Supreme Court of Canada
Roncarelli v. Duplessis,  S.C.R. 121
FRANK RONCARELLI (Plaintiff)
THE HONOURABLE MAURICE DUPLESSIS (Defendant)
ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF QUEEN'S BENCH, APPEAL SIDE, PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
PRESENT: Kerwin C.J. and Taschereau, Rand, Locke, Cartwright, Fauteux, Abbott, Martland and Judson JJ.
Crown-Officers of the Crown-Powers and responsibilities-Prime Minister and Attorney-General-Quebec Liquor Commission-Cancellation of licence to sell liquor-T7rhether made at instigation of Prime Minister and Attorney-General-The Alcoholic Liquor Act, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 255-The Attorney-General's Department Act, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 46-The Executive Power Act, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 7.
Licences-Cancellation-Motives of cancellation---Done on instigation of Prime Minister and Attorney-General-Whether liability in damages-Whether notice under art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure required.
The plaintiff, the proprietor of a restaurant in Montreal and the holder of a licence to sell intoxicating liquor, sued the defendant personally for damages arising out of the cancellation of his licence by the Quebec Liquor Commission. He alleged that the licence had been arbitrarily cancelled at the instigation of the defendant who, without legal powers in the matter, had given orders to the Commission to cancel it before its expiration. This was done, it was alleged, to punish the plaintiff, a member of the Witnesses of Jehovah, because he had acted as bailsman for a large number of members of his sect charged with the violation of municipal by-laws in connection with the distribution of literature. The trial judge gave judgment for the plaintiff for part of the damages claimed. The defendant appealed and the plaintiff, seeking an increase in the amount of damages, cross-appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the action and the cross-appeal.
Held (Taschereau, Cartwright and Fauteux JJ. dissenting) : The action should be maintained and the amount awarded at trial should be increased by $25,000. By wrongfully and without legal justification causing the cancellation of the permit, the defendant became liable for damages under art. 1053 of the Civil Code.
Per Kerwin C.J.: The trial judge correctly decided that the defendant ordered the Commission to cancel the licence, and no satisfactory reason has been advanced for the Court of Appeal setting aside that finding of fact.
Per Kerwin C.J. and Locke and Martland JJ.: There was ample evidence to sustain the finding of the trial judge that the cancellation of the permit was the result of an order given by the defendant to the manager of the Commission. There was, therefore, a relationship of cause and effect between the defendant's acts and the cancellation of the permit.
The defendant was not acting in the exercise of any of his official powers. There was no authority in the Attorney-General's Department Act, the Executive Power Act, or the Alcoholic Liquor Act enabling the defendant to direct the cancellation of a permit under the Alcoholic Liquor Act. The intent and purpose of that Act placed complete control over the liquor traffic in the hands of an independent commission.
Cancellation of a permit by the Commission, at the request or upon the direction of a third party, as was done in this case, was not a proper and valid exercise of the powers conferred upon the Commission by s. 35 of the Act.
The defendant was not entitled to the protection provided by art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure since what he did was not "done by him in the exercise of his functions". To interfere with the administration of the Commission by causing the cancellation of a liquor permit was entirely outside his legal functions. It involved the exercise of powers which in law he did not possess at all. His position was not altered by the fact that he thought it was his right and duty to act as he did.
Per Rand J.: To deny or revoke a permit because a citizen exercises an unchallangeable right totally irrelevant to the sale of liquor in a restaurant is beyond the scope of the discretion conferred upon the Commission by the Alcoholic Liquor Act. What was done here was not competent to the Commission and a fortiori to the government or the defendant. The act of the defendant, through the instrumentality of the Commission, brought about a breach of an implied public statutory duty toward the plaintiff. There was no immunity in the defendant from an action for damages. He was under no duty in relation to the plaintiff and his act was an intrusion upon the functions of a statutory body. His liability was, there-fore, engaged. There can be no question of good faith when an act is done with an improper intent and for a purpose alien to the very statute under which the act is purported to be done. There was no need for giving a notice of action as required by art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as the act done by the defendant was quite beyond the scope of any function or duty committed to him so far so that it was one done exclusively in a private capacity however much, in fact, the influence of public office and power may have carried over into it.
Per Abbott J.: The cancellation of the licence was made solely because of the plaintiff's association with the Witnesses of Jehovah and with the object and purpose of preventing him from continuing to furnish bail for members of that sect. This cancellation was made with the express authorization and upon the order of the defendant. In purporting to authorize and instruct the Commission to cancel the licence the defendant was acting, as he was bound to know, without any legal authority whatsoever. A public officer is responsible for acts done by him without legal justification. The defendant was not entitled to avail himself of the exceptional provision of art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure since the act complained of was not "done by him in the exercise of his functions" but was an act done when he had gone outside his functions to perform it. Before a public officer can be held to be acting "in the exercise of his functions" within the meaning of art. 88, it must be established that at the time he performed the act complained of such public officer had reasonable ground for believing that such act was within his legal authority to perform.
Per Taschereau J., dissenting: The action cannot succeed because -the plaintiff did not give the notice required by art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the defendant who was a public officer performing his functions. The failure to fulfil this condition precedent was a total bar to the claim. That failure may be raised by exception to the form or in the written plea to the action, and the words "no judgment may be rendered" indicate that the Court may raise the point propio motu. Even if what was said by the defendant affected
the decision taken by the Commission, the defendant remained, nevertheless, a public officer acting in the performance of his duties. He was surely a public officer, and it is clear that he did not act in his personal quality. It was as legal adviser of the Commission and also as a public officer entrusted with the task of preventing disorders and as protector of the peace in the province, that he was consulted. It was the Attorney-General, acting in the performance of his functions, who was required to give his directives to a govern-mental branch. It is a fallacious principle to hold that an error, committed by a public officer in doing an act connected with the object of his functions, strips that act of its official character and that its author must then be considered as having acted outside the scope of his duties.
Per Cartwright J., dissenting: The loss suffered by the plaintiff was damnum sine injuria. Whether the defendant directed or merely approved the cancellation of the licence, he cannot be answerable in damages since the act of the Commission in cancelling the licence was not an actionable wrong. The Courts below have found, on ample evidence, that the defendant and the manager of the Commission acted throughout in the honest belief that they were fulfilling their duty to the province. On the true construction of the Alcoholic Liquor Act, the Legislature, except in certain specified circumstances which are not present in the case at bar, has not laid down any rules as to the grounds on which the Commission may decide to cancel a permit; that decision is committed to the unfettered discretion of the Commission and its function in making the decision is administrative and not judicial or quasi-judicial. Consequently, the Commission was not bound to give the plaintiff an opportunity to be heard and the Court cannot be called upon to determine whether there existed sufficient grounds for its decision. Even if the function of the Commission was quasi-judicial and its order should be set aside for failure to hear the plaintiff, it is doubtful whether any action for damages would lie.
Per Fauteux J., dissenting : The right to exercise the discretion with respect to the cancellation of the permit, which under the Alcoholic Liquor Act was exclusively that of the Commission, was abdicated by it in favour of the defendant when he made the decision executed by the Commission. The cancellation being illegal, imputable to the defendant, and damageable for the plaintiff, the latter was entitled to succeed on an action under art. 1053 of the Civil Code.
As the notice required by art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure was not given, the action, however, could not be maintained. The failure to give notice, when it should be given, imports nullity and limits the very jurisdiction of the Court. In the present case, the defendant was entitled to the notice since the illegality reproached was committed "in the exercise of his functions". The meaning of this expression in art. 88 was not subject to the limitations attending expressions
more or less identical appearing in art. 1054 of the Civil Code. The latter article deals with responsibility whereas art. 88 deals with procedure. Article 88 has its source in s. 8 of An Act for the Protection of Justices of the Peace, Cons. Stat. L.C., c. 101, which provided that the officer "shall be entitled" to the protection of the statute although "he has exceeded his powers or jurisdiction, and has acted clearly contrary to law". That section peremptorily establishes that, in pari materia, a public officer was not considered as having ceased to act within the exercise of his functions by the sole fact that the act committed by him might constitute an abuse of power or excess of jurisdiction, or even a violation of the law. An illegality is assumed under art. 88. The jurisprudence of the province, which has been settled for many years, is to the effect that the incidence of good or bad faith has no bearing on the right to the notice.
The illegality committed by the defendant did not amount to an offence known under the penal law or a delict under art. 1053 of the Civil Code. He did not use his functions to commit this illegality. He did not commit it on the occasion of his functions, but committed it because ,of his functions. His good faith has not been doubted, and on this fact there was a concurrent finding in the Courts below.
APPEALS from two judgments of the Court of Queen's Bench, Appeal Side, Province of Quebec, reversing a judgment of Mackinnon J. Appeals allowed, Taschereau, Cartwright and Fauteux JJ. dissenting.
F. R. Scott and A. L. Stein, for the plaintiff, appellant.
L. E. Beaulieu, Q.C., and L. Tremblay, Q.C., for the defendant, respondent.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE :- No satisfactory reason has been advanced for the Court of Queen's Bench (Appeal Side) setting aside the finding of fact by the trial judge that the respondent ordered the Quebec Liquor Commission to cancel the appellant's licence. A reading of the testimony of the respondent and of the person constituting the commission at the relevant time satisfies me that the trial judge correctly decided the point. As to the other questions, I agree with Mr. Justice Martland.
The appeals should be allowed with costs here and below and judgment directed to be entered for the appellant against the respondent in the sum of $33,123.53 with interest from the date of the judgment of the Superior Court, together with the costs of the action.
TASCHEREAU J. (dissenting) :-L'intimé est Premier Ministre et Procureur Général de la province de Québec, et il occupait ces hautes fonctions dans le temps où les faits qui ont donné naissance à ce litige se sont passés.
L'appelant, un restaurateur de la Cité de Montréal, et porteur d'un permis de la Commission des Liqueurs pour la vente des spiritueux, lui a réclamé personnellement devant la Cour supérieure la somme de $118,741 en dom-mages. Il a allégué dans son action qu'il est. licencié depuis de nombreuses années, qu'il a toujours respecté les lois de la Province se rapportant à la vente des liqueurs alcooliques, que son restaurant avait une excellente réputation, et jouissait de la faveur d'une clientèle nombreuse et recherchée.
Il a allégué en outre qu'il faisait et fait encore partie de la secte religieuse des "Témoins de Jéhovah", et que parce qu'il se serait rendu caution pour quelque 390 de ses coreligionnaires, traduits devant les tribunaux correctionnels de Montréal et accusés de distribution de littérature, sans permis, l'intimé serait illégalement intervenu auprès du gérant de la Commission pour lui faire perdre son permis, qui d'ailleurs lui a été enlevé le 4 décembre 1946. Ce serait comme résultat de l'intervention injustifiée de l'intimé que l'appelant aurait été privé de son permis, et aurait ainsi souffert les dommages considérables qu'il réclame.
La Cour supérieure a maintenu l'action jusqu'à concurrence de $8,123.53, et la Cour du banc de la reine, M. le Juge Rinfret étant dissident, aurait pour divers motifs maintenu l'appel et rejeté l'action.
L'intimé a soulevé plusieurs moyens à l'encontre de cette réclamation, mais je n'en examinerai qu'un seul, car je crois qu'il est suffisant pour disposer du présent appel. Le Code de procédure civile de la province de Québec contient la disposition suivante:
Art. 88 C.P.-Nul officier public ou personne remplissant des fonctions ou devoirs publics ne peut être poursuivi pour dommages à raison d'un acte par lui fait dans l'exercice de ses fonctions, et nul verdict ou jugement ne peut être rendu contre lui à moins qu'avis de celte poursuite ne lui ait été donné au moins un mois avant l'émission de l'assignation.
Cet avis doit être par écrit; il doit exposer les causes de l'action, contenir l'indication des noms et de l'étude du procureur du demandeur ou de son agent et être signifié au défendeur personnellement ou à son domicile.
Le défaut de donner cet avis peut être invoqué par le défendeur, soit au moyen d'une exception à la forme ou soit par plaidoyer au fond. Charland v. Kay; Corporation de la Paroisse de St-David v. Paquet; Houde v. Benoit.
Les termes mêmes employés par le législateur dans l'art. 88 C.P.C., "nul jugement ne peut être rendu" contre le défendeur, indiquent aussi que la Cour a le devoir de sou-lever d'office ce moyen, si le défendeur omet ou néglige de le faire par exception à la forme, ou dans son plaidoyer écrit. La signification de cet avis à un officier public, remplissant des devoirs publics, est une condition préalable, essentielle à la réussite d'une procédure judiciaire. S'il n'est pas donné, les tribunaux ne peuvent prononcer aucune condamnation en dommages. Or, dans le cas présent, il est admis qu'aucun avis n'a été donné.
Mais, c'est la prétention de l'appelant que l'intimé ne peut se prévaloir de ce moyen qui est une fin de non recevoir, car, les conseils ou avis qu'il aurait donnés et qui auraient été la cause déterminante de la perte de son permis, ne l'ont pas été en raison d'un acte posé par lui dans l'exercice de ses fonctions.
La preuve révèle que l'appelant était bien licencié de la Commission des Liqueurs depuis de nombreuses années, que la tenue de son restaurant était irréprochable, et que dans le cours du mois de décembre de l'année 1946, alors qu'il était toujours porteur de son permis, celui-ci lui a été enlevé parce qu'il se rendait caution pour plusieurs centaines de ses coreligionnaires, distributeurs de littérature que l'on croyait séditieuse.
C'était avant le jugement de cette Cour dans la cause de Boucher v. Le Roi, alors que la conviction était profondément ancrée parmi la population, que les "Témoins de Jéhovah" étaient des perturbateurs de la paix publique, des sources constantes de trouble et de désordre dans la Province. On jugeait leur mouvement dangereux, susceptible de soulever une partie de la population contre l'autre, et de provoquer de sérieuses agitations. On parlait même de conspiration séditieuse, et ce n'est sûrement pas sans
cause raisonnable, car cette opinion fut plus tard unanime-ment confirmée par cinq juges de la Cour du Banc de la Reine dans l'affaire Boucher v. Le Roi, et également par quatre juges dissidents devant cette 'Cour (Boucher v. Le Roi cité supra),
M. Archambault, alors gérant général de la Commission des Liqueurs, soupçonnait fortement que le "Frank Roncarelli" qui par ses cautionnements aidait financièrement ce mouvement qu'il croyait subversif, était détenteur d'un permis de restaurateur pour la vente de liqueurs alcooliques. Il pensait évidemment qu'il ne convenait pas que les bénéfices que Roncarelli retirait de son permis de la Commission, soient utilisés à servir la cause d'agitateurs religieux, dont les enseignements et les méthodes venaient en conflit avec les croyances populaires. Il en informa l'intimé, procureur général, qui en cette qualité est l'aviseur légal officiel de la province pour toutes les affaires juridiques.
Au cours d'une première conversation téléphonique, M. Archambault suggéra à l'intimé que le permis de Roncarelli lui soit enlevé, ce que d'ailleurs il avait personnelle-ment le droit de faire, en vertu de l'art. 35 de la Loi des Liqueurs, qui est ainsi rédigé:
35.-La Commission peut à sa discrétion annuler un permis en tout temps.
Or, comme l'exécutif de la Commission des Liqueurs ne se compose que d'un gérant général qui était M. Archambault, cette discrétion reposait entièrement sur lui.
L'intimé lui suggéra la prudence, et lui proposa de s'en-quérir avec certitude si le Roncarelli, détenteur de permis, était bien le même Roncarelli qui prodiguait ses cautionnements d'une façon si généreuse. Après enquête, l'affirmative ayant été établie, M. Archambault communiqua de nouveau avec l'intimé, et voici ce que nous dit M. Archambault dans son témoignage au sujet de ces conversations:
Q. Maintenant, ce jour-là, où vous avez reçu une lettre, le 30 novembre 1946, avez-vous décidé, ce jour-là, d'enlever la licence?
R. Certainement, ce jour-là, j'avais appelé le Premier Ministre, en l'occurrence le procureur général, lui faisant part des constatations, c'est-à-dire des renseignements que je possédais, et de mon intention d'annuler le privilège, et le Premier Ministre m'a répondu de prendre mes précautions, de bien vérifier s'il s'agissait bien de
la même personne, qu'il pouvait y avoir plusieurs Roncarelli, et coetera. Alors, quand j'ai eu la confirmation de Y3 à l'effet que c'était la même personne, j'ai appelé le Premier Ministre pour l'assurer qu'il s'agissait bien de Frank Roncarelli, détenteur d'un permis de la Commission des Liqueurs; et, là, le Premier Ministre m'a autorisé, il m'a donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission, et son ordre de procéder.
