May 25, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Unionist (Liberal)


Why in face of section 219 does the minister think it at all necessary to add this amendment. That section already reads more strongly than this amendment, and you are endeavouring to so word the latter that the greatest doubt would prevail and expert evidence would have to be given as to whether the woman was or was not feeble-minded. She might be feeble-minded along one line and perfectly sane along other lines, and I think the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Blake) will back me up in that statement. Now you are taking from a clear-cut we'll-defined section and you are endeavouring to surround it with such difficulties that when a case comes before a judge to decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty medical evidence will have to be had first on one side and then on the other, that the girl is compos mentis in all but one thing, or non compos mentis all down the line. A man might be enticed by a female who appeared perfectly sane and able to take care of herself, he commits this offence, and then you make it a matter of expert testimony whether he has committed an unlawful act or not. I have no sympathy whatever for the man who knowingly seduces a woman who is feeble minded and appears so-punish him as severely as you like; but here in section 219 you have the offence laid down perhaps even stronger than this amendment in its definiteness:
Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to four years' imprisonment who unlawfully and carnally knows or attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of any female idiot or imbecile, insane or deaf and dumb woman or girl under circumstances which do not amount to rape.

You cannot make it stronger than that unless you get yourself into a maze of technicalities, and I submit to the minister that he had much better leave the section as it stands.

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