September 19, 1917

LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

No, entirely incorrect. He said that this gratuity was not given to guards who voluntarily resigned their positions.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I am in a position to state that that is incorrect. During the present year guards who have resigned not because of ill health or decrepitude have applied for gratuity and' have received it.

I can give the names if necessary. I am more than pleased that the member for Kingston, who has given this matter a great deal of study, has agreed with one or two of the assertions that I made. It is a satisfaction and an encouragement to me that he agrees with me in the matter of supplying tobacco to the convicts. I was sorry that he did not see fit to express a definite opinion in regard to the employment of convicts in work for the State, in the making of furniture and other things in general use in various departments of the Government. There is nothing in the breaking of stone to improve the mental,

moral or physical condition of the convict. That has been going on as far back as I can remember; the practice still prevails in all these institutions. I do not agree that it would be wise to get agricultural employment for all the convicts, because many of them are unsuited to agricultural work. Many of them are mechanically inclined. There is a farm connected with each of these institutions which I think, will give employment to most of those among the convicts who are suited to that kind of work and who can be benefited by engaging in it. Hundreds of convicts could be employed in learning trades, making furniture, manufacturing things which the State must buy in large quantities, such as rural mail boxes, and the like. It is only necessary to visit one of these institutions and observe the difference between the convicts employed on the stone piles and those employed at making brooms or some other kind of work to realize the great benefit that is to be derived from utilizing the convicts in some constructive employment. Work on roads is very useful; it is work in the open; the convict has something to show for his labour and something to look forward to. Various penal institutions on the other side of the line recognize the benefit of engaging these men to work on the roads. I understand that the convicts are often taken many miles from the gates of the prison in order that

they may be employed in this way. I mentioned that piece of road near Barrie-field camp because it is a government road. It is ,a road which has been taken over by the Dominion Government and which has to be maintained by the Dominion Government, and when prison labour could easily be employed it is reasonable that it should be employed in maintaining a piece of property owned by this Government.

To the other and main point to which I referred, the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Niokle) did not give his attention, that is, the building of an institution for the care of boys of 21 years of age who are first offenders, and I would like to have an expression of opinion on that point from the Minister of Justice.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Different matters have been touched upon, and perhaps I might say just a word or two with Tegard to them. I shall be very glad to express to the committee the opinion I hold with regard to providing means whereby certain institu-

tions cmight be created for different classes of offenders, and I shall deal with that after I 'have said a few words about other matters that have been mentioned. With regard to the question of gratuities and its bearing upon the particular case in which a compassionate allowance was granted, I would like to point out that in no department of the Civil Service is there provision made for compensation to surviving relatives of employees'. In some of the departments, with regard to older civil servants, who were in the employment of the Government when the superannuation! system was in force, there is provision for superannuation, but that does not survive the recipient of it. The penitentiaries, therefore, are not in a different position with regard to the granting of compensation to the surviving relatives of servants who have died in their employ from the other departments of IGovern-ment. The committee will realize that it would be a large proposition, which would call for careful consideration by this Government, to undertake to make provision for surviving relatives of its employees. Much might be said in favour of that plan, but I do not see that anything special might be said in favour of it so far as tbe employees of penitentiaries are concerned. The gratuity is intended as an allowance for a man who serves either for a lengthy period until he is broken down, or whose employment in the penitentiary is terminated otherwise than by fault of his own. There are cases in which men resign because they become incapacitated, and it is usual in such cases to grant a gratuity. There are also cases in which it is considered that it tends to promote the efficiency of the institution that a man should be retired or allowed to resign, and in such cases the gratuity is paid to him. But so far as there is any connection between the granting of the compassionate allowance, granted1 to Mrs. Mackenzie in the supplementary estimates, and the question of gratuities, I have only to point out that to make any grant to the surviving dependents, we have to depart from the rule that prevails throughout the Civil Service. The special circumstances to which I referred when I said that I thought there was reason to believe that there would not be many absolutely similar cases was not an expression of opinion as to the liability of other men dying from heart disease. Mr. Mackenzie had a record of service that was absolutely exceptional in its length, as I am informed by the officers of the peniten-

