act, which, inter alia, required licensing and registration of firearms - Alberta et al. challenged the licensing and registration provisions of the Act, claiming that they infringed on provincial jurisdiction - Canada sought to uphold the provisions under, inter alia, the peace, order and good government power (s. 91) -The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., stated, without determining the issue, that she would have difficulty upholding the impugned legislation on that basis - Fraser, C.J.A., stated "if Parliament were to be given control over ordinary firearms on this ground, it would preclude the provinces' ability to legislate even with respect to other matters affecting licensing and registration of ordinary firearms" - See paragraph 335.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6450

Federal jurisdiction (s. 91) - Criminal law -Elements of a criminal law statute - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., stated that "to fall within Parliament's criminal law power, challenged legislation must meet three requirements: it must include a prohibition; it must be backed by a penalty; and it must be directed at a 'legitimate public purpose' such as public peace, order, security or health. Any of these will provide the necessary foundation for the exercise of the federal criminal law power since Parliament may use the criminal law power to safeguard any legitimate public interest which is threatened. ... However, ... colourable attempts to invade or take over areas of provincial jurisdiction under the guise of the federal criminal law power will be ultra vires Parliament." - See paragraph 236 - Also see paragraph 387, per Berger, J.A., and paragraph 537, per Conrad, J.A. (Irving, J.A., concurring).

Constitutional Law - Topic 6501

Federal jurisdiction (s. 91) - Criminal law -Firearms - The Federal Government introduced the Firearms Act, which, inter alia, required licensing and registration of firearms - Alberta et al. challenged the licensing and registration provisions of the Act, claiming that they infringed on the provincial powers of property and civil rights (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 92(13)) - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., and Hetherington, J.A., held that the impugned provisions intruded on the provincial property and civil rights powers, but were intra vires Parliament under the Federal criminal law power (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 91(27)) - See paragraphs 1 to 376 - Berger, J.A., held that the impugned provisions were within the Federal criminal law power and held that any impact on property and civil rights was constitutionally moot where the dominant purpose of the legislation was within the criminal law ambit - See paragraphs 377 to 424.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6501

Federal jurisdiction (s. 91) - Criminal law -Firearms - The Federal Government introduced the Firearms Act, which, inter alia, required licensing and registration of firearms - Alberta et al. challenged the licensing and registration provisions of the Act, claiming that they infringed on the provincial powers of property and civil rights (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 92(13)) - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., held that the pith and substance of the impugned legislation was the protection of public safety from the misuse of ordinary firearms, which fell within the criminal law power - Alternatively, she held that if the impugned provisions were not in pith and substance within the criminal law power, the provisions were sufficiently integrated into Parliament's gun control scheme to survive constitutional scrutiny - Further, if only the licensing provisions were in pith and substance found to be criminal law, the registration provisions remained constitutionally valid by reason of their integration into the licensing scheme - See paragraphs 1 to 337.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6501

Federal jurisdiction (s. 91) - Criminal law -Firearms - The Federal Government introduced the Firearms Act, which, inter alia, required licensing and registration of firearms - Alberta et al. challenged the licensing and registration provisions of the Act, claiming that they infringed on the provincial powers of property and civil rights (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 92(13)) - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Berger, J.A., held that the dominant purpose of the impugned legislation was to prevent the misuse of firearms by discouraging possession by those unfit to have such weapons - This was constitutionally valid criminal law - He stated that once the dominant feature of the legislation was determined to be in the federal sphere any impact on property and civil rights was constitutionally moot where there was a high degree of integration between the scheme and those impinging portions of the scheme which were aimed at promoting the dominant purpose of the statute - Further, the double aspect doctrine would not have prohibited the legislation - See paragraphs 377 to 424.

Courts - Topic 5

Stare decisis - Authority of judicial decisions - General principles - Authority and use of precedents - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., stated that "precedents, while always helpful, must be read in the context of the times in which they were passed and with due regard to the effect of changing social, cultural and criminal realities." - See paragraph 244.

