April 8, 1954

LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Yes, I will withdraw the amendment.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Has the minister leave to withdraw the amendment?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Amendment withdrawn.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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Section agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported.


LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

When shall this bill

be read a third time?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Now.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

No.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

When shall this bill

be read a third time? Next sitting?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Agreed.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

By leave, now.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Now.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson moved

the third reading of the bill.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, before the bill is read the third time, there are a few things I wish to say; and I shall move an amendment to the minister's motion for third reading of the bill.

As hon. members are aware there are a great many clauses in this bill, which we have been considering now for a long time, to which we take no objection. Indeed, we are pleased that so much effort has been put into the process of revising and consolidating the Criminal Code, so as to bring it up to date. Many parts of it have been improved immeasurably, and that is due to the tremendous amount of work that has been put into it by all those who have taken part in the effort over the last four or five years.

Nevertheless there are some features in the bill to which we take very strong objection. Those features are perhaps well known, in view of the objections we have been raising in the committee of the whole during the last few days. It is not my purpose to suggest that the time of the house be taken on a series of third reading amendments with a view to testing the house on all the clauses to which we take objection. However there are two particular clauses which we feel should be reconsidered; and when we say we feel they should be reconsidered we mean either that they should be deleted altogether or that they should be amended.

It will be the purpose of the amendment I shall move in a few minutes to place our opposition to those clauses before the house. However, before doing so may I point out that our quarrel with the bill in the form in which it is now before us is not limited to the two subjects which will be mentioned in the amendment I shall move, nor is it limited to the matters I will mention in these few minutes tonight.

However, Mr. Speaker, we have pointed out during the course of the discussion this week that we are not satisfied with the clauses in the bill that deal with such subjects as sedition, treason and the reading of the riot act. We feel, despite the case the government has endeavoured to put forward with respect to these sections, that the question of civil liberties, the question of freedom of speech, and the whole question as to whether or not force and suppression might be used against our people in time of economic difficulty, as well as other important questions, are involved in these matters. We pointed out that we felt that the clauses dealing with sedition are worded too ambiguously; that they make possible the defining in some instances of legitimate attempts at reform as sedition.

Criminal Code

We felt that the sentence provided with respect to sedition, namely, fourteen years, is too great, too severe, particularly in view of the way in which this offence is defined. In that connection we have already registered our objection to the fact that the sentence for seditious utterances has been increased twice in the last three years. The penalty was two years up until 1951. In 1951 it was increased to seven years; by this bill it is being increased to fourteen years.

Similarly, Mr. Speaker, we feel that the clauses having to do with treason include too many offences under that heading. We pointed out when we were in committee of the whole that we were very interested in the history of the law of treason which the minister gave. We appreciated the point he made when he indicated that across the years we have moved in the direction of narrowing the number of offences that are to be defined as treason. We feel that in this bill there is a reversal in that course of history and we object, as I say, to the greater number of offences now being included under the heading of treason.

Likewise, Mr. Speaker, we feel that the sections dealing with the use of force to suppress troubles and difficulties, particularly the sections dealing with the reading of the riot act, are too severe. When we were in committee of the whole it was pointed out that the authority, the right, under certain circumstances to read the riot act is extended right down to the deputy of a sheriff. We pointed out also that the penalty provided for those who fail to disperse when the riot act is read, or at least within thirty minutes of the reading of the riot act, is life imprisonment, which again we feel is too severe. We associate these sections of the code that deal with the reading of the riot act, as well as those related to sedition, with instances in our history related to economic difficulties and economic disturbances, and for these reasons we regret that our opposition to some of the terms in these sections was not given greater consideration by the government.

However, Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, it is not my purpose to move an amendment which would attempt to cover all of the things that we think are wrong with the bill in its present form, but rather it is my purpose to move an amendment which will cover the two greatest shortcomings, which will deal with the two clauses in the bill which we feel are most important, particularly to organized labour. These two are the clauses dealing with criminal breach of contract and with mischief. We dealt with these two clauses yesterday and today, one of them being clause 365 on which we spent

Criminal Code

most of today, and the other being clause 372 on which some time was spent last evening.

As the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) pointed out last evening, and my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway (Mr. Maclnnis) pointed out earlier today, the clause dealing with mischief, clause 372, is one that attempts to combine some 15 clauses of the old code containing some 50 different offences, and it has put them all in one pot of porridge, which the hon. member for Kamloops suggests is served up without any salt. In addition to the fact that there is a lack of definiteness as to the offences covered under this catch-all clause, we feel that it is a dangerous one in so far as labour relations are concerned. We agree with the labour people who have asserted that this clause is properly named, that it is a mischievous clause, and we feel that it should not be in a code being enacted by parliament in the year 1954.

Likewise we feel, Mr. Speaker, that the government has not really faced up to the issues involved in the debate that has taken place in the committee of the whole today, during which we have contended that labour matters should not be in 365, dealing as it does with criminal breach of contract. This clause is extremely important to organized labour and I submit for the consideration of the house that what is important to organized labour is important to the economy and the well-being of Canada as a whole. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we feel that the house should have an opportunity to express its view, at least in general terms, with respect to these last two clauses, these last two subjects about which I have been speaking.

At this stage there is only one course left for us to follow, and I propose to follow it and to give the house an opportunity to record its approval or disapproval of these two clauses as they now stand. I am not suggesting to the house that all hon. members have to agree with any particular alteration in these clauses that we might suggest, but I am urging the house to agree with us that in their present form clauses 365 and 372 are unacceptable and should not be included in the Criminal Code. Therefore, to bring this matter to a head, and to give the house an opportunity to express its view on these clauses, I move, seconded by my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway:

That Bill No. 7 be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole house, for the purpose of reconsidering clause 365, dealing with breach of contract, and clause 372, dealing with mischief.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. Daniel Mclvor (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say just a word.

