July 24, 1931

LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

It seems to me that 'there is a contradiction in terms in this section. It says "contains any statement of fact which is untrue." Now a fact is a fact. A fact contains the truth, and a statement of fact or an enunciation of a fact must be true. It seems to me there is inconsistency there, and

Criminal Code

I was going to suggest something of this kind to carry out the intention, to substitute for the present language the words "what purports to be a fact, but which is untrue, deceptive or misleading."

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

We could meet that difficulty by simply striking out the words "of fact."

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

It might be a statement of law, and then we would have to go to the privy council to find out whether it was true or not.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

There is another consideration with respect to this section to which I would direct the attention of the committee. Formerly the penalty was provided for one who "knowingly" publishes, and the real change that is made here is to strike out the word "knowingly." The question has been raised by 3ome very prominent business people in Canada as to the propriety of striking out that word, and of putting a saving clause at the end of the section. They represent that many bona fide advertisers are mistaken in some of the statements they make, through no fault of their own in many cases, and that it is hard to penalize them for statements innocently made. The difficulty with the word "knowingly" in the clause as it now stands is that it imposes upon the prosecution the burden of proving that a certain thing was stated knowing it to be false or untrue, and very often the prosecution is not able to prove that knowledge on the part of the accused, and consequently the prosecution fails. If the word "knowingly" is struck out the section becomes much broader, as the committee will see. It has been suggested that a saving clause to this effect should be added at the end of the section:

Provided further that in any prosecution under this subsection a case may be dismissed if it be established to the satisfaction of the court upon proper evidence that the accused acted in good faith,-*

In other words, if it can be proved that he did not knowingly mislead by the statements he made. If this amendment were put in, the onus would be upon the accused to show that he had acted in good faith, and if he had so acted and convinced the court of that fact the court might forgive him of his offence. In the present section the word "knowingly" appears and the result is that prosecutions have failed because the crown has not been able to establish the fact a man has knowingly inserted a false advertisement, knowing it to be false. The amendment was originally asked for by many clubs, better

business associations, boards of trade and the like in Canada. I have no very definite views upon the subject, but I must say that the saving clause I have suggested might be advantageous.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Yes, at the end of the

present section. Then as my hon. friend from North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) has pointed out, I think an amendment might be made by changing the words "which contains any statement of fact which is untrue, deceptive or misleading" to the words "which contains any statement which is untrue, deceptive or misleading."

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

We would be striking out the two words "of fact" in line twenty-nine of section 5 of the bill.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I have merely made a

statement to the committee.

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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

The only point I see concerning the words "statement of fact" is that such statements might be considered by the courts in contradistinction to statements of law. It is usual and proper to talk about statements of fact as distinguished from statements of law without implying that a statement of fact is per se true. The words "of fact" are used in contradistinction to show that a statement of law is not intended. I had thought that was the intention of the amendment. If so I believe the words should be left in the section.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I do not think the words are of great importance, one way or the other. My hon. friend from East Edmonton (Mr. Bury) may be right. We do not however find statements of law in connection with sales of goods. I would not pay much attention to the suggestion of my hon. friend in that connection. I think if the words "which contains any statement which is untrue" are in the section they will be sufficient to cover the points in question.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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LIB
CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

I wonder if by removing

the words "of fact" merchants who advertise reductions from $4.00 to $3.99 would be affected. Such advertisements would in fact be untrue, deceptive and misleading. Yet he would not be making a statement concerning the kind of goods advertised.

[DOT]1138

Criminal Code

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

If a merchant cuts his

price, what more is there to it?

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LIB
CON
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I prefer that the words

"of fact" should remain in. If, however, the committee prefers they be struck out I have no serious objection.

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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I am not a lawyer and I

cannot express a legal opinion, but from the standpoint of an ordinary man the expression that a statement of fact is untrue is absolutely absurd.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No, it is not absurd.

There are statements of fact and statements of law to which reference is made every day in courts. On statements of such and such a fact comments may be made, and on statements. of law other comments are in order. Certainly there is a distinction.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
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July 24, 1931