April 26, 1918

L LIB

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

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. The hon. gentleman may appeal from the Tuling of the Chair, but he may not discuss the ruling after it has been given.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I have said all I want to say on that point; if necessary, I will appeal from the ruling of the Chair. A discussion of the appointment of a superintendent naturally involves also the question of the appointment of two or more inspectors. In the past we have had two inspectors., and we now propose to change the system. In my judgment, two inspectors are unnecessary. An inspector who is sent around to look over the seven penitentiaries of Canada can spend one month in each and still have five months to spare. What are two men going to do? Two inspectors are unnecessary when we have a superintending head at Ottawa. I am strongly in favour of a change in the whole system of penitentiaries, which will inaugurate a new era in the management of these institutions.

I have on former occasions- suggested the advisability of doing some of the things which the minister purposes doing under the new system. It is really too bad that the innocent have to suffer when the criminal is taken to the penitentiary. We should avoid that as far as. possible, and endeavour to ameliorate this situation so far as it is in our power to do so.

I am, therefore, in entire accord with what has been suggested by the minister, namely, that a price be put upon the work of the convict. A price of so much a day is put upon his work now. I agree, if you like, that the first charge on that shall be his maintenance; but when he leaves the walls of the penitentiary, if he has not any one dependent upon him, he should be able to look forward to having a small sum of money which will keep him for a period while he is endeavouring to obtain honest employment. If, when he goes within the walls of the penitentiary, he leaves a wife and family behind him, a part of the money he makes in prison should go to the sup-

[iMr. Edwards.]

port. of that wife and family. I see no reason why that should not be done, and I see many reasons to commend its being done. I believe it will have a magnificent effect on the convict's conduct. It will do more than any other thing one can mention to keep that man, while he is within the walls of the penitentiary, under control. He will know that, in being deprived of his liberty, he is being punished, and he will have an incentive to conduct himself proT perly, so that some of the money he may make by his work in the penitentiary wiil go to the support of his family to keep them from want. That suggestion is all right.

I welcome this idea of a superintendent for another reason. I think it was the late Sir John Thompson, when Minister of Justice or Prime Minister of this country, I do net know which, who conceived the idea of a separate institution for the boys, the young convicts imprisoned for the first offence. I am not sure that I am correct, but I think I am, in saying that he even went so far as to purchase a piece of land about midway between Kingston and Montreal, and some work was done on the foundations of a new building, but the work was not proceeded with. I am confident I am right in saying Sir John Thompson had in mind a separate institution in which the young convicts, the boys of sixteen, seventeen and eighteen, who were " first offenders," would' be incarcerated. That is something which I have brought up in this House before, and which ought to h'ave the attention of every hon. member in this House. Money spent on such a project would he money well spent. Even in the worst of men there is some good, if you have only tact enough to bring it out. May I be permitted to place on Hansard a letter which, I think, proves what I say. It may arouse the interest of some hon. members who, perhaps, look upon this penitentiary question as something not worthy of their consideration. I appealed to the minister some time ago, I think it was in 1917, to liberate a convict by the name of Alex. Rose. Rose was liberated.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

How old was he?

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I should judge, roughly speaking, h-e was a man about thirty years old.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I should think so. He was a comparatively young man.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

He said that if he were liberated, he would join the forces and go overseas and try there to redeem his past.

He went overseas. This is a letter from the front addressed to the mother of this former convict:

* France, March 31, 1918.

Dear Madam:

It is with the deepest regret that I write to advise you of the death of your son. Sapper A. Rose, on the 28th of (March, 1918. He is greatly missed in the unit on account of his cheery disposition and willingness to help out any situation no matter how hard. He has proven himself a man worthy in every way to wear the King's uniform. He was always fearless in the face of danger and his coolness inspired confidence in all who came in contact with him.

He was laid to rest in Karlin Rritish cemetery on the 29th of March, and all his comrades stood hy the graveside paying their last tribute to the brave. A minister was in charge of the burial arrangements and the Hast Post was sounded hy a trumpeter surrounded by the officers and men of the Company standing at the Salute. A dedication service was held today in a T. M. C. A. hut where special hymns were sung and prayers said for your loved one .and those who are left to mourn the loss of a brave fearless Canadian soldier.

A cross is being specially prepared for the grave and a wreath will he bought to forever commemorate the sympathy of the officers and men of this Unit for one who fell in action while doing his all to help a righteous cause.

Our sympathies go out to you so many miles away in your sad bereavement, and also my pledge that every one of us who are left will fight to the utmost of our ability to crush the fiend who has caused such deep bereavement to be suffered by the innocent ones in our dear home land.

