FavoriteLoadingSave to briefcase | Rating: | By (2012)

  • PrintEmail Link
  • Viewed 3,491 times | Saved to 290 briefcases
R v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd, [1985] 1 SCR 295

Facts:

Big M Drug Mart charged with carrying on sale of goods on Sunday, contrary to Lord’s Day Act. Challenged on 2(a).

Issue(s):

Is 2(a) infringed?

Ratio:

Lord’s Day Act is unconstitutional contrary to 2(a) because the legislation had a determinative religious purpose. Parliament cannot rely on an ultra vires purpose for s.1 justification, as these sectarian laws cannot have a pressing and substantial purpose.

Analysis:

*Two ways to characterize the purpose of the legislation
**1. Christian institution of the Sabbath (this was preferred interpretation)
**2. Providing a uniform day of rest from labour
*Both purpose and effect are relevant in determining constitutionality, if either is unconstitutional it can invalidate legislation
**Since the purpose of the Act offends freedom of religion, it is unnecessary to consider the effects/impact on religious freedom
**Sequential analysis; if purpose valid, move to effects
**Effects can never be relied upon to save legislation with an invalid purpose
***It was counter-argued here that effects were secular
*Purpose of legislation CANNOT shift:
**Would create uncertainty in the law, re-litigation, and invite judicial critique
*Freedom = the absence of coercion or constraint
**Coercion includes indirect control which limits available alternatives of conduct
**Act takes Christian values and transforms into positive, binding law on everyone
*Charter Interpretation: Placing the right in its proper linguistic and historical context,
**1. Reference the character and larger objects of the Charter itself
**2. Language chosen to articulate specific right or freedom
**3. Historical origins of the concept
**4. Meaning and purpose of associated rights and freedoms, when applicable
*Government may not coerce individuals to affirm a specific religious belief or to manifest a specific religious practice for a sectarian purpose
**The Charter means each person works out his/her religious beliefs and the state cannot dictate otherwise
*S.1 Analysis
**The fact the legislative purpose is religious automatically disqualifies from s.1 justification
**Parliament cannot rely on an ultra vires purpose as s.1 justification, as these sectarian laws cannot have a pressing and substantial purpose.
**Struck down under s.52


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to participate.

This document is a general discussion of certain legal and related issues and must not be relied upon as legal advice. This document may not have been written or reviewed by a legal practitioner. For more information, please see the website Terms of Service.