The Rule of Law in the Canadian Constitution

Type of resource
The Rule of Law in the Canadian Constitution
A discussion of the Roncarelli v. Duplessis case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Italian-born Frank Roncarelli (1904-1981) was the owner of an upscale Montreal restaurant, inherited from his father. In the restaurant's thirty-four years in operation, it had always had a liquor licence, issued by the Quebec Liquor Commission. Roncarelli was also a Jehovah's Witness. On December 4, 1946, Roncarelli was informed by the Quebec Liquor Commission that the liquor licence for his restaurant had been revoked “forever.” Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis publically stated that he had ordered the licence to be revoke because Roncarelli had provided bail for close to 400 cases relating to Jehovah's Witnesses arrested for distributing anti-Catholic religious tracts without a licence. In 1951, the Quebec Superior Court sided with Roncarelli that Duplessis acted beyond his authority by intervening in the jurisdiction of the Liquor Commission. The Appeal Section of the Court of Queen’s Bench reversed the decision. In 1959, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Superior Court's decision that Duplessis had acted beyond his authority and, even though he was Premier, he was not above the law.
Book Title
Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canad
Calgary, AB
University of Calgary Press
Morton, F.L., ed. “The Rule of Law in the Canadian Constitution.” In Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canad, 1–30. 3rd ed. Calgary, AB: University of Calgary Press, 2002.
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