In the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories Between: Her Majesty the Queen Indian Act and Joseph Drybones, Appellant. Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Mr. Justice W.G. Morrow

Findings of the court case involving the Crown v. Joseph Drybones, who was found guilty of intoxication off a reserve, contrary to Section 94(b) of the Indian Act.

Historical note:

R. v. Drybones, [1970] S.C.R. 282, is a landmark 6-3 Supreme Court of Canada decision holding that the Canadian Bill of Rights "empowered the courts to strike down federal legislation which offended its dictates" and, as such, section 94(b) of the Indian Act (which prohibited "Indians" from being intoxicated off of a reserve) is therefore inoperative because it violates section 1(b) of the Canadian Bill of Rights. Prior to this decision there had been much debate on the application of the Bill of Rights to an infringing statute. One perspective saw the Bill of Rights as an interpretive aid. The other perspective saw it as statute that constrained the supremacy of Parliament, rendering irreconcilable federal enactments of no force or effect. After this case, the overriding power that the Court held flows from the Canadian Bill of Rights was never used, and has since never been reconsidered by the Supreme Court of Canada.As a consequence of this case, section 94 was repealed by Parliament in 1971.
Indian-Eskimo Association of Canada
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University of Saskatchewan Libraries Special Collections, Canadiana Pamphlets Collection, XXXII-132-InTheTerritorial (36); records from Our Legacy site,
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Documents & Presentations
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