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POLS 3135 (5)

Local Prohibition Case - Summary

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York University
Political Science
POLS 3135
Ray Bazowski

Attorney General of Ontario v. Attorney General of Canada (Local Prohibition Case), 1986 Significance: One of the first cases to detail the core principles of Peace, Order, and Good Government (POGG) by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC). Issue: whether the Province of Ontario had authority to enact the provisions of the Canada Temperance Act of 1878 (which was an act by the Parliament of Canada which provided an option for municipalities to take part in a direct vote that would see a prohibitionary scheme enacted.) Background: with the Canada Temperance Act in mind, the Province of Ontario pass an act that was very similar to it in content. Out of this issue of competition between Ontario and the federal government to regulate the consumption and sale of liquor came the litigation case known as Huson v. South Norwich (a small town in Ontario). In the ruling of the case, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the prohibition of liquor sales fell under exclusive federal jurisdiction over trade and commerce - “All matters of trade and commerce, banking, currency and all questions to the whole people we have vested fully and unrestrictedly in the general government”(46). Moreover, on the appeal of the decision, the JCPC reversed the Supreme Courts decision in the reference case. So, where the same act was held to be ultra vires of provincial jurisdiction, as there was no authority for a province to enact prohibitory legislation. Lord Watson of the JCPC said that the preservation of provincial autonomy required that Parliament’s general power to legislate for the peace, order, and good government of Canada not have the same capacit
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