Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)
You are creating a duplication, that is all.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
You are creating a duplication, that is all.
I hardly see where it comes in. I will read the figures from the minister's table; perhaps that will be better. On page 1228 of Hansard I find, under the heading of expenditures, that the total public debt charges amount to 31-30 per cent of the total revenue. Then, continuing to read the table on page 1228, I find that government-owned enterprises account for 9-84 per cent of the total revenue. That includes losses charged to the consolidated1 fund in regard to the Canadian National Railways and the National Harbours Board, and non-active loans and advances to these two enterprises.
But that represents losses, not interest charges.
But we are paying the interest on the Canadian National bonds. Let me read further from this table, showing the percentage of the total paid out in various ways:
Subsidies and special grants to
Grants in aid to provinces 6-40
AH other assistance 3-79
Drought area relief 2-15
Dominion projects (special supplementary estimates) 5-45
Old age pensions 4-98
Pensions and after care of soldiers,
pensions, war and military 9-53
Treatment, and after care of returned soldiers 2-66
Even taking only the funded debt charges I submit that 31 cents out of every dollar collected by way of taxes goes to pay interest, which is out of all proportion to all other amounts we are paying to take care of the people of this country. Therefore I submit that this budget, like last year's budget, still places the burden of taxation upon those least able to bear it and that we continue to pay too large a portion of our income in interest charges on bonds. We are continuing to practise what we have done for so many years: To him that hath shall be given, and from him that has very little we will take away even some of what he has.
The question is on the main motion.
Mr. W. R. TOMLINSON (Bruce):
The Budget-Mr. Tomlinson
expended from the inception of the act to March, 1935, >1269,142.09. But then we come to election year, when numbers of officers were appointed throughout the dominion. From April 1, 1935, to March 31, 1936, the administration of the act cost $712,015.06. Yet I hear hon. members talking about the National Employment Commission having cost $87,000! In my own county the act was, of course, a juicy proposition for a few of the old Conservative stalwarts. On September 1, 1034, when the act was proclaimed in Ontario they appointed Mr. Snyder of Wiarton, the president of the Conservative Association, as official receiver. He was to receive $1,800 a year and all expenses. But from September to the end of December, 1935, he received a salary of $2,130, and expenses of $627.07. Some other good Conservatives thought this was too luscious a morsel for Mr. Snyder to keep to himself. So a little pressure was brought to bear, and Mr. Rowland, of Walker-ton, obtained an appointment. He was appointed on February 19, 1935, and held office until December 31, of that year. In that period he received a salary of $1,746.23, and expenses of $946.73. Why, Mr. Speaker, he was running around the country selling the scheme like life insurance: every time he coaxed a farmer to take advantage of the act he received a fee and his travelling expenses; at the same time he was doing a little electioneering. Both these gentlemen were active throughout the county, and when the government changed, ion October 14, 1935, I asked the government to fire them, and they were fired without hesitation. Here is the cost since then. We appointed one man in the town of Kincardine on January 1, 1936. His salary to the end of December, 1936, was $1,245, and expenses $183.12, or less than one-fifth of what the former government paid for the same services. And .don't forget, he does all the work the other two receivers did over the whole county. As I say, it is less than one-fifth of what the former government paid for the same work. Of course that was election year and explains the extra cost. That is the sort of thing the farmers had dished up to them during the Conservative regime.
I believe it was the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Deachman) who said that 54 per cent of the people of Canada live in the cities, the rest in the country. How has that come about? It is easily explained. How could you ask the young men and women of Canada to live on the farm where they could not receive enough money even to buy clothes? That is what happened in the five years of the Conservative regime. These young people
could not get enough money to spend; there was no future for them. That is not fair play to the farmers-and all the farmers ask for is fair play. They want fair prices for their products; they want a fair return for their labour. And to-day they are receiving a fair return. I admit it could be better, but they are satisfied to-day as a result of the foreign markets which the present Liberal government has made available to them-foreign markets for their wheat and their hogs; because under the present agreement we are guaranteed a market in Britain. That means a great deal to us. It must not be forgotten that a farmer is entitled to the conveniences that are enjoyed by the average town resident to-day. No one will dispute that. Have the farmers enjoyed those conveniences? No, they have not. I am glad to say that the provincial government is now placing hydro at their disposal, and it is up to the dominion government to see that they receive fair prices for their products. As I say, they are receiving fair prices now, and conditions will improve as long as we pursue, under the Liberal government, the policy of foreign markets. Give us foreign markets to absorb our surplus, and then our boys and girls will come back to the farm. For there is no better thing than life on the farm, and with improving conditions our young people will not seek the bright lights of the city.
