April 26, 1918

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I repeat that the recommendation does not rest with the Minister of Justice, but with the Civil Service Commission. It is, therefore, quite impossible for me to announce what the view of the Civil Service Commission will be as to who is the best man to appoint for the position.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

But if the Civil Service Commission is requested to give a certificate to a certain gentleman, and if that gentleman has been an inspector, I suppose they will be satisfied that he is properly qualified.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I have no reason to doubt that the Civil Service Commission may consider that the gentleman wHo has been an inspector has the proper qualifications. But, again, it is not a matter of the minister recommending somebody to the Civil Service Commission, it is a matter of the Civil Service Commission recommending somebody to the minister, that recommendation to be transmitted to the Governor in Council. I cannot anticipate what the view of the Civil Service Commission will be as to the best method of procedure with regard to this or any other office. '

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I am told that it is the intention to appoint Briigadier-Genral Hughes, who was inspector of penitentiaries prior to going overseas, and who is now drawing double salary as inspector of penitentiaries and as brigadier-general. I nn-

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derstand be is not now acting as brigadier-general on the other side.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I am quite glad to learn what the intention of the hon. gentleman on that subject is. For my own part, I have reached no decision, and could have no intention. I have not heard from the Civil Service Commission that they had made up their minds as to their intention, without even waiting for this legislation to pass. I would be surprised if they had decided.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

Will the hon. minister say that Brigadier General Hughes will not be appointed?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I cannot possibly say what the Civil Service Commission will do. I have no knowledge whatever whether or not the name of the gentleman who is mentioned has ever occurred to the Civil Service Commission. I should be surprised if they have made up their minds on a matter of that kind even before the legislation is passed.

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L LIB
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. I beg to remind the hon. gentleman that this discussion is entirely out of order. The appointment of any officer to administer this Act should be discussed on the estimates of the department. This appointment has nothing to do with the terms of the Bill itself.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

This Bill provides for the appointment of a superintendent of penitentiaries.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

It does, but it has nothing to do with any particular person being'appointed to that position.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I think it is quite in order to discuss the policy of the Government with respect to any Bill; and the policy of the Government under it will be a strong element as to whether this House should pass the Bill or not.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

It seems to me that the course which will be followed in regard to this matter will be apparent to everyone. The Government has adopted as its policy, and there is no question about that, that the Civil Service Commission shall recommend men for positions. If that body, in their wisdom, see fit to advertise for applications for country postmasters to draw $50 a year, when it comes to selecting men for the positions under this Bill they will advertise in all the papers, they

[Mr. Proulx.l

will be flooded with applications, and then they will make a selection, and some lucky man will get the job. There is no question about what the course will be.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Heretofore there were two Inspectors of Penitentiaries who saw to it that the law was observed and that the penitentiaries were properly conducted. If I may use the expression, they had concurrent jurisdiction, that is, there was no chief or senior inspector. tt see by this Bill that the minister will have power to appoint not more than three inspectors. Will he tell us it will be the duty of the proposed superintendent to look after the inspectors, or will he himself act as an inspector by supervising all the penitentiaries and making to the minister such recommendations as to changes as he may think advisable? I have not ascertained by reading the reports of the Department of Justice that the penal population has increased of late in such proportion as to justify the appointment of three inspectors and a superintendent. I have not heard, either, that under the old system there was any complaint made- against Mr. Stewart, or against Mr. Dawson, when he was inspector, that they did not perform their duties, or that there was any laxity in the administration of the penitentiaries. The work in the various penal institutions of the 'Dominion must be less than it was when construction was not well advanced, six or seven years ago. I understand that the inspectors had a great deal of work at that time, when many attempts were made by the convicts to get away. There . were some escapes, and there is one name that comes to my mind, the famous Bill Miner, whose case kept the House sitting for a couple of day9 at that time. The work must be decreasing as construction is being completed, and I would like to have from the minister a definite statement as to the necessity for having this increase, and of having a superintendent when we have always got along well with two inspectors. The inspectors were thoroughly qualified, and, no doubt the excellent results achieved are due to the good work they have done. When oonditione seem, to Ibe improving, and the prison population does not seem to be increasing, can the minister justify an increase in the staff?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

