Yves Pratte was a Canadian lawyer and jurist who served as a Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Born in Quebec City, son of Garon Pratte and G. Rivard. Cousin of Claude Pratte, son of Gaston Pratte and Jeannette Verge, he was the father of Me Yves Pratte, a prominent lawyer who practices in both Ontario and Quebec, André Pratte, editorial pages editor with Montreal's daily newspaper La Presse, a fervent federalist voice in Quebec. Pratte studied law at the University of Toronto. Following his admission to the bar in the province of Quebec in 1947, he practised law in Quebec City, established a successful law firm, continued his association with Laval, becoming its Dean of Law from 1962–1965. Between 1965 and 1968, he served as special legal counsel to Quebec premiers Johnson. From 1968–1974, he served as the chairman of Air Canada, under the control of the Canadian National Railway, a Crown corporation. On 1 October 1977, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on the recommendation of Pierre Trudeau.
His tenure on the court was brief – Pratte served less than two years before stepping down for health reasons. Upon his resignation on 30 June 1979, he returned to private practice, joining the influential Montreal firm of Courtois Clarkson. Pratte died of a heart attack, on 26 June 1988, in Montreal, his body was interred in Sainte-Foy, Quebec. Today, the Yves Pratte Foundation named in his honour promotes student exchanges between the University of Toronto and Université Laval. Supreme Court of Canada biography
Robert George Brian Dickson known as Brian Dickson, was a Canadian lawyer, military officer and judge. He was appointed a puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada on March 26, 1973, subsequently appointed the 15th Chief Justice of Canada on April 18, 1984, he retired on June 30, 1990. Dickson's tenure as chief justice coincided with the first wave of cases under the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which reached the Supreme Court from 1984 onwards. Dickson wrote several influential judgments dealing with the Charter and laid the groundwork for the approach that the courts would take to the Charter. Dickson was born to Thomas Dickson and Sarah Elizabeth Gibson, in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, in 1916, although the family lived at that time in Wynyard, his adolescence and young adulthood occurred during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years, which hit the Canadian prairies hard. Dickson's father was a bank manager, the family was transferred to Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
Dickson attended high school at the Central Collegiate, where two of his classmates were William Lederman and Alexander "Sandy" MacPherson. All three would go into law, with Lederman becoming one of Canada's leading constitutional scholars and MacPherson becoming a justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench. In years, Dickson would reminisce that "Bill was always first in our class, Sandy and I were fighting for second and third". Sandy MacPherson's father was the attorney general for Saskatchewan; when the Legislature was sitting in the evenings and Sandy MacPherson would come in the evenings to the Attorney General's office to do their homework, sit in the galleries of the Assembly and listen to the debates. Dickson said; the Dickson family moved to Winnipeg, where Dickson attended the University of Manitoba after graduating from Ridley College in 1934. He was a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity. In 1938, Dickson graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, his first permanent job was with the Great-West Life Assurance Company, where he worked in the investment section for two years.
It was in Winnipeg as a young law student that Dickson met Barbara Sellers. They married in Winnipeg in 1943, when Dickson was back from Europe to attend military staff training in Kingston. Dickson was called to the bar in 1940, but before practising law, he enlisted in the Canadian armed forces for active service, he had joined the military reserve in 1939, on the outbreak of World War II. In June 1940, he and his friend from law school, Clarence Shepard, signed up for active duty as second lieutenants with the Royal Canadian Artillery, joining the 38th Field Battery in Winnipeg. In August 1940, he volunteered for overseas service. Lieutenant Dickson sailed in February 1941 for Britain with the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, his abilities attracted notice and he was chosen for staff training, returning to Canada for a course in 1943, followed with a tour of duty in British Columbia as brigade major with the Royal Canadian Artillery. In 1944, Dickson volunteered to return to Europe as a captain.