I am going to support this budget because, as I understand the policy of the government which I pledged myself to support, the object is, first, to place the basic industries of Canada in a thriving position, and once that is done, then automatically the other industries will prosper. As a matter of fact, that is what has happened. The manufacturing plants in my riding are increasing wages. They are not closed by any means, as we were led by the Conservatives to believe they would be. On the contrary, they are prosperous.
At six o'clock the house took recess.
The house resumed at eight o'clock. PRIVATE BILLS
Bill No. 44, for the relief of Clara Emily Taylor Elkin.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill' No. 45, for the relief of Yetta Gins-burg.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 46, for the relief of Margurite Emily Coombe Low.-Mr. Jacobs. Criminal Code Amendment Bill No. 47, for the relief of Mary May Rowell Thom.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 48, for the relief Eva Josephine Millicent Good Ross. Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 49, to incorporate Federal Fire Insurance Company of Canada.-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City). Bill No. 50, to incorporate Wellington Fire Insurance Company.-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City). Bill No. 51, to incorporate Gore District Mutual Fire Insurance Company.-Mr. Edwards. Bill No. 52, to incorporate Sterling Insurance Company of Canada.-Mr. Parent (Quebec West and South). Bill No. 53, to incorporate Toronto General Insurance Company.-Mr. Plaxton. Bill No. 54, to incorporate the Sons of Scotland Benevolent Association.-Mr. Reid.
Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview) moved the second reading of Bill No. 22, to amend the Criminal Code.
Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):
The subject matter of this bill has been discussed in the house in three different sessions. On February 13, 1935, I brought to the attention of the house the slaughter on the highways of this country which is going on night and day to such an extent that almost every highway in this country is coloured with blood. The debate went on all afternoon and into the evening, and the Prime Minister of the day (Mr. Bennett), now the leader of the opposition, was so much impressed with the casualties that he offered me a committee. As I already was busy on one committee I was unable to go on with another during that session.
In the session of 1936 I introduced Bill No. 57, to amend the criminal code, dealing with various phases of motor car hazards. While it is true that this matter is under provincial control in part, still the criminal law of this country is under this parliament, and we should be able to take some action. The bill was discussed on May 12 last, and after a short debate the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) moved the adjournment of the debate, just as was done in another case the other evening. I have been trying to find out since then whether this is a free parliament or not, because if it is a member should be allowed to bring up any question coming within section 91 of the British North America Act, discuss it and press it to a division. That is one of the principles of
Liberalism. The Minister of Justice moved the adjournment of the debate. There were five or six other speakers who wished to speak that evening, and he said he would consider bringing down an amendment to the code. Then about a week before the session closed the minister brought down a general bill to amend the criminal code, and my amendments were not in it and nothing was done.
In my opinion there should be a standing legal committee of this house every session on law reform. The criminal code deals with the liberty of the subject and the rights of property. Law reform is a most important problem. This parliament is far behind England and the United States in what has been done in that respect. As a result of my bill being brought in, the Minister of Justice in the dying days of last session brought down a bill, after a number of hon. members had gone home, and when it was too late for members to consult with judges, magistrates and crown officers in their districts. The result was that no clauses of Bill No. 57 which I had introduced were considered; the house had no opportunity of considering them. If the minister is going to bring down a bill to amend the criminal code or bring about any laiw reform, it should be done early in the session as is done in the old country, so that members of parliament may consult judges, magistrates and crown officers on the merits or demerits of the proposed legislation.