Statutes - Topic 526

Interpretation - General principles - Consistency with comity of nations or international law - The Alberta Court of Appeal, per Fraser, C.J.A., stated that "where legislation is open to two interpretations, one of which is more consistent with international human rights norms, then that interpretation is to be preferred" -See paragraph 207.

Cases Noticed:

Reference Re Goods and Services Tax, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 445; 138 N.R. 247; 127 A.R. 161; 20 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 10].

Agricultural Products Marketing Act, R.S.C. 1970, Re, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 1198; 19 N.R. 361; 84 D.L.R.(3d) 257, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society (No. 2), [1992] 2 S.C.R. 606; 139 N.R. 241; 114 N.S.R.(2d) 91; 313 A.P.R. 91, refd to. [para. 11].

R. v. Hydro-Québec, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 213; 217 N.R. 241, consd. [paras. 15, 345, 382, 530].

RJR-MacDonald Inc. et Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Canada (Procureur général), [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199; 187 N.R. 1; 127 D.L.R.(4th) 1, consd. [paras. 15, 345, 382, 530].

Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act, 1980, Re: Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. et al. v. Newfoundland (Attorney General) et al., [1984] 1 S.C.R. 297; 53 N.R. 268; 47 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 125; 139 A.P.R. 125; 8 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 20].

Reference Re Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act - see Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act, 1980, Re.

City National Leasing Ltd. v. General Motors of Canada Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 641; 93 N.R. 326; 32 O.A.C. 332, refd to. [paras. 25, 606].

Hodge v. R. (1883), 9 App. Cas. 117 (P.C.), refd to. [paras. 26, 413].

Rio Hotel Ltd. v. Liquor Licensing Board (N.B.), New Brunswick (Attorney General) and Saskatchewan (Attorney General), [1987] 2 S.C.R. 59; 77 N.R. 104; 81 N.B.R.(2d) 328; 205 A.P.R. 328, refd to. [para. 26].

Multiple Access Ltd. v. McCutcheon et al., [1982] 2 S.C.R. 161; 44 N.R. 181; 138 D.L.R.(3d) 1; 18 B.L.R. 138, refd to. [para. 26].

Friends of the Oldman River Society v. Canada (Minister of Transport and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 3; 132 N.R. 321; [1992] 2 W.W.R. 193; 88 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Felawka, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 199; 159 N.R. 50; 33 B.C.A.C. 241; 54 W.A.C. 241; 85 C.C.C.(3d) 248, refd to. [paras. 28, 413, 450].

A.M. v. Ryan, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 157; 207 N.R. 81; 85 B.C.A.C. 81; 138 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Lavallee, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 852; 108 N.R. 321; 67 Man.R.(2d) 1; 55 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 76 C.R.(3d) 329; [1990] 4 W.W.R. 1, refd to. [para. 35].

Norberg v. Wynrib, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 226; 138 N.R. 81; 9 B.C.A.C. 1; 19 W.A.C. 1; 92 D.L.R.(4th) 449; [1992] 4 W.W.R. 577; 12 C.C.L.T.(2d) 1; 68 B.C.L.R.(2d) 29, refd to. [para. 35].

Reference Re Secession of Quebec (1998), 228 N.R. 203; 161 D.L.R.(4th) 385 (S.C.C.), refd to. [paras. 35, 452].

McNeil v. Nova Scotia Board of Censors, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 662; 19 N.R. 570; 25 N.S.R.(2d) 128; 36 A.P.R. 128; 84 D.L.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Wholesale Travel Group Inc. and Chedore, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 154; 130 N.R. 1; 49 O.A.C. 161; 67 C.C.C.(3d) 193; 8 C.R.(4th) 145; 84 D.L.R.(4th) 161, refd to. [para. 85].

R. v. Boles, Gani and Hendrickson (1984), 57 A.R. 232 (C.A.), leave to appeal dismissed (1985), 61 A.R. 159 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 118].

R. v. Martin (A.), [1997] 6 W.W.R. 62; 152 Sask.R. 164; 140 W.A.C. 164 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 118].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1993] 3 S.C.R. 463; 157 N.R. 97; 125 N.S.R.(2d) 81; 349 A.P.R. 81, refd to. [paras. 123, 348, 390, 519].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 37 Alta. L.R.(2d) 97; 85 C.L.L.C. 14,023; 13 C.R.R. 64, refd to. [paras. 135, 389].

