Dalhousie Law Journal


Quebec, jus tracatus, international treaties, constitutional law, Gérin-Lajoie Statement


There is much debate in Quebec challenging the traditional stance on jus tractatus," prevalent for nearly 100 years, to the effect that the federal government enjoys plenary power to enter into international treaties, whether the subject matter is federal or provincial. The paper argues that Quebec's Gdrin-Lajoie "doctrine" has become a myth over the years, liable to have a huge semiotic effect, creating the perception that there is an incontestably true legal basis for provincial treatymaking power After dwelling upon the ontological understanding of mythology, the author shows that the constitutional practice since the emancipation from Great Britain, as well as uninterrupted caselaw since both decisions in the Labour Conventions Case, inexorably support the exclusive federal power based on royal prerogatives, a position confirmed dejure with the 1947 Letters Patent. The Gdrin-Lajoie statement is just that, a political statement, which is unsubstantiated by positive rules of constitutional law; the "two-Crown approach," based on Liquidators of Maritime Bank and Bonanza Creek, is of no avail in that regard.