July 17, 1943

LIB

John James Kinley

Liberal

Mr. KINLEY:

They are so relative.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is so. My suggestion therefore is that the position be examined more fully by the minister, and that then he should take the ministerial responsibility for either putting it through or not putting it through. The minister, under our system of government, must accept responsibility. He cannot fly kites. That is not responsible government as we understand it in Canada. Before bringing this provision before parliament he should have known that a great evil existed, and that it could be dealt with only in this way. Then he should put the force of the executive authority behind this in submitting it to parliament and say, "This is what we believe is absolutely necessary to eradicate the evil."

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

It seems to me there is a great difference of opinion. I think we all want to tighten up this legislation in order to wipe out the evil; for evil it is. I was going to suggest to the minister that if there is to be some delay, or if the suggestion just made is to be carried out, information should be obtained from some of the cities in this regard. I have noticed in the newspapers, for example, that an investigation is going on in the city of Hull, which is right beside this city of Ottawa, dealing with gambling and other conditions. I have noticed from some of the evidence that has appeared in the newspapers that during the course of that inquiry bookmaking and betting have been mentioned from time to time. It seems to me that if the department has not gathered the information upon which it is able to base its desire for legislation, then that should be done. I would vote for anything that would stamp out this evil-

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

You would not want that done by violating principles which are fundamental in our whole society?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

No, but I would say that all law restricts the liberty of the individual to some extent, in the interests of the public good.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

It should extend the

liberty of the individual.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Well, inasmuch as it restricts the liberty of the individual to do wrong, it extends the liberty of the individual to live in a manner that is right.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

You should have been a lawyer yourself.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I do not know; I am sometimes glad that I am not a lawyer.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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NAT

George Ernest Lawson MacKinnon

National Government

Mr. MacKINNON (Kootenay East):

Why? Mr. BOUCHER: Let us not have a confession.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I sometimes listen to lengthy dissertations by lawyers, and perhaps that is why I am glad I am not a lawyer. However, I rose to say that I do think the minister should be given every support in trying to stamp out this evil, but in doing so we should be sure of the premises upon which we act.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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LIB

Roy Theodore Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I wish to add just a

word as to the principle of criminal law which I am sure interests everyone who has had anything to do with the administration of justice in this country. I must confess that I agree with those who oppose the introduction of the principle of finding a person guilty on the basis of an intention, or on the basis that a certain thing is likely to occur. I do so for two reasons, one of which has been touched upon already by the hon. member for St John-Albert. The safest principle for criminal law, which is a penal statute, is to have an overt act a necessary ingredient of the crime. We all recognize that almost every human being has his moments of anger, his moments of ill-advised passion, and that often, mentally at least, he contemplates what would be a crime, serious or otherwise. In the great majority of cases, thank heaven, that intention is never carried into effect, and no overt act is committed. If we attempted in our criminal code to punish every person who intended or had thought of doing a criminal act, it would be merely a farcical attempt to enforce an impossible law.

I agree with other speakers; I know of no habit that will so surely sap the strength of a nation as widespread gambling, yet it seems to be inherent in human nature to wish to gamble in one way or another. There is, therefore, a certain similarity between this evil and that of bootlegging, let us say; and from the experience we gained in attempting to control the liquor traffic we know that in the last analysis all law must have a measure of public support. If you do not have that support your law will not be efficacious in its application. I suggest to

Criminal Code-Betting

the Minister of Justice that even in the cities where this evil of gambling is prevalent, nothing would set public opinion more against this law than the conviction of a man because of some intention or some likelihood that he was going to commit an offence. I agree that this is a great evil; I fully appreciate the minister's desire to cope with it, but we should remember that we are lawmakers, and that fairness and justice in the law are much more important than to attempt, in a way that is offensive to our sense of justice, to cure an evil, when the cure may be worse than the evil itself.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

May I ask the Minister of Justice whether under this amendment the Winnipeg grain exchange would be classed as a gambling house?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: The facts concerning the Winnipeg grain exchange would have to be proved before a court, and the court would determine the position. Certainly it is not the function of the Minister of Justice or of any member of this house to apply a law to any specific case until the facts connected with that case are proved.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

Could the minister give us any information as to the difficulty of obtaining convictions under the existing law, in respect to equipment?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: No, I cannot give any statistical information. General representations have been made that the situation was such that these attorneys general did not care to attempt prosecutions because of the difficulty of having to prove criminal intent subjectively, having to satisfy the court beyond any reasonable doubt that there was criminal intent.

I wish to add just a few words. I do not think any new principle is being introduced here. As the paragraph is to be amended, it would be legislation of the kind which forbids, for instance, the carrying of offensive weapons, firearms and things of that kind. It is not a matter of intent; it is the overt act of being in possession or control of the dangerous thing that is forbidden.

The hon. member for York-Sunbury has suggested that before bringing such legislation before parliament the department should make sufficient investigation to enable the minister to come here and say, "Well, now, this is government policy and you must take it. I do not think that is really the doctrine that should apply in amending the procedural part of the criminal law. If the Department of Justice had the sole responsibility of aPPlying the criminal law, then we could come here and say, "Our experience convinces us that it is necessary to do this," but when it IMr. Graham.]

is not our own experience; when it is the experience of the provincial attorneys general, I think the department is entitled to come before this house, which after all is the grand inquest of the nation, and ask this house if, from its knowledge of the situation throughout the nation, the suggestion made by some of the attorneys general should be acted upon.