Voici maintenant la version de l'intimé :
Probablement, à la suite du rapport que l'indicateur Y-3 a fait, le rapport qui est produit, M. le Juge Archambault m'a téléphoné et m'a dit: 'on est sûr, c'est cette personne-là.' Et comme dans l'intervalle j'avais étudié le problème et parcouru les statuts depuis l'institution de la Commission des Liqueurs et tous les amendements qui avaient eu lieu, et j'avais consulté, j'en suis arrivé à la conclusion qu'en mou âme et conscience, mon impérieux devoir c'était d'approuver la suggestion très au point du Juge et d'autoriser la cancellation d'un privilège que cet homme-là ne méritait pas, à mon sens, et dont il n'était pas digne.
Après avoir mûrement délibéré et conscient et sûr de faire mon devoir, j'ai dit à M. Archambault que j'approuvais sa suggestion d'annuler le permis, d'annuler le privilège.
Et, plus loin :
... j'ai dit au Juge Archambault que j'étais de son opinion, que je ne croyais pas que Roncarelli fût digne d'obtenir des privilèges de la province après son attitude que j'ai mentionnée tout à l'heure.
... et lorsque le Juge Archambault m'a dit, après vérification, que c'était la même personne, j'ai dit: 'Vous avez raison, ôtez le permis, ôtez le privilège.'
Quand on demande à l'intimé s'il a donné un ordre à M. Archambault, voici ce qu'il dit:
Non, je n'ai pas donné un ordre à M. Archambault, je viens de conter ce qui s'est passé.
Que le permis ait été enlevé à Roncarelli comme con-séquence de la seule décision de M. Archambault, ce qu'il avait le droit de faire à sa discrétion, ou que cette discrétion ait été influencée par les paroles de l'intimé, n'a pas je crois d'effet décisif dans la détermination de la présente cause. Je demeure convaincu que même si les paroles de l'intimé. ont pu avoir quelque influence sur la décision qui a été prise, ce dernier demeurait quand même un officier public, agissant dans l'exercice de ses fonctions, et qu'il était essentiel de lui donner l'avis requis par l'art. 88 C.P.C. L'absence de cet avis interdit aux tribunaux de prononcer aucune condamnation.
L'intimé est sûrement un officier public, et il me semble clair qu'il n'a pas agi en sa qualité personnelle. C'est bien comme aviseur légal de la Commission des Liqueurs, et aussi comme officier public chargé de la prévention des troubles, et gardien de la paix dans la province, qu'il a été consulté. C'est le Procureur Général, agissant dans l'exercice de ses fonctions, qui a été requis de donner ses directives à une branche gouvernementale dont il est l'aviseur. Vide : Loi concernant le Département du Procureur Général, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 46, art. 3, Loi des liqueurs alcooliques, S.R.Q. 1941, c. 255, art 138.
'Certains, à tort ou à raison, peuvent croire que l'intimé se soit trompé, en pensant qu'il devait, pour le maintien de la paix publique et la suppression de troubles existants, et qui menaçaient de se propager davantage, conseiller l'enlèvement du permis de l'appelant. Pour ma part, je ne puis admettre le fallacieux principe qu'une erreur commise par un officier public, en posant un acte qui se rattache cependant à l'objet de son mandat, enlève à cet acte son caractère officiel, et que l'auteur de ce même acte fautif cesse alors d'agir dans l'exécution de ses fonctions.
Parce que l'appelant ne s'est pas conformé aux exigences de l'art. 88 C.P.C., en ne donnant pas l'avis requis à l'intimé qui est un officier public, agissant dans l'exercice de ses fonctions, je crois que l'action ne peut réussir. Le défaut de remplir cette condition préalable, constitue une fin de non recevoir, qui me dispense d'examiner les autres aspects de cette cause.
Je crois donc que l'appel principal, de même que l'appel logé pour faire augmenter le montant accordé par le juge de première instance, doivent être rejetés avec dépens de toutes les Cours.
The judgment of Rand and Judson JJ. was delivered by
RAND J. :-The material facts from which my conclusion is drawn are these. The appellant was the proprietor of a restaurant in a busy section of Montreal which in 1946 through its transmission to him from his father had been continuously licensed for the sale of liquor for approximately 34 years; he is of good education and repute and the restaurant was of a superior class. On December 4 of that year, while his application for annual renewal was
before the Liquor Commission, the existing license was cancelled and his application for renewal rejected, to which was added a declaration by the respondent that no future license would ever issue to him. These primary facts took place in the following circumstances.
For some years the appellant had been an adherent of a rather militant 'Christian religious sect known as the Witnesses of Jehovah. Their ideology condemns the established church institutions and stresses the absolute and exclusive personal relation of the individual to the Deity without human intermediation or intervention.
The first impact of their proselytizing zeal upon the Roman Catholic church and community in Quebec, as might be expected, produced a violent reaction. Meetings were forcibly broken up, property damaged, individuals ordered out of communities, in one case out of the province, and generally, within the cities and towns, bitter controversy aroused. The work of the Witnesses was carried on both by word of mouth and by the distribution of printed mat-ter, the latter including two periodicals known as "The Watch Tower" and "Awake", sold at a small price.
In 1945 the provincial authorities began to take steps to bring an end to what was considered insulting and offensive to the religious beliefs and feelings of the Roman Catholic population. Large scale arrests were made of young men and women, by whom the publications mentioned were being held out for sale, under local by-laws requiring a licence for peddling any kind of wares. Altogether almost one thousand of such charges were laid. The penalty involved in Montreal, where most of the arrests took place, was a fine of $40, and as the Witnesses disputed liability, bail was in all cases resorted to.
The appellant, being a person of some means, was accepted by the Recorder's 'Court as bail without question, and up to November 12, 1946, he had gone security in about 380 cases, some of the accused being involved in repeated offences. Up to this time there had been no suggestion of impropriety; the security of the appellant was taken as so satisfactory that at times, to avoid delay when he was absent from the city, recognizances were signed by him in blank and kept ready for completion by
the Court officials. The reason for the accumulation of charges was the doubt that they could be sustained in law. Apparently the legal officers of Montreal, acting in concert with those of the Province, had come to an agreement with the attorney for the Witnesses to have a test case proceeded with. Pending that, however, there was no stoppage of the sale of the tracts and this became the annoying circumstance that produced the volume of proceedings.
On or about November 12 it was decided to require bail in cash for Witnesses so arrested and the sum set ranged from $100 to $300. No such bail was furnished by the appellant; his connection with giving security ended with this change of practice; and in the result, all of the charges in relation to which he had become surety were dismissed.
At no time did he take any part in the distribution of the tracts: he was an adherent of the group but nothing more. It was shown that he had leased to another member premises in Sherbrooke which were used as a hall for carrying on religious meetings: but it is unnecessary to do more than mention that fact to reject it as having no bearing on the issues raised. Beyond the giving of bail and being an adherent, the appellant is free from any relation that could be tortured into a badge of character pertinent to his fitness or unfitness to hold a liquor licence.
The mounting resistance that stopped the surety bail sought other means of crushing the propagandist invasion and among the circumstances looked into was the situation of the appellant. Admittedly an adherent, he was enabling these protagonists to be at large to carry on their campaign of publishing what they believed to be the Christian truth as revealed by the Bible; he was also the holder of a liquor licence, a "privilege" granted by the Province, the profits from which, as it was seen by the authorities, he was using to promote the disturbance of settled beliefs and arouse community disaffection generally. Following discussions between the then Mr. Archambault, as the personality of the Liquor Commission, and the chief prosecuting officer in Montreal, the former, on or about November 21, telephoned to the respondent, advised him of those facts, and queried what should be done. Mr. Duplessis answered that the matter was serious and that the identity of the
person furnishing bail and the liquor licensee should be put beyond doubt. A few days later, that identity being established through a private investigator, Mr. Archambault again communicated with the respondent and, as a result of what passed between them, the licence, as of December 4, 1946, was revoked.
In the meantime, about November 25, 1946, a blasting answer had come from the Witnesses. In an issue of one of the periodicals, under the heading "Quebec's Burning Hate", was a searing denunciation of what was alleged to be the savage persecution of Christian believers. Immediately instructions were sent out from the department of the Attorney-General ordering the confiscation of the issue and proceedings were taken against one Boucher charging him with publication of a seditious libel.
It is then wholly as a private citizen, an adherent of a religious group, holding a liquor licence and furnishing bail to arrested persons for no other purpose than to enable them to be released from detention pending the determination of the charges against them, and with no other relevant considerations to be taken into account, that he is involved in the issues of this controversy.
The complementary state of things is equally free from doubt. From the evidence of Mr. Duplessis and Mr. Archambault alone, it appears that the action taken by the latter as the general manager and sole member of the Commission was dictated by Mr. Duplessis as Attorney-General and Prime Minister of the province; that that step was taken as a means of bringing to a halt the activities of the Witnesses, to punish the appellant for the part he had played not only by revoking the existing licence but in declaring him barred from one "forever", and to warn others that they similarly would be stripped of provincial "privileges" if they persisted in any activity directly or indirectly related to the Witnesses and to the objectionable campaign. The respondent felt that action to be his duty, something which his conscience demanded of him; and as representing the provincial government his decision became automatically that of Mr. Archambault and the Commission. The following excerpts of evidence make this clear:
M. DUPLESSIS :
R... . Au mois de novembre 1946, M. Edouard Archambault, qui était alors le gérant général de la Commission des Liqueurs m'a appelé à Québec, téléphone longue distance de Montréal, et il m'a dit que Roncarelli qui multipliait les cautionnements à la Cour du Recorder d'une façon désordonnée, contribuant à paralyser les activités de la Police et à congestionner les tribunaux, que ce nommé Roncarelli détenait un privilège de la Commission des Liqueurs de Québec. De fait, Votre Seigneurie, un permis est un privilège, ce n'est pas un droit. L'article 35 de la Loi des Liqueurs alcooliques, paragraphe 1, a été édicté en 1921 par le statut II, Geo. V, chap. 24, qui déclare ceci:
"La Commission peut, à sa discrétion annuler le permis en tout temps."
* * *
"Je vais m'en informer et je vous le dirai." J'ai dit au Juge : "Dans l'intervalle, je vais examiner la question avec des officiers légaux, je vais y penser, je vais réfléchir et je vais voir ce que devrai faire." Quelques jours après, et pendant cet intervalle j'ai étudié le problème, j'ai étudié des dossiers, comme Procureur Général et comme Premier Ministre, quelques jours après le Juge Archambault, M. Edouard Archambault, m'a téléphoné pour me dire qu'il était certain que le Roncarelli en question, qui paralysait les activités de la Cour du Recorder qui accaparait dans une large mesure les services de la force constabulaire de Montréal, dont les journaux disaient avec raison qu'elle n'avait pas le nombre suffisant de policiers, était bien la personne qui détenait un permis. Je lui ai dit: "Dans ces circonstances, je considère que c'est mon devoir, comme Procureur Général et comme Premier Ministre, en conscience, dans l'exercice de mes fonctions officielles et pour remplir le mandat que le peuple m'avait confié et qu'il m'a renouvelé avec une immense majorité en 1948, après la cancellation du permis et après la poursuite intentée contre moi, j'ai cru que c'était mon devoir, en conscience, de dire au Juge que ce permis-là, le Gouvernement de Québec ne pouvait pas accorder un privilège à un individu comme Roncarelli qui tenait l'attitude qu'il tenait."
* * *
J'ai dit: "Il y a peut-être de pauvres personnes, de bonne foi, plus riches d'idéal que d'esprit, de jugement, ces personnes-là sont probable-ment à la merci de quelques-uns qui les exploitent, je vais donner une entrevue pour attirer l'attention de tout le monde sur l'article 69 du Code Criminel, qui déclare que les complices sont responsables au même titre que la personne qui a commis l'offense."
D. Vous n'avez pas reçu d'autres documents, c'est seulement les communications téléphoniques de M. le Juge Archambault?
R. Oui, certainement, un message du Juge Archambault, un autre téléphone au Juge Archambault, des examens de la situation, on en a même parlé au Conseil des Ministres, j'ai discuté le cas, j'ai consulté
des officiers en loi et en mon âme et conscience j'ai fait mon devoir comme Procureur Général, j'ai fait la seule chose qui s'imposait, si c'était à recommencer je ferais pareil.
D. Monsieur le Premier Ministre, le 8 février 1947, dans le journal La Presse, paraissait un article intitulé: "Roncarelli subit un second refus". Le sous-titre de cet article se lit comme suit: "L'honorable M. Duplessis refuse au restaurateur, protecteur des Témoins de Jéhovah, la permission de poursuivre la Commission des Liqueurs." Vous trouverez, monsieur le Premier Ministre, presque à la fin de ce rapport, les mots suivants:
"C'est moi-même, à titre de Procureur Général, et de responsable de l'ordre dans cette province, qui ai donné l'ordre à la Commission des Liqueurs d'annuler son permis référant à Roncarelli."
Je vous demande, monsieur le Premier Ministre, si c'est un. rapport exact de vos paroles à cette conférence de presse?
R. Ce que j'ai dit lors de la conférence de presse, c'est ce que je viens de déclarer. Je ne connaissais pas Roncarelli, je ne savais pas que Roncarelli avait un permis, … lorsqu'il a attiré mon attention sur la situation absolument anormale d'un homme bénéficiant d'un privilège de la province, et multipliant les actes de nature à paralyser les tribunaux de la province et la police municipale de Montréal, c'est là que j'ai approuvé sa suggestion et que j'ai dit, comme Procureur général ...
LA COUR:-C'est une autre question que l'on vous pose, Monsieur le Premier Ministre. Voulez-vous relire la question. (La demande précédente est alors relue.)
R. Ce que j'ai dit à la presse, c'est ce que je viens de dire tout à l'heure. L'article tel que produit n'est pas conforme textuellement à ce que j'ai dit. Ce que j'ai dit, ce que je répète, c'est que le Juge Archambault, gérant de la Commission des Liqueurs m'a mis au fait d'une situation que j'ignorais et comme Procureur Général, pour accomplir mon devoir, j'ai dit au Juge Archambault que j'étais de son opinion, que je ne croyais pas que Roncarelli fut digne d'obtenir des privilèges de la province après son attitude que j'ai mentionnée tout à l'heure.
D. Les mots que je viens de vous lire tout à l'heure, c'est censé être textuellement les mots que vous avez donnés, parce que c'est précédé d'une indication d'un rapport textuel:
"Nous n'avons fait qu'exercer en ce faisant un droit formel et incontestable, nous avons rempli un impérieux devoir. Le permis de Roncarelli a été annulé non pas temporairement mais bien pour toujours."
LE TÉMOIN:- Si j'ai dit cela?
L'AVOCAT :- Oui.
R. Oui. Le permis de Roncarelli a été annulé pour ce temps-là et pour toujours. Je l'ai dit et je considérais que c'était mon devoir et en mon âme et conscience j'aurais manqué à mon devoir si je ne l'avais pas fait.
D. Avec ces renseignements additionnels diriez-vous que les mots: "C'est moi-même, à titre de Procureur Général et de responsable de l'ordre dans cette province qui ai donné l'ordre à la Commission des Liqueurs d'annuler son permis." Diriez-vous que c'est exact?
R. J'ai dit tout à l'heure ce qui en était. J'ai eu un téléphone de M. Archambault me mettant au courant de certains faits que j'ignorais au sujet de Roncarelli. Vérification, identification pour voir si c'était bien la même personne, étude, réflexion, consultation et décision d'approuver la suggestion du gérant de la Commission des Liqueurs d'annuler le privilège de Roncarelli.
* * *
D. M. Stein veut savoir si vous avez donné un ordre à M. Archambault?
R. Non, je n'ai pas donné un ordre à M. Archambault, je viens de conter ce qui s'est passé. Le juge Archambault m'a mis au courant d'un fait que je ne connaissais pas, je ne connaissais pas les faits, c'est lui qui m'a nais au courant des faits. Je ne sais pas comment on peut appeler ça, quand le Procureur Général, qui est à la tête d'un département, parle à un officier, même à un officier supérieur, et qu'il émet une opinion, ce n'est pas directement un ordre, c'en est un sans l'être. Mais c'est à la suggestion du Juge Archambault, après qu'il eut porté à ma connaissance des faits que j'ignorais, que la décision a été prise.
