June 29, 1926

CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

Do you want another

car?

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LIB

George Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE (Maple Creek):

Never

mind about the car. I think it is the duty of every hon. member to place himself on record upon this very important question. We have heard an attack made in this House, and let me say that it was a submarine attack, to drive one of the members of this House, a young man, out of public life. We have been told that this is the highest court in the land. If that is the case, I hope a sense of justice will prevail here that is in keeping with such a court. But I ask you, Mr. Speaker, if that is the case. Here in an atmosphere surcharged with passion, in which party and political prejudices run high, we have the accused condemned before he is even heard, and hon. members rush out of the House so that they shall not hear his defence. I ask those of you who still pray to get down on your knees to-night and pray that you will never be tried in such a court.

I am glad, Mr. Speaker, on such an occasion as this, to be a member of parliament. Goodness knows that there are many things in connection with the life of a member of parliament that are not very agreeable, but this is one of the occasions when I feel proud that I can stand up in this House and register my vote for a higher sense of justice than

we have had exemplified here by hon. gentle-ment opposite. They dig up their precedents in musty law books, but there is a higher sense of moral justice, that cannot be found in law books, for it is not written there. It is that sense of justice and comradeship that prompted the men on the Lusitania when she was sinking to cry, "Women and children first," and to provide the helpless and innocent young victims with life belts, while the men threw themselves overboard and were swallowed up by the sea.

Now, let us examine and see who are to be the judges. I for one will not stand up in this House and condone the conduct of anyone who has been guilty of wrongdoing, but at least I want to make sure that the accused shall get a fair hearing. Are we all such paragons of virtue that we can sit in judgment on this man's character? Here is a man being tried who showed clemency to a certain individual and the judges are to be the men who condemn him for that clemency while they themselves interceded in order that clemency might be granted to others. The greatest sin of whiidh the ex-MiniSter of Customs and Excise (Mr. Boivin) was guilty was that he told the truth about himself. In the one case the man for whom clemency was asked was accused of being a trader in liquor; in the other case clemency was sought for a man who was making home-brew, making a poison dangerous to human life itself. The one is languishing in gaol while the other, I understand, is a free man. Is that justice?

I am very glad to support this amendment because I feel it will result in granting a full and impartial inquiry, and I for one would not like to leave this House until an investigation of that character was guaranteed. But hon. gentlemen opposite say: "Give us the

reins of government and we will continue the investigation.". Is anyone credulous enough to believe that statement? Does anyone think for a moment that the hon. member who preferred the charges against the late administration will continue the probe into the conditions in his own port of Vancouver? Is anyone foolish enough to believe that? I am not. Is anyone foolish enough to believe that this inquiry is complete when only one province has been attacked, and when the international boundary line extends for a distance of 4,000 miles, thus leaving a vast territory untouched? I do not. Narrowed down as it has been, this investigation is an attack upon the province of Quebec. I pause to hear denial from hon. gentlemen opposite, but no one there opens his mouth in denial.

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Spence (Maple Creek)

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

They are quieter over there now.

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LIB

George Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE (Maple Creek):

Ah, yes, it

is very easy to accuse, very easy to enter a court charged with prejudice as the court proposed by hon. gentlemen opposite would be. "But they cried, saying, crucify Him, crucify Him." I am opposed to the tactics of hon. gentlemen opposite and have been opposed to them from the very first. I have been opposed to the way in which information on this .matter was secured and presented to the House. In the report itself there are many recommendations with which I do not agree, many which are entirely impracticable. One recommendation proposes that the minister shall have no discretion in the case of sums amounting to over $200. I say that when the royal commission which is to be appointed proceeds from one coast to the other and investigates the conditions along the international boundary line, it will find that the recommendation contained in paragraph 8 of the report is entirely impracticable. You have an international boundary where there is a crossing into Canada every mile, and in some cases the distance is shorter than that. Horses and cattle cross the international boundary freely, from the western ranges of the United States into Canada and vice versa. On my farm to-night there may be 100 head of horses which have found their way into the pasture, yet under such a regulation as proposed I could be thrown into gaoil for that. Is it fair? It is not only unfair; it is preposterous. In this investigation we have been only scratching the surface, and we think we can only cure the existing conditions by enacting a. set of laws.

