July 28, 1903

CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

Would this section apply to the damage done to flowers on a boulevard or street in cities or towns ?

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

Yes. Section 341 is confined to ' any plant, root, fruit or vegetable production growing in any garden, orchard, pleasure ground, nursery ground, hothouse, green-house or conservatory.' This extends it to any plant, root, fruit or vegetable production growing anywhere.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Must the damage amount to $25 before the person is liable ? Suppose be commits $20 worth of damage V A great deal of damage could be done to a flower bed inside the limit of $25.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

What I bad in view was damage done to a strawberry patch or large cranberry patch. I did not want to make the damage trifling. But we might compromise on $10 instead of $25. I accept that suggestion.

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LIB

Fletcher Bath Wade

Liberal

Mr. WADE.

I would like to suggest to the Minister of Justice the desirability of amending section 343 of the Criminal Code. This section now reads as follows

Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to two years' imprisonment who steals the ore, of any metal, or any quartz, lapis, clamin-aris, manganese, or mundic, or any piece of gold, silver, or other metal, or any wad, black cawk, or black lead, or any coal or cannel coal, or any marble, stone or other mineral, from any mine, bed or vein thereof respectively.

2. It is not an offence to take for the purpose of" exploration or scientific investigation, any

specimen or specimens of any ore or mineral from any piece of ground uninclosed and not occupied or worked as a mine, quarry or digging.

There has been great difficulty in convicting parties under this section. Parties may be suspected of stealing gold or quartz or amalgam, and in fact may be trafficking in these things, but it is almost impossible to convict them. I have before me a letter from the secretary of the mining society of Nova Scotia asking that a change be made in this section so as to make it substantially the same as the law of Western Australia. The letter is as follows :-

Mining Society of Nova Scotia,

Halifax, N.S., 23rd May, 1903.

F. B. Wade, Esq., K.C., M.P.,

House of Commons,

Ottawa.

Dear Sir,-I inclose you herewith copy of measures recently passed by the parliament of Western Australia with the view of preventing the stealing of gold ores in that country.

This stealing of gold ores by men working in the mines has become a serious matter in Nova Scotia. It has frequently been brought to the attention of the Mining Society by the managers of mines in different parts of the province, and the Mining Society has frequently urged that legislation similar to that passed in Western Australia should be adopted here. As you are aware, a great deal of gold ore of Nova Scotia is rich, free-milling ore, and is peculiarly the kind of ore where loss of this kind is likely to occur. In the Dominion of Canada statutes for 1869, you will find that there was then put upon the statute-book legislation having a similar object to that just passed in Western Australia.

The necessity for legislation similar to that of 1869 is much greater now than it was then. The necessity for such legislation will not be so apparent in other parts of Canada as it is in Nova Scotia, but as it is the Dominion parliament alone that can pass the Act, the Mining Society has, by a unanimous resolution, instructed me to request you to urge upon the proper authorities at Ottawa for such legislation.

In seeking this legislation, the Mining Society has the approval of the Hon. Mr. Drysdale, Commissioner of Works and Mines for this province.

Yours very truly,

H. Y. WYDDE, Sec.-Treas.

I have also a letter from the commissioner of mines of the province, in which he says : Halifax, May 28th, 1903.

Dear Sir,-The secretary of the Nova Scotia Mining Society has handed me a copy of a letter sent you under the date of May 23rd, and also copy of legislation which is recommended by the Mining Society, and which I understand it is desired that you should promote, or ask the Minister of Justice to undertake the promotion thereof. The matter dealt with in this proposed legislation is of serious moment to the gold mining industry of Nova Scotia.

I am entirely in sympathy with the proposed Act, and anything I can do in the way of explanation or assistance will be cheerfully done. I simply write .to you to say that this matter has been brought to my notice on several occa-2354

sions by the society, and that this department of the government would like to see such legislation placed upon the Dominion statute-book.

The amendment I am asking for is designed to apply only to Nova Scotia, I do not think it would be possible to make it apply to the whole Dominion. In Nova Scotia the circumstances are such that it is the easiest thing in the world for. a man to steal large quantities of gold or amalgam and quartz and not be detected. The principle I am seeking to introduce into our law is this, that when a party is found with gold or amalgam or quartz in his possession, the burden will be upon him to show that he came by it honestly. I will read the proposed amendments :

By inserting immediately after section 343, the following sections :

343a. The provisions of section 343b, 343c, 343d and 343e, apply only to the province of Nova Scotia.

