RJR-MacDonald Inc. V. Canada (Attorney General)

Case 31
Asha Clarke
The Tobacco Products Control Act prohibited all advertising and
promotion of tobacco products and the sale of a tobacco
product unless its package includes prescribed unattributed
health warnings and a list of toxic ingredients.
RJR-MacDonald and Imperial Tobacco Inc. The appellants
sought the declaration that the Act was altogether ultra vires
Parliament and invalid as an unjustified infringement of
freedom of expression guarantees under the Charter.
Both cases were heard at the Quebec Superior Court which
found that the Act was ultra vires Parliament and infringed
upon s.2 (b) of the Charter. The Court of Appeal reversed the
The appeal should be allowed.
Parliament had the competence to enact the legislation
under the criminal law power or POGG
ss.4,8,9 of the act are inconsistent with the right of
freedom of expression in s.2(b) of the Charter and do not
constitute a reasonable limit on that right that can be
justified under s.1 of the Charter.
Whether Parliament had legislative competence to enact
the legislation under either, the peace, order and good
government of Canada clause or the criminal law power.
Whether the Act infringed the right to freedom of
expression protected by s. 2(b) of the Charter and, if so,
whether it was saved under s. 1 of the Charter.
The SCC has expressed the values promoted by the freedom
of expression guarantee as ‘the quest for truth, the
promotion of individual self-development and the
protection and fostering of a vibrant democracy where the
participation of all individuals is accepted and
 Given this, do you believe that the right of freedom of
expression of RJR MacDonald Inc –tobacco advertising
and promotion, relates to these values?