I wish to acknowledge the debt of gratitude we owe to the press particularly and to the motor league and to the careful motorists of this country for what they are doing to prevent accidents and prolong life and aid in public safety. Were any devastating disease to take the toll the motor car is taking by night and by day, science and medicine would know no rest until they had found a cure. The death toll by the motor car constitutes Canada's greatest scandal. The slaughter goes on all over the country, and the economic losses are appalling. The worst thing about it, I think, is the indifference of the public, and of a great many newspapers and the legislatures, though I may exempt from that criticism a great many Ontario papers, especially the Toronto papers.
The bill I have introduced is not perfect by any means, but section 1 is the same section the Minister of Justice himself proposed during the session of 1930. At that time an amendment was made and adopted, unwisely, I think, but I believe the first section of this bill should pass. The amendment moved to the minister's bill in 1930 and adopted in committee of the whole has
Criminal Code Amendment
been found to be inconsistent, unworkable and full of loopholes, with the result that it has been absolutely futile in checking the slaughter, as many of the ablest judges have pointed out. Any steps taken by way of collecting reports have simply led to a glorious fiasco, while the slaughter goes right on.
This is the score in the city of Toronto, from which I come: Last week-end there were thirteen people hurt. The totals to date for 1937 so far are: Dead, 11; hurt, 538; drivers gaoled, 29. The figures for 1936 were: Dead, 69; hurt, 3,475; drivers gaoled, 104. I have in my hand a picture of an accident which I saw on Saturday, May 4, 1935. Here you can see the husband running up; here you see the wife, who had just bought a newspaper and who, on attempting to cross the highway, was killed instantly. That sort of thing is going on in Toronto all the time. The hospitals are filled with these accident cases; the accommodation has had to be increased. You could fill the seats of this chamber fifteen times over with the people hurt last year in Toronto alone. At the opening of the Toronto winter assizes, January 11, 1937, Chief Justice Rose had this to say to the grand jury with regard to the present law:
"The toll of life by motors is appalling and the number of people injured is infinitely greater," declared Chief Justice Rose in his address to the grand jury this afternoon.
"Careless driving will stop just as soon as the people of Ontario make up their minds that it is to stop," he continued. "It cannot be done by more motor regulations, you would need to have as many constables as there are motorists, to enforce them, but it can be stopped by the penalties of the law and people must not be afraid or get the idea that they will incur odium if they give information that results in convictions.
It is the part of juries to see that there are convictions. If lawbreakers get the idea there will not be conviotions they will continue."
His lordship said there appeared to be something illogical in the fact that a motorist who kills gets a term in prison while another who is merely fortunate enough to injure his victim gets off easily. The reckless driver is a potential murderer, and does not deserve leniency and juries should make up their minds to that effect.
Five years ago in the old country they appointed a committee of both houses of parliament to go into this question, and they got something done. On February 13, 1935, there was a non-political debate on this question in this house on a resolution of mine, in which some twenty-seven members took part. I wrote the Minister of Justice early in the present session to see if he would not nominate a committee to go into the matter. I do not want to be bringing it up all the time; in fact, I may not bring it up again,
because I can get no results. They got results in England, however; they created a ministry of transport. It is true that in Canada the provinces have some jurisdiction; the federal government here has not the same power as in England. Here I have a newspaper picture of the Minister of Transport of England down in the east end of London among the working people, many of whom are killed each year while crossing the road, and seeing at first hand the cause and effect of accidents.
I should like now to refer to three or four paragraphs of the bill; then I might go over the clauses, and I should be able to conclude in five or ten minutes. No one of an independent mind should have any doubt but that the condition of motor traffic on our highways is as discreditable to this country as was the enforcement of prohibition in the United States, and I submit that this problem of motor statistics must be approached with an open mind. I have already given the figures for the whole world, but people seem to lack interest. In five years in the United States 125,000 people were killed and
4,000,000 were injured on the highways- twice the number of men killed while serving overseas with the United States expeditionary force.