It does seem strange to me that the report before the House does not contain a reference at least to the actual cause of smuggling. I do not think it was the duty of 'the committee, or that it was within their province, to say that the tariff should be lowered; but I do think they should have drawn the attention of the House and the country as a whole to the fact that tariffs do lead to smuggling-that tariffs, and particularly high tariffs, are the cause of most of the smuggling that is indulged in. That being the case I submit to you, Sir, that the recommendations contained in this report are very unsatisfactory. I am only a humble member of this House, yet I feel I could stop smuggling in twenty-four hours by putting on the free list the articles which are being smuggled. Why has the committee not even referred to such a

possibility as that? But no, somebody had to be made the goat, somebody had to be crucified so that hon. gentlemen opposite could get into power for a few hours.

The right hon. the Prime Minister, the member for Portage la Prairie, is a man whom I have always admired. He is a very bright lawyer. I remember the time when he entered this House twenty years ago; I knew him when he was in Portage la Prairie. But I am not going to congratulate him on his victory, short-lived though it may be. If I were to do so I should be a political hypocrite. At the same time I extend my sympathy to him for the position in which he finds himself to-day-the Prime Minister pro tern with a cabinet of seven. It reminds me of that fine picture of the seven-headed monster drawn in Revelations which predicted the end of all things. I think we can make dismal predictions of the combination in the present case.

I studied astronomy, Mr. Speaker, many years ago, and I had the pleasure of looking through one of the most powerful telescopes to be found anywhere in the world. Sometimes there would be a little shadow or a dim outline on the object glass, a mere speck, but this would prevent me from seeing that part of the universe beyond. I sometimes think we have to get a little distance away from the situation in order to view matters in their proper perspective. We have some mute, inglorious Moses Aziz who has been guilty of nothing more nor less than of being a free trader. He has not gone to gaol quite so soon as some hon. gentlemen opposite would like to see him go. I contend that a gaol sentence for smuggling is wrong; I am absolutely opposed to it. I wish some future historian could view the situation as we view it here to-day, and in order to get that perspective of distance I am going to read now what I thinlk some future historian will say about this occasion. I think it is quite in order to write what a future historian would have to say. If the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett) were in his seat he would be digging up precedents and quoting from musty books. I am going to try a new method and to read from future history:

The natives of that period-

Meaning this.

-were a remarkably queer people. Their womenfolks wore low-necked dresses in winter and furs in summer. The working men spent a great deal of time and energy in building things which they called railroads, traces of which can still be found near a spot in the parish of Ontario where once stood the great city of Toronto-a prehistoric word meaning "good".

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Customs Inquiry-Mr. Spence (Maple Creek)

They also spent vast suras of money in digging ditches which they called canals. The remains of one of these canals was quite recently discovered at a place called Welland.

Concrete roads intersected the international boundary at strategic points offering facilities for tourists to enter the country. Luxurious tourist camps were, even in that unenlightened day, provided to offer hospitality to the stranger within the gates, but only after he was subjected to the most humiliating search of his person at the border. This proved very repugnant to the class who had the leisure and the means of travel and consequently the roads and camps were little used by the people of this period of which we write.

Scores of millions of dollars went into harbour improvements so that the great ships of all the nations of the earth seeking pleasure arid trade would find anchorage and hospitality. Large sums of money were spent in sending trade commissioners to foreign Lands to encourage international trade so that industry at home might grow and flourish. But strange to say this remarkably energetic people were no less remarkable for their stupidity. For, incredible as it may now seem, they passed laws preventing nations from trading with them except in a limited degree. Some of these laws placed embargoes on raw materials. Although die meaning of the word is somewhat obscure, at any rate authorities are in entire agreement as to the effect upon the country, for railroads rusted for lack of traffic and expensive wharves rotted in disuse. In the light of what we now know about trade and commerce one would think that these things 'had only to be stated to be understood.

The record is somewhat broken at this point, but it is now almost universally believed that what were known as the "common people" and another tribe known as the "consumers", were far in advance of the legislators of this period. So far, indeed, in advance were they that the customs and trade laws were disregarded and some of them openly violated even, it is reported, by the legislators themselves, although this latter has never been properly established.

