January 20, 1911


down on their beats-and they are working more than eight hours a day-with overcoats which cost this government the magnificent sum of $2.50 apiece. It is also stated in regard to the supplies, and food for prisoners who happen to be on the sick list, that they are cut down in that penitentiary, a cheeseparing policy is pursued to save a few cents, for what purpose I do not know. We all know that the idea of saving money in any direction is entirely foreign to this government, ever since they came into office in 1896. But when a prisoner is liberated from a government institution, the government of this country who found it necessary to place him there, ought to take sufficient interest in _him to provide him at least with an overcoat against the severe weather which we have in this country during the winter. It has been stated that man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn, and I think that truth is exemplified in the government's treatment of these ex-convicts. A man who finds himself set at liberty without any overcoat, with the thermometer registering from ten to fifteen degrees below zero, cannot have a very kindly feeling in his heart towards his fellow men; he must rebel at that sort of thing. To be sent away without a few dollars in his pocket and insufficiently clad, it seems to me, would be enough to arouse in that man a feeling of resentment and hatred towards government authority and would go far towards preventing him from living in the right way. I do not know why the government should adopt the policy of not giving overcoats out to men who are liberated at this season of the year. I think that if the warden of Kingston, St. Vincent de Paul or any other penitentiary in Canada were simply given authority by this government to provide an overcoat for a man who was liberated in winter that is all the warrant he would require to see that men went out, properly clothed. There is no fault attached to the warden of the penitentiary in this matter. The fault is with an authority higher than the wardens because it rests on the head of the department who permits regulations of this kind to exist.


LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir ALLEN AYLESWORTH (Minister of Justice).

Mr. Speaker, in what I said on this subject yesterday and the day before I was principally concerned to satisfy the House by repeating publicly the statement which had been made to me by the warden of the penitentiary that so far as he and the officials of the institution were concerned they had not been guilty of any conduct which properly could be characterized as inhuman, and had not permitted any departure from the rules which are established in reference to the matters concerned. The question of what these rules Mr. EDWARDS.

ought to be is, of course, a larger matter and one in respect to which the officials of the penitentiary are perhaps not so immediately concerned as we ourselves in this House, because these things are matters of regulation by law, and the law, as laid down in the Penitentiaries Act, is, I need not say, binding on the wardens and the officials of the penitentiary equally as it is binding on the minister in charge of the department. Our Penitentiaries Act evidently was passed with consideration of the circumstance that the winter season in this country is one when low temperature can be expected and for that reason, instead of giving an overcoat at public expense to each prisoner discharged, the statute provides that any prisoner whose sentence, either by effiuxion of time or otherwise, expires during the months of December, January or February in any year, may at his option remain in the penitentiary at public expense where he will, at any rate, be sheltered from the severities of the Canadian winter climate, if he chooses to do so. It is only at a prisoner's own desire that he is discharged from the penitentiary at any time during any of these three months. If he prefers to remain where he is until the bitterness of the winter cold has to that extent abated, he has the right, or privilege, whichever you please to call it, to do so and in the particular instance which has led to this discussion, as I pointed out yesterday, the option was given +o the man to remain for a few days, if he chose, if not until the first of March; at any rate, to remain long enough to communicate with friends or relatives if there was any source from which he could hope to receive assistance.

With regard to clothing, of course, a prisoner has the clothing which he is wearing when he comes to the penitentiary gates kept for him until his sentence expires. That clothing is returned to him whether it is expensive or whether it is cheap. Whatever it is, subject to such deterioration as time may have caused in it while the sentence has been current, that clothing is returned to the man. But, our law is not quite so merciless as to send a prisoner out of the penitentiary clothed only as he was when he came to its doors. Each prisoner, upon his discharge, is given the regulation suit of clothing, both underwear and outerwear, and not only a complete suit of serviceable new clothing, but also a sum of money, not a large sum, it is true, but something which is, at any rate, sufficient to keep him from absolute want for the few days that, in this country, ought ordinarily to be the limit which would intervene before he would be able to earn at least his own maintenance and support.

Now, whether or not our law in that

respect ought to be changed is for the consideration of this House. Until now I had certainly not heard any complaint about it, and until now I had thought that we were not dealing inhumanly with our prisoners when we gave to them what I have, described-the option of shelter and maintenance until the winter is over. If it is thought that there ought to be something different done, or something more Hone, that is a matter in regard to which, while I perfectly concede that the principal responsibility rests upon myself, still I do submit that a responsibility rests also to some extent upon each and every individual member of this House.

