Mr. Chairman, as was indicated by the hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson), a member should not be reproached with slowing down the proceedings if he chooses to make a few remarks.
Upon receiving both versions, the French and the English, I looked through them carefully, and found that the English version said this:
Any publication a dominant characteristic- (Translation):
Whereas in French, I found this:
-publication dont la caracteristique dominante-
I must say I found the English version much more air-tight, because, contrary to my belief, the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Eudes) has indicated that there is not merely one dominant characteristic. A moment ago the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) gave an illustration that might perhaps be carried a bit further. Take a painting representing the sea and the sky. You might ask a man to stand before that painting and tell you what, in his estimation, is the dominant characteristic of the picture. Now for that particular individual it might perhaps be the blue of the sky, or the green of the sea, or again the green of the mountains; it would all depend on the individual concerned, on his frame of mind, his tastes, etc. He would say what, in his view, is the dominant characteristic. However, on the basis of the French version, the crown attorney might feel that the dominant characteristic is one thing, while the attorney for the defence, if he is a better attorney, could prove that the dominant characteristic is this or that other thing whereas, in fact, neither characteristic might have occurred to the person having the publications in his possession, because the dominant characteristic is appreciated on the basis of an individual's education, culture and outlook.
That is why I am of the opinion that the present English version, as well as the French version-which will probably be corrected- do more justice than the previous ones.
One might then conclude that in the text or picture there may be more than one char-
acteristic which are precisely of the nature referred to in section 11.
Now, in the second place, I believe that amendment proposed by the hon. member for Port Arthur (Mr. Fisher) is unwarranted, first because of the reasons outlined by the Minister of Justice, and then, one must not forget that we are dealing with a matter covered by the Criminal Code and that the mens rea, criminal intent, must be established. If a scientist should be brought to court for utilizing or having in his possession one of those publications, we still have to prove that, having those publications in hand, he had some criminal intent; unless that is proven there can be no proof of the offence with which he is charged.
Furthermore, as the Minister of Justice said a moment ago, if the matter involves no danger for the public welfare, the common weal, the accused cannot be found guilty.
Now, in closing, I suggest it is extremely difficult to find a definition of obscenity. I listened to the article read into the record by the hon. member for Nickel-Belt (Mr. Godin) and I must say that even the authors of that article, the editors of that magazine, who tried to devise a definition, failed in the attempt.
In my opinion, the definition which is being proposed today will adequately serve the needs of the population, and the Minister of Justice-
Topic: CRIMINAL CODE