Trade treaties still in existence supply the onily authentic evidence that reforms were sought by the most liberal and progressive element of the people, but prior to the twentieth century little progress was made owing to the opposition of the Tories, a race now happily and totally extinct. The Tories blocked every Libera! and Progressive measure for tariff reform until things went from bad to worse. The government of the day offered an timmenee reward to anyone who could invent a tariff wall with valves in it that would open outward for manufactured products but not for raw materials and that would open inwards for aw materials but not for manufactured products. Many attempts were made to invent such a wall, but without success, because it was found impossible to distinguish between raw materials and finished products.

Tliis led to a great deal of trouble resulting dn international complications. The practice of what we now know as "free trade" was called smuggling and became so prevalent that every means, legislative and otherw:se, was tried to put a stop to the practice. Men were thrown into gaols and dungeons for breaking the customs and trade laws, but upon release they invariably resumed their operations in the practice of smuggling because they were becoming too advanced to regard free trade as a crime. As a consequence of this, trade continued to flow then as now through the channels of [DOT]least resistance.

Records of this time show that a society called the Protective Association tried to force their will and .persecution upon a loyal but disobedient people. At this point the records are not clear as to whether this association was the same as the Canadian Manufac-

turers' Association or an entirely separate association. The best authorities differ and the matter may never be finally determined. This much, however, is dear that a veritable shower of terror and sparks descended upon Ottawa, then the seat of government and disorder. Matters were brought to a head by the greatest statesman of the period, one George Boivin, whether cf French or Scotch extraction is not now clear. Mr. Bui-Vin, allowed some mute, inglorious peasant called Moses Aziz to remain in gaol for three months for having smuggled goods in his possession. This raised such a storm of protest and indignation all over the country that a movement was started that resulted in the greatest reform of all times that we now enjoy, namely, universal free trade and peace and prosperity has returned to a smiling land.

That is, I think, somewhat along the line of what the future historian will write of this occasion. In conclusion, I am very glad that the amendment of the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) has been declared in order and that we are to have a full and impartial investigation of the whole customs matter. It would be a crime if at this time a new government, if it is capable of sustaining itself in office for a few brief months, should have within its power to shut off investigation into the period before they left office in 1921 and to discontinue that probe into sections of the country where the investigation has not been carried so far. I look to get results from a full and impartial inquiry, results so great that this country, whatever the Judgment of the House may be on this particular resolution, will speak in no uncertain voice in vindication of the ministry which has just retired and of the honour and integrity of one of Quebec's greatest sons.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTED-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO.
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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. ARMAND SYLVESTRE (Lake St. John):

On any other occasion I would have ventured to address the House in English but as the question now under consideration is of such importance I think I had better speak in my mother tongue, with which naturally I am more familiar.

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

I have

closely followed this protracted debate. I have listened attentively to the speeches delivered. There was one which especially impressed me, and that was the speech of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Rheaume), who clearly disclosed to the House one of the most shocking political plots, a real scandal in its truest sense. I mean the plot which was hatched last autumn in my province in regard to Mr. Patenaude's event. This new saviour, this new messiah, who, contrary to our Divine Master, was not born in a crib but in a hall at the Windsor, one of the finest hotels, in Montreal. The hon. member for Jacques-Dartier very clearly showed us who was the father of this new

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Sylvestre

saviour, we discovered his paternity, and the hon. member further added-and it is a fact

that according to the civil code we have a right to carry on searches so as to discover the paternity; this right also implies the one of carrying on the search, I think, so as to discover the maternity in order to definitely establish to what concubinage or adultery Mr. Patenaude is the offspring.

