June 23, 1924

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

A tribunal for children

must be considered in quite a different light from a tribunal for other persons. It is not proposed to send children to gaol, or anything of that kind. The object is to have young boys and girls under the supervision of probation officers with the object of trying to reform them. A discretion will be given to the magistrates which they did not formerly possess. I do not think the provision is likely to foe abused. In any case, the amendment is in the interest of the children themselves, and for the proper administration of the act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Could the minister give

us a definition of a "juvenile delinquent ' as it has been used in legislation up till now?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Any child who violates

any provision of the Criminal Code, any Dominon or provincial statute, or any bylaw or ordinance in a municipality for the violation of which punishment by fine or imprisonment may be ordered, or who is liable by reason of any other act to be committed to an industrial school or juvenile reformatory under the provisions of any Dominion or pro-

vincial statute. We propose to add the words already quoted, which is really in conformity with the spirit of the clause it enlarges.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

We are trying

to make a new offence for children. We may be saying that something is a vice which possibly heretofore has not been regarded as such.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

My hon. friend knows

that violation of the ordinance of a municipality is not a vice or a crime. Still under the present law, it is enough to constitute a child a juvenile delinquent. This is simply to broaden the meaning of the act, and apply it to something which is really more important than the violation of any municipal law.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Yes, but we

know what we are doing in the case of a municipal by-law.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

The addition of these

words has been suggested not only by the courts, but by all the organizations such as the Rig Sisters and the Big Brothers, and associations for the protection of children, in Toronto, Montreal and all the big cities, especially in western Canada. All the probation officers and juvenile delinquent judges had a conference, I think last year or the year before, and they unanimously asked that this amendment should be made. I am not especially anxious to have the amendment placed in the statute if there is any objection; I am simply proposing to parliament what all those who are interested in child welfare work have asked for.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I am not objecting; I am simply trying to find out what the amendment means. Does my hon. friend say that the term "or other form of vice" will be confined to offences under the Criminal Code?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

No.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I did not think

he would. Then are we not permitting magistrates-some of whom may be and undoubtedly are very estimable men, although they are not all of that class-to assume the functions of parliament and to say that such and such an act is an offence? It may be a good thing to do; it may be a good thing to say that the whole list of actions having regard to children ought to be looked upon as vices. But if we are going to do that we might consider the child himself to some extent, and also the child's parents. I am afraid this might permit a magistrate to take

Juvenile Delinquents Act

a child from its parents under circumstances which the parents themselves might say were perfectly harmless. In other words before the Criminal Code is invoked against, any individual should it not be plain that it is in connection with some offence we already know about, some statutory offence which is already defined, and which will limit the possible intervention of a busybody? If the hon. gentleman would just point out what is meant by these words, we would understand it. What kind of an offence could his own child be arrested for? He cannot tell us. The former limitation was fourteen years, what is the present limitation?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Sixteen years.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Does my hon.

friend not think that it would be a good thing if the children of Ontario should know that they would be treated the same way as the children of Quebec, and vice versa, and that they could be given to understand that they are being looked after by the lawmakers of their country upon some well-recognized principle in regard to the offences with which they may be made accused? Does my hon. friend really realize that what we are doing here is asking each magistrate to define what vice is, and to legislate in effect upon each kind of vice and form of conduct, irrespective of any action of parliament? Suppose for example you have a child who engages in a game on the Lord's day-that game might consist of trundling a hoop. Some magistrate might absolutely conscientiously think that that was a vice, and might consider that the child was breaking a sacred law. Under this section could that child be taken from his parents and treated as a child requiring influences other than his home influence, in fact treated as a juvenile delinquent, while in the very next township you would very likely find a magistrate who would think that childish games on the Sabbath were not a vice and were not heinously illegal? There is also the other rule which might be applied. A magistrate might read this statute and consider himself bound by the old rule of ejus-dem generis, which would confine use of these words to vices of sexual immorality. But if you read it in that way, the previous paragraph is so broad that I would

have thought that those other words would be sufficient. I want my hon. friend to thoroughly understand my .point before he replies. My suggestion is not that I think these children should not be looked after by the juvenile court; it is not that we

should not do everything we reasonably can do in order to strengthen the hands of those administering justice in the juvenile court; there is no question we ought to do that. But, having regard to the very important question, ought there not to be a rule for juvenile offenders and ought there not to be a law for them? Ought not a child to have just as much protection as an adult before it can be arrested?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

As I stated, this amendment has been suggested by associations for the protection of children. I have one letter from the Toronto League of Women Voters, suggesting the words "or who is guilty of sexual immorality or any other form of vice". I agree with my hon. friend that in ordinary legislation and in ordinary cases it would not be desirable to leave the words "or any other form of vice" in that vague form. But the point must arise that the whole spirit of the act is to protect children, and to give the magistrates who are appointed for the purpose of presiding over these juvenile courts more latitude and larger discretion. It is not designed to do any harm to children or their parents, but to help them. It has been considered, in the experience of those judges who are spending their time in that social work, that the clause as it stands on the statute is not sufficiently broad to give them all the latitude which they require. After discussing the matter with those who are promoting the legislation, and after offering the suggestions which my hon. friend has offered, I thought there were good and sufficient reasons in support of the amendment, and I have taken the responsibility of presenting this bill to the House. But I did not originate the clause myself.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

What is the right of appeal?

I think there should be a right of appeal. I imagine in the main the clause would work out all right. I can conceive of cases where perhaps injustice might be done, but so long as protection by way of appeal is afforded, I would be disposed to support this amendment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I do not see any right of appeal in the Juvenile Court Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

I am inclined to agree with the criticism of the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton). I can quite understand the desire of certain people and certain organizations to strengthen the legislation in this respect, and if I were certain that magistrates would always exercise a wise discretion I think I would have no objection

Juvenile Delinquents Act

to this provision. But it seems to me to give too much latitude to the magistrate as the provision stands at present. For instance, a young boy of fifteen years might be caught smoking cigarettes, and some person whose sensibilities would be outraged by such conduct might lodge a complaint. That boy might be brought before the magistrate; the magistrate might be of the same turn of mind as the complainant, and the boy consequently would become a juvenile delinquent. I am not overstating the case when I give that as an illustration. I do not know that it is wise to clothe magistrates with that extensive power. As it stands it would incorporate a rather dangerous principle into our criminal procedure.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think I would be disposed to go as far in this direction as any hon. member of the House, as long as I felt that our footsteps were safe. I have the greatest sympathy with the organizations which have been conferring with the Minister of Justice, and I can realize their difficulties. I presume they encounter cases of depravity that do not come within the provisions of the code, and that cannot very well be brought within the terms of the code, as the code necessarily is applicable to all people old and young. The law as it stood up to the present time has been in brief this: That wherever an offence against the law is charged, we have never yet gone so far as to say to the magistrate :>

In the case of people below a certain age you shall be the judge of what is right or what is wrong; although this child may have offended against nothing within the purview of the code or a by-law or an act of a legislature, still if you think the child is committing what is not morally in its interest, we leave it to you to take care of it under the Juvenile Delinquents Act. That is very dangerous.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. PUTNAM:

Is the age not fourteen

instead of sixteen?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The minister says sixteen. I would go this far, because I am disposed to go just as far as we safely can,-include the words "who is guilty of sexual immorality," but I would not like to allow any magistrate to define in his own mind what an offence is.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I am quite willing to

accept the suggestion of my hon. .friend and to amend the section as suggested. I move that the words, "or any other form of vice" be struck out.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ACT, 1908, AMENDMENT
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June 23, 1924