Welcome

In all countries of the world, governments do only one thing: they govern. The term "govern" essentially means "limit" or "control". A government's legitimate and sole role is to limit or control human behaviour within certain geographical limits. Governments accomplish governance by the use of physical force. In so-called "free" societies, force is used only pursuant to so-called "secondary laws" which permit its use.

It is arguable that, in most so-called "free" societies, the nature and extent of the authority of governments to make secondary laws are set out in what is typically called a "constitution". Thus, in most free societies, the supreme ruler is not a person (e.g., a monarch or president) or group of people (e.g., a parliament or house of representatives). Rather, it is a constitution: a set of special, "primary laws", relatively difficult to change, that have been agreed upon typically at the time of the birth of a country. In short, in free societies, there is respect for the "rule of law", and no person or group of people is above the law.

Canada has a constitution, and it is a country which, according to its constitution, respects the rule of law: the supreme ruler of Canada is the Canadian constitution.

Arguably, the most important and controversial law-making authority conferred on a legislative body by a constitution is the authority to make tax laws. And, arguably, the most important and controversial authority conferred on a government by a constitution is the power to spend money. They are important controversial types of authority because money is power, and a government with a lot of money is a government with a lot of power to govern the behaviour of its country's people. Thus, because governments love to govern, law makers have often been tempted to push the limits of their authority make tax laws, to rent the authority to make tax laws from other law-making bodies that lawfully had it, to skirt the limits of their authority by non-legislative means, or to ignore the limits altogether. Such behaviour, arguably, constitutes contempt for the rule of law, not respect for it.

To the extent that Canadians do not know the limits of their Federal Parliment's and Provincial Legislatures' constitutionally-conferred "powers" to make tax laws, and the limits of their Federal and Provincial governments' power to spend, they are unable to recognize a violation of those limits. Therefore, conscientious Canadians, who recognize the importance to freedom and democracy of respect for the rule of law, ought to know the limits of those powers.

The goal of this site is to provide Canadians with the information they need to learn about the limits of constitutionally-conferred taxing and spending powers. In it, you will find relevant parts of the Canadian constitution, the text of decisions by our judges in relevant court cases, a useful glossary of relevant terms, statements & articles on the subject, and the stories/legends of those who have taken our governments to task on the issue. Comments and requests are welcome.

Please note that nothing on this site should be taken or relied upon as legal advice. The author(s) of the content on this site, and all other people involved in the preparation of this site, accept no liability relating to the use, abuse, or distribution of information from this site. This site is for educational purposes only. You would be well advised to retain the services of a lawyer should you wish to have information upon which you can rely.

That said, enjoy.

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This page last updated on July 6, 1998.

Provided to you by Paul McKeever, a fellow lover of Canada, freedom, and the rule of law.

 

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