May 25, 1921

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The section itself dealt with the age of consent and likewise made it a criminal offence for an employer in a factory or business establishment of that kind to seduce a girl or woman occupying the position of servant. The amendment extended the provision so as to cover, among other classes, domestic servants, who were not previously covered. The Senate passed the amendment but added a proviso to the effect that in cases of seducing girls between 16 and 18 or seducing female employees or carnally knowing girls between 14 and 16, the judge might instruct the jury to the effect that if they thought it was more the fault of the girl than of the person accused they might acquit him. Now, that provision strikes at the principle of the thing. The principle of the law is that the girl below the age of consent is incapable of consenting and under this proviso made by the Senate, if the jury is told that this girl whom the law assumes to be incapable of consenting may have been more at fault than the party charged, he may thereupon be acquitted. As I say, it is a proviso that goes far toward destroying the effect of the provision itself, and as the House has already come to the conclusion that the law ought to stand without that proviso, it is only logical that we should adhere to the legislation as we enacted it. Of course, it is within the power of the Senate to adhere to what they enacted, in which event our amendment will prove ineffective.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

The section of the Act

says that on the trial of any offence under sections 4, 5 or 8 of the Act the trial judge may instruct the jury that if in their view the evidence does not show that the accused is wholly or chiefly to blame for the commission of the offence they may find a verdict of acquittal. Now, we might by this Bill strike out the clause in the section of the Act which deals with the age of consent and let the others remain.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I would be prepared

to accept that suggestion.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

I seems to me absurd that a man should be acquitted in a case of that kind. It might be quite proper that his punishment should be very much modified by reason of the lessening of the moral obliquity, but it does not seem to be logical to acquit him.

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Section agreed to. On section 5-prohibition respecting concealed weapons extended to pistols, etc.


UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

It is a very grave

mistake, I think, to put the word "ammunition" in that clause. It would deprive a man of the right to buy a few cartridges at any time. I think it is uncalled for.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

We will let that stand.

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

I would like to see the clause itself pass, because we did something last year that we did not intend to do. We passed an act whereby it was made unlawful for a man to have in his possession any kind of rifle, pistol, shot-gun or firearm of any kind. It was intended to apply to aliens but the effect has been that any man is now liable to penalty if he has any of these things in his possession. I am desirous that the clause should pass, but I think that the word "ammunition" should not be used as it appears in the clause.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

It will be found that

clause 5 has not the effect of adding to the severity of the law; on the contrary, it seeks to correct what was an over-severity in the provision as it was passed. It is to reduce the severity of the law, not to increase it.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The effect of the word

"ammunition" being in the provision is that a man is allowed to have a pistol at home, but he is not allowed to carry any ammunition home. That is absurd. If the word "ammunition" is struck out, the provision will be all right.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I should like to point out that we have been here since two o'clock in the afternoon and it is now twenty minutes after one o'clock. The minister should move that the committee rise.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

This is a very important clause for our consideration; it involves thousands of people, and it will not take five minutes to put it through. This is the most important clause in the whole Bill. If you want to stop it and drop the thing, all right; you must take the responsibility.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the Minister of Justice or the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) is in charge of the Bill. We are asking the Minister of Justice to move that the committee rise and I think we are making a fair demand. We have been sitting here since two o'clock in the afternoon, and it is now twenty minutes past one. We ought to consider this measure after we come fresh from bed to-morrow.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Although I may be in charge of the Bill, the hon. member for North Simcoe has the same right to express his view of the question whether we ought to proceed as the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) has. I think, however, we all desire to adopt that course that will be most conducive to business being put through promptly and at the same time receiving proper consideration. If hon. gentlemen feel that it is not consistent with those requirements that we should continue this morning, I have no desire to insist against the wish of the committee generally. If that be the wish of the committee, I would have no objection to the committee rising and reporting progress. I would be glad to be able to report more progress before we rise, but I do not desire to insist against the general wish of the committee.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

When did it come about

in this House that a member is not allowed to speak before a committee? The hon. member for Three Rivers knows that he was out of order when he made such a charge. He has no right to check me; I am just as old a member of this House as he

is. My concern in this Bill is this: I introduced a Bill in the House covering these clauses; the Minister of Justice agreed to take my Bill, and I dropped it like a gentleman, in order to save the time of the House I did not force it through. Having regard for that, I think the least the committee could do would be to have regard for me because I did not spend two or three days arguing over the Bill. Now, when it comes before the House, somebody wants to block

it.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I do not want to block it, but I do not want to be commanded by my hon. friend

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Supposing we just forget the suggestion of commands. I am sure the hon. member for North Simcoe had no wish to issue any orders. We want to proceed in good humour and to consult each other's views as to what is desirable. If it is the general desire of the committee that the committee should rise, I move that the committee rise, report progress and beg leave to sit again.

Progress reported.

On motion of the Right Hon. Mr. Doherty the House adjourned at 1.25 a.m. Thursday.

Thursday, May 26, 1921.

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May 25, 1921