He was posted to the 2nd Canadian Army Group, Royal Canadian Artillery, distinguished himself in Normandy, being mentioned in dispatches. In August 1944, during the battle of Falaise Gap, Dickson was hit by friendly fire and wounded, leading to the amputation of his right leg. By coincidence, two of his friends, Bill Ledermen and Clarence Shepard, were both serving in the area and witnessed the attack, they remembered the frantic attempts to have the attack called off, not knowing at the time Dickson was in the target area. He was discharged from the army in April 1945. Years when he came to Ottawa, Dickson renewed his ties to the military. In 1983, he accepted the honorary lieutenant-colonelship of the 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, was its honorary colonel from 1988 to 1992. Dickson returned to Winnipeg in 1945 at the end of the war, joining the law firm of Aikins, MacAulay, Thompson & Tritschler, he became a successful corporate lawyer, lectured at the Faculty of Law of the University of Manitoba for six years, until 1954.
In 1963, he was on a volunteer committee of the Canadian Bar Association which assisted the Manitoba government in preparing a new Companies Act. Two other volunteers on the committee were Lorne Campbell and Irwin Dorfman, both of whom would serve as national president of the CBA. In 1950, Dickson volunteered to be head of the Manitoba Red Cross, on the suggestion of a partner who told him it would only involve a few meetings per year. Instead, Dickson took the position just in time for the 1950 Red River flood, with the Red reaching the highest level since 1861. Winnipeg itself was inundated, 4 of 11 bridges were destroyed, over 100,000 people had to be evacuated. Dickson took charge of the relief effort by the Red Cross. Under his direction, the Red Cross mobilised 4,000 volunteers, evacuated thousands and provided support to the people working on the dykes, he admitted he ran the Red Cross volunteers like an army. Dickson served as chancellor for the Anglican Diocese of Rupert's Land. In 1963, Dickson was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba and in 1967 was elevated to the Manitoba Court of Appeal.
He was appointed a puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada on March 26, 1973. On April 18, 1984, he was elevated to chief justice of Canada over the more senior Roland Ritchie, one year away from mandatory retirement at age 75 and was in ill health. During his early years o
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada, the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial and federal appellate courts, its decisions are the ultimate expression and application of Canadian law and binding upon all lower courts of Canada, except to the extent that they are overridden or otherwise made ineffective by an Act of Parliament or the Act of a provincial legislative assembly pursuant to section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The creation of the Supreme Court of Canada was provided for by the British North America Act, 1867, renamed in 1982 the Constitution Act, 1867; the first bills for the creation of a federal supreme court, introduced in the Parliament of Canada in 1869 and in 1870, were withdrawn. It was not until 8 April 1875 that a bill was passed providing for the creation of a Supreme Court of Canada. However, prior to 1949, the Supreme Court did not constitute the court of last resort: litigants could appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
As well, some cases could bypass the court and go directly to the Judicial Committee from the provincial courts of appeal. The Supreme Court formally became the court of last resort for criminal appeals in 1933 and for all other appeals in 1949; the last decisions of the Judicial Committee on cases from Canada were made in the mid-1950s, as a result of their being heard in a court of first instance prior to 1949. The increase in the importance of the Court was mirrored by the numbers of its members; the Court was established first with six judges, these were augmented by an additional member in 1927. In 1949, the bench reached its current composition of nine justices. Prior to 1949, most of the appointees to the Court owed their position to political patronage; each judge had strong ties to the party in power at the time of their appointment. In 1973, the appointment of a constitutional law professor Bora Laskin as chief justice represented a major turning point for the Court. In this period, appointees either came from academic backgrounds or were well-respected practitioners with several years experience in appellate courts.
Laskin's federalist and liberal views were shared by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who recommended Laskin's appointment to the Court. The Constitution Act, 1982 expanded the role of the Court in Canadian society by the addition of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which broadened the scope of judicial review; the evolution from the Dickson court through to the Lamer court witnessed a continuing vigour in the protection of civil liberties. Lamer's criminal law background proved an influence on the number of criminal cases heard by the Court during his time as chief justice. Nonetheless, the Lamer court was more conservative with Charter rights, with only about a 1% success rate for Charter claimants. Lamer was succeeded as chief justice by Beverly McLachlin in January 2000, she is the first woman to hold that position. McLachlin's appointment resulted in a more centrist and unified Court. Dissenting and concurring opinions were fewer than during the Lamer Courts. With the 2005 appointments of Justices Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella, the court became the world's most gender-balanced national high court, four of its nine members being female.