Just one word with regard to the allusion which was made to the cost of the overcoats which the guards wear. I do not know whether or not it was intended to suggest that because these coats cost $2.50 apiece they were insufficient for the purpose, or that the guards were compelled to be upon duty in bitter winter weather insufficiently clothed. No complaint has come to my knowledge from any guard in any of our institutions upon that subject, and I cannot think that there is any complaint. The price of the garment which has been stated seems, of course, the merest bagatelle, but hon. gentlemen should remember that with regard to all of our penitentiary supplies which we are able to manufacture within the walls of the institution, the cost to the public is simply that of the material used. I heard the figure $2.50 with a little mild astonishment, I must admit. I should not have supposed that the mere cloth contained in the ou+er garment could be produced for that figure, and I think there is probably some mistake in supposing that overcoats can be supplied for that cost, although I have no doubt, as such clothing is certainly made m the penitentiary by convict labour, that the cost to the country of each overcoat ior the guards is a comparatively small sum. But, with regard to the question of prisoners clothing I have only to repeat what I have said already that the warden is governed by the Penitentiaries Act and that in so far as I am able to see he has not, in the matters referred to in this case at any rate, been in any degree to blame

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   JAMES ELLIOTT.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I understood the observations of the minister yesterday to have been made in defence of the conduct of the warden in sending out in winter time *"ls Prisoner not properly provided with clothing to keep him comfortable. The Minister of Justice said that the man had been supplied, not only with an extra suit, but with $5 in cash, and, therefore, he considered him well provided for. In answer to the observations made to-day by my hon. friend in regard to several prisoners who 66i

have been discharged in winter without having been provided with an overcoat, the hon. minister said that they had the option to remain in the penitentiary for the winter, and, therefore, there was no reasonable ground for complaint. Now, it is natural to suppose that a man who has been incarcerated in the penitentiary for a considerable length of time would desire to obtain his liberty at the earliest possible moment, for two reasons: One is the unsatisfactory situation in which he is placed, and the other is the fear that his detention for a few days longer might result in his being kept there for many months longer. Therefore, he would take the option of going out, even though the conditions of the weather might be such that it would be almost inhuman to send him out. We are told that the overcoats supplied to the officials cost only $2.75. At that price it might be much more economical to give a discharged prisoner an overcoat than to keep him in the prison for a month or two longer, until he could go with lighter clothing. It seems to me that it is a penny-wise-pound-foolish policy that is being pursued. There is another point that appeals to my mind. A discharged prisoner is going out to the world with a brand on him, which makes it very difficult for him to get either employment or shelter, especially in the winter time, when labour is not plentiful and many are unemployed, unless he denied his previous history, and the small amount of money given to him on leaving the penitentiary would soon be used up. Therefore, it does seem to me that there is a little more inhumanity in sending out a discharged prisoner without sufficient clothing to keep him warm than the Minister of Justice tries to make out.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   JAMES ELLIOTT.
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THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Can the Prime Minister say when he expects the Minister of Finance back again?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I have no positive information, but I think he will leave Washington to-morrow.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I would like to ask the Minister of Marine and Fisheries to explain a little more definitely than was done yesterday the point in the tentative arrangement between Canada and the United States as to the licensing of American fishermen and Canadian fishermen using trap nets for cod and herring. In what cases are licenses not required and therefore the licensing system is not kept up?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

As my hon. friend is aware, by the former regulations concerning the Gulf of St. Lawrence it was provided in all cases licenses were required for cod trap and herring trap nets. By the amendments which have been

agreed to it is provided that where a trap net is set 1,000 yards from the shore or from another trap net already set, a license is not required.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

To what extent does that go against the principle which was considered very essential, that we cannot control the fishermen properly unless we put them under license?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

I was advised by the Inspector of Fisheries, who was with us at the time, that in the case of a trap net set 1,000 yards from the shore, a license was not absolutely necessary. Besides, I am informed that a trap net is very seldom set at such a distance from the shore or from another trap net already set.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

I understand that certain negotiations took place between the representatives of Canada and the representatives of the United States subsequent to the time the representative of Newfoundland left. Was the latter aware of the nature of the negotiations that were about to take place, and did he leave because he did not agree with those negotiations?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Before we entered into negotiations with the United States as to our regulations, we discussed the matter fully with the Prime Minister of Newfoundland, and was satisfied that we should try to settle the question so far as Canada was concerned. Those regulations had been discussed in his presence in the previous conferences, so that he was fully aware of the objections which were being made by the United States authorities.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

I would like to know whether the Prime Minister of Newfoundland expressed his dissent from accepting the further proposal which the Canadian representatives afterwards accepted?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

No, quite the reverse. He was very willing that we should _ settle the question on the basis on which it was settled.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

Was he satisfied with reference to Newfoundland?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

There were points affecting both Newfoundland and Canada; there were other points affecting Newfoundland only, which he was, perhaps, not ready to settle, but he was absolutely satisfied that we should settle the Canadian regulations in the manner in which they have been settled.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

Did he express his dissent from the proposals which were subsequently accepted by the Canadian government as to those points which were common to both Newfoundland and Canada.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

The two points which concerned Newfoundland and Canada were Mr. BRODEUR,

the question of purse seines and the question of Sunday fishing. There was another point which did not concern Newfoundland but which concerned us, and that was the question of licenses. In Newfoundland they have no licensing system; but as regards the other questions, which are almost similar, the Prime Minister of Newfoundland was perfectly satisfied that we should try to come to a settlement with the United States authorities.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   THE WASHINGTON NEGOTIATIONS.
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VACANCIES IN SENATE AND SUPREME COURT, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.