One of the commandments of God is that no one shall kill, but many men of real worth, through selfishness and carelessness, have violated the laws not only of God but of man. No invention has contributed more to the education, pleasure and enjoyment of the people than the motor car; but its use is one thing, its abuse another. As with every great invention, use and abuse are two distinct things. During the past century scientific discoveries in medicine, chemistry, and physics have resulted in untold good to humanity, but the abuse of some of these discoveries in chemistry, biochemistry and physics has in war proved a curse to mankind. And in like manner to-day the abuse of the motor car is a curse to humanity.
On looking into this question one finds involved in it tremendous annual losses in deaths, accidents, injuries and money. Untold sorrow and suffering is caused, intense pain and grief exceding anything the human imagination can conceive. The only evils which have equalled it are plague, pestilence and famine, battle, murder and sudden death. It would be misleading and mischievous to attribute all the blame for 'these ghastly horrors on our highways to all who drive and use motor cars. Ninety-five per cent of the drivers want to obey the law; it is the five per cent about whom I am complaining.
Criminal Code Amendment
One has to study the records to know the facts, and as I study the records of thousands of cases I am driven to the conclusion that beyond dispute this small minority must take the major part of the blame. They appear to have exploited for their own pleasure or profit the generous tolerance of others by using their cars in an irresponsible, careless, cruel and unchristian way. The fault is grievous, and they can have no ground for complaint if they are put under restraint as far as the criminal code is concerned. Ignorance and thoughtlessness are no palliatives; obedience is the only reparation they can make, and it is long overdue.
I should like to quote something that was said by the late Chief Justice R. M. Meredith, who so ably presided on circuit for nearly 46 years and may I say that I am sorry to see such a great name criticized, especially in the province of Ontario, after what the Meredith family have done for the province as judicial officers. At the last assizes over which the late chief justice presided in Toronto he addressed the grand jury and remarked on the very amendments that were made in 1930. He said:
And as now nearly everyone is a ear owner and car driver, young and old, of all sorts and conditions, it is difficult to get justice in even a civil action.
Car-driver-jurors have nearly all the speed fever; and self-preservation instincts are so strong that they will not be persuaded to decide against drivers who have been no more unlawful than they themselves often, if not commonly, are.
What then is the remedy? I think it should be: Make the laws plain and reasonably severe and enforce them; and cancel licences freely.
And at the other end of the matter: Give no licence to anyone who is not proved to be mentally and physically, and from experience and a knowledge of the highway laws, thoroughly capable.
In England this question has been taken up. In five years, from 1929 to 1933 inclusive,
34,000 have been killed and 973,782 injured over there. But in Canada no interest is taken in the slaughter. It is said that accidents are unavoidable, and we are told that an outcome of the modern car is the desire for speed. Everyone seems to have the speed fever, except the House of Commons and the Senate, unless in the dying days of a session. I do not know how many of us will be here next session, from the way I see people driving in the city of Toronto. Hon. members ought to go down to the Danforth or Greenwood constituencies and see the speed fiends from all over who drive through the streets on Saturday nights. I never saw anything like it in my life. It takes a long time to cross a street. One has to wait two or three minutes
before it is safe to cross; as a matter of fact, the only safe way is to go down to a street corner and cross with the light. Sometimes even that is not safe, because motorists try to beat the light. A situation such as this calls for united efforts from the church, the press, parliament, the legislatures, boards of trade and chambers of commerce, and all public bodies. The privation and sorrow, the broken lives and shattered homes, resulting from such a holocaust are just as real as at the time of the nation's supreme trial in the war. It is hidden and suffered in silence, but how long will that continue to be so?
