The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.
All judges and justices of the peace must have some property qualification.  Rascals with criminal records are not railroaded into judgeships in Canada.  I know of a judge in San Francisco who until the advent of the woman vote literally held his position by reason of his alliance with the white slavers.  I know of another judge in New York who held his position in spite of a criminal record by reason of the fact he could get himself elected by the disreputable gangs.  These things are virtually impossible under the Canadian system.  In the future the system may prove too rigid.  At the present time it works and keeps the courts clear of political influence.

Juries are not so universal in Canada as in the United States.  In civil cases, where the points of law are complicated, the tendency is to let the judge guide the verdict of the court.


There is one feature of Canadian justice which sentimentalists deplore.  It is that the lash is still used for crimes of violence against the person and for bestiality.  This is not a relic of barbarism.  It is the result of careful thought on the part of the Department of Justice—­the thought being that it is useless to speak to a man capable of bestiality in terms not articulate to his nature; and the fact remains that criminals of this class seldom come back for second terms of punishment for the same sort of crimes.

If you ask why few homicides are punished in the United States, and few escape in Canada—­I can not answer.  Political expediency, party heelers, technicalities—­the dotting of an i, the crossing of a t, the omission of a comma—­have no effect whatsoever on Canadian justice.  The courts are never defied, and the law takes its course.

The law not only takes its course relentlessly but the pursuit of crime literally never desists.  This feature of Canadian justice is a rude sharp shock to the unruly element pouring in with the new colonists.  A Montana gunman blew into a Canadian frontier town and in accordance with custom began “to shoot up” the bar rooms.  In twenty-four hours he awakened from his spree under sentence of sixty days’ hard labor.  “Let me out of this blamed Can-a-day,” he cursed.  “Who’d ‘a’ thought of takin’ any offense from touchin’ up this blamed dead town?”

A Texas outlaw succeeded in inducing a young Englishman of the verdantly bumptious and moneyed sort to go homestead hunting with him.  The Indians saw the two ride into the back country.  In spring only the Texan came out.  I forget what his explanation of the Englishman’s disappearance was.  In any other country under the sun, who would have ridden two hundred miles beyond nowhere to investigate the story of an outlaw about a young fool, who had plainly been a candidate for trouble?  But an old Indian chief meandered into the barracks of the nearest Mounted Police station, sat him down on the

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The Canadian Commonwealth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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