* * *
D. Monsieur le Premier Ministre, excusez-moi si je répète encore la question, mais il me semble que vous n'avez pas répondu à la question que j'ai posée. Il parait, non seulement dans ce journal, mais aussi dans d'autres journaux, et cela est répété exactement dans les même paroles, dans le Montreal Star, en anglais, dans la Gazette, en anglais, dans Le Canada, en français et aussi clans La Patrie, en français, textuellement les mêmes mots: "C'est moi-même, à titre de Procureur Géneral, chargé d'assurer le respect de l'ordre et le respect des citoyens paisibles qui ai donné à la Commission des Liqueurs, l'ordre d'annuler le permis." Je vous demande si c'est possible que vous ayez employé presque exactement ces mots en discutant l'affaire avec les journalistes, ce jour-là?
R. Lorsque les journalistes viennent au bureau pour avoir des entrevues, des fois les entrevues durent une demi-heure, des fois une heure, des fois une heure et demie; quels sont les termes exacts qui sont employés, on ne peut pas se souvenir exactement des termes. Mais la vérité vraie c'est ce que j'ai dit tout à l'heure, et c'est cela que j'ai dit aux journalistes, comme Premier Ministre et comme Procureur Général, je prends la responsabilité. Si j'avais dit au Juge Archambault: "Vous ne le ferez pas", il ne l'aurait probablement pas fait. Comme il me suggérait de le faire et qu'après réflexion et vérification je trouvais que c'était correct, que c'était conforme à mon devoir, j'ai approuvé et c'est toujours un ordre que l'on donne. Quand l'officier supérieur parle, c'est un ordre que l'on donne, même s'il accepte la suggestion de l'officier dans son département, c'est un ordre qu'il donne indirectement. Je ne me rappelle pas des expressions exactes, mais ce sont les faits.
* * *
D. Référant à l'article contenue dans la Gazette du 5 décembre, c'est-à-dire le jour suivant l'annulation du permis, vous trouvez là les mots en anglais :
"In statement to the press yesterday, the Premier recalled that: 'Two weeks ago, I pointed out that the Provincial Government had the firm intention to take the most rigorous and efficient measures possible to get rid of those who under the names of Witnesses of Jehovah, distribute circulars which in my opinion, are not only injurious for Quebec and its population, but which are of a very libellous and seditious character. The propaganda of the Witnesses of Jehovah cannot be tolerated and there are more than 400 of them now before the courts in Montreal, Quebec, Three Rivers and other centers.'
'A certain Mr. Roncarelli has supplied bail for hundreds of witnesses of Jehovah. The sympathy which this man has shown for the Witnesses, in such an evident, repeated and audacious manner, is a provocation to public order, to the administration of justice and is definitely contrary to the aims of justice."'
D. Je vous demande, monsieur le Premier Ministre, si ce sont les paroles presque exactes ou exactes que vous avez dites à la conférence de presse?
R. Que j'ai dit ici: "A certain Mr. Roncarelli has supplied bail for hundreds of witnesses of Jehovah. The Sympathy which this man has shown for the Witnesses, in such an evident, repeated and audacious manner, is a provocation to public order, to the administration of justice and is definitely contrary to the aims of justice." Je l'ai dit et je con-sidère que c'est vrai.
D. Maintenant, ce jour-là où vous avez reçu une lettre, le 30 novembre 1946, avez-vous décidé, ce jour-là, d'enlever la licence?
R. Certainement, ce jour-là, j'avais appelé le Premier Ministre, en I'occurrence le procureur général, lui faisant part des constatations, c'est-à-dire des renseignements que je possédais, et de mon intention d'annuler le privilège, et le Premier Ministre m'a répondu de prendre mes précautions, de bien vérifier s'il s'agissait bien de la même personne, qu'il pouvait y avoir plusieurs Roncarelli, et coetera. 'Alors, quand j'ai eu la confirmation de Y3 à l'effet que c'était la même personne, j'ai rappelé le Premier Ministre pour l'assurer qu'il s'agissait bien de Frank Roncarelli, détenteur d'un permis de la Commission des Liqueurs; et, là, le Premier Ministre m'a autorisé, il m'a donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission, et son ordre de procéder.
In these circumstances, when the de facto power of the Executive over its appointees at will to such a statutory public function is exercised deliberately and intentionally to destroy the vital business interests of a citizen, is there legal redress by him against the person so acting? This calls for an examination of the statutory provisions governing the issue, renewal and revocation of liquor licences and the scope of authority entrusted by law to the Attorney-General and the government in relation to the administration of the Act.
The liquor law is contained in R.S.Q. 1941, c. 255, entitled An Act Respecting Alcoholic Liquor. A Commission is created as a corporation, the only member of which is the general manager. By s. 5
The exercise of the functions, duties and powers of the Quebec Liquor Commission shall be vested in one person alone, named by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, with the title of Manager. The remuneration of such person shall be determined by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council and be paid out of the revenues of the Liquor Commission. R.S. 1925, c. 37, s. 5; 1 Ed. VII (2), c. 14, es. 1 and 5; 1 Geo. VI, c. 22, es. 1 and 5.
The entire staff for carrying out the duties of the Commission are appointed by the general manager-here Mr. Archambault-who fixes salaries and assigns functions, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council reserving the right of approval of the salaries. Besides the general operation of buying and selling liquor throughout the province and doing all things necessary to that end, the Commission is authorized by s. 9 (e) to "grant, refuse or cancel permits for the sale of alcoholic liquors or other permits in regard thereto and to transfer the permit of any person deceased". By s. 12 suits against the general manager for acts done in the exercise of his duties require the authority of the Chief Justice of the province, and the Commission can be sued only with the consent of the Attorney-General. Every officer of' the Commission is declared to be a public officer and by R.S.Q. 1941, c. 10, s. 2, holds office during pleasure. By s. 19 the Commission shall pay over to the Provincial Treasurer any moneys which the latter considers available and by s. 20 the Commission is to account to the Provincial Treasurer for its receipts, disbursements, assets and liabilities. Sections 30 and 32 provide for the issue of permits to sell; they are to be granted to individuals only, in their own names; by s. 34 the Commission "may refuse to grant any permit"; subs. (2) provides for permits in special cases of municipalities where prohibition of sale is revoked in whole or part by by-law; subs. (3) restricts or refuses the grant of permits in certain cities the Council of which so requests; but it is provided that
... If the fyling of such by-law takes place after the Commission has granted a permit in such city or town, the Commission shall be unable to give effect to the request before the first of May next after the date of fyling.
Subsection (4) deals with a refusal to issue permits in small cities unless requested by a by-law, approved by a majority vote of the electors. By subs. (6) special power is given the Commission to grant permits to hotels in summer resorts for five months only notwithstanding that requests under subss. (2) and (4) are not made. Section 35 prescribes the expiration of every permit on April 30 of each year. Dealing with cancellation, the section provides that the "Commission may cancel any permit at its discretion". Besides the loss of the privilege and without the necessity of legal proceedings, cancellation entails loss of fees paid to obtain it and confiscation of the liquor in the possession of the holder and the receptacles containing it. If the cancellation is not followed by prosecution for an offence under the Act, compensation is provided for certain items of the forfeiture. Subsection (5) requires the Commission to cancel any permit made use of on behalf of a person other than the holder; s. 36 requires cancellation in specified cases. The sale of liquor is, by s. 42, forbidden to various persons. Section 148 places upon the Attorney-General the duty of
1 .Assuring the observance of this 'Act and of the 'Alcoholic Liquor Possesion and Transportation 'Act (Chap. 256), and investigating, preventing and suppressing the infringements of such acts, in every way authorized thereby;
2. Conducting the suits or prosecutions for infringements of this Act or of the said Alcoholic Liquor Possession and Transportation 'Act. R.S. 1925, c. 37, s. 78a; 24 Geo. V, c. 17, s. 17.
The provisions of the statute, which may be supplemented by detailed regulations, furnish a code for the complete administration of the sale and distribution of alcoholic liquors directed by the Commission as a public service, for all legitimate purposes of the populace. It recognizes the association of wines and liquors as embellishments of food and its ritual and as an interest of the public. As put in Macbeth, the "sauce to meat is ceremony", and so we have restaurants, cafés, hotels and other places of serving food, specifically provided for in that association.
At the same time the issue of permits has a complementary interest in those so catering to the public. The continuance of the permit over the years, as in this case, not only recognizes its virtual ncessity [sic] to a superior class
restaurant but also its indentification with the business carried on. The provisions for assignment of the permit are to this most pertinent and they were exemplified in the continuity of the business here. As its exercise continues, the economic life of the holder becomes progressively more deeply implicated with the privilege while at the same time his vocation becomes correspondingly dependent on it.
The field of licensed occupations and businesses of this nature is steadily becoming of greater concern to citizens generally. It is a matter of vital importance that a public administration that can refuse to allow a person to enter or continue a calling which, in the absence of regulation, would be free and legitimate, should be conducted with complete impartiality and integrity; and that the grounds for refusing or cancelling a permit should unquestionably be such and such only as are incompatible with the purposes envisaged by the statute: the duty of a Commission is to serve those purposes and those only. A decision to deny or cancel such a privilege lies within the "discretion" of the Commission; but that means that decision is to be based upon a weighing of considerations pertinent to the object of the administration.
In public regulation of this sort there is no such thing as absolute and untrammelled "discretion", that is that action can be taken on any ground or for any reason that can be suggested to the mind of the administrator; no legislative Act can, without express language, be taken to contemplate an unlimited arbitrary power exercisable for any purpose, however capricious or irrelevant, regardless of the nature or purpose of the statute. Fraud and corruption in the 'Commission may not be mentioned in such statutes but they are always implied as exceptions. "Discretion" necessarily implies good faith in discharging public duty; there is always a perspective within which a statute is intended to operate; and any clear departure from its lines or objects is just as objectionable as fraud or corruption. Could an applicant be refused a permit because he had been born in another province, or because of the colour of his hair? The ordinary language of the legislature cannot be so distorted.
To deny or revoke a permit because a citizen exercises an unchallengeable right totally irrelevant to the sale of liquor in a restaurant is equally beyond the scope of the discretion conferred. There was here not only revocation of the existing permit but a declaration of a future, definitive disqualification of the appellant to obtain one: it was to be "forever". This purports to divest his citizenship status of its incident of membership in the class of those of the public to whom such a privilege could be extended. Under the statutory language here, that is not competent to the Commission and a fortiori to the government or the respondent: McGillivray v. Kimber. There is here an administrative tribunal which, in certain respects, is to act in a judicial manner; and even on the view of the dissenting justices in McGillivray, there is liability: what could be more malicious than to punish this licensee for having done what he had an absolute right to do in a matter utterly irrelevant to the Liquor Act? Malice in the proper sense is simply acting for a reason and purpose knowingly foreign to the administration, to which was added here the element of intentional punishment by what was virtually vocation outlawry.
It may be difficult if not impossible in cases generally to demonstrate a breach of this public duty in the illegal purpose served; there may be no means, even if proceedings against the Commission were permitted by the Attorney-General, as here they were refused, of compelling the Commission to justify a refusal or revocation or to give reasons for its action; on these questions I make no observation; but in the case before us that difficulty is not present: the reasons are openly avowed.
The act of the respondent through the instrumentality of the Commission brought about a breach of an implied public statutory duty toward the appellant; it was a gross abuse of legal power expressly intended to punish him for an act wholly irrelevant to the statute, a punishment which inflicted on him, as it was intended to do, the destruction of his economic life as a restaurant keeper within the province. Whatever may be the immunity of the Commission or its member from an action for damages, there
is none in the respondent. He was under no duty in relation to the appellant and his act was an instrusion upon the functions of a statutory body. The injury done by him was a, fault engaging liability within the principles of the underlying public law of Quebec: Mostyn v. Fabrigas, and under art. 1053 of the Civil Code. That, in the presence of expanding administrative regulation of economic activities, such ,a step and its consequences are to be suffered by the victim without recourse or remedy, that an administration according to law is to be superseded by action dictated by and according to the arbitrary likes, dislikes and irrelevant purposes of public officers acting beyond their duty, would signalize the beginning of disintegration of the rule of law as a fundamental postulate of our constitutional structure. An administration of licences on the highest level of fair and impartial treatment to all may be forced to follow the practice of "first come, first served", which makes the strictest observance of equal responsibility to all of even greater importance; at this stage of developing government it would be a danger of high con-sequence to tolerate such a departure from good faith in executing the legislative purpose. It should be added, however, that that principle is not, by this language, intended to be extended to ordinary governmental employment: with that we are not here concerned.
It was urged by Mr. Beaulieu that the respondent, as the incumbent of an office of state, so long as he was proceeding in "good faith", was free to act in a matter of this kind virtually as he pleased. The office of Attorney-General traditionally and by statute carries duties that relate to advising the Executive, including here, administrative bodies, enforcing the public law and directing the administration of justice. In any decision of the statutory body in this case, he had no part to play beyond giving advice on legal questions arising. In that role his action should have been limited to advice on the validity of a revocation for such a reason or purpose and what that advice should have been does not seem to me to admit of any doubt. To pass from this limited scope of action to
that of bringing about a step by the Commission beyond the bounds prescribed by the legislature for its exclusive action converted what was done into his personal act.
"Good faith" in this context, applicable both to the respondent and the general manager, means carrying out the statute according to its intent and for its purpose; it means good faith in acting with a rational appreciation of that intent and purpose and not with an improper intent and for an alien purpose; it does not mean for the purposes of punishing a person for exercising an unchallengeable right; it does not mean arbitrarily and illegally attempting to divest a citizen of an incident of his civil status.
I mention, in order to make clear that it has not been overlooked, the decision of the House of Lords in Allen v. Flood, in which the principle was laid down that an act of an individual otherwise not actionable does not become so because of the motive or reason for doing it, even maliciously to injure, as distinguished from an act done by two or more persons. No contention was made in the present case based on agreed action by the respondent and Mr. Archambault. In Allen v. Flood, the actor was a labour leader and the victims non-union workmen who were lawfully dismissed by their employer to avoid a strike involving no breach of contract or law. Here the act done was in relation to a public administration affecting the rights of a citizen to enjoy a public privilege, and a duty implied by the statute toward the victim was violated. The existing permit was an interest for which the appellant was entitled to protection against any unauthorized interference, and the illegal destruction of which gave rise to a remedy for the damages suffered. In Allen v. Flood there were no such elements.
Nor is it necessary to examine the question whether on the basis of an improper revocation the appellant could have compelled the issue of a new permit or whether the purported revocation was a void act. The revocation was de facto, it was intended to end the privilege and to bring about the consequences that followed. As against the respondent, the appellant was entitled to treat the breach of duty as effecting a revocation and to elect for damages.
Mr. Scott argued further that even if the revocation were within the scope of discretion and not a breach of duty, the intervention of the respondent in so using the Commission was equally a fault. The proposition generalized is this: where, by a statute restricting the ordinary activities of citizens, a privilege is conferred by an administrative body, the continuance of that enjoyment is to be free from the influence of third persons on that body for the purpose only of injuring the privilege holder. It is the application to such a privilege of the proposition urged but rejected in Allen v. Flood in the case of a private employment. The grounds of distinction between the two cases have been pointed out; but for the reasons given consideration of this ground is unnecessary and I express no opinion for or against it.
A subsidiary defence was that notice of action had not been given as required by art. 88 C.C.P. This provides generally that, without such notice, no public officer or person fulfilling any public function or duty is liable in damages "by reason of any act done by him in the exercise of his functions". Was the act here, then, done by the respondent in the course of that exercise? The basis of the claim, as I have found it, is that the act was quite beyond the scope of any function or duty committed to him, so far so that it was one done exclusively in a private capacity, however much in fact the influence of public office and power may have carried over into it. It would be only through an assumption of a general overriding power of executive direction in statutory administrative matters that any colour of propriety in the act could be found. But such an assumption would be in direct conflict with fundamental postulates of our provincial as well as dominion government; and in the actual circumstances there is not a shadow of justification for it in the statutory language.
The damages suffered involved the vocation of the appellant within the province. Any attempt at a precise computation or estimate must assume probabilities in an area of uncertainty and risk. The situation is one which the Court should approach as a jury would, in a view of
its broad features; and in the best consideration I can give to them, the damages should be fixed at the sum of $25,000 plus that allowed by the trial court.
I would therefore allow the appeals, set aside the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench and restore the judgment at trial modified by increasing the damages to the sum of $33,123.53. The appellant should have his costs in the Court of Queen's Bench and in this Court.
