June 29, 1920


Consideration, of .amendments made by the Senate to Bill 137 to amend the Criminal Code.


UNION

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

Unionist

Rt. Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice):

Mr. .Speaker, the Senate has

made to this Bill quite a number of amendments, some of them purely verbal, -and some that produce a material effect as modifying certain of the sections as passed by this House. After consideration of the anrendments, however, although they do detract from the full effect which I think this House desired to produce, they do leave us a very material advance in the law on the subjects dealt with, and for that reason I would be disposed to ask the concurrence of the House in them. In regard to the particular provisions I have in mind, we have gained at least half a

loaf in regard to what this House has been able to impress upon the Senate should be the law. I think it is wise to take that and to look to the future for further advances in that regard. The first amendment is merely to correct a description of the court which is to take appeals in the province of Ontario and to substitute for "the Court of Appeal for Ontario," the words "a divisional court of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Ontario." It transpires that that is the correct description according to the provincial statute. The second amendment is to add to the number of authorities who may grant licenses in connection with the possession, or carrying, of firearms to "any person authorized under the law of any province to issue licenses or permits to carry firearms." This amendment "was introduced' at the suggestion of the Government. It has -been represented to us by different provincial authorities that under provincial laws there were persons authorized to issue such licenses, and it seems only proper that their powers to issue permits under this Act should be recognized. Section 4 has been amended. This is the section which makes it an indictable offence for any person over the age of eighteen years to seduce or have illicit connection with any girl of previous chaste character of or above the age of sixteen and under the age of eighteen years. Under that provision an offence would be committed by seducing or having illicit connection with such a female. The amendment is to strike out the words "or has illicit connection with." Under tfie amended section the offence is committed only when seduction takes place; the mere illicit connection is not an offence. Section 5, the section which makes it an offence to have illicit connection with females in the employ of the party committing the offence, has been amended by striking out the word "woman or." As that clause left this House it was an offence to have such connection with any woman or any girl. The Senate seems to have considered that the Act when committed in regard to a woman-by which, I understand, a married female is meant although I cannot give their reasons for that-should not be constituted an offence and they have struck out the words "woman or." Section 6 which would make it an offence for persons not being married to register themselves in a hotel as being man and wife is struck out. Section 9, which makes it an offence to have carnal know-ledge of a girl

under the age of sixteen and above the age of fourt-een has been amended by inserting after the word "girl" the words "of previously chaste character." They have also added to section 9 a subsection, 9a, which provides that:

No person accused of any offence under this subsection shall be convicted upon the evidence of one witness, unless such witness is corroborated in some material particular by evidence implicating the accused.

The purpose apparently is not to look upon the evidence of the party against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed as sufficient by itself to justify conviction. *

Immediately after section 9 there has been inserted a section entirely new which deals with an offence not dealt with in the Bill itself. The section, however, I think is absolutely unobjectionable and should meet with our approval. It is to deal with the offence committed by a person who:

"(a) being an officer or employee whose duty it is to collect fares or tolls, wilfully neglects to collect any fare or toll, or wilfully collects less than the proper amount, or accepts any valuable consideration for omitting to collect such fare or toll:

The application of this provision, I think, would probably be to collectors upon railways. The suggestion for such legislation came from the railway employees who find that at present they are being prosecuted under the Secret Commissions Act for offences of this kind with the result that they are liable to be proceeded against summarily and that their opportunities for appeal are exceedingly limited. It was represented that for men in that position such a charge was one of exceptional gravity and involved consequences which brought very severe punishment under the code, involved the loss of their employment, loss of their standing in the future and that it would be only right to make a provision under which they would he subject, for that offence, to be prosecuted upon indictment, with the option to themselves to take a summary procedure of trial if they thought proper. This provided that a man who has committed the offence I have described is liable upon indictment to two years imprisonment or to a fine not exceeding $2,-5*00, or to both fine and imprisonment. Then there are additional provisions for the method of trial and a provision that any person liable to punishment under a charge of this kind shall not be prosecuted under the Secret Commissions Act. I may say that this was considered before it was

agreed upon and that in out judgment it is a desirable and commendable provision.

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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (York):

Do I understand the minister to say that the railroad brotherhoods concerned have asked for this?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Yes, it was asked for

by the parties affected and they seemed to us to make out a perfectly good case that they had a grievance. Section 11 is struck out by the Senate. That was a section that required that, before a man could be taken from one province to be tried in another province, there should be a request on behalf of the Attorney General of the province into which he was being taken. I am not in a position to give the reasons of the Senate for striking out that clause.

Section 16 is also amended. That section as it left this House provided, that where no criminal term was held in a particular district in the province of Quebec the case might be transmitted to an adjoining district where a term was being held. The amendment provides that this may be done whenever no jury is summoned in the particular district, the Attorney General of the province having requested that modification.

Article 17 is amended by simply inserting the two words "of appeal" after the word "notice" which makes the provision more clear but does not change it.

The Senate have added clauses 18, 19 and 20. Clause 18 is a provision which affects the legislation with regard to what is usually called the age of consent. It provides that on the trial df any offence against sections 4, 5 and 9 of this Act- which are the sections dealing with the offences I have mentioned-the trial judge may instruct the jury that if in their view the evidence does not show that the accused is wholly or chiefly bo blame for the commission of said offence they may find a verdict of acquittal. It is obvious that this very much mitigates the rigour-if that is a proper word to apply to it-of the provision which this House thought ought to be passed.

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UNION
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Three offences, which consist of having illicit connection either with a girl between fourteen and sixteen, with a girl who is in the employ df the party committing the offence, or with a girl, under certain circumstances, between

sixteen and eighteen; and the provision is as I have just read it, that if the jury be of opinion that the blame is not entirely, or mainly, with the male person concerned, they may find a verdict of acquittal.

