Federal Court

Constitutional Law

Charter of Rights
Claims of economic “think tank” against Crown disclosed no reasonable cause of action

Plaintiff Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) was economic “think tank” and individual plaintiffs were members of COMER. Amended statement of claim sought declarations relating to assertions that Bank of Canada Act (BCA) provided for interest-free loans to governments for purposes of “human capital expenditures,” and defendants failed to fulfill their legal duties to ensure such loans were made, resulting in lower human capital expenditures by governments to detriment of all Canadians. Plaintiffs asserted that these harms were result of Canadian fiscal and monetary policy. Plaintiff sought declaration that taxes imposed to pay for interest on deficit and debt to private bankers were illegal and unconstitutional. Plaintiffs asserted defendants breached Constitution Act, 1867 (Can.) and s. 3 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Plaintiffs sought damages. Defendants brought motion to strike amended statement of claim. Motion granted. It was plain and obvious that claims disclosed no reasonable cause of action and had no reasonable prospect of success. Taxation issues raised were not justiciable. No constitutional principle was breached or principle of taxation without representation. No facts were pleaded to support allegation that MPs were voting blind and were hoodwinked by Minister of Finance. There was nothing in facts as pleaded in amended claim to suggest that Parliament was not fully aware of criticisms levelled by plaintiffs against Minister of Finance and that parliamentarians were not free to question and debate any budget presented from perspective of those criticisms. Plaintiffs were attacking Parliamentary process and jurisprudence was clear that court could not interfere with way Parliament went about its business. COMER as unincorporated association had no electoral rights. There were no material facts in amended claim that linked impugned legislative scheme embodied in BCA to effect on plaintiffs. Plaintiffs were asking court for advisory opinion in form of declarations that their view of way BCA and Constitution should be read was correct. Court was not to declare law generally or to give advisory opinion, but was to decide and declare contested legal rights.

Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) v. R. (Feb. 8, 2016, F.C., James Russell J., T-2010-11) 264 A.C.W.S. (3d) 381.

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