All personal belongings which have been saved will be sent you as soon as possible.

Tours sincerely,

R. MteKililap, Captain,

O. C. 13th C. D. R. O. Co'y.

I read that for two reasons: First, I

think it is no more than fair to pay that tribute to a man who formerly had misconducted himself so that he came within *the walls of the penitentiary; secondly, because it bears out what I say, that of those men behind the walls of the penitentiaries there are none who are not worthy of our sincere consideration in trying to better their conditions and make men of them. This man went overseas and did his bit and received the commendation of all with whom he was associated. He was honoured by his officers and comrades for his conduct in this war.

I wish the Government would seriously take into consideration a separate institution for the young convict, the young fellow of seventeen or eighteen, who has violated the laws of the land and who is sent to the penitentiary. It is positively criminal on out part to place that young fellow alongside of a man who has spent, perhaps, one-half of his life in penitentiary, cracking stone, day after day, week after week, and month after month. When we allow that sort of thing to continue in this country, I do not think we can consider ourselves guiltless, for I firmly believe there is some good in even the worst convict, .and especially is that true of the young fellow who is sent to the penitentiary for the first time. Such a young man should receive some consideration. He is not getting a fair show when he is put into the penitentiary alongside of men who have been criminals for one-half of their lives. And in so far as we are responsible for not giving him a fair show, that is something not to the credit of hon- members of this House. A'good deal could be done in these institutions to uplift these men. I have, on a former occasion, called attention to the great number of men engaged in nothing better than breaking stones.-and at the same time breaking their own spirits. Why should this be? Only last night in this House we were passing. Estimates and considering the cost of furniture for this, that and the other building throughout (the country.

Why should we not have standard furniture for the several classes of offices? When post offices and custom houses here and there throughout the country require furniture, why should we depend upon the whim of an official who prefers this kind of furniture to that kind? Why go out and advertise for tenders on things like that? It has been said that if these articles were made by the convicts it would interfere with free labour, but I do not think that that argument will hold water for one moment. If you like, place upon the convict's labour a price conimensu-4 p.m. rate with the prices paid outside; I would rather do that than let him sit in idleness- within the walls of the prison. I maintain that there are many things used in Canada and paid for by the Government, such as office furniture, mail bags, rural route post boxes, and a dozen other things, that could be made by convict labour to the financial advantage of the countiy and, certainly, greatly to the advantage of the convict.

I think that is something which is deserving a very serious consideration, and L would like to see it done. A superintendent with supervision over all these institutions must necessarily be in Ottawa a great part of his time, and I think it would be a good idea to have a man to generally supervise all these institutions. He could have an inspector to visit the several peni-

tentiaries from time to time, report to him on the conditions and get his orders. Perhaps two inspectors might be required, but I am certain three would not be necessary; however, I do not hold that opinion so strongly that I am not prepared to change it for good reason. The minister may have reasons which may induce me to favour the appointment of two inspectors, but at the present time 1 see no reason why a superintendent and one inspector could not do all the work.

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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 address just delivered by the hon. member for Fronte-nac (Mr. Edwards) would have been perfectly in order upon the second reading of the Bill. Fearing that he might attribute a second interruption to personal animosity of some kind, I have waited until this moment to make a special request to ail the members of the committee to assist the Chairman in securing a strict observance of the rules. Upon many occasions during the present session, the second reading of a Bill has been carried without debate and attempts have been later made to discuss the principle of the Bill in committee. This practice is in direct violation of the rules of the House.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Does the minister intend to confer any additional powers or vest any additional functions in the superintendent beyond those now existing in the case of the inspectors?

(Mr. DOHERTY: The powers are specified in a subsequent section of the Bill. I do not know that they go beyond those presently existing in the case of the inspectors. I have endeavoured to make clear to the hon. gentleman that the purpose is to separate two>

functions, which, in my judgment and in that, of the inspector of penitentiaries, with his many years of experience, could be better administered by different officers. With regard to what the hon. member for Frontenac has said, both upon the subject of the number of inspectors and with regard to the work that might be done by convicts in penitentiaries, and as to developing what is good in all of these men- and I quite share his view that there is no man so bad that there is no good in him-I should like to say a few words, but in order not to depart from the ruling of the Chairman I would suggest that what I desire to say be deferred until we come to a subsequent section with regard to the powers of the superintendent, which will give me an opportunity to make some observations on

the remarks of the ho.n. member as to the general system. '

