Siemens V. Manitoba (Attorney General) - Background

Background

In 1998, the town of Winkler, Manitoba held a non-binding plebiscite in which it was decided to ban VLTs from the community. In 1999, the province of Manitoba passed the Gaming Control Local Option Act (known as the "VLT Act") which allowed municipalities to hold binding plebiscites to ban VLTs. The VLT Act contained a provision in section 16 which made the Winkler plebiscite binding which resulted in the Winkler Inn, owned by the Siemens, to shut down its VLT facilities.

The Siemens challenged the VLT Act on the ground that section 16 was ultra vires the power of the provincial government's authority as it was a matter under the federal criminal law power, and that it violated their right to freedom of expression under section 2(b) of the Charter, their right to life, liberty, and security of person under section 7 of the Charter, and their right to equality under section 15(1) of the Charter.

The motions judge rejected the claims which was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Justice Major, writing for a unanimous Court, held that the Act was a valid exercise of the provincial law-making power and it did not violate any section of the Charter.

Read more about this topic:  Siemens V. Manitoba (Attorney General)

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