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Statutory Interpretation and Charter Rights - Course Assignment

Part A

You will answer four questions in Part A.
1.There are three grammatical rules (or principles) of construction that are used to aid in statutory interpretation. What are they and what do they mean? Give a brief example for each rule of construction.
2.What is the purpose of “distinguishing” a case and how is it distinguished? Make sure to review Unit 5 before answering this question.
3.What topics are covered by the following subsections of the Constitution Act of 1867: 91(5),(6),(15),(21),(26) and (27)? Which level of government has jurisdiction over them? What provision covers federal residual power? What subsection governs provincial jurisdiction over health-related matters? What subsection grants provinces residual power under section 92?
(Note: Residual power is the power to make legislation that covers topics that are not specifically enumerated in sections 91 and 92.)
4.Two separate sections within the 1982 Constitution Act can be used to challenge infringements under the Charter. If your rights are infringed under the Charter, gives an example under each section of how you might obtain a remedy.
Part B. Essay Questions
In this section, you are required to write two essays for two questions.  Use the general instructions for essay writing set out at the beginning of your course materials, including an introduction, discussion and conclusion.
Essay 1 - The rights and freedoms set out in the Charter are not absolute. Contained within it are three clauses that limit certain rights and freedoms. Identify and summarize those clauses and give a specific example of circumstances where each has been applied, gleaned from the course materials, through research (citing your sources) or from your own experience.
In your discussion section, divide your answer into separate paragraphs for each sub-topic.
Essay 2 - What is meant by “colourable” and “ultra vires” legislation in the context of the division of powers between federal and provincial jurisdictions?
1.Carry out your own research in CanLII or Quicklaw to find and give a citation for a Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) case where a municipal bylaw concerning prostitution was found to be colourable. Briefly summarize the facts. What type of bylaw did the municipality purport to enact and why? What type of law did the court find it to be?
2.Find a 2003 SCC decision where legislation involving video lottery terminals was not found to be colourable. Read the headnote (summary) at the beginning of the judgment and any parts of the judgment itself that help you to understand the issues.
3.In your conclusion briefly summarize the difference in reasoning in the two cases.
Part C. Case Studies
In Part C, you have a chance to apply the law that you have studied and the research skills you have acquired in order to analyse a practical problem and reach conclusions based on your own reasoning. When possible, please support your reasoning by citing relevant case law.
Case Study 1 – Legal rights under the Charter and remedies for breaches by police
Ruth and Marcia are waiting at a bus stop. Ruth is a young woman in her 20s and Marcia is a 45-year-old woman. They have never met before. All of a sudden, two cars pull up at the bus stop and six men jump out. They grab both women and push them up against the bus shelter. At some point it becomes apparent that the men are undercover police who suspect Ruth and Marcia have been involved in a serious police incident a couple of blocks away. When one officer searches Ruth, he discovers that she has a bag of cocaine. He arrests Ruth and says she will be charged for possession and possibly trafficking of an illegal drug.
After searching the two women and checking their identification, the police officers agree they’re not the women in the police incident. Marcia is free to go. When she asks for an apology, the officer tells her it was no big deal and to “shake it off.” They require Ruth to accompany them to the police station.
Both Marcia and Ruth were very frightened and embarrassed as people from the neighbourhood had circled around, watching what was happening. Both women were reduced to tears.
Answer the following questions:
1.What sections of the Charter may have been violated here? Describe the substance of each of these sections and any legal remedies that Marcia may rely upon.
2.What can Ruth do? How may she successfully defend herself against the cocaine possession charge? Even if you believe she has a good defence, use your imagination to think of any additional facts that might have led the police to reasonably believe they were justified in searching Ruth.
3.Using CanLII or Quicklaw, find and summarize the facts and decision in any Appeal Court case that deals with similar facts and issues. You may want to limit your search to cases involving drugs.

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