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The modern rule of statutory construction is the starting point for interpreting a statute.

It is only when the modern rule of interpretation results in ambiguity that other rules may be utilized.

The modern rule was discussed and applied by the Supreme Court of Canada in Bell ExpressVu Ltd. Partnership v. Rex, 2002 SCC 42, [2002] 2 S.C.R. 559 (S.C.C.). Speaking for the court, Iacobucci J. stated, at para. 26:

In Elmer Driedger's definitive formulation, found at p. 87 of his Construction of Statutes (2nd ed. 1983): Today there is only one principle or approach, namely, the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament.

Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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