The judgment of Locke and Martland JJ. was delivered by
MARTLAND J.:-This is an appeal from a judgment of the 'Court of Queen's Bench, Appeal Side, for the Province of Quebec, District of Montreal, rendered on April 12, 1956, overruling the judgment of the Superior Court rendered on May 2, 1951, under the terms of which the appellant had been awarded damages in the sum of $8,123.53 and costs.
The appellant had appealed from the judgment of the Superior Court in respect of the amount of damages awarded. This appeal was dismissed.
The facts which give rise to this appeal are as follows:
The appellant, on December 4, 1946, was the owner of a restaurant and café situated at 1429 Crescent Street in the City of Montreal. At that time he was the holder of a liquor permit, no. 68, granted to him on May 1, 1946, pursuant to the provisions of the Alcoholic Liquor Act of the Province of Quebec and which permitted the sale of alcoholic liquors in the restaurant and café. The permit was valid until April 30, 1947, subject to possible cancellation by the Quebec Liquor Commission (hereinafter sometimes referred to as "the Commission") in accordance with the provisions of s. 35 of that Act. The business operated by the appellant had been founded by his father in the year 1912 and it had been continuously licensed until December 4, 1946. The evidence is that prior to that date the appellant had complied with the requirements of the Alcoholic Liquor Act and had conducted a high-class restaurant business.
The appellant was an adherent of the Witnesses of Jehovah. From some time in 1944 until November 12, 1946, he had, on numerous occasions, given security for Witnesses of Jehovah who had been prosecuted under City of Montreal By-laws numbered 270 and 1643 for minor offences of distributing, peddling and canvassing without a licence. The maximum penalty for these offences was a fine of $40 and costs, or imprisonment for 60 days. The total number of bonds furnished by the appellant was 390. These security bonds were accepted by the City attorney and the Recorder of the City of Montreal without remuneration to the appellant. None of the accused who had been bonded ever defaulted. Subsequently the appellant was released from these bonds at his own request and new security was furnished by others.
As a result of a change of procedure in the Recorder's Court in Montreal by the Attorney in Chief of that Court, the appellant was not accepted as a bondsman in any cases before that Court after November 12, 1946.
Up to November 12, 1946, the security bonds furnished by the appellant were accepted without question. These bonds were based upon the value of the appellant's immovable property containing the restaurant. The appellant did not give any security in any criminal case involving a charge of sedition.
About the 24th or 25th of November 1946 the pamphlet "Quebec's Burning Hate" began to be distributed in the Province of Quebec by the Witnesses of Jehovah. The Chief Crown Prosecutor in Montreal, then Mtre. Oscar Gagnon, K.C., decided that the distribution of this pamphlet should be prevented. There is no evidence that the appellant was at any time a distributor of this pamphlet and his restaurant and café in Montreal was not used for the distribution or storage of these pamphlets by himself or by anyone else. The appellant had ceased to be a bonds-man before the distribution of this pamphlet in the Province of Quebec had commenced.
On November 25, 1946, a number of pamphlets was seized in a building in the City of Sherbrooke owned by the appellant and leased from him, as a place of worship, by Witnesses of Jehovah under the control of the local
minister Mr. Raymond Browning. There is no evidence that the appellant was in any way responsible for the activities of this congregation, or that he knew that the pamphlet "Quebec's Burning Hate" was in those premises.]
In the course of his inquiries about the distribution of this pamphlet, Mr. Gagnon learned that the appellant had been giving bail in a large number of cases in the Recorder's Court and also that he was the holder of the liquor permit for his restaurant. These facts were brought by Mr. Gagnon to the attention of Mr. Edouard Archambault, then Chair-man of the Quebec Liquor Commission and subsequently Chief Judge of the Court of Sessions of the Peace. Mr. Archambault then interviewed Recorder Paquette, who informed him that the appellant held a licence from the Quebec Liquor Commission; that he was furnishing bail in a large number of cases of infractions of municipal by-laws; that these were so numerous that a great part of the police of Montreal had been taken from their duties as a consequence and that his Court was congested by the large number of cases pending before it.
Subsequent to the receipt of this information, Mr Archambault communicated by telephone with the respondent. The discussion which took place on that occasion and on the occasion of a subsequent telephone call will be reviewed later. Following the two telephone conversations between Mr. Archambault and the respondent, Mr Archambault, as manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission, issued an order for the cancellation of the appellant's permit with-out any prior notice to the appellant. All the liquor in the possession of the appellant on his restaurant premises was seized and was taken into the custody of the Commission.
The appellant carried on his restaurant business without a liquor licence for a period of approximately six months, after which, finding that the business could not be thus operated profitably, he closed it down and later effected a sale of the premises.
The appellant commenced action against the respondent on June 3, 1947, claiming damages in the total sum of $118,741. He alleged that the respondent, without legal or statutory authority, had caused the cancellation of his liquor permit as an act of reprisal because of his having
acted as surety or bondsman for the Witnesses of Jehovah in connection with the charges above mentioned. He alleged that the permit had been arbitrarily and unlawfully cancelled and that, as a result, he had sustained the dam-ages claimed.
By his defence the respondent alleged that the Witnesses of Jehovah, in the years 1945 and 1946, had, with the con-sent and encouragement of the appellant, organized a propaganda campaign in the Province of Quebec, and particularly in the City of Montreal, where they had distributed pamphlets of a seditious character. The respondent referred to the fact that the appellant had acted as surety for a number of persons under arrest and thus permitted them to repeat their offences and to continue their campaign. He alleged that in his capacity as Attorney-General of the Province of Quebec, after becoming cognizant of the con-duct of the appellant and of the fact that he held a permit issued by the Quebec Liquor Commission, he had decided, after careful reflection, that it was contrary to public order to permit the appellant to enjoy the benefit of the privileges of this permit and that he, the respondent, had recommended to the manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission the cancellation of that permit. It was alleged that the permit did not give any right, but constituted a privilege available only during the pleasure of the Commission. He alleged that in the matter he had acted in his quality of Prime Minister and Attorney-General of the Province of Quebec and, accordingly, could not incur any personal responsibility. He further pleaded the provisions of art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure and alleged that he had not received notice of the action as required by the provisions of that article.
The case came on for trial in the Superior Court before MacKinnon J., who made findings of fact and reached conclusions in law as follows:
1. that the respondent gave an order to the manager of the Commission, Mr. Archambault, to cancel the appellant's permit and that it was the respondent's order which was the determining factor in relation to the cancellation of that permit;
2. that the Commission had acted arbitrarily when it cancelled the permit and had disregarded the rules of reason and justice;
3. that the respondent had failed to show that, in law, he had any authority to interfere with the administration of the Commission, or to order it to cancel a permit;
4. that the respondent was not entitled to receive notice of the action pursuant to art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure because his acts which were complained of were not done in the exercise of his functions.
Damages were awarded in the total amount of $8,123.53.
From this judgment the respondent appealed. The appellant cross-appealed in respect of the matter of dam-ages, asking for an award in an increased amount.
The respondent's appeal on the issue of liability was allowed and the appellant's appeal was dismissed. Rinfret J. dissented in respect of the allowance of the respondent's appeal.
Various reasons were given for the allowance of the appeal by the majority of the Court. They may be summarized as follows:
Bissonnette J. reached the conclusion that, upon the evidence, the decision to cancel the permit had been made by Mr. Archambault before taking the respondent's advice. He also held that, according to the strict interpretation of the Alcoholic Liquor Act, the Commission was not obliged to justify before any Court the wisdom of its acts in cancelling a liquor permit.
Pratte J. allowed the appeal of the respondent on the first ground advanced by Bissonnette J., finding that there was no relationship of cause and effect as between the acts of the respondent and the cancellation of the permit because Mr. Archambault had already made his decision to cancel before consulting with the respondent.
Casey J. was of the same view with respect to this point. He also held that, although the discretion of the Commission to cancel a permit should not be exercised
arbitrarily or capriciously, no individual has an inherent right to engage in the business regulated by the Act and the continuance of a permit was conditional upon the holder being of good moral character and a suitable person to exercise that privilege. In his view the chairman of the Commission had reasonable grounds for believing that the Witnesses of Jehovah were engaged in a campaign of libel and sedition and that the appellant, an active member of the sect, was participating in the group's activities. His -view was that, in the light of this, the Commission could properly cancel the permit.
Martineau J., like the other majority judges in the Court, found that there was no relationship of cause and effect as between what the respondent had done and the cancellation of the permit, also holding that Mr. Archambault had decided to cancel it before communicating with the respondent. He was also of the view that a Minister of the Crown is not liable if, in the exercise of powers granted to him by law, he makes an erroneous decision upon reliable information. He also held that, while the Commission's discretion to cancel a permit was not absolute and had to be exercised in good faith, the discretion is not quasi-judicial but "quasi-illimited" and only restricted by the good faith of its officers. He was of the opinion that the good faith of both the respondent and Mr. Archambault could not be doubted. He found that no order to cancel the permit had been given by the respondent to Mr. Archambault. He also held that, even if an order had been given and had been the determining factor in procuring the cancellation of the permit, there would be no liability upon the respondent, in view of the appellant's participation in the propaganda of the Witnesses of Jehovah.
Rinfret J., who dissented and who would have dismissed the respondent's appeal, in general agreed with the conclusions reached by the trial judge.
In view of the foregoing, it appears that there are four main points which require to be considered in the present appeal, which are as follows:
1 Was there a relationship of cause and effect as between the respondent's acts and the cancellation of the appellant's permit?
2. If there was such a relationship, were the acts of the respondent justifiable on the ground that he acted in good faith in the exercise of his official functions as Attorney-General and Prime Minister of the Province of Quebec?
3. Was the cancellation of the appellant's permit a lawful act of the Commission, acting within the scope of its powers as defined in the Alcoholic Liquor Act?
4. Was the respondent entitled to the protection provided by art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure?
It is proposed to consider each of these points in the above sequence.
With respect to the first point, after reviewing the evidence, I am satisfied that there was ample evidence to sustain the finding of the trial judge that the cancellation of the appellant's permit was the result of instructions given by the respondent to the manager of the Commission. Two telephone calls were made by Mr. Archambault to the respondent. According to the evidence of the respondent, Mr. Archambault telephoned him in November 1946 "et il m'a dit que Roncarelli qui multipliait les cautionnements à la Cour du Recorder d'une façon désordonnée, contribuant à paralyser les activités de la police et à congestionner les tribunaux, que ce nommé Roncarelli détenait un privilège de la Commission des Liqueurs de Québec."
In reply the respondent says that he said to Mr. Archambault:
C'est une chose très grave, êtes-vous sûr qu'il s'agit de Roncarelli qui a un permis de la Commission des Liqueurs?
Mr. Archambault then replied that he would inform himself and would communicate with the respondent.
Some time after the first telephone conversation, and apparently about November 30 or December 1, 1946, Mr. Archambault again telephoned the respondent to say:
qu'il était certain que le Roncarelli en question, qui paralysait les activités de la Cour du Recorder, qui accaparait dans une large mesure les services de la force constabulaire de Montréal, dont les journaux disaient avec raison qu'elle n'avait pas le nombre suffisant de policiers, était bien la personne qui détenait un permis.
To this the respondent replied:
Dans ces circonstances, je considère que c'est mon devoir, comme Procureur Général et comme Premier Ministre, en conscience, dans l'exercice de mes fonctions officielles et pour remplir le mandat que le peuple m'avait confié et qu'il m'a renouvelé avec une immense majorité en 1948, après la cancellation du permis et après la poursuite intentée contre moi, j'ai cru que c'était mon devoir, en conscience, de dire au Juge que ce permis-là le Gouvernement de Québec ne pouvait pas accorder un privilège à un individu comme Roncarelli qui tenait l'attitude qu'il tenait.
The respondent further says that he told Mr. Archambault :
Vous avez raison, ôtez le permis, ôtez le privilège.
In February 1947 the respondent, in an interview with the press, stated that the appellant's permit had been cancelled on orders from him. His statement on this point appeared in a news dispatch to the Canadian Press from its Quebec correspondent:
It was I, as Attorney-General of the Province charged with the protection of good order, who gave the order to annul Frank Roncarelli's permit.
Mr. Duplessis said:
By so doing, not only have we exercised a right but we have fulfilled an imperious duty. The permit was cancelled not temporarily but definitely and for always.
It seems to me that the only reason Mr. Archambault could have had for telephoning the respondent in the first place, after his receipt of the information given by Mr. Gagnon and Recorder Paquette, was to obtain the respondent's direction as to what should be done. I find it difficult to accept the proposition that there was no relationship of cause and effect as between what the respondent said to Mr. Archambault and the cancellation of the permit. While it is true that in his evidence Mr. Archambault states that he had decided to cancel the permit on the day he received the written report from his secret agent Y3, dated November 30, 1946 (which was subsequent to the first telephone conversation), he goes on to say:
D. Maintenant, ce jour-là où vous avez reçu une lettre, le 30 novembre 1946, avez-vous décidé, ce jour-là, d'enlever la licence?
R. Certainement, ce jour-là, j'avais appelé le Premier Ministre, en l'occurrence le procureur général, lui faisant part des constatations, c'est-à-dire des renseignements que je possédais, et de mon intention d'annuler
le privilège, et le Premier Ministre m'a répondu de prendre mes précautions, de bien vérifier s'il s'agissait bien de la même personne, qu'il pouvait - y avoir plusieurs Roncarelli, et coetera. Alors, quand j'ai eu la confirmation de Y3 à l'effet que c'était la même personne, j'ai rappelé le Premier Ministre pour l'assurer qu'il s'agissait bien de Frank Roncarelli, détenteur d'un permis de la Commission des Liqueurs; et, 1à, le Premier Ministre m'a autorisé, il m'a donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission, et son ordre de procéder.
I conclude from this evidence that any "decision" of Mr. Archambault's was at most tentative and would only be made effective if he received direction from the respondent to carry it out. I would doubt that, if the respondent had advised against the cancellation of the permit, Mr. Archambault's decision would have been implemented.
The respondent appears to have shared this view because in his evidence he states as follows:
Si j'avais dit au Juge Archambault: "Vous ne le ferez pas", il ne l'aurait probablement pas fait. Comme il me suggérait de le faire et qu'après réflexion et vérification je trouvais que c'était correct, que c'était conforme à mon devoir, j'ai approuvé et, c'est toujours un ordre que l'on donne. Quand l'officier supérieur parle, c'est un ordre que l'on donne, même s'il accepte la suggestion de l'officier dans son département, c'est un ordre qu'il donne indirectement. Je ne me rapelle pas des expressions exactes, mais ce sont les faits.
I, therefore, agree with the learned trial judge that the cancellation of the appellant's permit was the result of an order given by the respondent.
The second point for consideration is as to whether the respondent's acts were justifiable as having been done in good faith in the exercise of his official function as Attorney-General and Prime Minister of the Province of Quebec.
In support of his contention that the respondent had so acted, we were referred by his counsel to the following statutory provisions:
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT ACT, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 46
* * *
3. The 'Attorney-General is the official legal adviser of the Lieutenant-Governor, and the legal member of the Executive Council of the Province of Quebec.
4. The duties of the Attorney-General are the following:
1. To see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with the law;
2. To exercise a general superintendence over all matters connected with the administration of justice in the Province.
5. The function and powers of the Attorney-General are the following:
1. He has the functions and powers which belong to the office of 'Attorney-General of England, respectively, by law or usage, insofar as the, same are applicable to this Province, and also the functions and powers, which, up to the Union, belonged to such offices in the late Province of Canada, and which, under the provisions of the British North 'America Act, 1867, are within the powers of the Government of this Province;
2. He advises the heads of the several departments of the Government of the Province upon all matters of law concerning such departments, or arising in the administration thereof;
* * *
7. He is charged with superintending the administration or the execution, as the case may be, of the laws respecting police.
THE EXECUTIVE POWER ACT, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 7
* * *
5. The Lieutenant-Governor may appoint, under the Great Seal, from among the members of the Executive Council, the following officials, who shall remain in office during pleasure :
1. A Prime Minister who shall, ex-officio, be president of the Council.
THE ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR ACT, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 255
INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES
148. The Attorney-General shall be charged with:
1. Assuring the observance of this act and of the 'Alcoholic Liquor Possession and Transportation Act (Chap. 256), and investigating, preventing and suppressing the infringements of such acts, in every way authorized thereby;
2. Conducting the suits or prosecutions for infringements of this act or of the said Alcoholic Liquor Possession and Transportation Act.