I should like to assure the hon. member for Swift Current that the advisability of having the criminal law revised and consolidated, and many of the existing inconsistencies removed, has been considered, and some serious thought has been given to it. I do not feel at liberty in these times to ask that that be undertaken. The matter will require the serious attention of quite a large number of people who during these critical times are otherwise engaged. It would be something similar to the decennial revision of the statutes. It has been some fifteen years since the last consolidated statutes came into operation, and it is always a matter of four or five years to prepare a new consolidation. Therefore it will be over twenty years before there is a new consolidation of the statutes of Canada. Thought is being given to this matter and some work has been done already.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

On the criminal code?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: On the criminal code.

Mr. DIBFENBAlKER: Who is doing the work?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: Some work has been done by the law officers of this house, Mr. Ollivier and Mr. Fraser on the criminal code, but I have not felt that it would be proper at this time to ask parliament to set up a commission and to take the kind of men who would be required to do a proper job away from the occupations they are in at this time.

I can assure my hon. friend that all lawyers realize the great benefit there would be to the Canadian public as well as to the bench and to the profession in having this work done.

Section stands.

At one o'clock the committee took recess.

The committee resumed at three o'clock. Progress reported.

The house having reverted to government notices of motion:

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO BETTING, PREVIOUS OFFENCE CHARGED, ETC.
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WAR EXPENDITURES

APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

War Expenditures Committee

That a select committee be appointed to examine the expenditure defrayed out of moneys provided by parliament for the defence services, and for other services directly connected with the war, and to report what, if any, economies consistent with the execution of the policy decided by the government may be effected therein, and that notwithstanding standing order 65 the committee shall consist of twenty-four members, as follows: Messrs. Black (Cumberland), Blackmore, Boucher, Pinard, Cleaver, Coldwell, Donnelly, Dupuis, Fauteux, Ferland, Gladstone, Golding, Graham, Homuth, Hurtubise, Jackman, Hill, Nixon, O'Neill, Picard, Pottier, Reid, Sissons, Winkler, with power to send tor persons, papers and records; to examine witnesses and to report from time to time to the house.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the terms of reference of this motion are similar to those of the motions in two previous years for the appointment of the war expenditures committee, the only difference being in the personnel of the proposed membership. Along with other members of the house I regret that the committee has not been set up earlier, but hon. members who follow the proceedings will, I am sure, appreciate the reasons for that. At an earlier stage in the session I indicated that I was most anxious to have all the standing and select committees set up at as early a day as possible. Indeed, such a request was made by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon), and the government sought to meet it. I believe the standing committees were appointed earlier this year than they have been at any other session for years past, and the same is true I believe with respect also to the special committees. But it did happen that on the motion for the appointment of one or two special committees there were long debates, and as the government had before the house financial matters respecting the war which it was recognized were all-important, it was thought inadvisable to present this particular motion at a time when it was likely to hinder the progress of the government's financial measures. The most important measures, as members will recall, were the mutual aid bill, the war appropriation bill and the budget. The budget, which was brought in at a very early stage of the session, occupied time that would otherwise have been taken for the appointment of this among other committees.

I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the statement which I made in the house on April 10 and, which will be found in

Hansard at page 2290

Another matter which was stressed at the beginning of the session was that the government should appoint the committees at an early stage. Our attention was drawn to the fact that in other years some of the committees did not meet until well on in the session. We took great pains this year to have the personnel

of the committees in readiness and sought every opportunity to have them appointed at an early date. But there is still on the order paper, as hon. members are aware, notices for twp committees, one with respect to war expenditures and the other with respect to radio broadcasting. Thus far we have not been able to get these committees appointed. _

I think I did mention at an earlier stage of the session that we took about a week in appointing the committee on social security and the committee on reconstruction and rehabilitation. Those committees might have been appointed in five or ten minutes and we could have had the discussion at a later stage. The main purpose is to get the committees appointed.

If it is at all possible I should like to get the committee with respect to broadcasting and the committee on war expenditures appointed before we adjourn for Easter. I do not know whether we can do so, but I hope we might be able to. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the session to discuss matters with respect to them when the committees bring in their reports. But that rests entirely with the house. I am pointing this out now in order that hon. members may see just why it may be that in some of the business we shall be later in meeting their wishes than might otherwise be the case.

My hon. friend the leader of the opposition will recall that before the house rose for the Easter recess I did make an effort to have the committee on war expenditures set up, but I was informed that there were members opposite who wished to participate in the debate and that the debate might take some little time. It was for this reason I did not introduce the motion before the Easter adjournment.

Members will also recall that there was an understanding between the leaders of the different parties in the house as to the order of business which should be followed with respect to the financial measures, and that it was agreed that every effort should be made to get the mutual aid bill and the war appropriation bill through with as little interruption as possible.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If I may interrupt for a moment, I hope the Prime Minister was not under any misapprehension as to the setting up of this committee, because any arrangements that were made certainly were never made with a view to having the setting up of the war expenditures committee delayed until the end of the session. That was never intended.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not mean until the end of the session, but anticipating that there would be a debate of some length on the motion for setting up the war expenditures committee it was felt that it was desirable not to permit at that time a lengthy debate which would delay consideration of the war appropriation measure.

War Expenditures Committee

. Mr. GRAYDON: I do not think there was any suggestion that there would be a lengthy debate on this motion.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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July 17, 1943