Document Type



Current legal debates on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada have focused on the apparent shift in the location of power from elected representatives to the judiciary since 1982. In this paper, I take an historical perspective on that issue. I will explore the relationship of political power, as exercised by the judiciary through the interpretation of legislation, with concepts of parliamentary supremacy in Saskatchewan during the fist half of this century.

The paper first describes the political character of the judiciary in Saskatchewan from 1905 until 1941, and then describes the political movements which gave rise to the enactment of "progressive" legislation in Saskatchewan during the same era. The relationship between the judiciary and the legislative branches of government is developed through an analysis of several pieces of legislation introduced during this period, and of several hundred cases in which that legislation was applied by the judiciary.

The results of the analysis indicate a significant difference in the number of cases decided in favour of creditors as compared to debtors in this period. In the final section of the paper, I explore several possible explanations for this difference and suggest that identification with the economic interests of creditors may be the most persuasive explanation for the data.