Friday, January 16, 2015

Bourgoin v. La Compagnie du chemin de fer de Montreal

The constitutional issue in Bourgoin was whether a federally-regulated railway could sell itself to a provincial government without the authorization of a federal statute.

The answer was "no."

This result turns a lot on the way that 19th century corporate law differs from that of the present-day. Old-time corporations did not just get the civil rights of persons (which would include selling assets to other persons). They also had to act in accordance with their authorized purposes. Naturally, if the railway was federally-regulated, these purposes had to be provided for by federal statute.


L said...

Would Lac-Megantic be relevant here, chum? I don't mean tortwise but regulatorily (the latter adverb being one only a lawyer could love, or use, bien sur.)As I recall it was a matter of a Yankee-owned short-line enterprise passing some oil from one province to another, or through Canada to the USA, or perhaps the other way. Whoever had jurisdiction, the dick who didn't set the brake-stick killed 43 Canucks. I guess he would have to be taken as an emanation or functionary of his actual employer...? Whose purpose was not to incinerate holidaymakers, no doubt. But should Authority, however defined, have prevented the disaster? Nah. Disaster is usually a chain of errors, singular lapses and misaligned stars. You know it, gangster.

PithLord said...

Do interprovincial railways have to follow provincial laws? The answer is yes, but we have to wait until 1899 to find that out.

L said...