August 9, 1917

LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

I desire to say-

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. gentleman has already exhausted his right to speak on this measure.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

I will rise to a point of order and will discuss the point of order. This is what happened when you Mr. Speaker, were not in the Chair. I rose to ask a question-however, I see the minister agrees that I am in order, and I will proceed.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

I have no objection.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Do not speak by the hon. gentleman's grace.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

No, I am speaking as a matter of right. The question involved in this Bill is a most serious one. It is against the law of the land, as I find it in the Criminal Code and in the Revised Statutes of Quebec especially, with which i am more familiar. It is the same principle all over the country, in every province. My hon. friend from North Simcoe is not in accord with what the law says as to the question of jurisprudence.

Under section 3,437 of the' revised statutes of the province of Quebec it is provided that except in the districts of Quebec and Montreal the panel shall consist of forty jurors, speaking either one or both languages; there is no distinction between the two. In the cities of Quebec and Montreal, sixty jurors are empannelled; I mean, outside of the twelve grand jurors. But in those two cities thirty jurors must be familiar with the French language and thirty with the English language. That is the reason the number has been raised from forty in all districts to sixty in those two districts, Quebec and Montreal. I have acted on both sides for a good many years and I know,the position in which a Crown prosecutor is often placed. In the district of Three Rivers I acted as Crown prosecutor, specially appointed, in connection with two very noted murder cases, in both of which the verdict was quashed by the Court of

Appeal and a new trial ordered. In those two cases much interest was evinced iand partisans were cropping np among the people every day on one side or on the other. Everybody knows/ that challenge for cause may be exercised in any case provided the challenge is made immediately upon the juror being called. But that is not the case before the House to-day. When the first juror is called, if he is challenged for cause or challenged peremptorily by the defence, that ends his case. As far as the Crown is concerned, peremptory challenges are limited to four. The Crown has the privilege of setting aside as many jurors as it may think fit; that is the law under section 933 which we now propose to amend. Supposing out of the forty the Crown should challenge a certain number, either peremptorily or for cause. Here- is where the view of the hon. gentleman who preceded me is not in accordance with the law and the jurisprudence. When the jurors who have been put aside are recalled, they are bound to serve, whether the Crown desires it or not. Important decisions, which I claim to be good law, bear out this principle.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

That is the protection that I want to keep for the prisoners.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON:

But suppose out of the panel of forty, twenty are challenged for cause and a certain number are challenged peremptorily. You may reach a condition where you will not have any one set aside to fee called. Then what will happen? Talesmen will have to be brought in. I see no reason why the Crown should be limited to forty, or even one hundred. In the murder cases to which I referred, no politics was involved; it was not during a time of election ; it was not a question of Conservative, Liberal, or Nationalist. It was an extraordinary case in an ordinary time. We had to resort a couple of times to talesmen, sending out to the streets in the vicinity of the court house .and securing men apparently qualified to serve as jurors. Any.man is qualified as a talesman; you do not have to resort to the secret lists kept by the sheriff. I have known instances where it was found necessary to call 100 or 150 men in order to reach the number required by law. Of course, we have to presume, as has been said by an hon. member, that the people have the greatest confidence in the judiciary .at large. But I have seen many cases where the Crown prosecutor has so far forgot himself .as to become a partisan in the sense mentioned by the member for

North Stenooe. However, I .shall await the explanation of the minister that 'should have been given at first. En passant, it is not fair to the House that a measure of this importance should be launched without the minister's giving an explanation of the main reason at least why it is introduced.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

As to the criticism of my not having explained the Bill, I have to express my great regret that I am not as prompt .a riser .as the member for St. John City (Mr. Pugsley). The Speaker had just put the motion and was asking the usual question whether the motion should be adopted when the member for St. John rose.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

May I intervene for one moment? I was not here when this debate started, but I am just told that there was a ruling-I do not understand why-that the Minister of Justice has the right to close the debate.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

He moved the second reading of the Bill without any explanation.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

I should like to say a word on this subject, if the minister will allow me.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Certainly. I have no desire to preclude anybody from speaking.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

One of my friends told me that if the minister spoke I would be precluded from making any remarks.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The minister said something which requires a word from me. I hope he would not suggest that I had any thought of speaking before he explained the Bill. The Speaker put the question; the minister did not rise; thereupon I rose and made my remarks.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I do not say that everything was not done in good faith. I do not suggest that the hon. gentleman meant to preclude my speaking, but that is just what happened. As the Speaker was concluding, I did not rise as promptly as I might have, and the member for St. John rose. I do not suggest that he intended to preclude me; I quite understand that he supposed that I did not mean to speak. To be quite frank, it did not occur to me at the moment-for reasons which I will explain when I come to reply-that this measure called for explanation. Some things that have been said since make it rather clear to me, however, that it did.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

Were it hot for the peculiar circumstances under which this legislation was introduced, the minister

might possibly have some argument in the matter. I had been hoping that he would give some reason for introducing this very important legislation.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

May I not have an opportunity of at least making one observation on that subject? The Speaker has ruled,that I cannot speak now without precluding everybody else from speaking.

Therefore, if I am refraining from giving explanations, it is because I wish to afford an opportunity to any one desirous of speaking. If I might make a suggestion, would we not get this situation cleared up by allowing the Bill to go into committee, when I could give full explanations and every one could say everything he desired in reply? That is only a suggestion so that we may get out of the position in which I am suffering reproach for lack of explanation under the ruling that I must not explain without preventing any other hon. member from speaking.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

It is a new doctrine to me that a minister of the Crown, in introducing an important piece of legislation such as this, is precluded from giving any reasons for its introduction. Why did the minister not give his reasons when he introduced the Bill? I was not there when this Bill came up this afternoon, but I know enough concerning parliamentary procedure to know that the Minister of Justice must have moved the second reading of this Bill this afternoon. Why did he not then state the reasons for bringing in this important legislation? He now complains that, by reason of a ruling of the Speaker, he is precluded from stating his reasons for introducing this Bill. The Minister of Justice is not such a child as that. He surely does not want to presume upon the credulity of the laymen of this House, let alone the lawyers-

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Mt. Speaker, I wish to call your attention to the fact-

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL.
Permalink

August 9, 1917