Justice Marie Deschamps' retirement on 7 August 2012 caused the number to fall to three, however the appointment of Suzanne Côté on 1 December 2014 restored the number to four. After serving on the Court for 28 years, 259 days, McLachlin retired in December 2017, her successor as chief justice is Richard Wagner. The structure of the Canadian court system is pyramidal, a broad base being formed by the various provincial and territorial courts whose judges are appointed by the provincial or territorial governments. At the next level are the provinces' and territories' superior courts, where judges are appointed by the federal government. Judgments from the superior courts may be appealed to a still higher level, the provincial or territorial courts of appeal. Several federal courts exist: the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. Unlike the provincial superior courts, which exercise inherent or general jurisdiction, the federal courts' jurisdiction is limited by statute.
In all, there are over 1,000 federally appointed judges at various levels across Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada rests at the apex of the judicial pyramid; this institution hears appeals from the provincial courts of last resort the provincial or territorial courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, although in some matters appeals come straight from the trial courts, as in the case of publication bans and other orders that are otherwise not appealable. In most cases, permission to appeal must first be obtained from the court. Motions for leave to appeal to the Court are heard by a panel of three judges of the Court and a simple majority is determinative. By convention, this panel never explains why it grants or refuses leave in any particular case, but the Court hears cases of national importance or where the case allows the Court to settle an important issue of law. Leave is granted, meaning that for most litigants, provincial courts of appeal are courts of last resort, but leave to appeal is not required for some cases criminal cases and appeals from provincial references.
A final source of cases is the referral power of the federa
Canadian Bill of Rights
The Canadian Bill of Rights is a federal statute and bill of rights enacted by the Parliament of Canada on August 10, 1960. It provides Canadians with certain quasi-constitutional rights at Canadian federal law in relation to other federal statutes, it was the earliest expression of human rights law at the federal level in Canada, though an implied Bill of Rights had been recognized in the Canadian Common Law. The Canadian Bill of Rights remains in effect but is acknowledged to be limited in its effectiveness because it is a federal statute only, so not directly applicable to provincial laws; as to Canadian federal law, the Bill of Rights has subsequently acquired through judicial interpretation a quasi-constitutional status through the paramountcy doctrine. These legal and constitutional limitations were a significant reason that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was established as an unambiguously-constitutional-level Bill of Rights for all Canadians, governing the application of both federal and provincial law in Canada, with the patriation of the Constitution of Canada in 1982.
Since patriation, its usefulness at federal law in Canada is limited to issues pertaining to the enjoyment of property, as set forth in its section 1]—a slightly-broader "life and security of the person" right than is recognized in Section Seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 1947, Saskatchewan passed into law a bill of rights which covered both fundamental freedoms and equality rights. Saskatchewan's Bill of Rights is considered to have had a formative influence on John Diefenbaker, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Thirteen years Diefenbaker introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights, in 1960. In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Civil rights activists in Canada had for some time been advocating for the elimination from Canadian laws of discrimination based on sex, ethnicity and religion. In 1936, four years before being elected to Parliament, John Diefenbaker began drafting his Bill of Rights; as a young boy, he saw injustice first-hand in the form of discrimination against French-Canadians, natives, Métis and European immigrants.
On March 16, 1950, a decade before the Canadian Bill of Rights became law, Diefenbaker a Saskatchewan MP, told a public forum why such a law was needed. Individuals' freedoms of religion, press and association are threatened by the state, he said. A Bill of Rights was needed to take a "forthright stand against discrimination based on colour, creed or racial origin". Diefenbaker advocated for the adoption of a bill of rights during the federal election campaign of 1957. In 1960, as prime minister, Diefenbaker introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights, it was enacted by Parliament; the Canadian Bill of Rights protects numerous rights, most of which were included in the Charter. Examples include: Freedom of speech in Canada and freedom of religion in Canada equality rights The right to life and security of the person, in another section, rights to fundamental justice The right to enjoyment of property, not enshrined in the Charter The right to counsel. Section 2 of the Bill of Rights reads as follows: 2.