Mr. MiORPHY: Does the minister think that is a wise provision as regards a girl of fourteen years of age?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

It does not apply to the girl of fourteen. It applies to the girl between fourteen and sixteen, to the girl who is in the employ of the person committing the offence, and to the girl between sixteen and eighteen when it comes within the conditions making it an offence to have illicit . connection with her. As to whether it is a wise provision or not there is room for difference o'f opinion. I think we had better accept it at the present time. The Senate have also added section 19 which amends section 216 as enacted by chapter 13 of the statutes of 1913. The amendment substitutes "five" for "ten" in that provision. Finally there is a provision that the Act shall come .into operation on the 15th day of October next. I move that the amendments be concurred in.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East) :

With regard to the section which provides that if there is no term of the criminal court in a particular district of the province of Quebec the prisoner can be tried in another district, is that only to be done at the discretion of the Attorney General or has the prisoner something to say?

(Mr. DOHERTY: The accused has the right to ask for it if he so desires; the Attorney General also has the right to ask for it if he thinks proper. Heretofore the Attorney General had no such right, and the consequence was very injurious to prisoners in some instances as well as to the carrying on ol the administration of justice, because it created a situation where the prisoner was exposed, perhaps, to the likelihood of being kept a very long time in jail without an opportunity of trial. Moreover it is pointed out that it involves an exceedingly disproportionate expense in the [DOT]administration of justice1 in districts in our province where offences are scarce, where you can only manage to find one or two people who are accused of anything and the large expense would be incurred in the district of holding a court and summoning jurors.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACQUES BUREAU (Three Rivers):

But the prisoner may ask for a change of venue at any time:

[.Mr. Doherty.]

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

When there is proper call for it.

Mr. STEIN (Kamouraekal: May the

prisoner prevent a change of venue?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

'If a district to which he is being sent is one in which he thinks he will not get a fair trial he will have the same right to ask for a change of venue as he would when he is brought before any other court.

Motion agreed to and Senate amendments concurred in.

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NATURALIZATION ACT (1914) AMENDMENT.


Rt. Hon. Mr. DOHERTY moved concurrence in the amendments made by the Senate to Bill 184, to revive and amend the Naturalization Act, 1914. He said: The amendments are three in number. One is to insert a clause which was enacted in the fall session of 1919 and the insertion of which was overlooked when the Bill went through this year owing to an oversight. It was to provide that the application in the province of Ontario might, in addition to the other courts mentioned, be made to the Court of General Sessions. The second amendment is to make more clear the provision about the posting up of the notice of application. It is provided that the notice shall ibe posted up at least three months 'before the .application is heard by the court. The effect Of the amendment is to require that the notice shall be posted up continuously for that period, which I think is what was intended. The third 'amendment is to insert in section 7 the words "the time of." They Clearly ought to have (been in there, .the particular phrase having reference to something which existed "a't or at any time before the grant of the certificate." The amendment .simply puts in Ithe words "the time of" to .make the section read: "at .the time of or at any time before the grant," etc. Amendments read the second time.


CIVIL SERVICE ACT AMENDMENT.


The Speaker announced the receipt of a message from the Senate that it doth not insist upon ife first amendment to' Bill No. 53, to 'amend the Civil Service Act, 1918, and the Civil Service Amendment Act, 1919, to which ithe House of Commons had disagreed.JUNE 29, 1920


THE JUDGES AOT AMENDMENT-INCREASED SALARIES FOR JUDGES.


Rt. Hon. G. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Jnet-ice) moved the second reading of Bill 218 to amend the Judges Act:


L LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROCH LANCTOT (Lapradrie and Napierville):

Mr. Speaker, before this Bill is read the second time I desire to make a few remarks in regard Ito it. I may say at once that I do not approve of it. The country is confronted with a very heavy debt, and the Government do not know where to get the money to meet our obligations. During this session new .taxes have been imposed for over $100,000,000, but I have no doubt that at the next session of Parliament the Minister of Finance will require further revenue to meet the increasing expenditure. That being the case, I do not see why a certain class of the community should have their salaries increased, particularly when this Government has been preaching economy for the last five or mx years, and we on ithis side of the House have been doing the same. Therefore, if we want to prove to the people that we are sincere we must not pass this Bill.

I am not the only member who is of the opinion that the increase should not take place alt the present time. My right hon. friend (Sir Robert Borden) who leads the Government said in this House on the 23rd instant-

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I nrusit call the attention of the hon. member to the rule that reference cannot be made to- a previous debate in the same session.

LANOTOT: I will not read from the Hansard report, Mr. Speaker. But if my memory serves hie well, I think the Prime Minister told hon. members that this was not the proper time Ito increase the indemnities, beoautee we have had to refuse the soldiers' request for gratuities, and public works of ail kinds have had to be postponed by reason of the heavy financial commitments of the country. I itake the same stand now as when I voted for the amendment proposed by my hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) on the 1st of March last, that Ithis Government should not attempt to legislate any more because it has no longer the support of the people.

When the debate took place last week, many hon. members participated in it, but having read all the speeches then delivered I am still at a.loss to find any strong argument in favour of increased indemnities at the present juncture. We have been told by some hon. members that if the country

wants good men it must pay them a good salary. That may be true, but I wonder, if hon. members receive the $1,500 more that is called for by this Bill, whether they will be any better men.

Some hon. members advise me, Mr. Speaker, that this is not the Bill for the increased indemnities.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

No. The Bill, which is now before the House is Bill 218 ,to amend the Judges Act. I did not wish to restrict the hon. member because I thought he was merely making a reference to the other Bill.

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June 29, 1920