In the RJR-MacDonald case (1995), a 7-2 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the federal law regulating the use of tobacco products rested on Parliament's jurisdiction in the criminal law area, in the division of powers sector, as set out in section 91 (27) of the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1867
. Parliamentary jurisdiction over criminal law is plenary and complete. The constitutional precedents in this area have consistently defined that jurisdiction in a liberal manner. The purpose of the disputed law was to counter the harmful effects of tobacco on health. This was a valuable objective, not of a specious character, and did not encroach on provincial powers. Judges Sopinka and Major, nevertheless, dissented on this point. On the basis of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, however, Judge McLachlin spoke for a 5-4 majority holding that an absolute prohibition of tobacco advertising infringed on freedom of expression and could not be justified by section 1 of the Charter; a minority of judges, for whom Justice La Forest wrote, were of the opinion that the prohibition was justified.