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Cunningham v Homma

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cunningham v Homma
Royal Arms of the United Kingdom (Privy Council).svg
CourtJudicial Committee of the Privy Council
Full case nameThe Collector of Voter for the Electoral District of Vancouver City and the Attorney General for the Province of British Columbia v Tomey Homma and the Attorney General for the Dominion of Canada
Decided17 December 1902
Citation(s)[1902] UKPC 60, [1903] 9 AC 151, CCS 45
Case history
Appealed fromSupreme Court of British Columbia
Court membership
Judges sittingThe Lord Chancellor, Lord Macnaghten, Lord Davey, Lord Robertson, Lord Lindley
Case opinions
Decision byThe Lord Chancellor

Cunningham v Homma,[1] is a decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that upheld a British Columbia law that prohibited Japanese Canadians and Chinese Canadians from voting.[2]

The case originated with an attempt by Tomekichi Homma, a Japanese immigrant and naturalized Canadian, to register to vote in 1900. The registrar of voters, Thomas Cunningham, rejected Homma's application. Homma took the British Columbia government to court over the issue.

Homma was successful at the County Court and the Supreme Court of British Columbia[3][4] However, the case ultimately made its way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which at that time was the highest court in the Canadian legal system. In Cunningham v Homma, the Privy Council ruled against Homma.[3][4] The court determined that while the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction over the naturalization of citizens, the provinces had the right to legislate who could vote in provincial and municipal elections. There was no inherent right to vote for naturalized citizens. Provinces and their municipalities could determine who could vote, which meant they could bar any naturalized ethic group they chose.[3][4] Parks Canada has designated this case as being of National Historical Significance.[5]

Asian Canadians would not garner the right to vote until 1949, four years after Homma died.[6] In recognition of his contribution to the democratic system, in December 2017 the Government of Canada, through Parks Canada, dedicated a plaque in his honour at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby.[3][7]

See also


  1. ^ Cunningham v. Homma [1902] UKPC 60, [1903] 9 AC 151, CCS 45 (17 December 1902), P.C. (on appeal from British Columbia)
  2. ^ Hogg, Peter W. (1982). Canada Act 1982, annotated. Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited. p. 155. ISBN 0-459-35130-3. OL 22124439M.
  3. ^ a b c d Graeme Wood (2018-01-04). "Steveston pioneer helped define Canada's democratic values with epic court battle". Richmond News. Richmond, B.C. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  4. ^ a b c John Price; Grace Eiko Thomson (2017-12-08). "Remembering B.C. civil rights leader Tomekichi Homma". The Georgia Straight. Vancouver, B.C. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  5. ^ "Cunningham v. Tomey Homma National Historic Event". Parks Canada. Retrieved 2006-12-09.
  6. ^ "Tomekichi Homma Elementary School". City of Richmond. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  7. ^ Patrick Johnson (2017-12-10). "Voting rights pioneer Tomey Homma honoured in Burnaby". Vancouver Province. Vancouver, B.C. Retrieved 2018-05-09.

This page was last edited on 27 January 2019, at 06:52
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