Letter from W. Murdoch to F.R. Scott, Esq. (16 June 1936)
By: W. Murdoch
Citation: Letter from W. Murdoch to F.R. Scott, Esq. (16 June 1936).
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R. V. SINCLAIR, K.C.
June 16th, 1936.
I have your letter of the 13th instant,which I
have read, with interest.
Dealing with your first point,the Privy Council is
not concerned with consequences. It is there to interpret the
law. The mere fact that the Dominion,in l9l7,usurped Provincial
rights in a national emergency,does not give the Dominion an
unqualified right to continue the encroachment upon Provincial
With regard to the recent decisions, the Aeronautics
Case,and the Radio Case have no bearing upon the question,at all.
These two subjects are the natural development of powers conferred
by the B.N.A. Act,upon the Dominion,while the Coal Combine Case
was nothing more than an attempt,by way of the Statute of West-
minster,to permit an appeal to the Privy Council,upon a criminal
With regard to the Caron case, it does not apply.
The facts were not stuted,and as a matter of fact,the question
of the constitutionality of the claim was only argued in the
Privy Counci1,before which none of the facts regarding the relative
rights of the Dominion and the Provinces,were argued.
With regard to your third point,that is answered by
the fact that it is absurd to suggest that,in the matter of Taxa-
tion,the most vital question in the whole Confederation there wast
to be over-lapping. It simply means this,that the Dominion agreed
to pay a subsidy to the Provinces out of the known sources of
revenue,then in exiatence,which at the time were entirely indirect
and,by direct taxation,recover the eighty cents subsidy,by direct
taxation within the Province.
R. V. SINCLAIR. K.C.
With regard to the rule of interpretation,that does
not ariae,and you entirely answer your three points in your own
words,when you say that “I do not believe you could persuade a
“Court to look at the highly uncertain and indefinite passages
“from Political speeches,and abandoned draft resolutions and
“bills which preceded the final wording of the B.N.A. Act, itself”.
Political speeches and abandoned drafts and bills
do not enter into the question. The Quebec Resolutions,which is
admitted to be an agreement,is clear and unambiguous. If you will
confine your attention to the provisions of the Quebec Resolutions,
which is admitted to be a contract between the Provinces,which
nobody had any authority to alter,then,you answer your own
arguments,and are compelled to admit that the Dominion filched
from the Provinces,the right of direct taxation,and it is a matter
of indifference at what time the wrong has been discovered, the
injured party is entitled at any time to have the wrong redressed.