The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) moved the second reading of Bill (No. 47) to amend the Act to restrict
the importation and employment of aliens. He said : There are three principal ideas in this amendment which I now offer to the House. The first is in connection with the penalties. By the Act of 1897 it is made an offence to import alien labour from a foreign country, practically from the United States, under contract. The penalty attached to this offence is $1,000, neither more nor less. There was no elasticity in the penalty, and if a party was convicted under the Act, the judge had no option but to impose a penalty of $1,000. This has been found in practice to be inconvenient, and not unnaturally, because it has been found better in all matters of this kind to leave some discretion to the judge and to graduate the penalty to the nature and character of the offence. So the first object we have is to modify that penalty and to make it not more than $1,000, but not less than $50, to give a margin to the judge to impose a penalty at his discretion from $50 up to $1,000. The second point relates to the recovery of this penalty. Under the law passed in 1897 no suits can be brought for the recovery of this penalty, or practically, for the enforcement of the Act, except upon the authority of the Minister of Justice, or the Attorney General of Canada. In practice it has been found very inconvenient, and after a good deal of, observation and consideration of this subject, it was thought advisable to amend the law in this particular, that suits could be authorized, not by the Attorney General of Canada, but by the Attorney General of any province in which the offence is committed, or by a judge of a court which has jurisdiction m the matter.