Three features dominate in the conduct of motor traffic: a domineering indifference to the convenience of others, excessive speed, and congestion. Ever since man learned to direct a machine more powerful than himself he has asserted his superiority of force over his neighbours. " Make way or take the consequences " has been his cry. Yet this indifference to others is limited to' a small number of motor drivers. The motor leagues of the provinces make the same complaint. It is a small number out of the large body of drivers who transgress; 99 per cent of them respect and obey the law. The majority of motor drivers have only a hazy knowledge of the mechanism of their machine, and for absolute control the only condition in which a car is fit to be driven at thirty miles an hour is perfect adjustment and condition. Even so the machine is potentially as dangerous as a loaded gun and must be handled with equal care and vigilance. A moment's inattention may be fraught with dire results. Every motor vehicle is a dangerous implement, even when controlled by the most expert, and requires incessant vigilance in all circumstances, especially at speeds above thirty miles an hour.
The debate in 1935 took place on February 13.
Transportation should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. The Department of Justice seems to rely on turning the matter over to the provinces. There is no reason why slaughter on the highways should be permitted while the House of Commons and the Department of Justice are having a sit-down strike-because that is all we have been having in connection with this matter. In fact, the Department of Justice is always on a sit-down . strike, on this question anyway.
I will amend what I said the other night about the Department of Mines and Resources, because I believe that department takes second place when it comes to a question of the sleeping sickness with which the Department of Justice seems to be afflicted on
Criminal Code Amendment
this particular question. I happen to know about it, because the Minister of Justice on a former occasion simply moved the adjournment of the debate, and nothing was done about it. That was done in the last hour or two of the session.
May I read an editorial from a Liberal paper, the Toronto Daily Star. I do not often quote that paper, but its sporting column is all right, and it is sound on many matters and in the matter now before us. They are copying the Evening Telegram, which has waged this battle for five or six years on the need of motor car regulation as a pioneer on the subject. Lawlessness has crept into Canada from the United States, with the result that the freedom of the press has been almost destroyed. The old weekly independent country papers, which were the backbone of the rural press, have been destroyed. May I pay tribute to the Toronto Star for what it said about my leader a few nights ago by the Observer. Hon. members have heard a great deal about the Premier of Ontario and his budget to-day. Now listen to this from the editorial in the Star on Monday, March 8:
Growing alarm over the increasing number of motor fatalities due to the use of liquor is being shown on both sides of the international boundary.
i .,[1Jl'rinK the year 1936 the number of persons killed in automobile accidents in the United States reached 38,000, which is more than half the number of United States troops who lost then- lives in the G-reat war. Every week last year 730 citizens of the republic on the average lost their lives in smash-ups on highways or streets. A graph showing liquor consumption monthly over a period of two and a half years and also the number of automobile fatalities shows the number of fatalities rising and falling in almost exact proportions with the quantity of liquor consumed.
Many factors contribute to automobile fatalities, some of which are not susceptible of change. But the drunken driver is not in that category. It is a terrifying experience to be on a highway when a car driven by an intoxicated person comes tearing towards you, swerving from side to side of the road. Premier Hepburn, Hon. Mr. Faulkner, Hon. Mr. McQuesten, Sir James Dunn and Mr. Walters, the comptroller of finance, when driving together on Sunday night were thrown about by another car side swiping them after hitting a third car, and it is alleged that the offending driver, as so often happens m such cases, wanted to pick a fight with those whose lives he had imperilled.
Something more must be done to reduce the loss of life and limb in motor accidents. The police, the magistrates and the crown attorneys have a serious responsibility in that connection, they should not permit charges involving the use of liquor to be reduced because of the influence of the person accused, but should act in every instance m the interest of justice and public safety.
I shall not go further, although I have more editorials from the Toronto papers, the Globe, the Mail and many others throughout Canada.
May I pay tribute to those newspapers in Ontario of various parties for the stand they have taken in this matter, and in attempting to call to the attention of the people the terrible slaughter that is taking place. The hospitals are full of these cases. One cannot stand in a Toronto hospital for more than an hour without seeing some one brought in, the victim of reckless driving.