I do not find, in any of these provisions, authority to enable the respondent, either as Attorney-General or Prime Minister, to direct the cancellation of a permit under the Alcoholic Liquor Act. On the contrary, the intent and purpose of that Act appears to be to place the complete control over the liquor traffic in Quebec in the hands of an independent commission. The only function of the Attorney-General under that statute is in relation to the assuring of the observance of its provisions. There is no evidence of any breach of that Act by the appellant.
However, it is further argued on behalf of the respondent that, as Attorney-General, in order to suppress or to prevent crimes and offences, "He may do so by instituting legal proceedings; he may do so by other methods." This amounts to a contention that he is free to use any methods he chooses; that, on suspicion of participation in what he thinks would be an offence, he may sentence a citizen to economic ruin without trial. This seems to me to be a very dangerous proposition and one which is completely alien to the legal concepts applicable to the administration of public office in Quebec, as well as in the other provinces of Canada.
In my view, the respondent was not acting in the exercise of any official powers which he possessed in doing what he did in this matter.
The third point to be considered is as to whether the appellant's permit was lawfully cancelled by the Commission under the provisions of the Alcoholic Liquor Act. Section 35 of that Act makes provision for the cancellation of a permit in the following terms :
35. 1. Whatever be the date of issue of any permit granted by the Commission, such permit shall expire on the 30th of 'April following, unless it be cancelled by the Commission before such date, or unless the date at which it must expire be prior to the 30th of April following.
The Commission may cancel any permit at its discretion.
It is contended by the respondent, and with considerable force, that this provision gives to the Commission an unqualified administrative discretion as to the cancellation of a permit issued pursuant to that Act. Such a discretion, it is contended, is not subject to any review in the Courts.
The appellant contends that the Commission's statutory discretion is not absolute and is subject to legal restraint. He cites the statement of the law by Lord Halsbury in Sharp v. Wakefield:
An extensive power is confided to the justices in their capacity as justices to be exercised judicially; and "discretion" means when it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities that that something is to be done according to the rules of reason and justice, not according to private opinion: Rooke's Case; according to law, and not humour. It is to be, not arbitrary, vague, and fanciful, but legal and regular. And it must be exercised within the limit, to which an honest man competent to the discharge of his office ought to confine himself.
That was a case dealing with the discretionary powers of the licensing justices to refuse renewal of a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquors. This statement of the law was approved by Lord Greene M.R. in Minister of National Revenue v. Wrights' Canadian Ropes, Limited.
The appellant further contends that, in exercising this discretion, the rules of natural justice must be observed and points out that no notice of the intention of the Commission to cancel his permit was ever given to the appellant, nor was he given a chance to be heard by the Commission before the permit was cancelled.
With respect to this latter point, it would appear to be somewhat doubtful whether the appellant had a right to a personal hearing, in view of the judgment of Lord Radcliffe in Nakkuda Ali v. Jayaratne. However, regardless of this, it is my view that the discretionary power to cancel a permit given to the Commission by the Alcoholic Liquor Act must be related to the administration and enforcement of that statute. It is not proper to exercise the power of cancellation for reasons which are unrelated to the carrying into effect of the intent and purpose of the Act. The association of the appellant with the Witnesses of Jehovah and his furnishing of bail for members of that sect, which were admitted to be the reasons for the cancellation of his permit and which were entirely lawful, had no relationship to the intent and purposes of the Alcoholic Liquor Act.
Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that the right of cancellation of a permit under that Act is a substantial power conferred upon what the statute contemplated as an independent commission. That power must be exercised solely by that corporation. It must not and cannot be exercised by any one else. The principle involved is stated by the Earl of Selborne in the following passage in his judgment in Spackman v. Plumstead Board of Works:
No doubt, in the absence of special provisions as to how the person who is to decide is to proceed, the law will imply no more than that the substantial requirements of justice shall not be violated. He is not a judge in the proper sense of the word; but he must give the parties an opportunity of being heard before him and stating their case and their view. He must give notice when he will proceed with the matter, and he must act honestly and impartially and not under the dictation of
some other person or persons to whom the authority is not given by law. There must be no malversation of any kind. There would be no decision within the meaning of the statute if there were anything of that sort clone contrary to the essence of justice.
While the Earl of Selborne is here discussing the rules applicable to a quasi-judicial tribunal, that portion of his statement which requires such a tribunal to act honestly and impartially and not under the dictation of some other person or persons is, I think, equally applicable to the performance of an administrative function.
The same principle was applied in respect of the performance of an administrative function by Chief Justice Greenshields in Jaillard v. City of Montreal.
In the present case it is my view, for the reasons already given, that the power was not, in fact, exercised by the Commission, but was exercised by the respondent, acting through the manager of the 'Commission. Cancellation of a permit by the Commission at the request or upon the direction of a third party, whoever he may be, is not a proper and valid exercise of the power conferred upon the Commission by s. 35 of the Act. The Commission cannot abdicate its own functions and powers and act upon such direction.
Finally, there is the question as to the giving of notice of the action by the appellant to the respondent pursuant to art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which reads as follows :
ACTIONS AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICERS
88. No public officer or other person fulfilling any public function or duty can be sued for damages by reason of any act done by him in the exercise of his functions, nor can any verdict or judgment be rendered against him, unless notice of such action has been given him at least one month before the issue of the writ of summons.
Such notice must be in writing; it must state the grounds of the action, and the name of the plaintiff's attorney or agent, and indicate his office; and must be served upon him personnally or at his domicile.
The contention of the respondent is that, as Attorney-General, he was a public official whose function was to maintain law and order in the Province; that he acted as he did in the intended exercise of that function and that
he is not deprived of the protection afforded by the article because he had exceeded the powers which, in law, he possessed.
The issue is as to whether those acts were "done by him in the exercise of his functions." For the reasons already given in dealing with the second of the four points under discussion, I do not think that it was a function either of the Prime Minister or of the Attorney-General to interfere with the administration of the Commission by causing the cancellation of a liquor permit. That was something entirely outside his legal functions. It involved the exercise of powers which, in law, he did not possess at all.
Is the position altered by the fact that apparently he thought it was his right and duty to act as he did? I do not think that it is. The question of whether or not his acts were done by him in the exercise of his functions is not to be determined on the basis of his own appreciation of those functions, but must be determined according to law. The respondent apparently assumed that he was justified in using any means he thought fit to deal with the situation which confronted him. In my view, when he deliberately elected to use means which were entirely outside his powers and were unlawful, he did not act in the exercise of his functions as a public official.
The principle which should be applied is stated by Lopes J. in Agnew v. Jobson. That was an action for assault against a justice of the peace who had ordered a medical examination of the person of the plaintiff. There was no legal authority to make such an order, but it was admitted that the defendant bona fide believed that he had the authority to do that which he did. The defendant relied on absence of notice of the action as required by 11 & 12 Vic., c. 44. Section 8 of that Act provided that "no action shall be brought against any justice of the peace for anything done by him in the execution of his office" unless within six calendar months of the act complained of. Section 9, the one relied on by the defendant, provided that "no such action shall be commenced against any such justice" until a month after notice of action. Lopes J.
held that "such justice" in s. 9 referred to a justice in execution of his office in s. 8. He held that s. 9 did not provide a defence to the defendant in these words (p. 68) :
I am of opinion tnat the defendant Jobson is not entitled to notice of action. There was a total absence of any authority to do the act, and although he acted bona fide, believing he had authority, there was nothing on which to ground the belief, no knowledge of any fact such a belief might be based on.
Similarly here there was nothing on which the respondent could found the belief that he was entitled to deprive the appellant of his liquor permit.
On the issue of liability, I have, for the foregoing reasons, reached the conclusion that the respondent, by acts not justifiable in law, wrongfully caused the cancellation of the appellant's permit and thus cause damage to the appellant. The respondent intentionally inflicted damage upon the appellant and, therefore, in the absence of lawful justification, which I do not find, he is liable to the appellant for the commission of a fault under art. 1053 of the Civil Code.
I now turn to the matter of damages.
The learned trial judge awarded damages to the appellant in the sum of $8,123.53, made up of $1,123.53 for loss of value of liquor seized by the Commission, $6,000 for loss of profits from the restaurant from December 4, 1946, the date of the cancellation of the permit, to May 1, 1947, the date when the permit would normally have expired, and $1,000 for damages to his personal reputation. No objection is taken by the appellant in respect of these awards, but he contends that he is also entitled to compensation under certain other heads of damage in respect of which no award was made by the learned trial judge. These are in respect of damage to the good will and reputation of his business, loss of property rights in his permit and loss of future profits for a period of at least one year from May 1, 1947. Damages in respect of these items were not allowed by the learned trial judge because of the fact that the appellant's permit was "only a temporary asset."
The appellant contends that, although his permit was not permanent, yet, in the light of the long history of his restaurant and the continuous renewals of the permit previously, he had a reasonable expectation of renewal in
the future, had not the cancellation been effected in December 1946. He contends that the value of the good will of his business was substantially damaged by that cancellation.
His position on this point is supported by the reasoning of Duff J. (as he then was) in McGillivray v. Kimber. That was an action claiming damages for the wrongful cancellation of the appellant's pilot's licence by the Sydney Pilotage Authority. At p. 163 he says:
The statement of defence seems to proceed upon the theory that for the purpose of measuring legal responsibility the consequences of this dismissal came to an end with the expiry of the term and that I shall discuss; but for the present it is sufficient to repeat that the dismissal was an act which being not only calculated, but intended to prevent the appellant continuing the exercise of his calling had in fact this intended effect; and the respondents are consequently answerable in damages unless there was in law justification or excuse for what they did. Per Bowen L.J., Mogul S.S. Co. v. McGregor, 23 Q.B.D. 598.
The statement by Bowen L.J. to which he refers appears at p. 613 of the report and is also of significance in relation to the appellant's right of action in this case. It is as follows:
Now, intentionally to do that which is calculated in the ordinary course of events to damage, and which does, in fact, damage another in that other person's properly or trade, is actionable if done without just cause or excuse.
The evidence establishes that there was a substantial reduction in the value of the good will of the appellant's restaurant business as a result of what occurred, apart from the matter of any loss which might have resulted on the sale of the physical assets. It is difficult to assess this loss and there is not a great deal of evidence to assist in so doing. The appellant did file, as exhibits, income tax returns for the three years prior to 1946, which showed in those years a total net income from the business of $23,578.88. The profit-making possibilities of the business are certainly an item to be considered in determining the value of the good will.
However, in all the circumstances, the amount of these damages must be determined in a somewhat arbitrary fashion. I consider that $25,000 should be allowed as damages for the diminution of the value of the good will and for the loss of future profits.
I would allow both appeals, with costs here and below, and order the respondent to pay to the appellant damages in the total amount of $33,123.53, with interest from the date of the judgment in the Superior Court, and costs.
CARTWRIGHT J. (dissenting) :-This appeal is from two judgments of the Court of Queen's Bench (Appeal Side) for the Province of Quebec, of which the first allowed an appeal from a judgment of MacKinnon J. and dismissed the appellant's action, and the second dismissed a cross-appeal asking that the damages awarded by the learned trial judge be increased.
The respondent is, and was at all relevant times, the Prime Minister and Attorney-General of the Province of Quebec.
The appellant on December 4, 1946, was the owner of an immovable property, known as 1429 Crescent Street in the City of Montreal, where he had for many years success-fully carried on the business of a restaurant and cafe. He was the holder of liquor permit no. 68 granted to him on May 1, 1946, for the sale of alcoholic liquors in his restaurant and cafe pursuant to the provisions of the Alcoholic Liquor Act, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 255, hereinafter referred to as "the Act". This permit would normally have expired on April 30, 1947. The business carried on by the appellant had been founded by his father in 1912 and had been licensed uninterruptedly from that time until 1946. Prior to December 4, 1946, the appellant had complied with all the requirements of the Act and had carried on his restaurant business in conformity with the laws of the Province.
The appellant was at all relevant times a member of a sect known as "The Witnesses of Jehovah" and from some time in 1944 up to November 12, 1946, had on about 390 occasions, acted as bailsman for numbers of his co-religionists prosecuted under by-laws of the City of Montreal for distributing literature without a licence. None of those for whom he acted as bailsman defaulted in appearance, and all of them were ultimately discharged upon the by-laws under which they were charged being held to be invalid.
About the 24th or 25th of November 1946 members of the sect commenced distributing copies of ,a circular entitled "Quebec's burning hate for God and 'Christ and Freedom is the shame of all Canada". Copies of this circular are printed in the record, the English version being exhibit D7 and the French version exhibit D11. The then senior Crown Prosecutor in Montreal, Mtre Oscar Gagnon, formed the opinion that the circular was a seditious libel and that its distribution should be prevented. It results from the judgment of this Court in Boucher v. The King that the learned Crown Prosecutor was in error in forming the opinion that the circular could be regarded as seditious. It, however, can hardly be denied that it was couched in terms which would outrage the feelings of the great majority of the inhabitants of the Province of Quebec; and the same may be said of a number of other documents circulated by the sect, copies of which form part of the record in the case at bar.
The evidence does not show that the appellant took part in the distribution of any of the circulars mentioned or that he was a leader or chief of the sect. He did not act as bailsman for any member of the sect charged in connection with the distribution of the circular, "Quebec's burning hate".
On November 25, 1946, pamphlets, including copies of "Quebec's burning hate" were seized in a building in the City of Sherbrooke owned by the appellant and leased by him to a congregation of Witnesses of Jehovah as a "Kingdom Hall" or place of worship. The appellant was not aware that the pamphlets were in this building.
From his investigations and the reports which he received M. Gagnon concluded that the distribution of the pamphlets "convergeait autour de M. Roncarelli ou de personnes qui étaient près de lui" and he so informed M. Edouard Archambault, the manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission. It may well be that M. Gagnon reached the conclusion mentioned on insufficient evidence. M. Gagnon also informed M. Archambault that the appellant had acted as bailsman for a great number of Witnesses of Jehovah.
On receiving this information from M. Gagnon, M. Archambault read the circular, "Quebec's burning hate" and had a conversation with M. Paquette, the Recorder-in-Chief at Montreal, who confirmed the statements as to the appellant furnishing bail.
At this point M. Archambault formed the opinion that he should cancel the permit held by the appellant, but before taking any action he telephoned the respondent at Quebec, told him what information he had received and that he proposed cancelling the permit. The respondent told him to be careful to make sure that the Roncarelli who had furnished bail was in fact the appellant. M. Archambault satisfied himself as to this through the report of an agent "Y3", in whom he had confidence, and thereupon, according to his uncontradicted evidence, decided to cancel the permit. The reasons which brought him to this decision were stated by him as follows:
D. Alors, à ce moment-là, vous aviez déjà décidé d'enlever cette licence?
D. Vous basant, je suppose, sur les rapports que vous aviez déjà reçus de monsieur Oscar Gagnon et du recorder-en-chef Paquette que monsieur Roncarelli avait fourni des cautionnements?
R. Oui; et, à part de cela, de la littérature que j'avais lue.
D. Et le pamphlet auquel vous avez référé: "Quebec's Burning Hate"?
R. Oui, monsieur.
M. Archambault then telephoned the respondent. The substance of the two telephone conversations between M. Archambault and the respondent is summarized by the former as follows:
D. Maintenant, ce jour-là où vous avez reçu une lettre, le 30 novembre 1946, avez-vous décidé, ce jour-là, d'enlever la licence?
R. Certainement, ce jour-là, j'avais appelé le Premier Ministre, en l'occurrence le procureur général, lui faisant part des constatations, c'est-à-dire des renseignements que je possédais, et de mon intention d'annuler le privilège, et le Premier Ministre m'a répondu de prendre mes précautions, de bien vérifier s'il s'agissait bien de la même personne, qu'il pouvait y avoir plusieurs Roncarelli, et coetera. Alors, quand j'ai eu la confirmation de Y3 à l'effet que c'était la même personne, j'ai rappelé le Premier Ministre pour l'assurer qu'il s'agissait bien de Frank Roncarelli, détenteur d'un permis de la Commission des Liqueurs; et, là le Premier Ministre m'a autorisé, il m'a donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission, et son ordre de procéder.
The evidence of the respondent is also that the suggestion of cancelling the permit was made by M. Archambault, and there is no evidence to the contrary.