Montreal Trust Co. v. Abitibi Power and Paper Co., [1943] A.C. 536 (Ont. P.C.), refd to. [para. 140].

Anti-Inflation Act, Re, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 373; 9 N.R. 541, refd to. [para. 140].

R. v. Northcott, [1980] 5 W.W.R. 38 (B.C. Prov. Ct.), refd to. [paras. 143, 397].

Motiuk v. R. (1981), 60 C.C.C.(2d) 161 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 143].

Switzman v. Elbling, [1957] S.C.R. 285, refd to. [para. 144].

Johnson v. Alberta (Attorney General), [1954] S.C.R. 127, refd to. [para. 144].

Morgentaler v. New Brunswick (Attorney General) et al. (1994), 152 N.B.R.(2d) 200; 390 A.P.R. 200; 117 D.L.R.(4th) 753 (Q.B.), affd. (1995), 156 N.B.R.(2d) 205; 401 A.P.R. 205; 121 D.L.R.(4th) 431 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused (1995), 193 N.R. 397; 164 N.B.R.(2d) 320; 421 A.P.R. 320; 124 D.L.R.(4th) vi (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 144].

R. v. Brady (J.R.) (1998), 209 A.R. 321; 160 W.A.C. 321; 121 C.C.C.(3d) 504 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 157].

Proprietary Articles Trade Association v. Canada (Attorney General), [1931] A.C. 310 (P.C.), refd to. [paras. 176, 386].

R. v. Schwartz, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 443; 88 N.R. 90; 56 Man.R.(2d) 92; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 97; [1989] 1 W.W.R. 289; 66 C.R.(3d) 251; 55 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [paras. 179, 391].

Martinoff v. Dawson (1990), 57 C.C.C.(3d) 482 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 203, 396].

Salomon v. Commissioners of Customs and Excise, [1966] 3 All E.R. 871 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 207].

R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697; 117 N.R. 1; 114 A.R. 81; 1 C.R.(4th) 129; 77 Alta. L.R.(2d) 193; [1991] 2 W.W.R. 1; 61 C.C.C.(3d) 1; 3 C.R.R.(2d) 193, refd to. [para. 207].

Lord's Day Alliance of Canada v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1959] 3 S.C.R. 497, refd to. [para. 223].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1976] 1 S.C.R. 616; 4 N.R. 277, refd to. [para. 223].

R. v. Furtney et al., [1991] 3 S.C.R. 89; 129 N.R. 241; 51 O.A.C. 299, refd to. [paras. 223, 559].

Scowby et al. v. Glendinning et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 226; 70 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 236].

O'Grady v. Sparling, [1960] S.C.R. 804, refd to. [para. 238].

R. v. Wetmore, Kripps Pharmacy Ltd. and Kripps and Attorneys General of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, [1983] 2 S.C.R. 284; 49 N.R. 286, refd to. [para. 240].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General), [1896] A.C. 348 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 242].

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. of Canada v. R., [1956] S.C.R. 303, refd to. [paras. 245, 400, 573].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Metcalf; Canada (Attorney General) v. Pattison, [1981] 4 W.W.R. 611; 30 A.R. 83; 123 D.L.R.(3d) 111 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 246, 394, 574].

R. v. Swain, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 933; 125 N.R. 1; 47 O.A.C. 81; 63 C.C.C.(3d) 481; 5 C.R.(4th) 253, refd to. [paras. 272, 400, 576].

Reference Re Validity of Section 5(a) of Dairy Industry Act (Margarine Case), [1949] S.C.R. 1; [1949] 1 D.L.R. 433, affd. [1950] 4 D.L.R. 689; [1951] A.C. 179 (P.C.), refd to. [paras. 274, 348, 387, 529].

Margarine Reference - see Reference Re Validity of Section 5(a) of Dairy Industry Act (Margarine Case).

