March 12, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)


licked into shape by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, would have had the effect of giving us legislative union, but unfortunately, although our Supreme Court understood the opinion and wishes, not only of the framers of the British North America Act, but of the community generally, the Privy Council of England had a different opinion. Home Buie was then in the air, and instead of giving us decisions tending to legislative union, we had decisions affirming to the utmost provincial rights.
There is another reason why jurisdiction over the interpretation of our own laws should be final in this Dominion. Our own courts understand the wishes and hopes of the Dominion, and if the final jurisdiction over constitutional questions lay with these courts our jurisprudence would be so gradually licked into shape that the process of assimilation would be gradually and naturally accomplished, and the aspirations of the fathers of confederation become realized.
The hon. member for Hants (Mr. Bussell) lias taken the place in this House formerly held by his old opponent, Mr.Weldon. Gradually gliding from the constitutional question to the question whether a codification of all the laws was better than leaving the laws as they are and construing them by the decisions of the different courts-whether it was better to have the laws codified or let them be licked into shape by the decision of the judges-he gave us one of those lectures with which no doubt he is wont to instruct his students. He pointed out the advantages of the one system and the advantages of the other, just as Mr. Weldon used to do when treating this House to lectures, previously delivered at Dalhousie college, and which, no doubt were very instructive. But after the dissertation of my hon. friend from Hants on the subject, whether a codification of the laws or laws licked into shape by the decisions of the courts is the better way, I am still in doubt. However, the House is to be congratulated on the introduction of the subject by my hon. friend. It is the most interesting one which has come before the House this session, and I am sorry I have not given it more study so that I might be able to do it justice. I merely listened to the remarks of my hon. friend, and have given expression to the few of the suggestions which occurred to me while he was speaking.

Full View