There has been a difference of opinion in the Courts below as to whether what was said by the respondent to M. Archambault amounted to an order to cancel or merely to an "approbation énergique" of a decision already made. I do not find it necessary to choose between these conflicting views as I propose to assume for the purposes of this appeal that what was said by the respondent was so far a determining factor in the cancellation of the permit as to render him liable for the damages caused thereby to the appellant if the cancellation was an actionable wrong giving rise to a right of action for damages.
All of the Judges in the Courts below who have dealt with that aspect of the matter have concluded that the respondent acted throughout in the honest belief that he was fulfilling his duty to the Province, and this conclusion is supported by the evidence.
The opinion of M. Archambault and of the respondent appears to have been that a permit to sell liquor under the Act is a privilege in the gift of the Province which ought not to be given to, or allowed to continue to be enjoyed by, one who was actively supporting members of a group of persons who were engaged in a concerted campaign to vilify the Province and were persistently acting in contravention of existing by-laws. Once it is found, as I think it must be on the evidence, that this opinion was honestly entertained, I have reached the conclusion, for reasons that will appear, that the Court cannot inquire as to whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant its formation or as to whether it constituted a reasonable ground for cancellation of the permit.
The permit was cancelled on December 4, 1946, with-out any prior notice to the appellant and without his being given any opportunity to show cause why it ought not to be cancelled. It is clear that the appellant suffered substantial financial loss as a result of the cancellation.
In determining whether the cancellation of the permit in these circumstances was an actionable wrong on the part of the commission or of M. Archambault, its manager, it is necessary to consider the relevant provisions of the Act. These appear to me to be as follows:
S.5 A Commission is by this act created under the name of "The Quebec Liquor Commission", or "Commission des liqueurs de Québec", and shall constitute a corporation, vested with all the rights and powers belonging generally to corporations.
The exercise of the functions, duties and powers of the Quebec Liquor Commission shall be vested in one person alone, named by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, with the title of manager. The remuneration of such person shall be determined by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council and be paid out of the revenues of the Liquor Commission.
* * *
S.9 The function, duties and powers of the Commission shall be the following:
* * *
To control the possession, sale and delivery of alcoholic liquor in accordance with the provisions of this act;
To grant, refuse, or cancel permits for the sale of alcoholic liquor or other permits in regard thereto, and to transfer the permit of any person deceased;
* * *
S.32 No permit shall be granted other than to an individual, and in his personal name.
The application for a permit may be made only by a British subject, must be signed by the applicant before witnesses, and must give his surname, Christian names, age, occupation, nationality and domicile, the kind of permit required and the place where it will be used, and must be accompanied by the amount of the duties payable upon the application for the permit. The applicant must furnish all additional information which the Commission may deem expedient to ask for.
If the permit is to be used for the benefit of a partnership or corporation, the application therefore must likewise be accompanied by a declaration to that effect, and duly signed by such partnership or corporation. In such case, the partnership or corporation shall be responsible for any fine and costs, to which the holder of the permit may be condemned; .and the amount thereof may be recovered before any court having jurisdiction, without prejudice to imprisonment, if any.
'All applications for permits must be addressed to the Commission before the 10th of January in each year, to take effect on the 1st of May in the same year.
* * *
S.34 1. The Commission may refuse to grant any permit.
2. The Commission must refuse to grant any permit for the sale of alcoholic liquor in any municipality where a prohibition by-law is in force.
'Subsections 2 to. 6 of s. 34 enumerate special cases in which the 'Commission must refuse a permit.
S.35 1. Whatever be the date of issue of any permit granted by the Commission, such permit shall expire on the 30th day of April following, unless it be cancelled by the Commission before such date, or unless the date at which it must expire he prior to the 30th of April following.
The Commission may cancel any permit at its discretion.
2. Saving the provisions of subsection 4 of this section, the cancellation of a permit shall entail the loss of the privilege conferred by such permit, and of the duties paid to obtain it, and the seizure and confiscation by the Commission of the alcoholic liquor found in the possession of the holder thereof, and the receptacles containing it, without any judicial proceedings being required for such confiscation.
The cancellation of a permit shall be served by a bailiff leaving a duplicate of such order of cancellation, signed by three members of the Commission, with the holder of such permit or with any other reasonable person at his domicile or place of business.
The cancellation shall take effect as soon as the order is served.
* * *
S.35 4. If the cancellation of the permit be not preceded or followed by a conviction for any offence under this act committed by the holder of such permit while it was in force, the Commission shall remit to such holder.
Such part of the duties which such person has paid upon the granting of such permit, proportionate to the number of full calendar months still to run up to the 1st of May following;
The proceeds of every sale by the Commission, after the seizure and confiscation thereof, of beer having an alcoholic content of not more than four per cent, in weight, less ten per cent of such proceeds;
The value, as determined by the Commission, of the other alcoholic liquor seized and confiscated, less ten per cent of such value.
5. Save in the case where a permit is granted to an individual on behalf of a partnership or corporation, in accordance with section 32, the Commission must cancel every permit made use of on behalf of any person other than the holder.
S.36 The Commission must cancel a permit:
Upon the production of a final condemnation, rendered against the permit-holder, his agent or employee, for selling, in the establishment, alcoholic liquor manufactured illegally or purchased in violation of this act;
Upon the production of three final condemnations rendered against the permit-holder for violation of this act;
If it appears that the permit-holder has, without the Commission's authorization, transferred, sold, pledged, or otherwise alienated the rights conferred by the permit.
On a consideration of these sections and of the remainder of the Act I am unable to find that the Legislature has, either expressly or by necessary implication, laid down
any rules to guide the commission as to the circumstances under which it may refuse to grant a permit or may cancel a permit already granted. In my opinion the intention of the legislature, to be gathered from the whole Act, was to enumerate (i) certain cases in which the granting of a permit is forbidden, and (ii) certain cases in which the cancellation of a permit is mandatory, and, in all other cases to commit the decision as to whether a permit should be granted, refused or cancelled to the unfettered discretion of the commission. I conclude that the function of the commission in making that decision is administrative and not judicial or quasi-judicial. The submission of counsel for the respondent, made in the following words, appears to me to be well founded:
Under the Statute, no one has a pre-existing right to obtain a permit, and the permit being granted under the condition that it may be cancelled at any time, and no cause of cancellation being mentioned and no form of procedure being indicated, the cancellation is a discretionary decision of a purely administrative character.
I accept as an accurate statement of the distinction between a judicial and an administrative tribunal that adopted by Masten J.A. in giving the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in re Ashby et al1
The distinction between a judicial tribunal and an administrative tribunal has been well pointed out by a learned writer in 49 Law Quarterly Review at pp. 106, 107 and 108:
"'A tribunal that dispenses justice, i.e. every judicial tribunal, is concerned with legal rights and liabilities, which means rights and liabilities conferred or imposed by 'law'; and 'law' means statute or long-settled principles. These legal rights and liabilities are treated by a judicial tribunal as pre-existing; such a tribunal professes merely to ascertain and give effect to them; it investigates the facts by hearing 'evidence' (as tested by long-settled rules), and it investigates the law by consulting precedents. Rights or liabilities so ascertained cannot, in theory, be refused recognition and enforcement, and no judicial tribunal claims the power of refusal.
In contrast, non-judicial tribunals of the type called 'administrative' have invariably based their decisions and orders, not on legal rights and liabilities, but on policy and expediency.
Leeds (Corp.) v. Ryder (1907) 'A.C. 420, at 423, 424, per Lord Lore-burn L.C.; Shell Co. of Australia v. Federal Commissioner of Taxation (1931) 'A.C. 275, at 295; Boulter v. Kent JJ., (1897) 'A.C. 556, at 564.
'A judicial tribunal looks for some law to guide it; an 'administrative' tribunal, within its province, is a law unto itself."
In re Ashby the Court found that the statute there under consideration set up certain fixed standards and prescribed conditions on which persons might have their certificates revoked by the board, and accordingly held its function to be quasi-judicial; in the case at bar, on the contrary, no standards or conditions are indicated and I am forced to conclude that the Legislature intended the commission "to be a law unto itself".
If I am right in the view that in cancelling the permit M. Archambault was performing an administrative act in the exercise of an unfettered discretion given to him by the statute it would seem to follow that he was not bound to give the appellant an opportunity to be heard before deciding to cancel and that the Court cannot be called upon to determine whether there existed sufficient grounds for his decision. If authority is needed for this conclusion it may be found in the judgment of the Judicial Committee, delivered by Lord Radcliffe, in Nakkuda Ali v. M. P. De S. Jayaratne and in the reasons of my brother Martland in Calgary Power Limited et al v. Copithorne. The wisdom and desirability of conferring such a power upon an official without specifying the grounds upon which it is to be exercised are matters for the consideration of the Legislature not of the Court.
If, contrary to my conclusion, the function of the commission was quasi-judicial, it may well be that its decision to cancel the permit would be set aside by the Court for failure to observe the rules as to how such tribunals must proceed which are laid down in many authorities and are compendiously stated in the following passage in the judgment of the Earl of Selborne in Spackman v. Plumstead Board of Works:
No doubt, in the absence of special provisions as to how the person who is to decide is to proceed, the law will imply no more than that the substantial requirements of justice shall not be violated. He is not a judge in the proper sense of the word; but he must give the parties an opportunity of being heard before him and stating their case and their view. He must give notice when he will proceed with the matter, and he must act honestly and impartially and not under the dictation of some other person or persons to whom the authority is not given by
law. There must be no malversation of any kind. There would be no decision within the meaning of the statute if there were anything of that sort done contrary to the essence of justice.
But even if it were assumed that the function of the commission was quasi-judicial and that its order cancelling the permit should be set aside for failure to observe the rules summarized in the passage quoted, I would be far from satisfied that any action for damages would lie.
If that question arose for decision it would be necessary to consider the judgments delivered in this Court in McGillivray v. Kimber, the cases cited in Halsbury, 2nd ed., vol. 26, pp. 284 and 285,, in support of the following statement:
Persons exercising such quasi-judicial powers ... in the absence of fraud, collusion, or malice, are not liable to any civil action at the suit of any person aggrieved by their decisions ...
and the judgment of Wilmot C.J., concurred in by Gould J. and Blackstone J., in Bassett v. Godschall:
The legislature hath intrusted the justices of peace with a discretionary power to grant or refuse licences for keeping inns and alehouses; if they abuse that power, or misbehave themselves in the execution of their office or authority, they are answerable criminally, by way of information, in B.R. I cannot think a justice of peace is answerable in an action to every individual who asks him for a licence to keep an inn or an alehouse, and he refuses to grant one; if he were so, there would be an end of the commission of the peace, for no man would act therein. Indeed he is answerable to the public if he misbehaves himself, and wilfully, knowingly and maliciously injures or oppresses the King's subjects, under colour of his office, and contrary to law: but he cannot be answerable to every individual, touching the matter in question, in an action. Every plaintiff in an action must have an antecedent right to bring it; the plaintiff here has no right to have a licence, unless the justices think proper to grant it, therefore he can have no right of action against the justices for refusing it.
For the above reasons I have reached the conclusion that the heavy financial loss undoubtedly suffered by the appellant was damnum sine injuria. The whole loss flowed directly from the cancellation of the permit which was an act of the commission authorized by law. I have formed this opinion entirely apart from any special statutor protection afforded to the commission or to its, manager M. Archambault, as, for example, by s. 12 of the Act.
The case of James v. Cowan. relied upon by counsel for the appellant as supporting the existence of a right of action for damages seems to me to be clearly distinguishable. In that case the right of action asserted was for damages for the wrongful taking of the plaintiff's goods. The only justification put forward was an order held to be ultra vires and therefore void. It may be mentioned in passing that if, contrary to my view, the decision of the commission in the case at bar was made in the exercise of a judicial function, its failure to follow a rule of natural justice would appear to render the order voidable but not void; Dimes v. Grand Junction Canal Proprietors.
Having concluded that the act of the commission in cancelling the permit was not an actionable wrong, it appears to me to follow that the respondent cannot be answerable in damages for directing or approving, as the case may be, the doing of that act.
As it was put by Bissonnette J.:
D'où il découle, en saine logique, que si dans l'exercice de son pouvoir discrétionnaire, il (M. 'Archambault) ne commettait ni faute, ni illégalité, personne n'est justifié à chercher à atteindre, au delà, de sa personne, un conseiller, voire un chef ou supérieur politique, pour le motif que sans la faute du premier, celle qu'on veut imputer au second ne peut exister.
On this branch of the matter, I should perhaps mention that there is, in the record, no room for any suggestion that the respondent coerced an unwilling Commission into making a decision contrary to the view of the latter as to what that decision should be.
For the above reasons it is my opinion that the appeal fails and it becomes unnecessary for me to consider the alternative defence as to lack of notice of action, based upon art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure or the question of the quantum of damages.
The appeal, as to both of the judgments of the Court of Queen's Bench, should be dismissed with costs.
FAUTEUX J. (dissenting) :-L'appelant se pourvoit à l'en-contre de deux décisions majoritaires de la Cour du banc de la reine, dont la première infirme un jugement de la Cour supérieure condamnant l'intimé à lui payer une somme de $8,123.53 à titre de dommages-intérêts, et dont la seconde rejette l'appel logé par lui-même pour faire augmenter le quantum des dommages ainsi accordés.
Les faits donnant lieu à ce litige se situent dans le cadre des activités poursuivies dans la province de Québec, au cours particulièrement des années 1944, 1945 et 1946, par la secte des Témoins de Jéhovah. ,Ces activités prenaient forme d'assemblées, de distribution de circulaires, de pamphlets et de livres, et de sollicitation, dans les rues et à domicile. Dirigée ouvertement contre les pratiques des religions professées dans la province et, plus particulière-ment, de la religion catholique, les enseignements de cette secte étaient diffusés dans un langage manifestement, sinon délibérément, insultant et, par suite, provoquèrent dans les cités et les villages où ils étaient propagés, des troubles à la paix publique. Il y eut bris d'assemblées, assauts de personnes et dommages à la propriété. De plus, et partageant l'opinion généralement acceptée que cette campagne provocatrice était l'oeuvre de la licence et non de la liberté sous la loi, plusieurs autorités civiles refusaient d'accorder la protection recherchée par les membres de la secte ou adoptaient des moyens pour paralyser ces activités considérées comme une menace à la paix publique. L'intimé, comme Procureur Général, eut en son ministère, où des plaintes nombreuses affluèrent, tous les échos de cette situation. Devant les tribunaux, actions ou poursuites se multiplièrent. A Montréal, les arrestations pour distribution de littérature, sans permis, atteignirent et dépassèrent plusieurs centaines. Devant la Cour du Recorder, où furent traduits ceux qu'on accusait de violer le règlement municipal, on plaidait l'invalidité ou l'inapplication du règle-ment et attendant le prononcé d'un tribunal supérieur sur le bien-fondé de ces prétentions, on ajournait les causes. C'était l'appelant, l'un des membres de la secte, qui, dans la plupart de ces arrestations, à Montréal, fournissait le cautionnement garantissant la comparution des accusés. Une entente était même intervenue entre lui et les avocats
chargés des poursuites, suivant laquelle on le considérait en quelque sorte comme la caution officielle des membres de la secte. L'appelant continua d'agir comme caution jusqu'au 12 novembre 1946 alors que les autorités de la Cour du Recorder, s'inquiétant de la congestion du rôle des causes résultant de la progressive multiplication des arrestations, aussi bien que du fait que le temps de nombre de constables était absorbé par ces enquêtes et ces poursuites, au préjudice de leurs autres devoirs, tentèrent de décourager les activités de la secte en exigeant des cautionnements en argent et plus substantiels, soit de $100 à $300.
Deux semaines après cette décision, apparut dans la province une nouvelle publication de la secte, intitulée: "La haine ardente du Québec pour Dieu, le Christ et la liberté." Ce livre, publié en français, en anglais et en ukrainien, étant, dans les termes les plus provocateurs, une attaque dirigée particulièrement contre les pratiques religieuses de la majorité de la population et contre l'administration de la justice dans la province, fut soumis par la police à la considération de l'avocat en chef de la Couronne, A. Mont réal, Me Gagnon, c.r., lequel émit l'opinion que cette publication constituait, au sens de la loi criminelle, un libelle séditieux.
