April 23, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister Without Portfolio)


Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Referring to the proposition of placing the onus upon the accused, and of limiting the right of appeal, from a legal standpoint, of course, it is an extraordinary course to pursue. My hon. friend for St. John said, with reference to the temperance law in the province of Nova Scotia, that the right of certiorari has been taken away. I think it has been taken away in probably every province in the Dominion in regard to the Temperance Act, and I quite agree that cases have occurred where the right of certiorari has been taken and an injustice has been done. We all know the circum-
Narcotic Drugs Act

stances under which legislation of that character is enforced, but no one has seriously questioned that parliament did a wise thing when they took away the right of certiorari in regard to cases of persons keeping disorderly houses. These matters are almost invariably tried by recorders or stipendiary magistrates in the cities, who are well qualified to deal with legal questions when they arise and also determine the facts. In regard to this particular matter, whatever we might say in regard to temperance matters, or any other matters that come within the purview of the criminal law, we are all agreed that this nefarious traffic, which saps the mind and body of the people, can only be dealt with in the strongest possible way. I am instructed that in the city of Montreal, out of 68 appeals that were taken, I think, during the last six months, 40 of the appellants, when the cases came on to be heard in appeal, never turned up, which indicates that the parties who were appealing had put up the necessary security merely for the purpose of gaining time, and evading the penalties which the law had provided and were willing to pay the money in order to escape. It is a well-ascertained fact that the traffic which is going on in regard to these drugs is one which, in the interests of the nation, must be dealt with with the same severity as if we had the application of military law. I think the sense of the House and the sense of . the committee would be that in proceedings against a physician, or registered druggist, or a veterinary, full rights should be preserved to the defendant in the case, but we are only doing our duty when we declare that no technical objection, or no ground which might be used by way of certiorari should be permitted to interfere with carrying out in a stern way the law which ought to be enforced in the interest of the nation and of our people.

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