I would ask hon. members to turn to Bill No. 22, section 1. It is proposed to strike out the word "intoxicated" and insert instead the words "under the influence of alcohol or of any narcotic"-the words used in the bill brought down in 1930 by the Minister of Justice. Then the words "or has the care or control of a motor vehicle or automobile, whether it is in motion or not," are deleted, the new section reading:
Everyone who, while under the influence of alcohol or of any narcotic, drives any motor vehicle or automobile is guilty of an offence, and liable-
And so on. There are some changes in the penalties. I do not say the bill is perfect- far from it. I introduced it only with a view to bringing the matter before the House of Commons. Under section 2 of the bill some changes are made in connection with racing and cutting in. Paragraph 7 of section 2 is a new paragraph, following the law in New York state, where they have what is known as unjustifiable homicide. That means that although a person may not have been altogether liable for the accident, yet it takes two to make an accident, and he is guilty of unjustifiable homicide. The Toronto Star stated in an editorial that in time to come any man who kills another on the highway, whether he be wholly or partially liable, will be penalized. A driver having caused a death ought not to drive for two years. What right has a person to drive who has killed another with his car? He should not be permitted to drive for two years. The person killed had just as much right to live as the driver, and there should be some penalty attached to causing death.
Section four deals with the charge of manslaughter arising out of the operation of motor vehicles. There is little change made in this section. Section five deals with trial by jury. On trial by a jury of persons who cause death or serious injury, it is desirable that the functions of the jury should not be curtailed or abolished. There has been much criticism of cases of gross negligence having been taken from the jury*. The jury are required to take the law to be what the judge
Criminal Code Amendment
says it is, and owing to the many cases withdrawn by order of the judge, trial by jury in those cases is negatived, and there are so many loopholes that many persons guilty of gross negligence get off. The increased accidents require that the law should be brought up to date to meet changing conditions, while preserving also the liberty of the subject.
Section six deals with another matter. In conclusion, I suggest that section one should be adopted and that during the recess a committee composed of members from all parties in this house should consider this problem. I am not criticizing motor drivers, far from it, but I believe that in the interests of public safety something should be done. We should not meet here year after year and do nothing about this important matter.
Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):
I have followed with a great deal of interest the discussions which have taken place on this proposed measure, not only when I was in a more responsible position, but during more recent months. Nothing strikes the average man more in these days than the loss of life upon our highways due to the operation of motor vehicles. Frankly, I have been astounded at the number of deaths reported lately in the press from this cause. I do believe the provisions contained in section one of this bill would go a considerable distance to end this condition There is no doubt, as the daily press states, that in many of these cases the drivers are under the influence of liquor, and there are disastrous results which in their saner senses would not be contemplated. In my opinion, if we add to the criminal law of this country effective provisions against the conditions that prevail, we will do much to remedy that of which we complain.
There are those who think that making an offence criminal does not add to the weight of public opinion against it. I disagree, when it comes to dealing with matters of this kind. This is a day of high speed, a day in which we hurry rapidly to get from one place to another. I can only say t/hat my own experience has been that frequently I have travelled at rates which upon looking back seem to have been improper. Most accidents happen through thoughtlessness, and the creation of public opinion by making the offence criminal I believe will do much to prevent them. I realize there are some substantially contentious provisions in this bill, but I believe section one will go a long way to end a lot of this difficulty. Section one declares :
Every one who, while under the influence of alcohol or of any narcotic, drives any motor vehicle or automobile is guilty of an offence.
The mere driving of a motor car while under the influence of alcohol or a narcotic constitutes an offence. I think that is a sound provision, considering present day conditions of our civilization. The section then provides for two classes of responsibility. The first is trial under indictment with appropriate punishment, and the other, under summary conviction. The section then provides that the provisions of section 1035 of the code, in so far as it authorizes the imposition of a fine in lieu of any punishment otherwise authorized, and of section 1081, shall not apply in the case of a conviction for an offence under this subsection. In other words, the punishment is imprisonment without the option of a fine.