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

The minister stated that these appointments can b'e made by the Government only on the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission. Has the Government discretion to accept or reject the recommendations that may be so made, and could they continue to reject them until a recommendation was made that was satisfactory to them?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I do not know that there is any absolute provision either in the Order in Council or in the proposed Legislation further than the provision that the appointments are to be made on the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission. The position that would be created in such a casp would be that the Government would either have to leave the possitions vacant or act upon the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission. If for some reason there might be very serious objection to the ' party recommended, to which the attention of the Civil Service Commission might be called, I suppose it would be within the function of the Government to make that representation, but I think I may safely say that the intention was to make the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission necessary before any individual could be appointed. While I am not aware that there is a provision imposing the absolute obligation upon the Government, certainly it is the duty of the Government to fill the vacancies in the public service so that public business may go on, and when there is a provision that the vacancies are to be filled on the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission I do not believe there is reason to apprehend that their recommendations will not be acted upon.

On clause 15-Inspectors:

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

Is the minister going to put in a provision that these appointments shall go to returned soldiers? I notice a great many appointments being made all over the country in connection with various boards and commissions, and I understood that these appointments were to be given to returned soldiers, but the big-paid fellows are not returned soldiers. I should just like to clinch the matter here and get the minister's views.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

As I pointed out, the appointments will be made on the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission who will follow, no doubt, their usual prt>

eedure. In the Order in Council making provision for requiring the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission, wherever feasible, as the result of competitive examination, it is expressly provided that preference is to be given the returned soldier, even to the extent of over-riding the purely competitive feature. The provision runs-I am speaking from memory- that where several people have passed the examination, the returned soldier may be put at the head, and, in fact, I think, shall he put ahead, of those who have a greater number of marks, providing he has passed his examination- in a manner to indicate that he is competent to fill the position.

That gives a distinct preference to the returned soldier. These positions, as all positions in my department, will be subject to the rule laid down, that this preference is to be given. There are occasionally positions for which the returned soldier available does not happen to be suited. I am sure no hon. gentleman would suggest that we ought to put a returned soldier into a position for which his previous training, education, or occupation, have not made him reasonably fitted. But with that exception, I understand it to be the absolute rule that preference is to be given to the returned soldier. That will be a matter in future to be dealt with by the Civil Service Commission.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

By "returned soldier ", I presume you mean one who has faced the music. There are returned soldiers, and returned soldiers. There are a great many gentlemen who are occupying very nice positions across the water, but who have never been in the trenches, and I certainly would not recommend any preference in such cases. I have never seen any difference between the man who is eating his heart out in 'Canada because he cannot get an opportunity to go, and the man who has crossed over and who occupies some clerical position in England. I think that the fellow who has been forced to stay at home 'and who is anxious to go has just as much right to consideration as the man who 'has never been at the front. But the man who has faced the music and has risked his life in the firing line is the one I would recommend to special consideration when we are speaking about returned soldiers. There are a great many officers and men who have not been able to gto across, and I have known men who have worried themselves almost to death because they could not get over and who are just as much entitled

to recognition as those who have sailed across and remained in England.

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UNION

Robert James Manion

Unionist

Mr. MANIION:

As a representative of the returned soldiers in this House, I would like to support very strongly the ideas expressed by the two hon. members who have just addressed the 'Committee, and particularly that expressed by the hon. member for Victoria, Ont. (Sir Sam Hughes) that preference be given to returned soldiers who have faced the guns of the enemy at the front.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Without prejudice to my right to rise again in discussion, I desire to ask a question in order to obtain information. We are now discussing Bill No. 21, and the sections of the Bill are numbered. We are discussing section 4.

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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:

Clause 3, section 15.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

It is section 3 until it becomes section 4. I see section 4 on page 3, and under section 3 the minister has seen fit to change a lot of sections in the old statute. What I want to ascertain is this: Are the numbers of the sections of the old statute to govern, or is the Bill under consideration to govern? If it is the old statute, we have to take the sections one by one, 14, 15, 16 and so on. If it is the present Bill, we would consider all the" sections together. A number of the sections contained in clause 4 deal with the duties of the* superintendent and his powers over the inspectors. They come one after the other, and it would make the discussion easier and quicker if we were to take them up together rather than if we were to follow the order of the Bill as it stands, and discuss section 3.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Section 3 of this Bill repeals sections 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the Act.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

And re-enacts them. We might have followed our regular course of dealing with these proposed sections, 14, 15 and so on, as distinct sections. It is only to abbreviate that the repealing clause is all put in one section. We might have proceeded by saying that " section 14 is repealed and replaced by the following," and made another section. And so with the others. In effect, section 3 deals with a number of sections, repealing them, and substituting a new section for each section repealed. Our regular course would be to

deal at the present moment with the proposed section 15.

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April 26, 1918