I would like to go back to the question I asked a few minutes ago, to which I would like an answer. I know that some time ago some gentlemen from Montreal went to the fprovinee of Nova Scotia and sold several automobiles that had been smuggled into Canada although they produced prima face evidence that the duty had been paid. I believe the victims are getting back their cars upon payment of the duty, and I see that the section as it stood previously was as follows:
If any person knowingly harbours, keeps, conceals purchases, sells or exchanges any goods unlawfully imported into Canada, whether such goods are dutiable or not, or whereon the duties lawfully payable have not been paid, such goods, if found, shall be seized and forfeited without power of remission, and, if such goods are not found, the person so offending shall forfeit the value thereof without power of remission.
That would appear to me as quite reasonable and proper, but I can quite understand that it may have been difficult in a great many instances to prove guilty knowledge on persons who had such goods in their possession. What I would1 like to know.now is whether the proposed section makes any
change in the law other than shifting the burden of proof. The new clause reads:
If any person, whether the owner or not, without lawful excuse. . . . harbours, keeps conceals, purchases-
And so on. Does that moan:
If any person, without knowing the goods to have been smuggled, harbours, keeps, conceals, purchases.
It is important that we know this. How can a person in whose possession are found smuggled goods, escape the penalty? How can he go into court and show that he has a lawful excuse? Supposing he says that he was furnished with some sort of entry paper, would it be said by the court that he should have looked into and satisfied himself as to the genuineness of it? Would that be a sufficient answer by the crown to the excuse which he was offering? That is an, important matter in that connection. I understand this is a copy of another section, and it may be that it is ample protection to the person who is accused, but the uncertainty should be cleared up. With regard to the general question of penalties, it is very important that we should scrutinize them, because undoubtedly the imposition of penalties which are too severe will not serve the object of carrying out the act properly.
Mr. EULE'R: I regret very much that I
could not hear all my hon. friend was saying. If I heard him correctly, what I did hear was that he was objecting to the fact that formerly the clause contained the word "knowingly," and that word is now 'being replaced by the words "without lawful excuse." If that is his objection, the answer to that is simply this: It is practically impossible in these cases to prove that a man knew and so to secure a conviction. Under this clause he is given the privilege of making a lawful excuse. Just what form that may take, I am not able to say. It may be given in various ways.
Mr. ILSLEY': Does the minister not think it is important to know that? There are men all over the country who may be proceeded against.