Parliamentary Timing and Federal Legislation Referred to Courts: Reconsidering C-14

Article 5 / 12 , Vol 40 No 2 (Summer)

Parliamentary Timing and Federal Legislation Referred to Courts: Reconsidering C-14

Parliamentarians often express the desire to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of bills. For example, parliamentarians thought of asking for the Supreme Court’s opinion in the recent Bill C-14 on medical aid to die. In this article, the author analyzes six contexts of hypothetical referral of Bill C-14: pre-filing, simultaneous referral to filing, post-filing referral, post-adoption referral, adoption Conditional on removal and referral to provincial courts. The conclusion is that while legislators want a court decision on the constitutionality of a bill, complications arise because the executive controls the current referral powers. Therefore,