R. v. Zelensky, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 940; 21 N.R. 372, refd to. [paras. 274, 386].

R. v. Finlay, [1993] 3 S.C.R. 103; 156 N.R. 374; 113 Sask.R. 241; 52 W.A.C. 241; 105 D.L.R.(4th) 699; [1993] 7 W.W.R. 513; 83 C.C.C.(3d) 513; 23 C.R.(4th) 321; 17 C.R.R.(2d) 46, refd to. [para. 277].

Knox Contracting Ltd. and Knox v. Canada and Minister of National Revenue et al., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 338; 110 N.R. 171; 106 N.B.R.(2d) 408; 265 A.P.R. 408, refd to. [para. 278].

R. v. Fowler, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 213; 32 N.R. 230, refd to. [para. 289].

Saumur v. Quebec, [1953] 2 S.C.R. 299, refd to. [para. 294].

R. v. Cosman's Furniture (1972) Ltd. (1976), 32 C.C.C.(2d) 345 (Man. C.A.), refd to. [para. 300].

Standard Sausage Co. v. Lee, [1933] 4 D.L.R. 501 (B.C.C.A.), addendum [1934] 1 D.L.R. 706, refd to. [para. 300].

Hills v. Canada (Attorney General), [1988] 1 S.C.R. 513; 84 N.R. 86; 48 D.L.R.(4th) 193; 88 C.L.L.C. 14,011, refd to. [para. 303].

R. v. Chiasson (1982), 39 N.B.R.(2d) 631; 103 A.P.R. 631; 66 C.C.C.(2d) 195; 135 D.L.R.(3d) 499 (C.A.), affd. [1984] 1 S.C.R. 266; 56 N.R. 213; 77 N.B.R.(2d) 179; 195 A.P.R. 179; 11 C.C.C.(3d) 385, refd to. [paras. 309, 477].

Mack v. United States (1997), 117 S. Ct. 2365 (U.S.), refd to. [para. 314].

Proprietary Articles Trade Association v. Canada (Attorney General), [1929] S.C.R. 409, refd to. [para. 318].

Reference Re Combines Investigation Act; Reference Re Section 498 of the Criminal Code - see Proprietary Articles Trade Association v. Canada (Attorney General).

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335; 26 D.L.R.(4th) 200; 50 C.R.(3d) 1; 24 C.C.C.(3d) 321; 19 C.R.R. 308, refd to. [para. 323].

Peel (Regional Municipality) v. MacKenzie and Canada (Attorney General) et al., [1982] 2 S.C.R. 9; 42 N.R. 572; 68 C.C.C.(2d) 289, refd to. [paras. 329, 606].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Canada Temperance Foundation, [1946] A.C. 193 (Ont. P.C.), refd to. [para. 400].

Bell Canada v. Commission de la santé et de la securité du travail (Que.) and Bilodeau et al., [1988] 1 S.C.R. 749; 85 N.R. 295; 15 Q.A.C. 217, refd to. [paras. 413, 453].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Alberta (Attorney General) and British Columbia (Attorney General) (Insurance Reference) (1916), 26 D.L.R. 288 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 414].

R. v. Myran, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 137; 5 N.R. 551, refd to. [para. 477].

Ontario v. Canadian Pacific Ltd., [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1031; 183 N.R. 325; 82 O.A.C. 243, refd to. [para. 502].

Reference Re Board of Commerce Act, 1919 (Canada), [1922] 1 A.C. 191 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 528].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Reciprocal Insurers, [1924] A.C. 328 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 528].

Reference Re Board of Commerce Act, 1919 (Canada) (1920), 60 S.C.R. 456, refd to. [para. 568].

R. v. Boggs, [1981] 1 S.C.R. 49; 34 N.R. 520, refd to. [para. 576].

R. v. Crown Zellerbach Canada Ltd., [1988] 1 S.C.R. 401; 84 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 610].

Statutes Noticed:

Constitution Act, 1867, sect. 91, sect. 91(27) [para. 9]; sect. 92(13) [para. 8].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 2 [para. 53, Appendix C]; sect. 84 [para. 56].