Now that I have established my premises, I want to show the deceit which exists on one side of the House, where a mountain is made of the Moses Aziz incident, wheen it is they, the so-called very virtuous gentlemen, who impeach us the most., that are responsible for a state of things ten times worse. Because this new Messiah, sir, did not only carry on his propaganda in Montreal, he rambled through the province, he came to my county, and I well remember one night when this fine chub-cheeked baby recently dressed in swaddling-blue clothes was taken off the train with great precaution; he wished to impress us with the idea that he was born and likely to live, and all he was able to say on that occasion was this great axiom: " The country' before parties "; as if it were not the parties who direct the country's policy. A scandal is at present being made of an insignificant affair, the Moses Aziz incident, it is simply the case of a man who was put into jail in December instead of August. There is another incident which is brought to light in this inquiry, a far more serious one than that of Moses Aziz, and upon which very little was said; I, nevertheless, intend to bring before the House the facts in all their details in order to expose the odium of those who seem to have a monopoly of all virtues and honesty; I wish to mention the Plamondon case. This incident did not occur under our reign, but under that of those virtuous gentlemen who have just crossed over to the right. This Plamondon case dates back to the year 1920. I first pick up the report of the inspectors of the department which is as follows, at page 214S of the Minutes of Proceedings of the Special Committee on the Customs Department inquiry:

Sir,-I beg to enclose horowil.h seizure report 699 of three red copper stills ami one galvanized tin still of the capacity of about thiirty gallons, three lead worms, about 2,000 gallons wash, forty-five gallons spirits, 1.7 U.P. and a large q.uamity of other articles as enumerated on seizure report No. 699, excise form No. 4, executed on the eleventh instant aigainst Mr. Olivier Plamondon, jobber and manufacturer of this city.

At 2 ,p.m. on the 11th instant, I was informed of a large illicit distillery being operated by Mr. Olivier Plamondon at 45 and 47 Saul t-an-Matelot street, Lower Town, Quebec.

Accompanied by Mr. Excise Enforcement Loon Hardy 1 proceeded immediately to the .premises above mentioned and we found the doors locked. Mr. Officer Hardy then broke open the doors and we found on the second floor the throe copper stall installed on three gas stoves ready to work. The four floors of the building were filled with barrels of wash which were transmitted to the stills through a rubber hose. We then seized the contents of the building, and officer Hardy was left in charge to supervise the work of removing all the stock.

Police Sergeant Ludger Couture was requested by me to have a constable in attendance at the doons of the building all the time so as to keep away the public and .protect the plumbers I had hired to discotnnect all the machinery, and labourers to destroy all the wash and help carters to remove all articles seized to the Customs examining warehouse. As Olivier Plamondon though was not found on the premises w'hen we entered the building, it was apparent that somebody had been there operating the stills a few moments before our arrival. We could not place Plamondon under arrest immediately, but early on the morning of the 12th instant, as it was feared that Plamondon could escape,

I have given instructions to Mr. L. Moraurl, attorney for the department, to have necessary _ proceedings entered in court so as to have Plamondon placed under arrest. I am informed by Mr. Attorney Maraud that the warrant was immediately issued and executed and Plamondon pleaded not guilty before Hon. Judge Ghoquette yesterday and held for hearing on Thursday, 19th next on $2,000 bail.

Under these circumstances I think it would be advisable if the department were to instruct the attorney to take proceedings ait once against Plamondon before the hearing of the case on the 19tih (because it is opportune that a severe punishment should be given the case in this instance sx>

as to put a stop to this illicit trade which has been going on on a large scale.

This, Mr. Speaker, is far more serious than the case of Aziz, who had in his possession a few bottles of whisky. Here is a man who had in his possession four stills, 2,000. gallons wash and a complete apparatus ready to start, so much so that the inspectors of the department, on their arrival, were able to verify that it had just been used but that those in charge had probably been able to escape. It was certainly a very serious offence. If a man has a small personal still in order that he may distill for his own use a little whisky or what is called home 'brew, it is of course contrary to the law, but if a man possesses four stills, 45 gallons of whisky, 2,000 gallons wash-I am not a chemist in order to know what quantity of alcohol could be extracted, however, I state that the cases of Plamondon and Aziz cannot be compared, " the worst political scandal "-as our opponents exclaimed-that the country has ever witnessed, because a man had three bottles of smuggled whisky in his possession! What happened after? The attention of the lawyers having been drawn to these facts by the Inspectors, they immediately wrote to the Deputy Minister of Inland Revenue, on August 18, 1920, the following letter:

Dear Sir,-We beg to send you herewith a preliminary report of proceedings taken by us against

5120 COMMONS

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Sylvestre

Olivier Plamondon, Jr., in whose (possession three stills *and a great quantity of alcohol and malt were found last week.

