Dalhousie Law Journal


Power Without Law, Supreme Court of Canada, Marshall, Mi'kmaq, treaty, Nova Scotia, fisheries


Alex Cameron's book, Power WithoutLaw, is a scathing critique ofthe Supreme Court of Canada's 1999 decisions in R. v. Marshall upholding Donald Marshall Jr.'s Mi'kmaq treaty claim. Cameron's book has attracted a lot of attention because of the author's position as Crown counsel for the government of Nova Scotia. Cameron was not involved as a lawyer in the Marshallcase itself. As a fisheries prosecution, Marshallwas a matter of federal jurisdiction pursuant to s. 91(12) of the Constitution Act, 1867, and Nova Scotia chose not to intervene. However, Cameron did become involved in a subsequent case dealing with the same series of treaties but different accused, R. v. Stephen Marshall; . v.Bernard, 4 which involved logging and was thus a matter of provincial jurisdiction. Cameron, who had been a staff lawyer in the civil litigation section of the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, was appointed as a Crown attorney (co-counsel) in the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for the purposes of the appeals in the Stephen Marshallcase. It was that involvement that brought Cameron to the view that the Supreme Court of Canada had wrongly decided the 1999 Marshallcase, (8) and ultimately to write the book.