The case mentioned by the bon. member for Grey is very common. A merchant issues coins which are sold him by manufacturers on the other side. They resemble the coin of the realm, and they are good for their face value at his store. Instead of giving due bills to his customers, he gives these coins, which he takes in payment for goods. Is that contrary to the law ?
I hope my hon. friend does not take it for granted that I am giving legal opinions off-hand. If he does, I am afraid he will have to take them for what they are worth and they will be worth very little, I do not like to give opinions except on the matter in hand.
I fail to see any difference between marking a piece of metal with the name of the firm and the sum for which it is good and giving it to a customer to retain until he comes back to get the value in goods, and writing the same words on a piece of paper.
This cheque is not payable to any person's order or to any person. In that way it is different from a due-bill. A due-bill would be an acknowledgment of a certain amount due to a person named, payable in goods at the maker's store. This would be payable to one individual. But this cheque issued by the merchant for five, ten or fifty cents, or whatever it might be, would serve the purpose of a coin. It is transferable from person to person, and it may be transferred a hundred times before it gets back to the person issuing it. In that respect, it serves the purpose of money and rests on a different basis from the due-bill.
I speak of this matter from having knowledge of it. The hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) is mistaken when he says that these tokens, when put into circulation, pass, perhaps a hundred times
But every person who takes them knows that they are only redeemable in goods, and, unless the person wants to buy goods at that particular establishment, he will not take this coin in payment of a debt. I am aware that there are eases in which such a coin is occasionally used in payment of some little liability outside of the establishment that utters it. But these instances are trifling. The extent to which they go into circulation is almost nil. But the use of these coins to facilitate the business of the merchant is quite common in the country. The merchant need not write out a due-bill, but simply hands out the coin for whatever the amount may be. These tokens can be obtained in this country. They are manufactured and sold by a man in Galt, and a merchant can buy enough for S20 to suffice for a large business. They are very useful and I fail to see anything wrong in them.
I desire to draw the attention of the Minister of Justice particularly to this section. The people of the Dominion have been shocked recently by a very foul murder in Collingwood, supposed to have been committed by two tramps. I notice also an account in the paper the other day of an engineer stopping his train to rescue a woman who was being assaulted by two or three tramps. One can hardly pick up a paper without reading of some such crime committed by these fellows who are going about without any visible means of support, with nothing to do, with no character to lose, and utterly reckless. I could quote various instances in my own section of the country where offences of this kind have been committed, and yet the fellows have escaped. My own opinion is that the public ought to turn out and shoot such offenders, at the same time, that would