As it was urgent that proceedings foe taken without delay, and as Messrs. Sevdgny & Siiois, your solicitors, seemed to represent the defendant, M. Larue, your [DOT]Quebec representative asked us to take the necessary steps for the immediate arrest of Plamondon.

We have acted in accordance with his instructions [DOT]and PI anion don was arrested immediately. The accused then was let out on bail of $2,000, and the date see for the preliminary hearing in hiis case was tb* 19th of this month.

Owing to the fact that we have not received instructions from you, and due to Mr. Sevigny's absence to-morrow, we had that date changed for the 20th. and the preliminary hearing will take (place on the later date.

We were informed this morning that Plamondon intended to plead guilty and as iwe feared that the magistrate might be too lenient towards the accused, we took it upon ourselves to have the following complaint sworn to before the magistrate.

(a) For manufacturing spirits illegally; .

(b) For having had in his possession spirits which he knew had been illegally manufactured;

(c) For having had in his possession an empty barrel of spirits on which the marks have not been- obliterated ;

(d) For having sold spirits which he know had been illegally manufactured.

Now, according to the act, these charges were justified because they represent as many infractions as there are mentioned in the letter of Messrs. Moraud and Alleyn:

The letter continues:

We have also been instructed to lay an information against the party who 'had made stills.

The above informations were laid with a view to convincing the court that the accused is a dangerous criminal, so that he would get a proportional sentence, should he plead guilty.

This affair has moved the public opinion very deeply hereabouts, and has taken much importance, and the public opinion seems to expect that .the guilty party or parties will be severely dealt with.

That is why we have thought it advisable to have the revenue officers to lay the above informations.

Will you kindly let us have your instructions without delay.

Yours truly,

[DOT] (Signed) Moraud & Alleyn.

Here are the crown attorneys, who speak from facts and state, under their signature, that Plamondon is a dangerous criminal, that the whole affair has greatly stirred the population of the district. All these details are given; the department's attorneys fearing that the judge might be too lenient request that an exemplary punishment 'be inflicted-[DOT] even should this man plead guilty-because he is a dangerous criminal. What happens after this? On August 19, with reference to the letter of the 18th, the following telegram is sent by the crown attorney to the Deputy Minister of Inland Revenue:

Quebec, August 19, 1920.

Georges W. Taylor, Esquire,

Deputy Minister, Department of Inland Revenue, Ottawa.

Your telegram received re Olivier Plamondon. The accused, through his attorneys Sevigny & Sirois . . . .

A nice situation! Note that it is therein mentioned " The accused through bis attorneys Sevigny and Sirois ". At first they were the department's attorneys.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTED-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO.
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CON

Alexandre Joseph Doucet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOUCET (Translation):

Was that

Mr. Sevigny whom you mentioned, a minister at the time?

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

Mr. Sevigny was Minister of Inland Revenue and Speaker of the House when the Conservatives were in power.

An hon. MEMBER (Translation): What

department had he?

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

The department of Inland Revenue, I think.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN (Translation):

Who was

then Prime Minister?

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

Mr. Meighen.

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LIB

Joseph-Charles-Théodore Gervais

Liberal

Mr. GERVAIS (Translation):

Was it the same Mr. Meighen who is Premier to-day?

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

Yes, the very same. It is stated in the telegram: " The accused through his attorneys ". These lawyers who were Crown attorneys in 1920, had suddenly shifted in the scene; they became attorneys of the accused and Messrs. Moraud & Alleyn, who had acted promptly on the instructions of Mr. Hardy, had the pleasure of seeing their mandate confirmed in spite of the fact that Messrs Sevigny and Sirois were the Crown attorneys. The scene had shifted. Moraud & Alleyn were acting for Crown and Sevigny & Sirois became the attorneys of the great criminal.

I now return to the telegram of August 19, 1920, sent to Mr. George W. Taylor, Deputy Minister of Inland Revenue:

Your telegram received re Olivier Plamondon. The accused, through ihis attorneys Sevigny & Sirois, offers to plead guilty and pay the minimum fine of $200 without imprisonment and denounce the other parties implicated. Please give us your instructions before to-morrow if possible.

Lucien Moraud.

On August 29, 1920, the following letter is addressed to Mr. Lucien Moraud, barrister: Your letter re Plamondon received. Proceed as stated

At the time Mr. Moraud had told the department that five complaints, five charges

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Sylvestre

had been laid against Plamondon. He received instructions to proceed.

Your letter re Plamondon. Proceed as stated. See amendments mailed for increased penalty under section 185. No preliminary hearing should take place for complaint under 180, and case should be tried *summarily as provided by 132.

This is not all, Sir. Probably overtures took place not only by letters and telegrams but also by the intermediary of the attorneys of the accused, and this was necessary, so as to establish the chain of evidence which might have been found wanting in the series of *documents which were produced.

On the 20th of the same month the following letter was addressed to Mr. Moraud, the Crown Attorney:

August 20, 1920.

Xucien Moraud, Esquire,

Barrister, Quebec.

Dear Sir,-With further reference to my recent correspondence respecting the case oif Mr. Olivier Plamondon, 1 am advised by Messrs. Sevigny & Sirods, attorneys for Plamondon, that the latter has given you the names of four other parties connected with this case, with the understanding that he is pleading guilty under *section 180 but would be condemned to the minimum fine.

Such were the results of the steps taken Plamondon who is caught in the act, in violation of the act, for the sake of escaping the penalty provided in the Code, makes known the names of four other persons implicated in this affair, with the understanding that he will plead guilty and that he would be condemned to the minimum fine. The letter *continues as follows:

I beg to state the department approves of this -agreement and you are therefore instructed to lay one [DOT]complaint only against Plamondon under section 180 of the act, either for having distilled spirits or for having *a still in his possession.

Mr. GERVAI3 (Translation): Who signed that letter?

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

I have

not finished reading the letter; I shall mention it at the end. So, the department was aware of the fact that they are dealing with a dangerous criminal; the department was aware of the fact that Mr. Moraud, on the instructions of the Inspectors, laid five charges against Plamondon.

The department was aware of the fact that Mr. Moraud on the instructions of the inspectors, laid five charges against the offender; moreover the department writes to Moraud: Act as you state in your letter, it is quite right. Only, on August 20 things are somewhat shifted around; Plamondon first says: If you will but condemn me to a fine. . . . Here we have a criminal caught in the act, -who starts by making dishonest proposals

which 'are finally accepted, and he further says: I shall divulge the names of four persons who are implicated with me, with the understanding of course, that one charge only will be laid against me and I shall be condemned 'to the minimum fine. One must not lose sight that the act states: a fine of at least $200 and not exceeding $'500. That makes a great difference. Plamondon adds: " If you condemn me only to the minimum fine, that is $200, without jail, I shall plead guilty and make known the names of the other guilty parties." It is then that the department gives instructions to their attorneys to entirely approve these stipulations. The only reason why such stipulations were approved, were that Plamondon consented to give the names of four persons who were implicated with him in this affair. Extraordinary indeed, the department agreed not only that he should be let off with the minimum fine, but there was no mention of a jail sentence. And the letter is as follows:

You will note that section 180 states that the minimum penalty shall be $200 and one month's imprisonment. The department will not, therefore, insist on the imprisonment portion of the sentence, and the magistrate's attention sihould be drawn to section 1028 oif the Criminal Code, which provides that whenever the offender shall be liable to different degrees or kinds of punishment, the ipunislhment to be inflicted shall, subject to the limitation contained in the enactment, be in the discretion of the count or tribunal before which the conviction takes place.

The department through the intermediary of its Deputy Minister had already begun to bring pressure upon the judge. And so very scrupulous gentlemen, who were shocked at the sight of a man having a few bottles of whisky in his possession, and that a minister used his discretion in delaying his jail sentence, find it an ordinary incident, a natural thing, that an absolutely undue influence should be exercised on a judge, that his duty should be dictated to him, and that he should be told: " The act lays down such and such a thing, according to the act a fine and imprisonment should be imposed, but it matters little, lay these considerations aside." And these gentlemen are not shocked. When our hon. friends were in power, everything was permissible, everything seemed natural, they even had the right to try and influence a judge before he gave his decision in order that he should give judgment so to comply with a purely political object.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Shame 1

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LIB

Armand Sylvestre

Liberal

Mr. SYLVESTRE (Translation):

And the intrigues were still being carried on, Sir, the case goes from worse to worse. According to a letter dated August 25, 1920, addressed to

5122 COMMONS

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Sylvestre

the Deputy Minister by the crown attorneys, the following is to be found:

Sir,-Section 1028 of the Crimiraail Code provides that whenever the offender shall be liable to different degrees or kinds of ,punishment, .the punishment to be inflicted shall subject to the limitations contained in the enactment, be in the discretion of the court or tribunal before which the conviction took place.

It is true.

It would appear this applies to section 1080 of the Inland Revenue Act, which imposes both fine and imprisonment. In fact this was decided in the case of Rex vs. Robiidoux, 2, C.C.C. page 19, and also ex,parte Kent, 7, C.C.C. page 447. It was ruled in these cases that unless there is express provision to the contrary, an enactment which authorizes both fine and imprisonment for the summary conviction the offence is to be construed as giving discretion to the magistrate to impose fine or imprisonment, or both.

That is the crown attorney wrote a letter which is absolutely in keeping with the provisions contained in the Statutes. When a penalty includes a fine and imprisonment, it is according to law, and it was decided in the cases cited that the judge may impose one or the other or both at the same time. The judge, yes, but not the crown. The government has no right to direct the judge, as it was done in this oase, to act in such and such a way, to influence his decision, to dictate to him his duty. Mr. Speaker, never have we witnessed such a disgusting procedure; here we find a minister, who for purely political aims, being fully aware of the situation and having to deal with a dangerous criminal, instructs the department to begin overtures in order to give this dangerous criminal his freedom. The letter continues:

If you refer /to these decisions you will note that they were given with regard to prosecution taken under section 180 Oif the Inland Revenue Act, which is section 150 of the old act, so that there ds not, in my mind, the slightest doulbt that section 1028 of the Criminal Code applies to all prosecutions taken under above quoted section of the Inland Revenue Aot.

This a.parently does not satisify Mr. Justice Choquette of Quebec City, before whom the department has taken a certain number of prosecutions, under section 180 of the Inland Revenue Aot. Mr. Justice Choquette claims that as this section provides for both fine and imprisonment, he has no other alternative than to send him to jail, if the department may not insist on itlie imprisonment portion of the sentence. He has therefore requested the department, before rendering sentence, in each case, to obtain your opinion as to whether or not he may dispense with the imprtiisoaiiment, and I shall be glad to have you advise me in this regard at your earliest convenience.

As the sentence against the parties concerned has been suspended pending expression of your opinion, I would request you to give the matter your immediate attention.

Now, it is included in the evidence that the department at that time took serious steps and proceedings in order to try to influence the decision of Judge Choquette who

wanted to sentence the man to both a fine /and imprisonment, as it was his right, and they endeav-oured.to find some way out, some means in order to protect a dangerous Criminal by simply imposing a fine.

, And this, Sir, did not occur under a Liberal government, it did not occur under the reign pf those who, according to the Tories, have po knowledge even of what may mean the word virtue, but it did take place under a Tory administration, under the reign of our good Conservatives, under those who are shocked at a trifling, under the government of those gentlemen who are not aware that they are living in glass houses and that it is very dangerous for them to throw stones into their neighbour's garden; all this happened under the over virtuous administration which held power from 1911 to 1921!

These gentlemen were in too great a hurry to cross over to your right, Sir, where they are at present, I' am confident that they will still make a quicker crossing to this side which they have just left.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTED-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO.
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PRIVATE BILLS


On the Order:


PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):

By leave of

the House, Mr. Speaker, I desire to present a motion referring to private bills.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Permalink
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

It cannot be made at

this stage unless by leave of the House.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Permalink

June 29, 1926