As regards the number of inspectors, that is provided for by .another section. If the committee is of the opinon that they are too numerous, I shall be open to consider that. The present sec-

tion involves a change of systems, not necessarily an increase in the number of officers. We had two inspectors-, and they had two functions -which, I think I a-m correct in saying, were distinct functions. They had the inspection otf the penitentiaries and they had the superintendence -and direction of the carrying on of the penitentiaries. That created a situation that those two officers, not having the work divided between them-to one the inspection and to the other the .superintendence and direction -were equal in authority and charged with this double function. Now, the necessities from the point of view of superintendence rather called for the presence here of the person or persons carrying on that - direction, and the constant supervision toy them of what was -going on in all the different penitentiaries. The work of inspection, on the other hand, called for men to be absent from Ottawa to keep in touch with what was actually going on. Now, eliminating for the moment any question as to the number of officers, the- principal idea is to separate those two functions, which, I think, on reflection, the hon. memlber will see are two perfectly distinct functions; and to have one officer who will have, under the deputy minister and the minister, the power of decision and the responsibility for the decision), instead of having two gentlemen of equal -authority, with the possibility always that they -might not agree, and with a situation in which no one person was responsible for the action ultimately taken. I submit that all the balance of advantage is in the direction of having one responsible head, some one person doing the deciding, so far as the deciding properly belongs to an officer of that class, -and responsible for the decision come to, rather than in that of having two gentlemen) who, if they happened to be here both together might not agree, 'and who, as they could not -always be present together might have to decide successively upon questions coming before them. I do not desire to criticise the personal action of gentlemen who h-ave been inspectors of penitentiaries; this proposal rests simply upon the considerations which I have pointed out. No one occupying the position that I do could fail to see -the disadvantages that result from this -anomalous and unusual situation.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

The minister has not yet convinced me that he is right. This -superintendent is being appointed -to receive reports of inspectors, decide what -action is necessary, -and be responsible for the results of that action. Under the present system the inspectors report to the minister, who is the proper man to bear the responsibility of any -action that is taken. If extr-a assistance is -required in connection with the penitentiaries, by all means obtain it; but let the responsibility for action taken in the administration of penitentiaries not be saddled on any one other than the head of the department. Penitentiaries constitute a very important branch of the -administration of justice, and repeated discussions have taken pl-ace in the House with regard to their -management. The late Mr. Monk repeatedly brought forward resolutions regarding the segregation of convicts with a view to improving their lot. If one inspector is required, or if a division of the work of the inspectors is necessary-say, by provinces or districts-well and good; but I do not see why a superintendent of penitentiaries should read the reports of inspectors and then tell the Minister of Justice how he ought to think. This matter of the management of penitentiaries will have to come before the House in the near future with -a view to -a change of the whole system. 1 shall not go into that now, but I wish to emphasize my belief that the superintendent in this case should be the Minister of Justice, and that action taken by him should be -based not on the report of a superintendent, but on the facts contained in the reports made by the inspectors.

Mr. EDWARD'S: I rather favour the idea o-f appointing a superintendent for all penitentiaries in Canada, but I cannot s-ee the wisdom of appointing three, or even two, inspectors. Defining the duty of inspectors, the Act says that they shall, under the direction of the superintendent, " visit, examine and report, upon -the -state and management of the penitentiaries and the suggestions which the warden or officers in charge thereof make for the improvement of the Same."

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. If the hon, gentleman would- allow us to reach that clause before he discusses it the procedure would be more regular.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I do not agree with your view, Mr. Chairman, but we must abide by your decision.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The rule is clear; all speeches in Committee o.f the Whole must be strictly relevant to the item or clause under consideration.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I understand that. I do n.ot interrupt other members when they deviate from the rule by broadening out the

discussion., and if I am to be kept in line with the rule, every other member should be kept in line also. In discussing this matter I intend to exercise my privileges as a member of the House, even though I am not a .Cabinet minister. When a Cabinet minister or any other member deviates from the clause under discussion by making a general statement, I have the same privilege as he has.

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April 26, 1918