343b. Every one is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding or to

months' Imprisonment, who has in his possession any gold (as hereinbefore defined) which to his knowledge has been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained by himself or others and the burden shall lie upon any person charged with an offence under this section and shown to have had gold in his possession of proving that such gold was not so stolen or unlawfully obtained, or, if it was, that he was ignorant of the fact.

343c. Every one is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding and to

months' imprisonment, who assists in the commission of an offence under section 343d, and for the purposes of this section any person shall be deemed to have so assisted who is proved

(a.) to have been watching and patrolling outside and in the vicinity of any premises on or about which gold, reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained or held, is found and seized by any peace officer, or by any person acting under warrant of a justice, or

(b.) to have been accompanying any person having in his possession any gold reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained or held and who is unable to give or does not give an account of himself satisfactory to the justice who hears the case.

343d. Every one is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding or t0

months' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, who being found present at the time when any gold reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained or held is found and seized by any peace officer or by any person acting under warrant of a justice, and who is unable to give or who does not give a satisfactory account of his presence. Provided that no person shall he convicted of an offence under this section if he proves to the satisfaction of the justice that his presence was innocent.

2. A person may be convicted under this section notwithstanding that no other charge is laid or conviction obtained against any person in respect of such gold.

343e. Upon conviction under any of the three next preceding subsections, the justice may order the gold in question to be delivered to the person whose right to the same shall be found

by him, and failing any such person, the gold shall be forfeited to the Crown,

343f. In the four next preceding sections and in sections 313, 343, 375, 571 and 707 the expression ' gold ' or ' piece of gold,' unless the context otherwise requires, means gold bullion, retorted gold, gold ores, gold amalgam, gold alloys, precipitates containing gold, slag, concentrate, tailings and residues.

I may also read the amendment which I propose to- make to section 707. That section refers to stealing gold by employees. My amendment is to repeal section 707, and to enact in its place the following :

707. In any prosecution, proceeding or trial for stealing ores or minerals, or for taking, obtaining, removing or concealing ores or minerals for a fraudulent purpose, the possession of any smelted gold or silver, or any unsmelted or otherwise unmanufactured gold or silver, by any operator, workman or labourer actively engaged in or on any mine, shall be prima facie evidence that the same has been stolen by him.

These amendments are drawn strictly along the lines of the Western Australian Act, making such alterations as are necessary to adapt them to the workings of our own Criminal Code. The matter is one of great importance to the gold miners of Nova Scotia, as well as for the government of the province. It is believed that at the present time the province is losing a substantial amount of the royalty it is entitled to on gold which is extracted, by the operations of the parties who are trafficking in stolen gold, stolen amalgam and stolen ore. This has gone to such an extent that in one case with which I am acquainted a mine owner produced some $1,600 or $1,700 in a certain month, and one of these dealers jocularly remarked that the company had beat him by 3 oz.. The traffickers in stolen gold set up a shanty where they sell whiskey to the miners in camp, and in payment they take nuggets and amalgam which they in turn sell to dealers, or run it down themselves. This has been going on to such an extent that there is a unanimous demand on the part of the mining industry, seconded by the provincial government, to have the Act amended in the form in which I now propose. There will be no hardship on the honest miner. Hon. gentlemen can understand how difficult it is to convict. You might be - certain that a party has stolen your gold, and you might have him arrested and find the gold in his possession, and yet it will be impossible to prove that it is your gold, or to prove that it was stolen. On the other hand there is no hardship for the man who has come honestly by the gold in his possession, to tell how he got it. This is the sum and substance of the amendment I propose.

