Mr. JOHN H. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) moved the second reading of Bill No. 40, to amend the Criminal Code. He said:
When introducing this Bill I took occasion to explain shortly its provisions. Perhaps the simplest way for me to proceed now would be to read the two clauses of the Bill. They are as follows:
Every person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for two years, with or without' hard labour, or to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or to both imprisonment and fine, who knowingly with intent to defraud, sells or delivers, or causes to be sold or delivered, to His Majesty or to any officer or servant of His Majesty, any defective military, militia or naval stores of any kind or description, whether such stores are for His Majesty in the right of His Government of Canada or in the right of any other of His Majesty's dominions, or who in any way commits any act of dishonesty, fraud, or deception upon His Majesty or any of His Majesty's officers or servants in connection with the sale or lease or purchase or delivery or manufacture of such military, militia or naval stores.
If any offence referred to in this section is committed by a body corporate, every director
and officer of such body corporate who has taken any part or share in such fraud, dishonesty or deception, or who knows or had reason to suspect that such fraud, dishonesty or deception would be committed, or knows or had reason to suspect that such fraud, dishonesty or deception has been committed, and does not at once inform His Majesty thereof, shall be liable to the penalties imposed by this section in all respects as if such offence was committed by said directors or officers themselves, and every such body corporate, director or officer convicted of such offence shall be thereafter incapablp of contracting with His Majesty or with any of His Majesty's officers or servants, or of holding any contract or office with, from or under him or them, or of receiving any benefit under any contract so made.
The necessity for such a measure as this will, I think, be admitted by the Minister of Justice and by every member of the House. I was looking over the criminal law to ascertain whether we really had any provision for punishment of those who defraud the Government in the sale of military stores, and I was unable to find that Parliament had legislated on this question at any previous time.
There is a-large number of provisions relating to military affairs; for example, we have imposed penalties for persuading soldiers to desert, for concealing a deserter, for attending a drill without lawful authority, for obliterating the marks on military stores, for being in possession of stores without lawful authority, for receiving clothing, etc., from a soldier or deserter. We have a large number of provisions in the code that relate to minor offences of that kind, but no provision that punishes a contractor who deliberately and with intention of fraud palms off shoddy goods on the Militia Department. We know that at a time like this, when there is great excitement and when everybody in the department is busy with matters of great importance, the dishonest man is also busy. It is his opportunity to get contracts, to supply articles that are not up to the standard, and in this way to deceive the Government, and so do far more damage to the public interest than could be done by men who might commit the minor offences to which I have referred; but at the same time no provision has been made for such cases. 1 do not know to what extent these things are carried on, but if we are to credit the press we must believe that they are carried on to some extent. The press of Great Britain has made reference to them. The London Times, even, has discussed the question of -the character of some of the supplies that have been furnished to the Canadian soldiers. I have
seen frequent references in the press to this subject, and what startled me most was the reference of the Minister of Militia himself, who in Vancouver said that he would like to have authority to shoot the dishonest contractors who were imposing upon the Government in this way.