Ajoutons immédiatement que le mérite de cette opinion fut par la suite judiciairement considéré avec le résultat qui suit. Un certain Aimé Boucher, distributeur de ce livre dans le district judiciaire de St-Joseph de Beauce, fut accusé sous les articles 133, 134 et 318 du Code Criminel et fut trouvé coupable par un jury dont le verdict fut confirmé par une décision majoritaire de la Cour du banc du roi en appel. Sur un pourvoi subséquent devant cinq des membres de cette Cour, une majorité, trouvant justifiés les griefs fondés sur l'adresse du juge au procès, mais étant d'opinion qu'il était loisible à un jury légalement dirigé de juger cette publication séditieuse, ordonna un nouveau procès. Sur une seconde audition du même appel, -cette fois devant les neuf Juges de cette Cour- ces vues furent partagées par
quatre des membres de cette Cour. Les cinq autres, d'autre part, acquittèrent l'accusé, en déclarant en substance, suivant le sommaire fidèle du jugé, qu'en droit:
Neither language calculated to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of His Majesty's subjects nor criticizing the courts is seditious unless there is the intention to incite to violence or resistance to or defiance of constituted authority.
En somme, la majorité écarta, comme étant la loi en la matière, la définition de l'intention séditieuse, donnée à la page 94 de la 8° édition de Stephen's Digest of Criminal Law, dans la mesure où cette définition différait de la loi telle que précisée au sommaire ci-dessus. Boucher v. His Majesty the King. Ainsi appert-il que l'opinion émise par le représentant du Procureur Général à Montréal lors de l'apparition de ce livre en fin de 1946, fut par la suite partagée par une majorité de tous les juges qui eurent à considérer la question mais rejetée par ce qui constitue, depuis 1951, le jugement de cette Cour sur la question.
Ayant donc formé l'opinion que cette publication constituait un libelle séditieux, M° Gagnon participa à l'enquête faite pour en rechercher les distributeurs et les traduire en justice. Vers le même temps, la police saisissait en la cité de Sherbrooke, un nombre considérable de pamphlets, livres, y compris le livre en question, dans un établissement appartenant à l'appelant et par lui loué aux membres de la secte. Un examen de la situation et du rôle joué par l'appelant dans les procédures mues devant la Cour du Recorder à Montréal, amena M° Gagnon à conclure à sa participation dans la distribution. Apprenant, en la même occasion, que ce dernier était propriétaire d'un restaurant et détenteur de permis de la Commission des Liqueurs pour y vendre des spiritueux, il communiqua les faits ci-dessus à M. Archambault, alors gérant général de la Commission des Liqueurs. Après avoir conféré avec le recorder en chef de la cité de Montréal et M° Gagnon, M. Archambault téléphona au Procureur Général pour lui faire part de ces agissements des membres de la secte, et de l'appelant en particulier, et de son intention d'annuler le permis en faveur de l'appelant. L'intimé demanda à M. Archambault de bien s'assurer que le détenteur du permis était bien la même personne qui, au dire de M. Archambault, "multipliait les cautionnements à la Cour du Recorder de façon désordonnée, contribuait à désorganiser les activités de la
police et à congestionner les tribunaux". Et l'intimé ajouta: -"Dans l'intervalle, je vais examiner les questions avec des officiers légaux, je vais y penser, je vais réfléchir et je vais voir à ce que je devrai faire." M. Archambault vérifia l'identité de l'appelant et, de son côté, le Procureur Général étudia le problème, la Loi de la Commission des Liqueurs et ses amendements, discuta de la question au Conseil des Ministres et avec des officiers en loi de son ministère. Quelques jours plus tard, M. Archambault téléphona au Procureur Général confirmant l'identité du détenteur de permis et, témoigne M. Archambault, "là, le Premier Ministre m'a autorisé, il m'a donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission et son ordre de procéder".
A la suite de cette conversation téléphonique, le permis fut annulé et tous les spiritueux du restaurant furent confisqués. En raison de la perte d'opérations résultant de l'absence de permis, l'appelant, quelques mois plus tard, vendait ce restaurant, licencié pour vente de spiritueux depuis nombre d'années et exploité par son père, d'abord, et lui, par la suite. C'est alors que l'appelant institua la pré-sente action en dommages contre l'intimé personnellement, invoquant en substance que, dans les circonstances, le fait de cette annulation constituait, suivant les dispositions de l'art. 1053 du Code Civil, un fait dommageable, illicite et imputable à l'intimé et, dès lors, donnant droit à réparation.
En défense, et en outre des moyens plaidés sur le mérite de l'action, l'intimé invoqua spécifiquement le défaut de l'appelant de s'être conformé aux prescriptions de l'art. 88 du Code de procédure civile, lequel conditionne impérative-ment l'exercice du droit d'action contre un officier public à la signification d'un avis d'au moins un mois avant l'émission de l'assignation.
Après considération attentive de la question et pour les motifs donnés ci-après, je suis arrivé à la conclusion que ce moyen est bien fondé. Il convient de dire, cependant, que n'eût été ce défaut de l'appelant, j'aurais, au mérite, conclu au bien-fondé de son action et ce, pour des raisons qu'il suffit, dans les circonstances, de résumer comme suit. Personne ne met en doute que le fait invoqué au soutien de l'action en dommages, c'est-à-dire l'annulation du permis, ait constitué un fait dommageable pour l'appelant. De
plus, et suivant la preuve au dossier, il est manifeste que ce fait est imputable, et exclusivement imputable, à l'intimé. Sans doute, lorsque le gérant général de la Commission des Liqueurs téléphona au Procureur Général pour le mettre au courant des faits ci-dessus, il lui indiqua au même temps son intention d'annuler le permis. Il y a loin, cependant, de l'indication d'une intention à la réalisation de cette intention; et à la vérité, dès cette première conversation télé-phonique, c'est le Procureur Général qui prit l'entière responsabilité. Tel que déjà indiqué, il demanda à M. Archambault de vérifier l'identité de personne, l'avisant que, pendant ce temps-là, il étudierait le problème et verrait ce que lui devait faire. C'est d'ailleurs précisément pour décider de l'action à prendre qu'il examina la loi et discuta de l'affaire au 'Conseil des Ministres et avec ses officiers en loi. Lorsque, subséquemment, M. Archambault le rappela pour lui affirmer qu'il s'agissait de la même personne, "c'est là", dit le gérant général, que le Procureur Général "m'a autorisé, il m'a donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission et son ordre de procéder". Le Juge de la Cour supérieure et tous les Juges de la Cour d'Appel n'ont jeté, et je crois avec raison, aucun doute sur la bonne foi du Procureur Général, pas plus qu'on n'en saurait avoir sur celle du gérant général de la Commission des Liqueurs. Ni l'un ni l'autre n'ont agi malicieusement. Mais, en témoignant que l'intimé l'avait autorisé, lui avait donné son consentement, son approbation, sa permission et son ordre de procéder, le gérant général de la 'Commission a bien indiqué, à mon avis, que, dans un esprit de subordination, il avait, dès la première conversation téléphonique, abdiqué, en faveur du Procureur Général s'en chargeant, le droit d'exercer la discrétion, qu'à l'exclusion de tous autres, il avait suivant l'esprit de la Loi des Liqueurs Alcooliques. Il a exécuté, mais non rendu, une décision arrêtée par le Procureur Général. D'ailleurs, ce dernier ne s'en est pas caché; il s'en est ouvert au public par la voix des journaux. En prenant lui-même cette décision, comme Premier Ministre et Procureur Général, il s'est arrogé un droit que lui nie virtuellement la Loi des Liqueurs Alcooliques; il a commis une illégalité. Dans l'espèce, l'annulation du permis est exclusivement imputable à l'intimé et précisément pour
cette raison, constitue, dans les circonstances, un acte illicite donnant droit à l'appelant d'obtenir réparation pour les dommages lui en résultant.
L'article 88 du Code de procédure civile.-Cet article se lit comme suit :
Nul officier public ou personne remplissant des fonctions ou devoirs publics ne peut être poursuivi pour dommages à raison d'un acte par lui fait dans l'exercice de ses fonctions, et nul verdict ou jugement ne peut être rendu contre lui, à moins qu'avis de cette poursuite ne lui ait été donné au moins un mois avant l'émission de l'assignation.
Cet avis doit être par écrit; il doit exposer les causes de l'action, con-tenir l'indication des noms et de l'étude du procureur du demandeur ou de son agent et être signifié au défendeur personnellement ou à son domicile.
Vu la forme prohibitive de la disposition et la règle de droit édictée en l'art. 14 du Code Civil, le défaut de donner cet avis, lorsqu'il y a lieu de ce faire, emporte nullité. Cette règle de droit est ainsi exprimée :
14. Les lois prohibitives emportent nullité, quoiqu'elle n'y soit pas prononcée.
De plus, et en raison de la prescription que "...nul verdict ou jugement ne peut être rendu ...", ce défaut limite la juridiction même du tribunal. Aussi bien, non seulement, comme il a été reconnu au jugement de première instance, ce défaut peut-il être soulevé dans les plaidoiries, mais la Cour elle-même doit agir proprio motu et se conformer à la prescription.
En l'espèce, il est admis qu'aucun avis ne fut donné au Procureur Général. L'intimé a plaidé spécifiquement ce moyen dans sa défense et il l'a invoqué tant en Cour supérieure et en Cour d'Appel que devant cette Cour. Le juge au procès en disposa dans les termes suivants, dont les soulignés sont siens :
Defendant is not entitled to avail himself of this exceptional provision as the acts complained of were not "done by him in the exercise of his functions", but they were acts performed by him when he had gone outside his functions to perform them. They were not acts "in the exercise of" but "on the occasion of public duties". Defendant was outside his functions in the acts complained of.
En Cour d'Appel, seul le Juge dissident, M. le Juge Rinfret, se prononce sur la question. S'inspirant, je crois, de l'interprétation donnée par la jurisprudence à l'expression "dans
l'exécution de ses fonctions", apparaissant à l'art. 1054 C.C. et plus particulièrement du critère indiqué dans Plumb v. Cobden Flour Mills, il prononce d'abord comme suit, sur le mérite même de l'action:
L'action du défendeur, on l'a vu, ne peut pas être classifiée parmi les actes permis, par les statuts, au procureur général, ni au premier ministre; elle ne peut pas être considérée comme ayant été faite dans l'exercice ou dans l'exécution de ses fonctions comme telles; elle entre dans la catégorie des actes prohibés, des actes commis hors les limites des fonctions, et comme telle, elle engendre la responsabilité personnelle.
puis, précisant que l'art. 88 C.P.C. pose comme condition que le défendeur soit poursuivi "à raison d'un acte par lui fait dans l'exercice de ses fonctions", déclare que l'art. 88 n'a pas d'application en l'espèce.
Les juges de la majorité ont référé à ce moyen sans cependant s'y arrêter vu que dans leur opinion l'action, de toutes façons, était mal fondée.
D'où l'on voit que le droit de l'intimé à l'avis dépend uniquement, dans la présente cause, de la question de savoir si l'acte reproché a été fait par lui "dans l'exercice de ses fonctions" au sens qu'il faut donner à ces expressions dans le contexte de l'art. 88 'C.P.C., et suivant l'esprit et la fin véritables de cet article.
L'article 1054 C.C. prescrit que les maîtres et les commettants sont responsables du dommage causé par leurs domestiques ou ouvriers dans l'exécution des fonctions aux-quelles ces derniers sont employés. On est dès lors porté à donner aux expressions, plus ou moins identiques, apparaissant à l'art. 88 C.P.C., le même sens que donne la jurisprudence sur l'art. 1054 'C.C. La règle d'interprétation visant la similarité des expressions n'établit qu'une présomption; cette présomption étant que les expressions similaires ont le même sens lorsqu'elles se trouvent,-ce qui n'est pas le cas en l'espèce,-dans une même loi. On accorde, d'ailleurs, peu de poids à cette présomption. Max-well, On Interpretation of Statutes, 9' ed., p. 322 et seq. Les considérations présidant à l'établissement, la fin et la portée de l'art. 88 C.P.C., d'une part, et de l'art. 1054 C.C., d'autre part, sont totalement différentes. Sanctionnant la doctrine Respondeat superior, l'art. 1054 C.C. établit la responsabilité du commettant pour l'acte de son préposé, ce dernier étant considéré le continuateur de la personne juridique du
premier. L'intimé, agissant en sa qualité de Procureur Général, n'est le préposé de personne. Il n'a pas de commettant. La fonction qu'il exerce, il la tient de la loi. L'article 88 C.P.C. n'affecte en rien la question de responponsabilité. Il accorde, en ce qui concerne la procédure seulement, un traitement spécial au bénéfice des officiers publics en raison de la nature même de la fonction. Les motifs apportés par la jurisprudence pour limiter le champ de l'exercice des fonctions, quant à la responsabilité édictée en l'art. 1054 C.C., sont étrangers à ceux conduisant la Législature à donner, quant à la procédure seulement, une protection aux officiers publics. Aussi bien, et en toute déférence, je ne crois pas que la portée de cette protection soit assujettie aux limitations de la responsabilité frappant les dispositions de l'art. 1054 C.C. L'article 8 du c.101 des Statuts Refondus du Bas Canada, loi-source de l'art. 88 C.P.C., établit péremptoirement à mon avis que, in pari materia, un officier public n'est pas tenu comme ayant cessé d'agir dans l'exercice de ses fonctions du seul fait que l'acte reproché constitue un excès de pouvoir, ou de juridiction, ou une violation à la loi. La version française de cette loi n'étant pas en disponibilité, je cite de la version anglaise qu'on trouve dans Consolidated Statutes, Lower Canada, 1860, l'art. 8 :
Protection to extend
to the magistrate only etc.,
and in what cases to him.
The privileges and protection given by this Act, shall be given to such justice, officer or other person acting as aforesaid, only, and to no other person or persons whatever, and any such justice, officer and other person shall be entitled to such protection and privileges in all cases where he has acted bona fide in the execution of his duty, although in such act done, he has exceeded his powers or jurisdiction, and has acted clearly contrary to law.
L'article 88 C.P.C. assume que ceux au bénéfice desquels il est établi se sont rendus coupables d'une illégalité pour laquelle ils doivent répondre. Tout doute qu'on pourrait avoir sur le point est dissipé par le texte même de l'art. 429 C.P.C. lequel, pourvoyant à un changement de venue dans le cas du procès d'un officier public, édicte :
429. Dans toute poursuite en dommages contre un officier public, à raison de quelque illégalité dans l'exécution de ses fonctions, le juge peut ordonner que le procès ait lieu dans un autre district, s'il est démontré que la cause ne peut être instruite avec impartialité dans le district où l'action a été portée.
On doit donc se garder d'associer au droit à l'avis toute idée de justification pour l'acte reproché ou de déduire du seul fait que l'officier public doive au mérite d'être tenu personnellement responsable, qu'il ait perdu tout droit à l'avis. Dans Beattey v. Kozak, où la nécessité d'éviter cette confusion se présentait, une semblable observation est faite par notre collègue M. le Juge Rand. Il faut ajouter, cependant, que cette décision n'est d'aucune autre assistance sur la question qui nous intéresse; le litige portait, en droit, sur l'interprétation d'une loi différente et fut décidé en donnant effet à la jurisprudence d'un droit également différent sur l'incidence, en la matière, du rôle de la bonne foi.
L'incidence du rôle de la bonne foi de l'officier public dans la commission d'un acte reproché, en ce qui concerne la portée de l'art. 88 C.F.C., et non en ce qui a trait au mérite de l'action, a fait, dans la province de Québec, depuis le jour où la disposition fut établie par l'art. 22 du Code de procédure civile de 1867, dont les termes sont reproduits à l'art. 88 du Code de 1897, l'objet d'un conflit dans la jurisprudence. Suivant certains jugements, la bonne foi conditionnait le droit à l'avis et dès que la déclaration contenait une allégation de mauvaise foi, le défendeur se voyait privé du droit d'invoquer le défaut de l'avis, même si, au mérite, la preuve, révélant que cette allégation était mal fondée, on devait alors rejeter l'action parce que l'avis n'avait pas été donné. Suivant d'autres jugements, on tenait le droit à l'avis absolu dans tous les cas. La bonne foi, disait-on, en s'appuyant sur le principe sanctionné par l'art. 2202 C.C., est toujours présumée et cette présomption ne peut être écartée par une simple allégation mais par une preuve de mauvaise foi. On jugeait qu'une simple allégation aux plaidoiries ne pouvait virtuellement abroger le droit au bénéfice de l'art. 88. Considérant que cet article conditionnait l'exercice même du droit d'action, on décidait que ce droit d'action devait être nié ab initio et non à la fin du procès. Ce conflit n'existe plus. Depuis plus de vingt-cinq ans, la Cour d'Appel y a mis fin en décidant que l'incidence de la bonne ou de la mauvaise foi n'a aucune portée sur le droit à l'avis et que, dans tous les cas, il doit être donné. Acceptant les arguments déjà exprimés en ce sens, la Cour d'Appel s'est particulièrement basée sur la source
historique de cette disposition et sur la modification qui y fut apportée lors et par suite de son insertion au Code de procédure civile. Les sources de l'article sont indiquées dans Dame Chaput v. Crépeau par M. le Juge Bruneau et les modifications faites à la situation antérieure par l'insertion de l'article dans le Code, afin d'en généraliser l'application à tous les officiers publics, sont indiquées dans cette jurisprudence définitivement arrêtée par la Cour d'Appel dans Charland v. Kay; Corporation de la Paroisse de St-David-de-l'Auberivière v. Paquette et autres et Houde v. Benoît.
