June 28, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Jean-François Pouliot



You, Mr. Chairman, are
l man of great learning, and you know the maxim, ignorantia legis neminem excusat- ignorance of the law excuses no one. But, 3ir, this is very serious. The reason why there are so many amendments is the fact that the legislation has been half baked. It has been prepared by third rate clerks who do not know their job and who hand out to the government such rotten legislation that they have to amend it this way and that. It is a patchwork which it is impossible to describe, and then it goes to the Senate and when it comes back no minister is able to recognize his brain child. Who can get a clear idea of the law maker's intent? In the last five years every bill has been turned upside down from the moment of its introduction into this house until the amendments have received their last reading. Something should be done, and I hope we shall be able to find out what has been passed during this session. Perhaps it is the intention of the government to prevent the people of Canada from finding out what legislation they have passed; they are probably so much ashamed of it that they do not want the Canadian people to know what their achievements amount to. But does anyone expect any member of parliament, with the vast amount of correspondence that must be carried on, and the reading of blue-books and all that, to follow every change in a bill as shown in the votes and proceedings? It is absurd. It is the more absurd because very often bills go to the privy council and changes are made at great expense to the exchequer through faulty drafting. It was proved in the committee on translations last year that there was great lack of knowledge on the part of those who drafted the legislation. It had been printed five or six times before it suited the taste of the cabinet members. If any bill can be printed so many times before it is approved by them I do not see why it cannot be printed once for all for the use of members once it has become the law of the land. The waste occurs before the bill is considered by the cabinet, and when we need the bill in its final form we cannot get it.

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