And No More Shall We Shout: Noise By-Laws, Freedom of Expression and a Montréal Sex Club
Supreme Court Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 2d, pp. 83-101, 2006
22 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2012 Last revised: 29 Oct 2013
Date Written: January 5, 2012
In 1994, the City of Montréal attempted to deal with troublesome noises by enacting a bylaw dealing with the control of noise in the metropolitan area. The By-law became the subject of litigation in the Supreme Court of Canada case Montréal (City) v. 2952-1366 Québec Inc. The comment focuses almost entirely on the Court’s s. 2(b) analysis. It first explores the science of noise and its control is fundamental to analyzing how sound might legitimately affect freedom of expression, before critiquing the Court’s assessment of noise as expression. It looks at how the Court provided a rejuvenated understanding of the relevance of the manner and place of communication in an analysis of expression by refining its approach from Commonwealth; however, the decision is disappointing for two reasons: the growing use of “factor” analysis in the Court’s constitutional jurisprudence and the lack of sophistication in the basic s. 2(b) analysis. A call for a more nuanced approach to s. 2(b) is made.
Keywords: constitutional law, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, freedom of expression, noise by-laws, science and expression, method and location of expression
JEL Classification: K40, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation