Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 43 to amend the criminal code.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this
bill is to make it easier, or perhaps I should say to make it less impossible, to secure a conviction against that ever growing band of crooks who make it their business to prey on the public b}' going from town to town and from district to district leaving behind them a trail of cheques drawn on banks where they have no funds or where in many cases they even never had an account. At the present time these men can be proceeded against only under the section of the criminal code which deals with false pretences and it has been found almost impossible to secure a conviction under that section. It is necessary to show an evil intent when the cheque was passed, that is, an intent to defraud the payee, and it is practically impossible to prove what is in a man's mind on a given occasion. Very often the plea is made: Yes, I knew I had no money in the bank but I expected President Hoover or someone else to make a deposit before it came due. It is very necessary to check this growing evil which imposes a heavy burden on hotels and business men, which burden is ultimately passed on to the consuming public. This will be rather a difficult piece of legislation because it is essential while proceeding against this type of man to protect two classes of individuals. The first is the man who by mere inadvertence allows his account to become overdrawn. I have done that myself, and that man must be protected. Then there is the other man, almost equally innocent, who is running a small business. Times are hard and he is being pressed, we will say, by his wholesaler. He knows it will take four or five days for a cheque to reach the wholesaler and then be returned to his bank; he knows he is getting money in all the time from his customers and he takes a chance and draws a cheque which may not be good at the moment but which he honestly expects will, in all probability, be good by the time it comes back to his