Firearms Act, S.C. 1995, c. 39, sect. 4(a)(i) [paras. 138, 356, 503]; sect. 4(b), sect. 4(c) [paras. 356, 503]; sect. 5, sect. 6, sect. 7, sect. 8, sect. 9, sect. 10, sect. 13, sect. 14, sect. 15, sect. 16 [Appendix A]; sect. 29 [Appendix B]; sect. 54, sect. 55, sect. 56, sect. 58, sect. 60, sect. 61, sect. 64, sect. 66, sect. 67, sect. 68, sect. 69, sect. 70, sect. 71, sect. 82, sect. 83, sect. 84, sect. 85, sect. 86, sect. 87, sect. 88, sect. 89, sect. 90, sect. 91, sect. 92, sect. 93, sect. 94 [Appendix A]; sect. 103, sect. 106, sect. 107, sect. 108, sect. 109, sect. 110, sect. 111 [Appendix B]; sect. 112 [Appendices A, B]; sect. 113, sect. 114 [Appendix B]; sect. 115 [Appendices A, B].

United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, GA Res. 48/104, Feb. 23, 1994, generally [para. 207].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Abel, A.S., The Neglected Logic of 91 and 92 (1969), 19 U.T.L.J. 487, generally [paras. 27, 123]; pp. 487 [para. 448]; 494, 494 [para. 540].

Alberta, Institute of Law Research and Reform, Domestic Abuse: Toward An Effective Legal Response, Report for Discussion No. 15 (June 1995), p. 136 [para. 120].

Alberta, Institute of Law Research and Reform, Protection Against Domestic Abuse, Report No. 74 (February 1997), pp. 30, 31, 43, 59 to 73, 136, 137, 138, 139 [para. 120].

Beatty, David, Constitutional Law in Theory and Practice (1995), pp. 21 to 40 [para. 37]; 26 [paras. 306, 458]; 41, 42 [paras. 23, 37]; 43, 44 to 60 [paras. 37, 123].

Beatty, David M., Polluting the Law to Protect the Environment (1998), 9 Const. Forum 55, pp. 57, 58 [para. 310].

Buckner, H.T., and Mauser, G.A., Canadian Attitudes Toward Gun Control: The Real Story, Mackenzie Institute (January 1997), generally [para. 516]; p. 45 [para. 103].

Canada, Department of Justice, Angus Reid Group Poll, Firearms Ownership in Canada (March 1991), generally [para. 101]; pp. 4, 5 [paras. 474, 510]; 7 [para. 510].

Canada, Department of Justice, Canadian Firearms Safety Course Student Handbook (January 1994), Charts 9, 10 [para. 111].

Canada, Department of Justice, Firearms Smuggling Work Group, The Illegal Movement of Firearms in Canada (May 1995), Table 5 [para. 110].

Canada, Department of Justice, K. Hung, Firearm Statistics (August 1996), Appendix [para. 102].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates (November 30, 1994), pp. 8483, 8484 [para. 170].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates (February 16, 1995), pp. 5525 [para. 392]; 9706 [paras. 167, 169, 360, 364, 405, 407]; 9707 [paras. 169, 360, 365, 405, 407]; 9708 [paras. 169, 360, 365, 367, 368, 369, 370, 405, 407]; 9709 [paras. 169, 360, 365, 370, 405, 407]; 9710 [paras. 169, 239, 360, 365, 405, 407, 505]; 9711 [paras. 169, 360, 405, 407].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates (June 13, 1995), pp. 13736, 13737 [paras. 171, 408]; 15573 [para. 392].

Canada, Law Reform Commission, Workplace Pollution, Working Paper No. 53 (1986), pp. 72, 73 [para. 282].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Causes of Death (1970-1995), Catalogue 84-208 [para. 615].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Homicide Survey (1974-1976), generally [paras. 512, 615].

Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Cease-Fire: A Brief to the Legislative Committee Studying Bill C-17 on Gun Control (October 1991), p. 4, Appendix 3 [para. 114].

Centres for Disease Control, Rates of Homicide, Suicide and Firearm-Related Deaths Among Children - 26 Industrialized Countries (1997), 46:5 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Rep. 101, p. 104 [para. 192].