Reading an English journal a few days ago I was struck with the fact that a speeding nobleman had been brought into the courts for the third time. His permit was cancelled, I think for a term of years, although it may have been only months. This gentleman was not under the influence of liquor, but he was a speed artist; he had been at it for some time and the authorities made up their minds to stop him. In this country I have noticed quite frequently that just at twilight cars travel at a rate of speed quite unsafe for the walking public. Largely through the efforts of Lord Buckmaster in the English House of Lords, the rights of the pedestrian have been established beyond peradventure. He has the paramount right upon the streets, and the man in the automobile must make the operation of his car subordinate to the rights of the pedestrian.
I am bound to say that this is not the case in continental Europe. I must confess frankly that on one occasion when in a continental city I found it almost like running an obstacle race to avoid being run over. We cannot afford to countenance that sort of thing in this country, and I suggest to the minister that when he brings down his amendments to the criminal code he should consider including section one of this bill among them. I recognize that there may be differences of opinion as to the other features of this measure. But I do not think it is unfair in a country such as this to introduce into our law, where it may be difficult to prove negligence in the sense in which that word is technically used but which really constitutes negligence in the sense that the person operating the machine is made liable, a provision that the causing of the death of another through the operation of a motor car shall constitute an offence. I understand this section is taken from a New York statute, and I believe it should operate very' well in this country.
Criminal Code Amendment
The first part of section two deals with racing and cutting in. The next subsection deals with the causing of death in a culpably negligent manner. The next subsection provides that a person having caused death shall not be permitted to drive for two years, or whatever period the house may think is reasonable.
That is a provincial law.
If you make it a punishment for a crime they may or may not pay attention to it. We can make it a punishment for a crime, and the fact that you deprive a man of something he may enjoy under provincial law may be a valid exercise of the power of the dominion with respect to punishment for criminal offences.
I meant that the present provincial laws provide for a man losing his licence under such conditions.
I am afraid that some of them do not. They make provision for the suspension of the licence, but if a man is found not guilty, the punishment does not ensue. This section proposes that if anyone is killed in consequence of an accident there shall be no licence issued to drive for a period of time. I am not going to discuss the other questions raised as to the jury being the determinant factor and the provision that there shall be a certain number of women on the jury. Those matters are not relevant to this particular point.
But sections 1 and 2 deal with the enactment of safeguards in our criminal law whereby those who are becoming careless, and increasingly so, may realize that the long, strong arm of the state is to be extended to prevent them from continuing that course of conduct. I suggest to the minister that, rather than entirely disregard the provisions of the measure, he might give it his consideration when he is bringing down his statutory amendments. I know there exists in Montreal a voluntary organization the purpose of which is to render more safe travel by pedestrians on the streets and the use of automobiles. That voluntary effort is highly to be commended, and I think this measure is worthy of consideration in that it looks towards the punishment of offenders. I hope the minister will find: it possible to give it the consideration which in my opinion it deserves.
Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):
After what has been said by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) I do not think it is necessaiy for me to add anything. I should like simply to express my accord with the purposes of this
bill. I think we all realize that the streets and roads in their present arrangement were devised primarily for pedestrians and for horse-drawn vehicles. Automobiles have come along more recently and have pretty well pushed horse-drawn vehicles out of use; further, they have rendered crossing the streets extremely difficult for most people. Even in the cities where there are stop-and-go signals travel is not safe, because, though one may be watching the signals, a reckless driver will take his chance, and none of us on foot has any chance against a powerful car. It seems to me that in view of the tremendous toll which has been taken by traffic accidents, something drastic ought to be done. I hope the minister will insert in the criminal code a provision that will act as a deterrent and thereby lessen the large number of accidents, especially to children, which are taking place all the time in the streets of our cities.
Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Albemi):
I should like to support the first section of this bill. I would far rather have a man sent to gaol for thirty days for driving a car while drunk than I would wait till he had killed somebody and then see him go to the penitentiary for three years for manslaughter, and if he gets the idea that he can drive a car while he is drunk he is almost certain to end by killing somebody. It would therefore, I think, be a benefit to such a man that he should be subject to this penalty. I notice that the provision is " while under the influence of alcohol." It is going to be very difficult to determine when a man is "under the influence." The old phrase was " while intoxicated."
That is changed.