March 27, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Mr. Chairman, the amendment which I have to propose is to subsection 3 of section 20. It was called to my attention the other day that there might possibly be an abuse of the provisions of this section, under which we provide that action for the recovery of penalties may be taken in the name of the Minister of Finance, Minister of Inland Revenue, or in respect of penalties under Part 3, in the name of the Minister of Inland Revenue, or any other person. It was suggested that this might lead to litigation of a vexatious character. I have been impressed with the view put forward, and, while there is abundant precedent running through not only our own statutes but the statutes of the United Kingdom regarding the imposition of taxes justifying the language used, still, on account of the somewhat far-reaching character of this legislation, it has appeared advisable to the Government that the objection should be met and a modification made accordingly. I therefore have to submit the following amendment .*
Subsection 3, section 20, line 35, after the words "Part Two" insert the words "and Part Three," and at line 36 of the same subsection, after the words "Inland Revenue," strike out all the remainder of the subsection.
The section will then read as follows:
3. All penalties imposed by this Act may be sued for, prosecuted and recovered with costs by His Majesty's Attorney General of Canada, or, in respect of penalties under Part One, in the name of the Minister of Finance, or, in respect of penalties under Part Two, and Part Three, in the name of the Minister of Inland Revenue.

That will ensure that private individuals will not institute any prosecutions of a vexatious character.
Although the debate is, I believe, confined to the particular amendment which I mentioned in moving the resolution, I may be allowed to advert to another matter to which I promised to give consideration pending the third reading of this Bill. It relates to the International Postage Convention. The committee will recall that a question arose as to whether it would be necessary for the public to put an additional war stamp on letters where the postage is already five cents, which is the maximum postage referred to in the convention. I find that the Post Office Department has communicated with the International Bureau at Berne, and in reply it has been advised that letters and postal cards for international service cannot be subjected to any tax or fee or postal charge other than that which is established by the provisions of paragraph 1 section 12-I do not desire to discuss again the question of whether this is a tax or a postal charge. It makes no difference whether it is the one or the other. It is not open to the Government, without violation of the convention in question, to impose an additional tax or an additional postal charge. That is in substance what I stated to the committee the other day.

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