tiary, and there was in the second place this fact that played a large part in leading to the conclusion that the case should be treated as exceptional, that is to say, that his widow, with a large family of very small children', was left in absolutely destitute circumstances. 1 am also told that the case stood out rather as an exception, in that combination of conditions, with regard to what ordinarily happens in the case of a penitentiary vote. With regard to this particular allowance which is the matter properly before the committee, I have only to say that, in fixing the amount of it and the limit with regard to salaries to those who should be recipients of it, we have followed what has been done in the great number of departments of this Government, in view of the high cost of living. Some observations have been made with regard to the remuneration which those men already receive. That remuneration w.as fixed by Statute some years ago, Parliament ,at that time thinking it a proper remuneration fur the services. If Parliament was right in that regard, then there must exist for those employees the same reason resting upon the increased cost of living that applies in the case of the employees of the Government generally. As to the limitation of $1,000, that, as I s.ay, is following the rule. Tt has been pointed out that, ini the supplementary estimates with regard to the post office, provision has been made for this allowance with regard to men of ,a certain class of employment who receive .a salary up to $1,600. When we come to deal with that item, I think I shall be in a position to explain the reason of that particular disposition with regard to that particular department.

Something has been said with regard to the utilization of prison labour. I quite *sympathise with the idea that we should utilize our prison labour to turn out a product that might be used by the Government and that might afford for the men in the penitentiaries more suitable occupation than sometimes we are able to put them to. It should, however, be remembered that it does not depend upon the Department of Justice to furnish things to people who do not want to take them from it. Before we can find our way to furnish those things, we shall have to find our market with the other departments of Government. It does not belong to me to criticise nor do I intend to do so, but we cannot supply that for which there is no demand. I have at different times, since I have had charge of the

administration of the penitentiaries, sought to find an outlet for penitentiary labour in furnishing the requirements of other departments. I regret to say I have not been successful. I do not want to criticise the reasons that were given. They were, in the judgment of those .administering those departments, sufficient reasons, and I think at that particular time they were not open to criticism. .

In that connection, referring to what the hon. member for North Oxford has said with regard to pay, iif we were put in a position where the product of the labour of the convict could be disposed of to other departments of the Government, or in other directions that would not bring us into unfair competition with free labour, I myself would believe that it would be a perfectly proper thing that these things should be paid for by whomsoever they were acquired, and that out of those moneys there should be paid something to the convict to represent wages. In talking of wages or pay it has to be remembered that a convict is supported and clothed, but I think it would be most desirable, provided the moneys so paid to him for his labour were not necessary for the maintenance of those depending upon him while he was in the penitentiary-which is the first purpose .to which it should be devoted-that when he went out he should have some savings to his credit. I certainly would *welcome the day when it would be possible to bring about that condition of affairs. But it does not depend upon those responsible for the penitentiaries whether this is to be done or not. We cannot sell our product and get money for it until there are people ready to buy our product and pay for it. There have been certain periods, at the outbreak of this war for instance, when there was a serious lack of employment in the ordinary industries of the country, and apprehension of a greater lack of employment. At that time, at all events, it would hardly have seemed desirable to press for the initiation of a system of utilization of penitentiary labour. But we have done something towards the utilization of that labour in connection with the farming industry, and although I am not in a position to give details at the present moment, I may say that we have also utilized prison labour to a certain extent in the direction of providing things necessary in connection with the interned alien prisoners. I shall be glad, if it should become possible for us to find an outlet for the product of our labour, not only to give consideration to,