Chapdelaine, A.H., Firearms Injury Prevention and Gun Control in Canada (1996), 155:9 Can. Med. Assoc. J. 1285, p. 1286 [para. 111].

Crawford, M., and Gartner, R., Woman Killing: Intimate Femicide in Ontario, 1974-1990, Women We Honour Action Committee (April 1992), pp. 33 to 37, 44 to 49, 83 to 86 [para. 303].

Dansys Consulting Inc., Domestic Homicides Involving the Use of Firearms, Table 7 [para. 114].

Driedger, Construction of Statutes (3rd Ed. 1994), pp. 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 [para. 303]; 131 [para. 20].

Gillespie, C., Justifiable Homicide, generally [para. 159].

Grant, I., and Boyle, C., Equality, Harm and Vulnerability: Homicide and Sexual Assault Post-Creighton (1993), 23 C.R.(4th) 252, generally [para. 276].

Hansard - see Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates.

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (3rd Ed. 1992) (Looseleaf Supp.), vol. 1, pp. 15-6 [paras. 124, 448]; 15-6, fn. 14 [paras. 14, 19]; 15-8 [paras. 19, 24, 374]; 15-8, fn. 26 [para. 344]; 15-9, fn. 26 [para. 24]; 15-11 [para. 26]; 15-12 [paras. 20, 447]; 15-14 [paras. 20, 509]; 15-15 [para. 509]; 15-16 [para. 126]; 15-18 [paras. 129, 540, 542, 596]; 15-19 [paras. 32, 33, 596]; 15-20 [para. 33]; 15-39, 15-40 [paras. 25, 328]; 18-19, 18-20 [para. 245]; 18-25 [paras. 233, 551]; 18-26 [para. 296]; 21-25 [para. 132]; 35-16, 35-17 [para. 323].

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (4th Ed. 1997), pp. 384 [para. 412]; 396 [paras. 384, 385]; 412 [para. 412]; 493, 494 [para. 400].

Hutchinson, A., and Schneiderman, D., Smoking Guns: The Federal Government Confronts the Tobacco and Gun Lobbies (1995), 7:1 Const. Forum 16, pp. 19 [para. 229]; 20 [para. 278].

Jackman, M., The Constitutional Basis for Federal Regulation of Health (1996), vol. 5:2 Health L. Institute 3, p. 5 [para. 230].

Kellermann, A.L., et al., Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home (1993), 329 New England J. of Med. 1084, generally [paras. 104, 108].

Kellermann, A.L. et al., Suicide in the Home in Relation to Gun Ownership (1992), 327 New England. J. of Med. 467, generally [paras. 104, 108].

Killias, M., International Correlations Between Gun Ownership and Rates of Homicide and Suicide (1993), 148 Can. Med. Assoc. J. 1721, generally [para. 107].

Kleck, G., and Patterson, E.B., The Impact of Gun Control and Gun Ownership Levels on Violence Rates (1993), 9:3 J. of Quantitative Criminology 249, pp. 266 to 272 [para. 104].

Laskin, B., Tests for the Validity of Legislation: What's the "Matter" (1955), 11 U.T.L.J. 114, p. 127 [para. 124].

Lederman, W.R., Classification of Laws and the British North America Act, Continuing Canadian Constitutional Dilemmas (1981), generally [para. 597]; pp. 241 [paras. 18, 31]; 243 [para. 244]; 244 [para. 451].

Lederman, W.R., The Balanced Interpretation of the Federal Distribution of Legislative Powers in Canada, Continuing Canadian Constitutional Dilemmas (1981), p. 271 [para. 22].

Lederman, W.R., The Courts and the Canadian Constitution (1964), pp. 188, 189, 195, 196, 197 [paras. 24, 412].

Lederman, W.R., Unity and Diversity in Canadian Federalism: Ideals and Methods of Moderation (1975), 53 Can. Bar Rev. 597, p. 601 [para. 465].

Leonard, K.A., Firearms Deaths in Canadian Adolescents and Young Adults (1994), 85:2 Can. J. of Pub. H. 128, pp. 128, 129, 130, 131 [para. 191].

