April 2, 1901

CON

Charles Eusèbe Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

This section has evidently not been drafted with the ordinary care which the government usually exercises in drafting its measures. in chapter 11, section 3, which it is sought to amend, there could be no doubt at all, because the penalty was fixed at $1,000, and, therefore, within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court in the province of Quebec, and, I fancy, the Superior Courts of the other provinces. But, in the section which we are now discussing, you say, in so many words, that the prosecutor can sue for $1,000, or for any less sum down to $50. It is not essential to the putting of the law in motion that one should sue for the full penalty. If a person thinks he is aggrieved only to a certain extent, and he does not want to take upon himself the risk of paying heavy costs in a court of superior jurisdiction, he will simply take an action for a part of the penalty as the statute authorizes him, and it may be for $50. I think the Solicitor General is a little in error when he says that upon demurrer such an action taken in the circuit court in the province of Quebec would be dismissed. The informer is dominus litius. I cannot see any reason why it would not be competent for him to take recourse in a court which he thought fit to take his action before, and the jurisdiction of that court would be determined by the amount for which he would sue. The Solicitor General knows very well that in a great many instances the whole penalty is not sued for. Under divers other laws, only a-part of the penalty is sued for, because the parties who sue under these laws do not want to incur the risk of heavy costs in a court of superior jurisdiction. It seems to me it would be making the law much clearer if it were said in section 1 : That the court in which this action would be brought would be a court of superior jurisdiction, or, on the other hand, you could determine the jurisdiction of the court by the amount which is sued for.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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The SOLICITOR GENERAL.

The informer is never dominus litus. The informer had never absolute control over the penalty. All the informer can do is to move the court in a particular direction, and then the court has control over the whole issue between the parties, and the court determines whether or not the penalty shall be $1,000, or any sum down to $50. You cannot separate the penalties. You have simply to do that which the statute em-

powers yon to do, and all the informer has to do is to move the court.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I think the learned Solicitor General, though he is usually right, is not right in this case. He overlooks the fact that the penalty is to he sued for as a private debt. It is not a prosecution on the part of any person acting for the Crown.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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The SOLICITOR GENERAL.

Will my hon. friend tell me how he would distinguish between a forfeiture and a penalty ?

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

In what I am saying I do not require to make any distinction between them. If this were a proceeding by any person acting for the Crown, I would agree with the hon. Solicitor General, but it is not so. As my hon. friend from Montmorency (Mr. Casgrain) says, in such a ease the person who brings the suit is dominus litius, and it is competent for him to bring an action for the sum of $50. He need not in his action demand more than the smallest penalty, and, if so, I venture to think that the inferior courts to which I have referred would have jurisdiction. But why is it necessary to waste time over this ? We all agree as to what we want, and why not amend the statute and say that any court which has jurisdiction to the extent of $1,000 shall have jurisdiction in this case ?

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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The SOLICITOR GENERAL.

Will my hon. friend allow me to draw his attention to the fact that the person who is to receive the proceeds of the judgment is the Receiver General, and section 7 provides that the Receiver General may pay to any informer a certain share of the penalty, not exceeding 50 per cent; showing that the Informer has absolutely no interest in the matter beyond setting the law in motion. The debt is due to the Receiver General and may be recovered as a result of an action instituted by the informer.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON
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The SOLICITOR GENERAL.

How far would he be liable for the costs In view of the preliminary proceedings which he would be obliged to adopt, such as getting the consent of the judge or the Attorney General, and in view of the fact that the proceeds of the judgment go to the Receiver General ?

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Surely he would be liable if after evidence adduced the action were dismissed, even if it were taken with the consent of the Attorney General.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

What the Solicitor General has suggested is only another illustration of what my hon. friend from Montmorency stated, that this statute was drafted with an absolute disregard of what

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

was the intention at first. It is true, the language which the Solicitor General refers to is here, but there is not the slightest machinery in the statute for carrying it out. It could be carried out by the court directing that the proceeds of the judgment should be paid, not to the informer, but to the Receiver General of Canada ; but no person who is a party to the suit has the slightest control over the suit in the way the section is drafted at present. This incongruity has arisen by reason of the fact that the language which was applicable when the Attorney General of Canada was to bring the action has been left in the statute after it was amended to enable a private individual to bring the action. It is an illustration that the original object of the statute was overlooked when this amendment was made.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

If it is not intended that this amended Alien Labour law shall be just as dead a letter as the one it proposes to amend, it will have to be altered. Just imagine two or three persons who feel aggrieved by reason of being thrown out of employment in consequence of the employment of aliens to take their places, having to go before a judge and get his written consent before they can take any action. The proceeding is too cumbrous and expensive. What is required in the province of Ontario, if the Act is to be worth the paper it is written on, is a more simple and convenient machinery for enforcing it. I would suggest that in cities and towns where there are police magistrates, it should be sufficient for those who feel aggrieved to go before the police magistrate and lay an information, upon which the law would be put in motion by the intervention of the County Crown Attorney or other proper officer. That would be a more simple, efficient and less expensive method than the one under discussion. I appeal to the Prime Minister to take this into consideration, because if the law passes in its present shape, it will be practically a dead letter.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister if, when the amendments now proposed are adopted, the Alien Labour law will be a duplicate of the American law ; because he and the House will remember that he stated that if Canada passed an Alien Labour law, it should be word for word and line for line a copy of the American law. I ask him whether that will be the case, and whether it will be as workable as the American law; because, as the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke) says, the law that has been adopted has been unworkable, and will continue to be so if it is left simply to the option of the government to enforce it. Unless power is given to any person who feels himself aggrieved to go before a police magistrate

and set tlie law in motion, as the American law is put in motion by a private individual, it will to my mind be ineffective and unworkable.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I would suggest to my hon. friend from Toronto (Mr. Clarke) that it is not desirable to bring the machinery for putting this law into operation down to such a point that ordinary magistrates can initiate proceedings.

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CON
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

My experience has been that the majority of these complaints are ill founded, vexatious and require careful scrutiny before proceedings are taken. I am cognizant of one case where a person who was establishing a manufacturing industry in Canada and was obliged to import skilled labour, had a complaint entered against him, and among the counts in that complaint was the charge made by one individual that he had applied for and been denied employment and an American had been taken on in his place. When the charge came to be examined, it was found that the individual who made the complaint was a drunkard whom nobody would employ, but whom this manufacturer had employed, and that it had taken three months to get him out of the boarding house where he had implanted himself. These proceedings are liable to be of a most vexatious and damaging character. It is in the interest of, Canada to encourage the investment of money in the starting of enterprises and the immigration to Canada of a desirable class of operatives and skilled mechanics, and I do not know of any manufacturer who has attempted to import any labour except that which could not be obtained in Canada, because it would be cheaper for him to employ labour obtainable at home. This law, is simply copying a piece of barbarism from the laws of the United States.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Do I understand the hon. gentleman to say that a manufacturer was establishing a business in Canada and bringing skilled labour from the other side, and that the law was put in motion against the importation of such skilled labour.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I am referring to a case of a general character, and am partly supposing a case that might arise and am instancing one that did arise.

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CON
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I do not feel at liberty to mention where, but I state on my own responsibility as a member of this House that such a case did arise and the complaint was made by a common drunkard.

Topic:   ALIEN LABOUR LAW.
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April 2, 1901