but if the matter be in my hands, to endeavour to bring into practical operation, a system whereby more useful work may be done and whereby we may obtain the very desirable thing suggested by the hon. member for North Oxford. With regard to the separation of prisoners, I quite agree that it would be highly desirable to have a separation of the prisoners' according to classes. I am not absolutely clear that it would have to be according to age, though I dare say you would find a larger proportion amongst the younger criminals who ought to be classified as among the less hardened criminals, than you would perhaps find among older men. I would rather classify with regard to the character of the criminal you are dealing with than absolutely on the line of age. I may say that before the outbreak of this war, in the year of 1914, I had given very considerable thought to this matter, and the plan that I had conceived, though not absolutely the plan suggested by the hon. member for Frontenac, was somewhat along the same line. My impression was, and still is, that the hardened criminal is in the minority, and my conception of what would be desirable to do, and what I should be glad to do if it should become possible and I have the opportunity, would be to provide say, two institutions in which the more hardened class of criminals should be confined, leaving the present institutions for what I believe to be the majority of the criminals we handle, that is, those who would not be described as hardened criminals. I think there would be advantage in preserving thajse Hess, hardened from the injurious influence of association with those who are more hardened. In the second place, there would be to my mind this great advantage, that if you divide the institutions in that way it -would make it possible to adopt what might be described as a milder rule for the institutions generally, reserving the more severe features of the rules as they are deemed necessary, for those institutions where the hardened criminals would be confined. Plans of that kind, of course, involve the starting out in new enterprise in the way of public works, and the expenditure of public money, and it was not considered desirable that we should embark upon new enterprises of that kind at that time to which I have referred. I do hope, however, that under better and more favourable circumstances we shall be able to obtain the result of a separation on the lines 1 have indicated, and I do hope that when we come to more normal times and condi-

tions it may be possible to persuade those who might properly be the customers of the penitentiary of the advisability of giving their custom to the penitentiary. When that time comes I shall certainly be glad to do what depends upon me, if I should be responsible for the administration of the institutions, to avail ourselves of that opportunity of giving a more varied employment.

Something has been said about road-making as a desirable form of employment. 1 think the hon. member will admit that we have done some little road-making during the past summer. As to the advantage ot disadvantage, I may say that those who are experienced in the administration of pen-itentaries-I am not now expressing my own opinion-do not look uipon it as desirable that the men should be called .away to work at distances from the institution. While they sympathize with the desire for giving more suitable work, these experienced people do not seem to be of the opinion that road-making, outside of the immediate surroundings of the penitentiary would be a desirable thing.

Both hon. gentlemen have said something about tobacco, and I must admit that they touch what ought to he a very responsive chord in my own heart. The matter has been discussed from time to time with those responsible for 'the administration of the penitentiaries. What is said with regard to it -and I must say it has not quite convinced me that we ought not to allow tobacco- is that if you permit the use of tobacco for smoking purposes, that, of course involves tlie possession of matches and the possible danger of fire, which is an institution of that kind, no matter what you do to make it fireproof, is not ito be overlooked. Such a thing in such an institution would be a disaster. Then, of course, it leaves open the practices of allowing tobacco to be chewed. Now it has been urged upon me that if we allow the use of tobacco it will be availed of, of course, by those who had contracted the habit before they went into the penitentiary, and in all probability by those who had not acquired the habit when they entered the penitentiary. It has been pressed upon me-I do not say it is a conclusive argument- that it would 'be a very undesirable thing if, among other habits, a young convict might acquire in a stay of two or three years in a penitentiary, would be the habit of chewing tobacco.

I do not want to say that personally I am specially scandalized by the suggestion, but there are people whose opinions are

certainly entitled to very great respect, who would look upon that as a most objectionable thing. However, with regard to the question of tobacco, as I say, I am not convinced that it would not be desirable to permit its use, and I am not saying my last word upon the subject, if we can find a means which will satisfy those responsible for the administration that we are not creating inconveniences which would more than counterbalance the privation to which the men are now subject, and the more serious evil which is occasioned 'by the prohibition of tobacco, that is the trafficking between guards and prisoners.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

We have cases where men have been punished for smoking. We also have cases where men are found using tobacco for chewing purposes. Without pretending to speak with absolute certainty, my impression would be that it is used more for chewing than for smoking. One obvious reason is that the violation of the rule is lass perfectly manifest if the tobacco is used for chewing. The convict has a better opportunity to avoid detection in the use of tobacco for chewing purposes.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

If I understood 'the hon. member for Frontenae correctly, he is under the impression that this gratuity is an optional gratuity, that is, it is paid provided the authorities see fit, and withheld if the -authorities do not see fit to pay it. Is that correct?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

It may be withheld if the man's course of conduct is considered to lbe such as would not entitle him to it. I may say, however, that, generally speaking, unless a man's connection with the penitentiary terminates either of his*own perfect volition, when he is able to remain on, and when there is no reason to part with him, unless he has been guilty of conduct which is really reprehensible, it is usual to grant the gratuity. The man, however, may forfeit it by bad conduct.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

This is an allowance to all the employees who have salaries of $1,000 and less. It is not optional.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
?

