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


William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


My right hon. friend has put forward the principle of uniformity. On account of my right hon. friend's long experience in legislation, I always treat any suggestions put forward By him with the greatest respect; but I will point out to him that in this amendment we are having regard absolutely to uniformity. My right hon. friend has overlooked the fact, or it has escaped his memory, that under the Inland Revenue Act, chapter 51, Revised Statutes, section 132, it is provided:
That every penalty Incurred for any offence against the provisions of this Act... if the amount or value of such penalty does not exceed $500, may be recovered or enforced by summary conviction under Part XV of the Criminal Code.
There is nothing in the Statute which says that information is to be laid by the Crown or under the authority of the Crown. Paley on Convictions, page 73, says:
Generally, any person may be an informer, but sometimes the statute governing the penalty allows only particular persons to inform.
The conclusion is, therefore, that any person may lay an information under the Inland Revenue Act for penalties recoverable by summary conviction.
Under the Inspection and Sale Act, chapter 85, Revised Statutes, section 45, it is provided that where the penalty or forfeiture exceeds $40, it may be sued for and recovered by any inspector, deputy inspector or any other person.
A somewhat different policy is provided by the Customs Act, section 266, which is as follows:
All penalties and forfeitures imposed by this Act or by any other Act relating to the customs or to trade or navigation shall, unless other provisions are made for the recovery thereof, be sued for, prosecuted and recovered
with costs by His Majesty's Attorney General of Canada, or in the name of the Commissioner of Customs, or any officer or officers of customs, or other person or persons thereunto authorized by the Governor in Council, either expressly or by general regulation or orders, and by no other person.
In practice what I understand is done is this: If the informer desires to lay an
information, he gives it to the Inland Revenue officer or officers, and prosecutions are then instituted. Therefore, so far as my hon. friend's exception or objection is founded upon the principle of uniformity, he will observe that we are strictly in accord with Dominion Statutes which have been in force for a number of years. There appears, therefore, no doubt that there is ample precedent, including the Inland Revenue Act itself, for the form of legislation here adopted of allowing a private individual to institute proceedings for a penalty; but in this particular case, for the reasons I have given, and in order that we may "avoid the possibility of vexatious litigation-I do not think that would have occurred-we have thought it well to lodge the right of prosecution only in a minister of the Crown. With that amendment to the Act, and in view of the fact that we are preserving, as I have stated, uniformity of the statutes, it would appear to me that the amendment that I have suggested would be quite ample to meet the objection raised by my right hon. friend.

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