June 25, 1951

LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I do not think that the plain meaning of the word "sabotage" is so clear as my hon. friend would have us believe. The word "sabotage" is a word which is popularly and loosely used to include a number of things. If my hon. friend is concerned with the position of the subject, it seems to me that his position is much better by referring to a prohibited act and then defining that act as it is defined in this section. Subsection 2 reads:

In this section "prohibited act" means any act or omission that (a) impairs the efficiency or impedes the working of any vessel, vehicle, aircraft, machinery, apparatus or other thing;

And so on.

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

I will not pursue the matter, but it strikes me as a fairly wide provision. I also note that the imprisonment for this offence is a set term of ten years which I believe is as lengthy a term as that in connection with any offence which we have discussed tonight.

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

That is the maximum.

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

The minister says that is the maximum penalty. In most cases where it is the maximum, the section usually says that. This section just says "liable to imprisonment for ten years".

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

He is liable to imprisonment for ten years but he is not liable for any more than that. He can be given anything less than that.

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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Section agreed to. Sections 19 and 20 agreed to. On section 21-Warrant to observe operation of telephone equipment.


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Chairman, this is the section that introduces into our law a form of wire tapping. This section, the minister stated

this afternoon, had been requested by the attorney general of one of the provinces, or by the department of the attorney general, and this is the type of thing to which I believe the house should take most strenuous objection.

Some weeks ago in the course of a general discussion in the house I stated I was unalterably opposed to the principle of wire tapping. This section introduces a type of wire tapping, while the tapping does not actually permit of information being secured-or, in fact, denies it.

This section is one of those things that border on the sort of thing one expects in a police state, and must be guarded against. I had occasion today to look up the discussion in the United States which took place some years ago during the days of war, in reference to the whole problem of wire tapping. President Roosevelt summed up the situation when he said that the great problem today is to balance the need for law enforcement with the need for the protection of citizens against the abuse of such powers.

I do not think it has been before our supreme court; but the Supreme Court of the United States has spoken about wire tapping in language that could be understood. Now, I think certain questions arise. One of them is this: Have betting houses and common gambling houses become so widespread that they are undermining this nation? Certainly there is no evidence of it; and I cannot believe that conditions such as were revealed by the Kefauver commission are in existence in this country. In the United States it was shown that the law authorities and the underworld were operating together in various cities in connection with gambling and gaming houses, and common betting houses, to the detriment of democracy.

Even if you answer that question in the affirmative, it does not settle the matter; because liberty is never more in danger than it is when those who are well meaning, but who have no appreciation of what liberty means, by insidious means introduce things which though innocent in themselves ultimately bring about those things that characterize the police state.

This section looks innocent. It merely allows police officers to sit in and watch telephone calls in order to ascertain the degree to which the telephone is being used. But if we begin to allow police officers to do this, we take the first step along the lines toward the most intolerable abuses that can possibly be imagined, namely interference with the

Criminal Code

privacy of individuals by the totally inexcusable method of wire tapping, and by kindred means.

It is all very well to say that under this section wire tapping in itself is not going to be allowed. If we permit this to pass, it will constitute a precedent, and it will not be a long step, once this precedent has been established, for the state to ask for the legalization of the right to snoop into the private business and affairs of any individual in this country.

I know of nothing that arouses my personal antagonism more than the step being asked for by parliament, as provided for in this section. It looks innocent; but it is a step that can only lead to the desire of law officers to go the whole way and deny freedom of communication and the right of privacy.

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Dion (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall the section carry?

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

No. Mr. Chairman, I think it would be advisable to call it eleven o'clock now. If not I shall proceed for a few moments and then continue my remarks tomorrow, whichever the house prefers.

Section stands.

Progress reported.

Topic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO OFFENSIVE WEAPONS, PENALTY FOR OFFENCES OF A SEDITIOUS NATURE, IMPROPER USE OF MAILS, ETC.
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SUPREME COURT ACT

AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO APPEALS IN FORMA PAUPERIS

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Earlier in the day it

was understood that we would have third reading of Bill No. 400, an act to amend the Supreme Court Act. If there is no objection, the Minister of Justice would move that third reading.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO APPEALS IN FORMA PAUPERIS
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice) moved

the third reading of Bill No. 400, to amend the Supreme Court Act.

Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO APPEALS IN FORMA PAUPERIS
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Tomorrow we will

take up Bill No. 403, the dairy products act; the resolution to amend the Judges Act; Bill No. 391 to amend the Criminal Code; and some time during the day we will move to go into supply and call the last department, which is legislation. If we take up the estimates during the day we will consider the estimates of the Department of Transport and of the Department of National Defence.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, I think that the

calling of the last department should be withheld. After all, there are a number of departments to be called that are already

Business of the House before the house, and there are obvious reasons why it is desirable that one department, which only has a comparatively few items, and can be dealt with in a short time, should be held back.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

The explanation is

the following: We have three days to move to go into supply and to call departments that have not been called. They are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This is the last department. If we move to go into supply we intend to call that department of legislation. Even if we go into supply on Wednesday we still would have to make a formal motion, and grievances could be brought up. I do not see that there is much difference.

Then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday we do not need a formal motion.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I think it would be an advantage if it is deferred at least until Wednesday.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Will the hon. member undertake that if we do go into supply and do not call this department there will not be any debate?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

June 25, 1951