of food if you fix the price of paper? Paper is less important than food.
Mr- CROTHERS: This Order in Council does not empower this Government to make any prosecutions. Speaking generally, when we pass a criminal law or quasicriminal law, it is not part of the duty of the Dominion Government to enforce that law, except perhaps as concerns the Customs and Inland Revenue Departments.
If, for instance, a horse is stolen, the man who has lost that horse does not come to the Minister of Justice at Ottawa, hut to the County Crown Attorney, or to the Attorney-General of the province. This Order in Council provides that no prosecution shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney-General of the province in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, and it is up to any individual to secure the consent of the Attorney-General and proceed with the prosecution.
I understand that thor- . oughly well, but when the Dominion Government enacts particular legislation carrying with it a penalty, as in the instance just cited by my hon. friend, who is an exceptionally good lawyer, the Dominion Government initiates proceedings. I thoroughly understand that the Dominion Government did not wish to take proceedings without the consent of the Attorney-General of the respective provinces. I am not so particular as to the form by which the Dominion Government proceeds, or as to the technicalities of the law. What I want to get at is prosecution in the case of excessive profits. I do not think there will be entire satisfaction among the people of Canada at the present moment, when the minister says the member for Wright has the power to prosecute. I will tell the minister this, right away, that whatever case of excessive profits comes into my hands for prosecution, will be prosecuted to the utmost limit. What the people expect is for the Government to initiate proceedings against those making excessive profits. We have a Solicitor-General for that purpose. He could very well undertake that work, but to think that absolutely no action is taken during war time, at a moment when we require to conserve all our resources, and when all our money is required to carry on the war and the affairs of this country-why, it is really tantamount to criminal, and I think the Minister of Labour, if charged with this work, ought at once to proceed to get power to prosecute.
I am not going to let the minister run away with these little niceties.
I said that if a case -comes into my hands to prosecute 1 will prosecute it. I do happen to be a crown prosecutor, and I try to exercise all possible leniency consistent with doing my duty towards the public, but if the minister comes before a court where I act and gives into my hand or to the local authorities a case of excessive profits, I do not care who the man is, whether it is Sir Joseph Flavelle, his agent, or any one else, he will be prosecuted.
The minister may not be as familiar with the system of law in the province where I practise as in his own province. But if he is as familiar with the system, then his duty is to see the officers charged with the administration of the law in that province and to place in their hands cases such as the one which I have read to-night. The minister knows as well as any one that such cases are happening every day. In this case at Winnipeg, where the General Hospital was deprived not only of a commodity, but of what is a necessity in the case of sick people, the minister immediately on receiving his report should take steps to place the case in the hands of the provincial authorities for prosecution, and not wait until an individual or until a member here or there takes action. He should see that action is taken himself.
: My hon. friend must know that we have no jurisdiction over the officers of the province of Manitoba. It is the duty of the attorney general of that province to give direction, if any one is to give direction, to the several county crown attorneys, if they have them there. I have no jurisdiction over them.
It is not my duty any more than my hon. -friend's, and I think I am busier than he. He might take a little time to lay some of these complaints, and not -trouble us with them,. As soon as I heard of the chicken that had spoiled in cold storage in Winnipeg. I wired the manager of that concern, and he referred my
[Mr. Devlin. 1
wire to the head office in Toronto, who wrote me at once concerning the matter. A few days later I got an explanation from the manager of the concern in Winnipeg, which satisfied -me there was no intention of wrong-doing, and I think the explanation would he perfectly satisfactory to my hon. friend; I .shall he very glad to show him the letter. I am satisfied -that the chickens were not kept in storage for a very long time for any improper purpose, because they were bought very much cheaper than they are now, and there was no sense in , keeping them- and buying others at a higher rate. Upon the information I. got from Toronto and Winnipeg I am. satisfied there was no intention of wrong-doing.
Perhaps it would be well to know from the minister if the abolition of patronage applies to his department as well as to other departments. Here is a paper which has been sent to me from the town of Elgin which my hon. friend knows. The Westport Mirror was sent to me with a marked announcement in it and which I read with surprise in view of the fact that there was to be no patronage in this country in the future. This is the notice: NOTICE.
A meeting- of the executive of the Liberal-Conservative Association of the village of Westport will he held at the office of W. M. Ewart on Wednesday evening, March 27 next at eight o'clock p.m. All persons who wish to apply for work on the Government Stone
Quarry will kindly notify the Secretary before that date.