Magnet, J.E., The Presumption of Constitutionality (1980), 18 Osgoode Hall L.J. 87, pp. 120, 121 [para. 47].

McInnes, J., and Boyle, C., Judging Sexual Assault Laws Against a Standard of Equality (1995), 29 U.B.C.L. Rev. 341, pp. 358, 359 [para. 276].

Monahan, P.J., At Doctrine's Twilight: The Structure of Canadian Federalism (1984), 34 U.T.L.J. 47, generally [para. 33].

Ontario, Renewable Resource Harvester Survey, Report on Aboriginal Ownership of Firearms, generally [para. 474].

Simeon, R.E., Criteria for Choice in Federal Systems (1983), 8 Queen's L.J. 131, pp. 141 [para. 310]; 150, 151 [para. 327].

Swinton, K.E., The Supreme Court and Canadian Federalism (1990), pp. 132 to 217 [para. 33]; 188 [para. 238].

United Nations, Expert Group Meeting on Gathering Information on and Analysis of Firearm Regulation, generally [para. 205].

Way, R. Cairns, Developments in Criminal Law: The 1995-1996 Term (1997), 8 S. Ct. L. Rev.(2d) 181, pp. 214, 215 [para. 276].

Whyte, J.D., Lederman, W.R., and Bur, D.F., Canadian Constitutional Law (3rd Ed. 1992), Reprint of Abel, A.S., The Neglected Logic of 91 and 92 (1969), 19 U.T.L.J. 487, pp. 4-10 [para. 123]; 4-13 [para. 126]; 4-21 [para. 237]; 4-27 [para. 27].

Wintermute, G.J., When Children Shoot Children: 88 Unintended Deaths in California (1987), 257 J.A.M.A. 3107, generally [paras. 104, 108].

Counsel:

R.A. McLennan, Q.C., B.R. Burrows, Q.C., and T.W.R. Ross, for the Government of Alberta;

P.W.L. Martin, Q.C., S.L. Martin, Q.C., and J.N. Shaw (not present), for the Government of Canada;

B.A. Crane, Q.C., and P. Shaw, for the Shooting Federation;

D.P. Jones, Q.C., for the Alberta Fish & Game Association;

D.J. Miller, Q.C., for the Government of Manitoba;

A.D. Pringle, Q.C., and J. Ross, for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters;

C.C. Ruby and J. Copeland, for the Coalition for Gun Control;

E. Maksimowski and R.E. Charney, for the Government of Ontario;

G. Mitchell, for the Government of Saskatchewan;

E. Stewart, for the Government of Northwest Territories;

H.L. Kushner, for the Government of Yukon;

M. Sherry (not present), for the Chiefs of Ontario.

This reference was heard on September 8 to 12, 1997, with supplementary written arguments filed from October 27 to November 5, 1997, by Fraser, C.J.A., Hetherington, Irving, Conrad and Berger, JJ.A., of the Alberta Court of Appeal. The judgment of the court was delivered in Edmonton, Alberta, on September 29, 1998, including the following opinions:

Fraser, C.J.A. - see paragraphs 1 to 337;

Hetherington, J.A. - see paragraphs 338 to 376;

Berger, J.A. - see paragraphs 377 to 424;

Conrad, J.A., dissenting (Irving, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 425 to 621.

                                                                                               

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Introduction

Para. 1

II. Judicial History

Para. 6

--A. Jurisdiction, Parties and Interveners

Para. 6

--B. Reference Questions

Para. 7

III. The Constitutional Context

Para. 15

--A. General Principles Affecting Division of Powers

Para. 15

--B. Definition of Constitutional Issues

Para. 50

IV. Facts, Firearms and Firearms Controls in Canada

Para. 51

--A. Background Information

Para. 52

--B. History of Firearms Control in Canada

Para. 60

--C. Bill C-68 (The Firearms Act)

