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


Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)



I certainly am of the opinion that the amendment which is now proposed ought to be favourably considered. This tax is a restriction, as all taxes are, upon the liberty of the subject. It is taking away from every one's revenue, and it may be abused. We know that all such taxes which bear a penalty are liable to be very seriously abused by a class of speculators who make it their duty to see that a man does not trespass beyond the law, and who take advantage of the opportunity if he does trespass. I approve the amendment, but I think my hon. friend would improve Tt IT Ee were to say:
All penalties imposed by this Act may be sued for, prosecuted and recovered with costs by His Majesty's Attorney General of Canada.
Why go beyond that? The amendment goes on to say:
Or in respect of penalty under Part 1, in the name of the Minister of Finance, or in respect of penalties under Part 2 and Part 3, in the name of the Minister of Inland Revenue.
The Attorney General, by reason of his office, is the one who should look after

infringements of the law.- It is not in the province of the Minister of Finance nor of the Minister of Inland Revenue to look after infringements of the law. That is the special duty conferred upon the Department of Justice. I cannot see any reason, and my hon. friend cannot give any good reason, why in one case the Attorney General should prosecute and in another, not the Attorney General, but a minister, should prosecute. My hon. friend is not able to give any good reason why there should be a departure from the principle to which I have referred, that is, that the Department of Justice is entrusted with looking after infringement of the law.

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