April 23, 1923

LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Looking over paragraph (e) of section 2 I see that "export" or "exporting" means and includes the taking or conveying, or causing to be taken or conveyed, out of Canada of any drug. In order to meet my hon. friend's objection, I think we might very well dispense with the references to (e) in clause 14, and leave the paragraph (a) and (d).

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

(a) or (d).

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
?

Mr BAXTER:

(a), (b) or (d).

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

There is no objection to including lb). Section 14 would then read:

Where a charge is laid under either paragraphs (a), (b) or (d) of section 4 of this act,-

And so on.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I would ask the minister to reconsider his decision, for he is eliminating a section that is most important in the interests of our young people-the very one which is taken the greatest advantage of by the drug dealer. If there is a class of men upon whom the strongest penalties should be imposed it is those who deliberately go out and sell drugs to minors. Now the minister is practically giving them a new lease of life, because the chances of proving a case in the event of sale to a minor are very small indeed.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Which subsection does my hon. friend refer to?

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Paragraph (e) of section 4.

I understand the minister proposes to elimi-

Narcotic Drugs Act

nate paragraph (e) so that people who sell to minors-the worst, of all these offences, in my opinion-are not subject to the same extent of penalty as those committing other offences under the act.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

The onus should be on the accused to establish that he is not guilty of the offence, because he might not have lawful authority to commit the act complained of, he might not have license to do it, he might not in point of fact have done it. An innocent man should be given a chance to present his real answer, namely, that he did not do it; but you shut that out.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

That suggestion may be

valuable, but this is a question of shifting the onus of proof, and as the section is now worded a man is not deprived of the privilege of proving his innocence; in fact, it lays upon him the onus of proving it. That is all that section does.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

No, it does not do that. It puts the onus on him to establish that he had lawful authority to do it or had license to do it. But suppose he actually did not do it?

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

That would not affect him; that -would only be a question of evidence. In any event, I strongly urge the inadvisability of allowing those to be let off above all others, who sell to minors.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

I confess that the clause could be made to read more smoothly from a strictly legal point of view, but I do not fear any difhcult3^ at all so far as carrying out the spirit of the act is concerned, with the clause drafted as it is, and with the addition of paragraph (b) so that section 14 will cover paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (e). The hon. member for Vancouver South is right when he says that the sale to a minor is one of the worst charges that could be levelled under this act.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

I hope that the minister will seriously consider before he yields to the suggestion to strike out (e). The offence is one of the worst that could be committed under the act, and to remove that clause would be a great mistake.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Would the addition of the words " or did not commit the offence " cover the point?

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

Put them in after the word " establish ",

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Then I would move that the clause be amended so that it will read as follows:

Where a charge is laid under either paragraphs (a), (b), Cd) or (e) of section four of this act, the onus shall be upon the accused to establish that he did not commit the offence, or that he had lawful authority to commit the act complained of, or that he had a license from the minister authorizing such act.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
LIB

Hyacinthe-Adélard Fortier

Liberal

Mr. FORTIER:

I think the minister is certainly going too far in this amendment. As the clause stands there is no pre-

10 p.m. sumption of guilt; there is only the obligation upon the accused to prove that he had lawful authority to commit the act complained of or that he had a license from the minister authorizing it. We now completely change the clause and put the presumption of guilt upon the accused. I never saw an instance of that kind in any law. A man who is accused of a crime before a tribunal cannot be presumed guilty until he is proved guilty. I know of no case in any federal law where a person accused be-before any tribunal is considered as guilty before he has had the privilege of putting in his defence. I am against such an amendment.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Murray MacLaren

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

While we agree with

the general principle that a man is presumed innocent until he is proved guilty there are cases where that principle cannot be followed. That is particularly the case in the matter of drugs; there are difficulties in proving violations of the act in many cases unless we approach the subject from the point of view of this proposed provision. The hon. member (Mr. Fortier) has suggested that this position has not been taken in other acts, but if the Minister of Customs (Mr. Bureau) were here I think he would tell us that that is the position taken as regards smuggling: that men who are found in the possession of contrabrand can be and are called upon to explain their position. I have no doubt that there are other instances where it has been necessary to approach the matter from this point of view.

Section as amended agreed to.

On section 17-Certificate of Dominion analyst evidence of content of drug:

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Should not the certificate of the Dominion analyst when put in as evidence be put in under oath? It does not say so. If that certificate is going to be accepted as evidence it should be submitted as an affidavit or given under oath.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink
CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

I think it ought to be regarded as prima facie evidence.

Topic:   NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Permalink

April 23, 1923