Every law of Canada shall, unless it is expressly declared by an Act of the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights, be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, abridge or infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgement or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared, in particular, no law of Canada shall be construed or applied so as to authorize or effect the arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile of any person. The notwithstanding wording of section 2 is a precursor to the notwithstanding clause of the Charter. While the Bill of Rights is considered only quasi-constitutional because it was enacted as an ordinary Act of the Parliament of Canada, it contains the following provision: 3. Subject to subsection, the Minister of Justice shall, in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Governor in Council, examine every
Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms contains guaranteed equality rights. As part of the Constitution, the section prohibits certain forms of discrimination perpetrated by the governments of Canada with the exception of ameliorative programs and rights or privileges guaranteed by or under the Constitution of Canada in respect of denominational, separate or dissentient schools. Rights under section 15 include racial equality, sexual equality, mental disability, physical disability. In its jurisprudence, it has been a source of gay rights in Canada; these rights are guaranteed to "every individual", that is, every natural person. This wording excludes "legal persons" such as corporations, contrasting other sections that use the word "everyone", where "legal persons" were meant to be included. Section 15 has been in force since 1985. Under the heading of "Equality Rights" this section states: The Canadian Bill of Rights of 1960 had guaranteed the "right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law."
Equal protection of the law is a right, guaranteed by the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution since 1868. Section 15 itself dates back to the earliest draft of the Charter, published in October 1980, but it was worded differently, it read, During the drafting, the guarantee to "everyone" was dropped in favour of "every individual," with the intent that corporations could not invoke equality rights. In addition, while the original version spoke of equality before the law and equal protection of the law, the section enacted included guarantees of equality under the law and equal benefit of the law; the reason for these additions was to encourage a generous reading of section 15. In the Bill of Rights cases Attorney General of Canada v. Lavell and Bliss v. Canada, Supreme Court Justice Roland Ritchie had said only the application, not the outcome, of the law must be equal, thereby necessitating an explicit guarantee of equality under the law. Though the Charter itself came into effect on April 17, 1982, section 15 was not brought into force until April 17, 1985, in accordance with section 32 of the Charter.
The reason for this was so that provincial and federal governments would have enough time to review their legislation and make the appropriate changes to any discriminatory laws. According to the Supreme Court of Canada's Section 15 jurisprudence, the equality guarantees of section 15 are aimed at preventing the "violation of essential human dignity and freedom through the imposition of disadvantage, stereotyping, or political and social prejudices, to promote a society in which all persons enjoy equal recognition at law as human beings or as members of Canadian society capable and deserving of concern and consideration." To that end, the Charter recognizes four dimensions including substantive equality. Equality before the law is equality in the administration of justice, where all individuals are subject to the same criminal laws in the same manner by law enforcement and the courts. Equality under the law is equality in the substance of the law, where the content of the law is equal and fair to everyone so that everyone experiences the same result.
Equal benefit of the law ensures. Equal protection of the law ensure that the protections imposed by law will be proportionate so that the human dignity of every person is safeguarded by the law. Unlike formal equality, which overlooks personal differences, substantive equality is concerned with the impact of the law on different groups of individuals. Substantive equality requires. In any challenge of section 15 the burden of proof is always on the claimant; the Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed a purposive interpretation of Section 15. After Law v. Canada the question of whether dignity was affected was key to a section 15 analysis. In R. v. Kapp, the problems with the dignity analysis were recognized and the dignity analysis was jettisoned; the Court established a two-part test based on the one found in Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia: Does the law create a distinction based on an enumerated or analogous ground? Does the distinction create a disadvantage by perpetuating prejudice or stereotyping?
In Quebec v. A a majority of the Court found that perpetuating prejudice or stereotyping did not form an additional requirement in the second part of the test; the majority itself split on the correct way to apply the second part of the test, leaving the present state of the law on Section 15 unclear. The concept of enumerated or analogous grounds originated in the essential 1989 Andrews case to refer to personal characteristics that, when being the basis of discrimination, show the discrimination is unconstitutional under section 15. There are nine enumerated grounds explicitly mentioned in section 15, although they are not numbered. In practice, the enumerated grounds have been given broad interpretations. For example, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy has been ruled to be sex discrimination; as section 15's words "in particular" hint that the explicitly named grounds do not exhaust the scope of section 15, additional grounds can be considered if it can be shown that the group or individual's equality rights were denied in comparison with another group that shares all of the same characteristics except for the p
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in Canada simply the Charter, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982; the Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles; the Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II of Canada on April 17, 1982, along with the rest of the Act. The Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, enacted in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights is only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document; as a federal statute, it can be amended through the ordinary legislative process and has no application to provincial laws. The Supreme Court of Canada narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights and the Court was reluctant to declare laws inoperative; the relative ineffectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights motivated many to improve rights protections in Canada.