Para. 69

---1. Amendments to Part III of the Criminal Code

Para. 72

---2. Licensing and Registration

Para. 74

----a. Licensing

Para. 80

----b. Registration

Para. 83

----c. Firearms Act Offences

Para. 85

----d. Transition Period

Para. 87

---3. Regulations

Para. 89

--D. Provincial Legislation Respecting Firearms

Para. 93

--E. Firearms in Canada

Para. 98

V. Pith and Substance of the Licensing and Registration Provisions

Para. 123

--A. Introduction

Para. 123

--B. Colourability, Purpose and Effect

Para. 126

--C. Licensing

Para. 173

--D. Registration

Para. 183

--E. Other Factors Affecting Classification of the "Matter"

Para. 198

--F. Conclusion

Para. 208

VI. The Criminal Law Power

Para. 215

--A. Introduction

Para. 215

--B. Scope of the Criminal Law Power

Para. 219

--C. Provinces' Submissions

Para. 249

---1. Prohibition, Regulation and Criminal Law

Para. 250

---2. Nexus with Evil or Harmful Conduct

Para. 268

---3. Colourability

Para. 284

--D. Interference with Provincial Jurisdiction

Para. 317

VII. Sufficiently Integrated Test

Para. 320

VIII. Conclusion and Disposition

Para. 335

IX. Appendix

-

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14 practice notes
  • Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), 2000 SCC 31
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 15, 2000
    ...s. 92(13)) and were ultra vires Parliament. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Conrad and Irving, JJ.A., dissenting, in a decision reported 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201 , held that the Act was a valid exercise of Parliament's criminal law power under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Albe......
  • Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), 2000 SCC 31
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 15, 2000
    ...s. 92(13)) and were ultra vires Parliament. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Conrad and Irving, JJ.A., dissenting, in a decision reported 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201 , held that the Act was a valid exercise of Parliament's criminal law power under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Albe......
  • R. v. Wiles (P.N.), 2004 NSCA 3
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • January 8, 2004
    ...to. [para. 35]. R. v. Sawyer, [1992] 3 S.C.R. 809; 174 N.R. 162; 76 O.A.C. 239, refd to. [para. 36]. Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.) (1998), 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201; 164 D.L.R.(4th) 513 (C.A.), affd. [2000] 1 S.C.R. 783; 254 N.R. 201; 261 A.R. 201; 225 W.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. Stat......
  • Pogson v. Chief Firearms Officer (Alta.),
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • March 3, 2005
    ...11 W.W.R. 631; 327 A.R. 308; 296 W.A.C. 308; 2003 ABCA 112, refd to. [para. 48]. Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), [1999] 2 W.W.R. 579; 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201; 164 D.L.R.(4th) 513; 65 Alta. L.R.(3d) 1; 1998 ABCA 305, refd to. [para. R. v. Shepherd, 2004 YKSC 31, refd to. [para. 48]. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), 2000 SCC 31
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 15, 2000
    ...s. 92(13)) and were ultra vires Parliament. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Conrad and Irving, JJ.A., dissenting, in a decision reported 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201 , held that the Act was a valid exercise of Parliament's criminal law power under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Albe......
  • Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), 2000 SCC 31
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 15, 2000
    ...s. 92(13)) and were ultra vires Parliament. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Conrad and Irving, JJ.A., dissenting, in a decision reported 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201 , held that the Act was a valid exercise of Parliament's criminal law power under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Albe......
  • R. v. Wiles (P.N.), 2004 NSCA 3
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • January 8, 2004
    ...to. [para. 35]. R. v. Sawyer, [1992] 3 S.C.R. 809; 174 N.R. 162; 76 O.A.C. 239, refd to. [para. 36]. Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.) (1998), 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201; 164 D.L.R.(4th) 513 (C.A.), affd. [2000] 1 S.C.R. 783; 254 N.R. 201; 261 A.R. 201; 225 W.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. Stat......
  • Pogson v. Chief Firearms Officer (Alta.),
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • March 3, 2005
    ...11 W.W.R. 631; 327 A.R. 308; 296 W.A.C. 308; 2003 ABCA 112, refd to. [para. 48]. Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), [1999] 2 W.W.R. 579; 219 A.R. 201; 179 W.A.C. 201; 164 D.L.R.(4th) 513; 65 Alta. L.R.(3d) 1; 1998 ABCA 305, refd to. [para. R. v. Shepherd, 2004 YKSC 31, refd to. [para. 48]. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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