Mr OLIVER:

It is simply a temporary increase of salary without any option.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
?

Mr DOHERTY:

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I understand the argument of my hon. friend from Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) to be that being optional it placed the officer more dependent upon the favour of his superior than upon good service, whereas if he gets it as a straight increase in salary, of course he is still independent.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I was not referring to this $100 at all. I was referring to the gratuity which is given to a man when he retires after serving, say, ten, or fifteen, or twenty years.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

further amount required, $1,800 ; to provide an amount for the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons in lieu of apartments, for the year ending 31st March, 1918, at the rate of $5 per diem-further amount required, $600 ; annuity to Dr. Thomas Barnard Flint, upon his retirement from the Clerkship of the House of Commons through physical disability, $2,500- $59,900.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

This item of $55,000 is put in to cover the extra fifteen day's allowance to members. It also provides an amount of $2,500 to Dr. Beland and makes provision for lose on account of death. This is to take the place of the item we had in the previous estimates.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

It will not be used. The

amounts of $1,800 and $600 are necessary to cover the allowance to the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker on account of the session being so much longer than was expected. Then we have an item of $2,500 for an annuity to Dr. Flint upon his retirement from the clerkship of the House of Commons. I may say in reference to this item that we all know that Dr. Flint's health has not been very good and that he wishes to retire. I have been in the House all the time that Dr. Flint has occupied the position he now has; in fact I was here while Dr. Flint was ,a member of the House. We all feel sorry that his health is such that it is necessary for him to retire. He has been a splendid official, liked by every member of the House and it is a matter of regret to us that we are about to lose him. Still, these things must come and it is at his own request that he retires. The amount of $2,500 allowed as an annuity, Dr. Flint himself feels is fair and reasonable and he is quite satisfied with it. Therefore, I hope the House will allow this item to go through.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I have not been in the House nearly so long as my hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Reid) but I have been here for ten years -and I have had occasion to form a critical judgment of the devotion which Dr. Flint has shown, to his duties. He has given entire satisfaction, I think, to all the members of the House. One thing which I think it is proper to re* fer to is the fact that he has displayed very great industry in editing the work of Dr. Bourinot. He has added many most valuable notes and citations which are of very great assistance to members. His book will certainly remain as a monument to his very great industry and ability. I feel sure that my hon. friend expresses the

feelings of all the members of this House when he says that it is with the deepest regret that we learn of the -infirmity which makes it necessary for Dr. Flint to retire. I am also convinced that the recognition which the 'Government has asked the House to give him in -the way of a retiring /allowance will be very cheerfully approved of by the House.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

George William Kyte

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

I desire to add to the

observations made by my -hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Reid) and my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) by expressing my regret that Dr Flint finds it necessary, owing to the unsatisfactory condition of his health, to retire from the very honourable and respected position of Clerk of this House. He has served many years in a public capacity and he has attained to the highest official position that could be occupied by any man in this House. It so happened when Dr Flint retired from the office of Clerk Assistant of the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia in 1891 I succeeded him. Since that time the relations existing between Dr Flint and myself have been of the most cordial and agreeable character. I could not say anything that would add to the esteem that Dr Flint has won for himself among the members of this House in both political parties. I speak of him both as a member of the House of Commons and an official of the House for several years. Before he assumed the position of clerk, he was representative of the county of Yarmouth in Nova Scotia for several years, and as the representative of that county he won the respect and good feeling of all his associates in the House of Commons. I can only express the wish that Dr Flint may be long spared -and that the condition of his health will permit him to continue to render useful service if not to the Dominion of Canada, to the province of Nova Scotia, for many years to come.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink

September 19, 1917