The movement for human rights and freedoms that emerged after World War II wanted to entrench the principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The British Parliament formally enacted the Charter as a part of the Canada Act 1982 at the request of the Parliament of Canada in 1982, the result of the efforts of the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to expand the scope of judicial review, because the Charter is more explicit with respect to the guarantee of rights and the role of judges in enforcing them than was the Bill of Rights; the courts, when confronted with violations of Charter rights, have struck down unconstitutional federal and provincial statutes and regulations or parts of statutes and regulations, as they did when Canadian case law was concerned with resolving issues of federalism. The Charter, granted new powers to the courts to enforce remedies that are more creative and to exclude more evidence in trials.
These powers are greater than what was typical under the common law and under a system of government that, influenced by Canada's parent country the United Kingdom, was based upon Parliamentary supremacy. As a result, the Charter has attracted both broad support from a majority of the Canadian electorate and criticisms by opponents of increased judicial power; the Charter only applies to government laws and actions, sometimes to the common law, not to private activity. Under the Charter, people physically present in Canada have numerous political rights. Most of the rights can be exercised by any legal person, but a few of the rights belong to natural persons, or only to citizens of Canada; the rights are enforceable by the courts through section 24 of the Charter, which allows courts discretion to award remedies to those whose rights have been denied. This section allows courts to exclude evidence in trials if the evidence was acquired in a way that conflicts with the Charter and might damage the reputation of the justice system.
Section 32 confirms that the Charter is binding on the federal government, the territories under its authority, the provincial governments. The rights and freedoms enshrined in 34 sections of the Charter include: Precluding all the freedoms and forming the basis of the Charter, the first section, known as limitations clause, allows governments to justify certain infringements of Charter rights; every case in which a court discovers a violation of the Charter would therefore require a section 1 analysis to determine if the law can still be upheld. Infringements are upheld if the purpose for the government action is to achieve what would be recognized as an urgent or important objective in a free society, if the infringement can be "demonstrably justified." Section 1 has thus been used to uphold laws against objectionable conduct such as hate speech and obscenity. Section 1 confirms that the rights listed in the Charter are guaranteed. In addition, some of these rights are subjected to the notwithstanding clause.
The notwithstanding clause authorizes governments to temporarily override the rights and freedoms in sections 2 and 7–15 for up to five years, subject to renewal. The Canadian federal government has never invoked it, some have speculated that its use would be politically costly. In the past, the notwithstanding clause was invoked by the province of Quebec; the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta have invoked the notwithstanding clause, to end a strike and to protect an heterosexual definition of marriage, respectively. The territory of Yukon passed legislation once that invoked the notwithstanding clause, but the legislation was never proclaimed in force. Section 2: which lists what the Charter calls "fundamental freedoms" namely freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and of other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association; the right to participate in political activities and the right to a democratic form of government are protect
Wishart Flett Spence, was a puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Born in Toronto, the son of James Houston Spence and Margaret Hackland, Spence received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Toronto in 1925, he studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1928. In 1929, Spence received his Masters of Law from Harvard Law School. Spence was a part-time lecturer at Osgoode Hall. In 1950, he was appointed to the High Court of Justice of Ontario. On May 30, 1963, Spence was appointed to the Supreme Court. In 1966, he chaired the royal commission investigating the Munsinger Affair, which involved allegations that an East German spy had been sleeping with Canadian Cabinet ministers. Spence criticised the way the Diefenbaker government had handled the matter, but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or security breaches. In the 1970s, Spence joined with Chief Justice Bora Laskin and Justice Brian Dickson on cases involving civil liberties in dissent.
The grouping was colloquially referred to as the "LSD connection."Spence retired from the Court on December 29, 1978. In 1979, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. Spence died on April 16, 1998, at the age of 94. Order of Canada Citation Supreme Court of Canada Biography