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LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

There is more reason in this case that the onus should be put upon ' the party having the gold or amalgam in his possession, than there is in the case of violators, for example, of the fishing laws or of the game laws, where a man must

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LIB

Fletcher Bath Wade

Liberal

Mr. WADE.

show how he came by the fish in his possession or how he came by the wild animal in his possession. He must show where he got it. These amendments are very necessary in Nova Scotia, because up to this date mining in Nova Scotia has been the only means of reaching quartz. Until within a few years people never thought of mining for quartz at all, unless they saw a rich specimen of gold in it. You get a piece of quartz and you may see in it specimens of great value. It is easy for the workman, if he is evilly inclined, to take a piece of quartz that is quite valuable. At present you have to prove where he got it, and it is impossible to do so. This is particularly true in the case of amalgam. There is a clear case where he should show where he got the amalgam, because that is not sold. The man that mines wants his own amalgam, he would not part with it at all because he uses it himself. That is the way he pays for working the mine. Again, there can be no question that the man who has a piece of amalgam in his possession ought to show where he got it, and so also with a piece of quartz. This provision will do no person any harm, because if a man has a piece of gold or a piece of quartz he can easily show where he got it. If it wqs found in a new place he could show that the gold was not stolen from a mine. There is no hardship in making a man say where he got a valuable piece of property like quartz, or gold, or amalgam. I know there is a good deal of gold mining in the country from which I come and though there are not a very large number of thefts committed, I have known of cases in which a good deal of gold has been taken. I think the amendment is in the interest of gold mining, particularly in the province of Nova Scotia. It can do-no harm to an innocent man. There is not very much danger of an innocent man being taken up because an innocent man can easily show how he came by the gold or amalgam that he may have in his possession.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The first clause, 343b, seems to be very comprehensive. I have no doubt that there is an evil for which some remedy may perhaps be sought, but I -would not have supposed that it would have been necessary to make section 343b so extremely comprehensive, because it would be applicable to any person going along the street with a five dollar gold piece in his pocket. He could be arrested at once and it would be necessary for him to prove that he had not stolen it. I cannot make anything else out of the section :

Every one is guilty of an offence arid liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding or to months' imprisonment. who has in his possession any gold fas hereinafter defined) which to his knowledge has been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained by himself or others and the burden shall lie upon any person charged with an * offence under this section.

Unuer that if you find any man with a piece of gold in his pocket you immediately make it necessary for him to prove his innocence. I think the West Australian statute must contain some provisions confining its operations to persons working in a mining district.

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LIB

Fletcher Bath Wade

Liberal

Mr. WADE.

The West Australian statute is quite as comprehensive and I think in exactly the same words as this. This subsection 343b deals with the stealing of ores, quartz, &c. It only has reference to that. I do not think the danger which the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) points out could arise because it only provides that the penalties shall be applicable if a man has gold in his pocket knowing it to be stolen. If he has a sovereign in his pocket knowing that to be stolen, he should be pulled up and made to account for it.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I was referring to the fact that if he had gold in his pocket it was prima facie evidence that lie had stolen it.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Not at all.

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LIB

Fletcher Bath Wade

Liberal

Mr. WADE.

What is asked by the mining fraternity is that the burden of proof of showing that he came by this gold honestly is cast upon the party who has it. My hon. friend, I assume, is aware of the evil that does exist and the complaints that have arisen. There are two classes of men that are complained of ; one is the man who puts up a shanty that I have spoken of, and the others are the pedlars or perambulating dealers who go around the mining camps amongst the employees or other parties. I have a request from the mining interests in Nova Scotia that this principle should be conceded and I seie no reason why it should not be.

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LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

I do not think that gold would be taken to mean gold coin. I think the section taken as a whole makes it clear what we are legislating against and we are not legislating against the possession of gold coin. But, if there is any difficulty I think the use of the words ' gold coin ' would cover it.

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Mr. WA DE@

There is no necessity under my interpretation clause. Section 343f provides :

In the four preceding sections and in sections 312, 343, 375, 571 and 707 the expression ' gold ' or ' piece of gold ' unless the context otherwise requires, means gold bullion, retorted geld, gold ores, gold amalgam, gold alloys, precipitates, containing gold, stag concentrate, tailings and residues.

So it does not touch the sovereign in the pocket of a man.

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax.) Nevertheless I would like to point out to my hon. friend

(Mr. Wade) that if he should go back to Nova Scotia with a piece of ore in his pocket he might be arrested as soon as he entered the county of Cumberland, and put on trial and be prima facie guilty.

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LIB
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Unless the conditions In Nova Scotia are special to that province we should hesitate to enact this legislation which is so contrary to the principle of our Criminal Code, because under this amendment the moment the party is charged he Is obliged to prove bis innocence.

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LIB
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

That is proving his innocence. If there are peculiar circumstances in Nova Scotia it may be that my hon. friend is right; but we have gold mines in the province of Quebec.

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LIB

July 28, 1903