July 24, 1931

CON

William Kemble Esling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ESLING:

-the Liberal candidate got the other 248 votes.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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CON
?

An hon. MEMBER:

He did, but not very loudly.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

He did.

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

Order.

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CON

William Kemble Esling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ESLING:

I want the committee to

realize the debauchery of the great Liberal party in the last federal election.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

I think the hon. member should confine his remarks to the section before the committee.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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LIB
CON

William Kemble Esling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ESLING:

I am referring to the

amendment to the criminal code which provides for a three year term in the penitentiary in place of the six months' imprisonment which is now the penalty for Doukhobors who go naked. If this amendment had been in force two years ago, these naked fanatics would not have been able to vote for the Liberal candidate.

The provincial government has amended its elections act to disqualify from voting any Doukhobors or others, male or female, born in the province or elsewhere, who claim exemption from military service. These Doukhobors were admitted to Canada unconditionally exempt from military service. I look to this government to bring in a similar amendment before another election is held. Those who are not willing to fight for their country, should not be permitted to run it. If this amendment is not effective, I would suggest that in so far as the men are concerned, other means should be taken to restrain their exhibitions. Perhaps the most effective means would be the lash. Some citizens have suggested that these people should be placed on a couple of islands out on the Pacific.

I am sure that the committee, after hearing what is the true state of affairs, will take a more serious view of the Doukhobor situation in this country. I know some hon. members may get some amusement out of this, but let me tell them that the men, women and, indeed, whole families who are* subjected to these obscene exhibitions are not in a very comfortable position. I am sure if hon. members lived amongst these Doukhobors they would feel just the same as do those who complain.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

This clause in the bill

has been drafted to meet a situation which has certainly a very serious aspect. The actions of a particular portion of the community known as the Doukhobors, more especially in British Columbia and perhaps also in Saskatchewan, have become nothing short of a menace and an insult to all right thinking people who live in certain portions of those provinces. The matter has been brought to the attention of the Department, of Justice by the government of British Columbia, particularly by the premier and the attorney general, and also by certain organizations and individuals of that province. The description of these nude parades as related to the committee by the hon. member for West Kootenay who has just taken his seat, has not been overdrawn. I have heard similar stories from officials of the province of British Columbia. The trouble

[Mr. Lapointe.!

is that the section of our criminal law which now applies to indecent exposure is not sufficient in the way of penalty to stop these parades. The present law provides that a fine of $50 and a term of six months' imprisonment at hard labour may be imposed. The provincial authorities have had many prosecutions and both fine and imprisonment have been imposed, but this has not had the desired effect on these fanatical people who insist on carying on these nude parades.

It has been suggested by those who know the situation best that if the penalty were increased as proposed in this bill to a maximum of three years' imprisonment, probably the most fanatical of this particular community would be made to respect the law. They look upon the shorter term of six months a3 more or less of a holiday and as no very serious punishment at all, and they openly boast that they are being kept at the expense of the province. It is suggested that these penalties be increased. I think the committee will agree that these nude parades as they take place.now in these Doukhobor communities, should be stopped. They are, as I say, an insult and a menace to the right thinking people who live in those particular portions of Canada. With that end in view these amendments have been prepared; I think we have covered the case as fully as we can in the language we have used, and I would ask the committee seriously to consider these clauses.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

What would the minister consider necessary in the way of clothing so that a person will not be liable under paragraph (d) ?

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

The last sentence provides it.

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LIB
CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No, it is not. It reads:

For the purposes of this subsection anyone shall be deemed to be nude who is so scantily clad as to offend against public decency or order.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

But that will leave it

pretty much to the discretion of the judge as to what sort of costume offends against public decency. After all, we have heard much about the Doukhobors this afternoon, but this clause does not mention them at all.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No. It applies to anybody.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

It might be made lo

apply to bathers at many fashionable resorts. I think my hon. friend will agree with me on that. There are people who are more severe and strict in their views of this than

Criminal Code

others. I am quite sure some judges would find that a certain bathing suit does not accord with public morality, whereas others would find the same costume absolutely correct. I know there is a difficulty in striking a proper description of what would constitute a crime, but I am afraid the clause as it reads is a little vague.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I think we can depend upon the discretion and good sense of the judge who hears the case. In many instances under our criminal law we have to depend upon the good sense of our judges and juries

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July 24, 1931