CON

Austin Levi Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER.

I wish to call attention to one or two matters affecting the province from which I come. I shall refer in the fust place to the vacancy in the Senate. This vacancy occurred almost two years ago, and was caused by thp death of the late Senator Ferguson, who died in August or September, 1909, and whose seat remains yet unfilled. This lack of representation of Prince Edward island in the Senate is accentuated by the absence through regrettable illness, of Senator Robertson from that province. The people of Prince Edward Island are beginning to complam about the neglect of their rights to representation in our second chamber. I have here an extract from a newspaper, which is not a Conservative organ either, which 1 wish to read:-

Parliament is at work again at Ottawa with most important matters to deal with, trade, transportation, banking, extension of provincial boundaries, tariff reduction, the new navy, preparation for the coming imperial conference and maritime representation, are some of the questions of prime importance to he reviewed and dealt with. At such a iuncture our province is surely entitled to he fully represented in both Houses, hut while we have lost one-third of our former representation in the Commons, those responsible for the patronage persist m keeping vacant one seat in the Senate. Patronage is managed with little regard to public right and the wishes of the public. If it is the earnest desire of the government to throw this province wholly into the opposition column at next election nothing more is needed than to fnllnw on the nresent course.

Aiuotjher newspaper, also .published in Charlottetown, has this to say of the failure of the government to fulfil its duty towards the island province:-

Prince Edward Island is entitled to four seats in the (Senate of Canada, the senators may he members of the executive; they may be'heads of the great departments of the government. But notwithstanding the fact that one of her three present senators has been kept at home by illness and that the others find their strength giving way to the natural infirmities of age, one of Prince Edward Island's four seats has been arbitrarily kept vacant for two whole years, at

a time that her need of effective representation in parliament was never half so great.

I do not think that I need dwell any longer on this matter. All I wish to do, was to call the attention of the government to the injustice being done the province from which I come, in allowing this seat in the Senate to remain so long vacant.

There is another vacancy which occurred some time ago in the province, and that is a vacancy on the Supreme Court Bench. This was caused by the resignation of Mr. Justice Hodgson, Master of Rolls, who resigned some time ago, and whose place is also left unfilled. Before his resignation, Mr. Justice Hodgson had been ill some time, and owing to his illness the Courts of Appeal in Equity has not been able to meet for fully two years. Yet this government has not seen fit to make the necessary appointment and allow the work of that important court to go on. The press in my province have a good deal to say on this matter, so that I am not here merely expressing my own opinion. Here is what I find in one of our newspapers:-

Why is it that no appointment is made to the vacant Prince Edward Island judgeship?

Certainly it is not because the federal government wants to save the salaries which appertain to these positions. No, it's not due to economy.

And just as certainly, it is because there is dispute as to who are to have the positions and to what 'party' advantage is to be had or lost in making the appointments.

The burden of work which falls upon the two remaining judges is excessive and will probably overwhelm them, while appeal cases in chancery involving large interests cannot be disposed of until the vacancy is filled.

Justice delayed is justice denied; and there is no shadow of excuse for a continuance of the wrong.

There was a time in ancient Rome when offices such as this judgeship were set up at auction and knocked down to the highest bidder. Have we reached that stage of degradation here?

If the delay is caused by the desire of the government to prostitute the administration of justice in order to serve personal or political ends, then*

*

And if the delay is not in order to serve personal or political ends then*

*

Another paper referring to this matter

says:-

One of three seats on the Supreme Court Bench of this province vacant for a year past. Two of four chairs allotted to this province in the Senate now empty. One-third of our representation in the Commons gone. Of course, this is good enough for Prince Edward Island! Any other province would not take it.

I do not think it is good enough for the island. I appeal to fair minded men in this House, and country, if the government is not derelict in its duty in not having

made these appointments promptly. It is unfair, it is a violation of the constitutional principles of government that, in order to serve party or personal ends, or because of party exigencies, the government should allow these two seats, one in the Senate, and one on the Supreme Court Bench, to remain vacant. I appeal to this government to at once attend to this matter, and 1 make this appeal, not as a matter of favour, but as one of right, to which the people of Prince Edward Island are entitled. These vacancies should be at once filled, and no party end should be allowed to interfere with this imperative and immediate duty. I sincerely trust that I shall not have to bring this matter up again, but that the government will see fit to put an end to a condition of things in my province which is simply disgraceful.

Topic:   SUPPLY-CLOTHING OF DISCHARGED CONVICTS.
Subtopic:   VACANCIES IN SENATE AND SUPREME COURT, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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January 20, 1911