Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
June 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Extradition in Canada


[This article was written in the 1930's and published in 1948; for the precise citation, see the end of the document.]

Extradition. By reason of treaties, conventions, and statutes, Canada no longer harbours criminals from other countries, and has not done so for many years. Extradition can now be enforced for nearly every class of crime except political offences. The British extradition Acts apply to the whole Empire, unless a Dominion, like Canada, has passed laws of its own on the subject. In early times arrangements were defective. Jay's treaty (1794) had an extradition clause limited to twelve years. Upon its expiry a period of constant friction ensued. Much diplomatic correspondence passed between Great Britain and Washington, especially respecting the right to search suspected slave-trade vessels hoisting the stars and stripes. The Ashburton Treaty (1842) put matters on a better footing. Provisions covering cases of murder, arson, robbery, forgery, etc., were included. Evidence to justify arrest had to be given before the offender was given up. In 1889 a supplementary convention added fraud by agent, perjury, abduction, mutiny on ships, etc. It also protected a refugee if he could show that his surrender was sought with a view to trying him in his own country on a political charge. Other elapses were added in 1900, 1908, 1909, 1922, and 1925. The convention of 1922 made extraditable "wilful desertion or wilful non-support of minor or dependent children", but this clause is practically inoperative. In 1925 crimes against laws prohibiting traffic in narcotics were put on the list. Canadian or American prisoners on their way to trial may be conveyed across the territories. of either country. Famous cases of attempted evasion of extradition include Boss Tweed, who fled to Spain, but was given up, although there was no treaty. Winslow, accused of forgery in Boston, went to London and fought proceedings to recover him for four years until he was given up in 1876. Lamirand, wanted for forgery and fraud against the Bank of France, took refuge in Montreal. Arrested on a governor-general's warrant, he was carried to Quebec in order to avoid legal delays before the Montreal courts, and was shipped back to Paris . He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. A celebrated incident was that of Oakay Hall, mayor of New York, accused of complicity in the Tweed ring fraud. Fixing his abode in England, he remained there after acquittal in New York. In 1889 he took action against a chance reference in Lord Bryce's American Commonwealth to the New York frauds, but the case was never tried. A recent case of some notoriety was that of Robert Instill, a Chicago financier who took refuge in Canada, and was, in 1934, extradited after a legal struggle, but was acquitted in the American courts of the charges brought against him.

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 313.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College