En somme, et comme le note M. le Juge Hall dans Corporation de la Paroisse de ,St-David-de-l'Auberivière v. Paquette et autres, supra, l'art. 22 du Code de procédure de 1867, prédécesseur de l'art. 88 du Code de 1897, a sa source dans la Loi pour la protection des juges de paix, c.101 des Status Refondus du Bas 'Canada. Le premier article de cette loi prescrivait l'avis d'action, alors que dans les autres dispositions, d'autres privilèges étaient établis, y compris celui fixant la prescription à six mois. L'article 8 conditionnait le droit aux privilèges y accordés, à la bonne foi. Lors de la confection du Code de procédure, la disposition ayant trait à l'avis fut extraite de la loi pour devenir l'art. 22 du Code de procédure et être déclarée applicable à tous les officiers publics. Dans le procédé, cependant, on laissa la disposition touchant la bonne foi dans la Loi pour la protection des juges de paix et on évita de l'inclure dans l'art. 22 C.P.C. comme condition de l'opération de cet article. D'autres considérations, tel, par exemple, le changement apporté par la Législature, le 4 août 1929, à l'art. 195 C.P.C. par la Loi 19 George V, c. 81, ayant pour effet de prohiber toute ordonnance de preuve avant faire droit qui jusqu'alors réservait au mérite les questions soulevées par l'inscription en droit, militent en faveur de ces vues. C'est ce changement, je crois, qui a provoqué l'occasion amenant la Cour d'Appel à fixer définitivement la jurisprudence. Les motifs déjà mentionnés suffisent pour partager les vues exprimées par la Cour d'Appel dans les causes précitées et pour conclure, comme M. le Juge Dorion dans Charland v. Kay, supra, qu'il faut s'en tenir au texte de la loi et lui donner son effet.
En assumant l'exercice d'un pouvoir discrétionnaire conféré au gérant général par la loi, l'intimé a commis une illégalité mais aucune offense connue de la loi pénale et aucun délit au sens de l'art. 1053 'C.C. Il a fait ce qu'il n'avait pas le droit de faire, fermement et sincèrement con-vaincu, a-t-il affirmé sous serment, que non seulement il en avait le droit, mais qu'il y était tenu pour s'acquitter de ses responsabilités comme Procureur Général chargé de l'administration de la justice, du maintien de l'ordre et de la paix dans la province et de ses devoirs comme conseiller juridique du gouvernement de la province. Il n'a pas pris occasion de sa fonction pour commettre cette illégalité. Il ne l'a pas commise à l'occasion de l'exercice de ses fonctions. Il l'a commise à cause de ses fonctions. Sa bonne foi n'a pas été mise en doute, et sur ce fait, les Juges de la Cour d'Appel, qui ont considéré la question, sont d'acord avec le Juge de première instance. Suivant les décisions considérées par cette Cour dans Beatty v. Kozak, supra, on retient, sous un droit différent de celui de la province de Québec, l'incidence de la bonne foi lorsque celle-ci se fonde sur l'erreur de fait, ou sur l'erreur de fait et de droit à la fois, sinon uniquement sur l'erreur de droit, pour décider du caractère exculpatoire de l'illégalité commise, voire même du droit à l'avis. Exclusivement compétente à légiférer sur la procédure civile, la Législature de Québec, par l'art. 88 C.P.C., n'a pas voulu assujettir le droit à l'avis d'action à l'incidence de la bonne ou de la mauvaise foi. Dans les circonstances de cette cause, je suis d'opinion que l'illégalité commise par l'intimé l'a été dans l'exercice de ses fonctions et que, de plus, ce serait faire indirectement ce que l'art. 88 C.P.C. ne permet pas, suivant l'interprétation de la Cour d'Appel, que de s'appuyer sur la bonne ou la mauvaise foi, que ce soit au sens vulgaire ou technique du mot, pour conclure que l'intimé est sorti de l'exercice de ses fonctions, au sens qu'ont ces expressions dans l'art. 88 C.P.C., et qu'il ait perdu le droit à l'avis d'action.
Pour ces raisons, l'appelant aurait dû être débouté de son action. Je renverrais les appels avec dépens.
ABBOTT J.:-In his action appelant claimed from respondent the sum of $118,741 as damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of the cancellation of a licence 'or permit for the sale of alcoholic liquors held by appellant.
The action was maintained by the learned trial judge to the extent of $8,123.53. From that judgment two appeals were taken, one by respondent asking that the action be dismissed in its entirety, the other by appellant asking that the amount allowed as damages be increased by an amount of $90,000. The Court of Queen's Bench allowed the respondent's appeal, Rinfret J. dissenting, and dismissed the action. The appeal taken by appellant to increase the amount of the trial judgment was dismissed unanimously. The present appeals are from those two judgments.
The facts are these. On December 4, 1946, appellant was conducting a restaurant business in the City of Montreal, a business which he and his father and mother before him had been carrying on continuously for some thirty-four years prior to that date. The restaurant had been licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages throughout the entire period.
In 1946 and for many years prior thereto, persons operating establishments of this kind and selling alcoholic beverages had been required to obtain a licence or permit under the Alcoholic Liquor Act, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 255. Unless granted for a shorter period, these were annual licences and expired on April 30 in each year. Moreover, s. 35, subs. 1., of the Act provides as follows:
The Commission may cancel any permit at its discretion.
The Commission referred to is the "Quebec Liquor Commission" established as a corporation under the Act in question and, generally speaking, it has been entrusted by the Legislature with the responsibility of directing and ad-ministering the provincial monopoly of the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
On December 4, 1946, without previous notice to the appellant, his licence to sell alcoholic beverages was can-celled by the Quebec Liquor Commission, and at about 2 p.m. on that date the stock of liquor on his premises was seized and removed. The licence was not restored and after operating for some months without such a licence, in 1947 appellant sold the restaurant and the building in which it was located.
Appellant learned from press reports either in the after-noon of December 4 or early the following day, that his licence had been cancelled and the stock of liquor seized because he was an adherent of a religious sect or group known as the Witnesses of Jehovah. It soon became clear from statements made by the respondent to the press and confirmed by him at the trial as having been made by him, that the cancellation of the licence had been made because of the appellant's association with the sect in question and in order to prevent him from continuing to furnish bail for members of that sect summoned before the Recorder's Court on charges of contravening certain city by-laws respecting the distribution of printed material.
It might be added here that in December 1946 and for some time prior thereto the Witnesses of Jehovah appear to have been carrying on in the Montreal district and else-where in the Province of Quebec, an active campaign of meetings and the distribution of printed pamphlets and other like material of an offensive character to a great many people of most religious beliefs, and I have no doubt that at that time many people believed this material to be seditious.
The evidence is referred to in detail in the Courts below and I do not propose to do so here. I am satisfied from a consideration of this evidence : First : that the cancellation of the appellant's licence was made for the sole reason which I have mentioned and with the object and purpose to which I have referred; Second: that such cancellation was made with the express authorization and upon the order of the respondent; Third: that the determining cause of the cancellation was that order, and that the manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission would not have cancelled the licence without the order and authorization given by the respondent.
There can be no question as to the first point. It was conceded by respondent in his evidence at the trial and by his counsel at the hearing before us. As to the second and third points, I share the view of the learned trial judge and of Rinfret J. that both were clearly established.
The religious beliefs of the appellant and the fact that he acted as bondsman for members of the sect in question had no connection whatever with his obligations as the
holder of a licence to sell alcoholic liquors. The cancellation of his licence upon this ground alone therefore was without any legal justification. Moreover, the religious beliefs of the appellant and his perfectly legal activities as a bondsman had nothing to do with the object and purposes of the Alcoholic Liquor Act, and the powers and responsibilities of the manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission are confined to the administration and enforcement of the provisions of the said Act. This may be one explanation of the latter's decision to consult the respondent before taking the action which he did to cancel appellant's licence.
At all events a careful reading of the evidence and a consideration of the surrounding circumstances has convinced me that without having received the authorization, direction, order, or "approbation énergique" of the respondent -however one chooses to describe it-the manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission would not have cancelled the licence.
The proposition that in Canada a member of the executive branch of government does not make the law but merely carries it out or administers it requires no citation of authority to support it. Similarly, I do not find it necessary to cite from the wealth of authority supporting the principle that a public officer is responsible for acts done by him without legal justification. I content myself with quoting the well known passage from Dicey's "Law of the Constitution", 9th ed., p. 193, where he says
... every official, from the Prime Minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes, is under the saine responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen. The Reports abound with cases in which officials have been brought before the courts, and made, in their personal capacity, liable to punishment, or to the payment of damages, for acts done in their official character but in excess of their lawful authority. A colonial governor, a secretary of state, a military officer, and all subordinates, though carrying out the commands of their official superiors, are as responsible for any act which the law does not authorize as is any private and unofficial person.
In the instant case, the respondent was given no statutory power to interfere in the administration or direction of the Quebec Liquor Commission although as Attorney-General of the Province the Commission and its officers could of course consult him for legal opinions and legal advice. The Commission is not a department of government in the
accepted sense of that term. Under the Alcoholic Liquor Act the Commission is an independent body with corporate status and with the powers and responsibilities conferred upon it by the Legislature. The Attorney-General is given no power under the said Act to intervene in the administration of the affairs of the Commission nor does the Attorney-General's Department Act, R.S.Q. 1941, c. 46, confer any such authority upon him.
I have no doubt that in taking the action which he did, the respondent was convinced that he was acting in what he conceived to be the best interests of the people of his province but this, of course, has no relevance to the issue of his responsibility in damages for any acts done in excess of his legal authority. I have no doubt also that respondent knew and was bound to know as Attorney-General that neither as Premier of the province nor as Attorney-General was he authorized in law to interfere with the administration of the Quebec Liquor Commission or to give an order or an authorization to any officer of that body to exercise a discretionary authority entrusted to such officer by the statute.
It follows, therefore, that in purporting to authorize and instruct the manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission to cancel appellant's licence, the respondent was acting with-out any legal authority whatsoever. Moreover, as I have said, I think respondent was bound to know that he was acting without such authority.
The respondent is therefore liable under art. 1053 of the Civil Code for the damages sustained by the appellant, by reason of the acts done by respondent in excess of his legal authority.
Respondent also contended that appellant's action must fail because no notice of such action was given under art. 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which reads as follows:
88. No public officer or other person fulfilling any public function or duty can be sued for damages by reason of any act done by him in the exercise of his functions, nor can any verdict or judgment be rendered against him, unless notice of such action had been given him at least one month before the issue of the writ of summons.
Such notice must be in writing; it must state the grounds of the action, and name of the plaintiff's attorney or agent, and indicate his office; and must be served upon him personally or at his domicile.
None of the learned judges constituting the majority in the Court of Queen's Bench has given as a reason for dismissing appellant's action, the failure to give such notice. The learned trial judge and Rinfret J. held that respondent is not entitled to avail himself of this exceptional provision since the act complained of was not "clone by him in the exercise of his functions" but was an act done by him when he had gone outside his functions to perform it. I am in agreement with their views and there is little I need add to what they have said on this point. In this connection, however, reference may usefully be made to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Lachance v.Casault. In that case a bailiff had attempted to take possession of books and papers in the hands of a judicial guardian without preparing a procès-verbal of the articles seized, as called for by the order of the Court requiring the guardian to give up possession to the seizing creditor. When the bailiff's action was resisted by the guardian as being unauthorized, the bailiff caused the guardian to be arrested. The charge having been subsequently dismissed, the bailiff was sued in damages for false arrest and malicious prosecution. It was held that, even assuming such bailiff was a public officer within the meaning of art. 88 C.C.P., he was not entitled to notice under the said article since at the time the act complained of was committed, he was not "dans l'exercice légal de ses fonctions".
In my opinion before a public officer can be held to be acting "in the exercise of his functions", within the meaning of art. 88 C.C.P., it must be established that at the time he performed the act complained of such public officer had reasonable ground for believing that such act was within his legal authority to perform; Asselin v. Davidson. In the instant case, as I have said, in my view the respondent was bound to know that the act complained of was beyond his legal authority.
I now deal with the second appeal asking that the amount awarded to appellant by the trial judge be increased by an amount of $90,000. This amount is claimed under three heads, namely :
Damages to goodwill and reputation of business
Loss of property rights in liquor permit
Loss of profits for a period of one year, May 1st, 1947 to May 1st, 1948
The licence to sell alcoholic beverages was, of course, only an annual licence subject to revocation at any time and the renewal of which might have been properly refused for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, in my view, appellant could reasonably expect that so long as he continued to observe the provisions of the Alcoholic Liquor Act his licence would be renewed from year to year, as in fact it had been for many years past.
There can be no doubt that cancellation of appellant's licence without legal justification resulted in a substantial reduction in the value of the goodwill and profit making possibilities of the restaurant business carried on by him at 1429 Crescent St., Montreal, and in a pecuniary loss to him for which in my opinion he is entitled to recover damages from respondent.
The restaurant business is probably no less hazardous than most other businesses, and damages of this sort are obviously difficult to assess, the amount being of necessity a more or less arbitrary one. The learned trial judge awarded appellant the sum of $6,000 as loss of profits for the period from December 4, 1946, to May 1, 1947, the date on which the licence would have expired, and this would appear to be supported by the evidence. I have reached the conclusion that the amount awarded to the appellant by the learned trial judge should be increased by an amount of $25,000, as damages for diminution in the value of the goodwill of the business and for loss of future profits.
In the result, therefore, I would allow both appeals with costs here and below, and modify the judgment at the trial by increasing the amount of the damages to $33,123.53 with interest from the date of the judgment, in the Superior Court.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
 (1933), 54 Que. K.B. 377.
 (1937), 62 Que. K.B. 140.
  Que. K.B. 713.
  S.C.R. 265, 2 D.L.R. 369, 11 C.R. 85, 99 C.C.C. 1.
  Que. K.B. 238.
 (1915), 52 S.C.R. 146, 26 D.L.R. 164.
 98 E.R. 1021
  A.C. 1.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
  A.C. 173 at 179.
  A.C. 109 at 122. 2
  A.C. 66. 3
 (1885), 10 'App. Cas. 229 at 240.
 (1934), 72 Que. S.C. 112.
 (1877), 47 L.J.M.C. 67, 13 Cox C.C. 625.
 (1915), 52 S.C.R. 146, 26 D.L.R. 164.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
  O.R. 421 at 428, 3 D.L.R. 565, 62 C.C.C. 132.
  A.C. 66.
  S.C.R. 24, 16 D.L.R. (2d) 241. 8
 (1885), 10 'App. Cas. 229 at 240
 (1915), 52 S.C.R. 146, 26 D.L.R. 164. 2
 (1770), 3 Wils. 121 at 123, 95 E.R. 967.
  'A.C. 542.
 (1852), 3 H.L. Cas. 759, 10 E.R. 301.
  Que. Q.B. 447 at 457.
  Que, Q.B. 447.
  Que. K .B. 238.
  S.C.R. 265, 2 D.L.R. 369, 11 C.R. 85, 99 C.C.C. 1.
  S.C.R. 265, 2 D.L.R. 369, 11 C.R. 85, 99 C.C.C. 1.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
  A.C. 62
  S.C.R. 177 at 188, 13 D.L.R. (2d) 1, 120 C.C.C. 1.
 (1917), 57 Que. S.C. 443
 (1937), 62 Que. K.B. 143
 (1933), 50 Que. K.B. 377
  Que. K.B. 713.
  Que. Q.B. 447.
 (1902), 12 Que. K.B. 179 at 202.
 (1914), 23 Que. K.B. 274 at 280