[Mr. Knowles.)

The minister has shown remarkable patience. I have not seen anything like it since I came into the house, patience not only in the house but outside, and I am disappointed that this amendment now comes in.

The minister discussed the question of labour with the three outstanding unions in Canada, and brought in amendment after amendment to suit the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, but it did not suit all the others completely, which would be a very difficult thing to do.

While I admire the C.C.F. in a good many ways, they remind me now of two teams who had thrown their best into the game and then because one side lost they complained bitterly. Now we have this amendment and I think it is discourteous to the minister. I do not know that I can make my attitude any plainer than that.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

We never say die.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, may I assure the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) that the last thing I would not only agree to do here but even think about would be to do anything that would be discourteous to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson). But let me also assure him that as long as we believe that the bill before us can be improved we would be unfair not only to ourselves but to the people of Canada, to the people who sent us here, no matter how few they are, if we failed to use the facilities of this house to the best advantage possible to improve this bill. If hon. members do not agree with what we are asking the house to do now then they will, of course, express themselves in that way and the democratic principle of our parliamentary institutions will have gone the full round.

The hon. member for Fort William referred to the patience shown by the Minister of Justice in piloting this important bill through the house, while he brought in amendment after amendment. I will do the Minister of Justice credit and say that he did not bring in any amendment to this bill unless he thought that amendment would improve the bill. He did not bring in an amendment to satisfy one organization or another. It is quite possible he thought the bill was all right but that certain amendments would not do it any harm and he therefore agreed to introduce them. It is only on that understanding that we can ever believe in the sincerity of the minister and the work he is doing.

I am not going to say anything further with regard to the conduct of the minister during the time this bill was before not only the house but the parliamentary committee.

I have said all I want to say on that aspect af the matter and I do not intend to take anything back or to detract from anything I have said. I am certainly not going to apologize to anyone for using the facilities of this house in the interests of the people of Canada.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) has moved this amendment. I believe he has been farsighted in the wording of it because, whatever difference of opinion there may be in detail as to what should be done with these two clauses 365 and 372, he is not asking us to tie ourselves down but is simply asking that they be referred back to the committee for the purposes of reconsideration in committee. As we in the official opposition have expressed ourselves quite strongly with respect to both these clauses and the inadequacies and weaknesses thereof, we certainly would have no other course but to support the amendment.

I am glad the hon. member has moved it. Indeed I am prepared to confess to having been caught short. I had overlooked, or, if you like, misinterpreted the rules, and had not anticipated that the third reading would arise tonight. It was my intention to move a similar amendment on third reading and I am grateful to the hon. member, not only for having brought up this particular motion but for having given me time to prepare my own amendment in which I can incorporate the reasons for which we think this bill should be referred back to the committee of the whole.

Our reasons have to do with clauses 690 and 691, two clauses dealing with proceedings by writ of habeas corpus. I am not going to discuss the clauses in detail but simply point out that a very substantial change has been made in that, according to clause 690, once proceedings by way of writ of habeas corpus have been refused on the merits then no further proceedings shall be taken in respect to the person involved before the judge rejects the appeal of any other judge. That runs counter to the trend of our law for many years, and it is diametrically opposed to the judgment delivered in the House of Lords by a prominent judge, Lord Hailsham, in a case which came up in 1928 and which I will quote in part. He said, each judge, and now I quote:

has jurisdiction to entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus . . . and is bound to hear and determine such an application on its merits notwithstanding that some other judge has already-refused a similar application.

We attach particular importance to this question of proceedings by way of writ of habeas corpus as being possibly the most

Criminal Code

important single protection which an individual has against unlawful arrest and against the power of the state. It is the right of the individual to require the authorities to show cause why he should be detained, and we feel that the taking away of that right of further proceedings by way of writ of habeas corpus after the initial rejection should not be incorporated in our law.

I am not going to go into any further detail beyond stating the principle, and that we feel the departure from that principle is so important and of such far-reaching consequences and so unacceptable that the bill should be referred back to the committee to give the committee of the whole further opportunity to reconsider and indeed, I would hope, reject the changes incorporated in clauses 690 and 691. I accordingly move:

That the amendment be amended by adding thereto the following words:

"and clauses 690 and 691 dealing with proceedings by way of writ of habeas corpus."

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. E. G. Hansell (Macleod):

Mr. Speaker, before you take a vote on the amendment may I say that perhaps we have listened to the discussion more than we have spoken to it. We have spoken whenever we felt it was necessary to do so. We have more or less always favoured the proposals and amendments introduced by the minister. We believe he has been most reasonable in this matter. We have voted against many of the amendments proposed by those who sit on this side of the house. Perhaps we will do so again. I do not know. That depends on the amendments they propose and whether they go back to the committee of the whole before the bill is read a third time. But if some other amendment can be made that may solve the problem and be satisfactory to the minister and to the whole house, then we are quite willing to give it another try. We do not see much hope in it, but for this time we shall vote with the opposition that the bill be referred back again for us to have at least one more try, even though we have tried so often in the past little while.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be rather an act of supererogation on my part to review at any great length the matters which have been raised in this motion. The seriousness of the motion itself and the amendment is indicated by the fact that about 10 per cent, I should think, as many arguments have been made in support of this motion as were made in connection with the same subject matters when we were in committee. I am not complaining about that fact. I am glad indeed that that small percentage of arguments was made.

Criminal Code

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

The minister had better be careful. There are a good many speakers over here if the minister wants them.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   REVISION AND AMENDMENT OF EXISTING STATUTE
Permalink

April 8, 1954