May 29, 1930

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

As my hon. friend knows, these moneys are expended in the burial of ex-service men who have died in indigent circumstances. The burials are taken care of in the community under the Last Post fund which the government subsidizes each year.

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CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS:

In what way are they

taken care of? For instance, if a man dies out in the country at some distance from a city, what provision would be made? Would any refund be made?

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

In each province

there is a branch of the Last Post fund organization which is officered by certain individuals. If a death occurs in the country, application is made to the organization which advises as to its responsibility. If the burial takes place at the expense of the Last Post fund, the department will 'bear a portion, if not the whole, of the expense, depending on the circumstances.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Is this service being extended? Is the department discovering more cases in which this service is required?

Supply-Pensions and National Health

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

We find that we

are expending more money under this vote each year.

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CON
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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

Probably. The

amount provided in previous years was not sufficient to meet the cost of burial and there is more than $4,000 of accounts outstanding. We have to provide for the erection of markers on graves. Markers are gradually being placed as funds permit, the cost varying according to the requirements of the cemetery in which the burial is made. At the present time the amount for markers to be placed and arrears of burial charges will require about $16,000.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

I only hope the fact that

this service is in existence is being made known in the outlying districts.

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

We depend for

that more on the Last Post fund people themselves. Sir Arthur Currie is president and they have a secretary in Montreal. They have pretty active branches throughout the whole of Canada.

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Item agreed to. National Health-the administration of the acts respecting food and drugs, opium and narcotic drugs and proprietory or patent medicines, including the laboratory of hygiene, $163,500.


CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

I would ask the minister to

explain lucidly but briefly the work that is being done by his department in regard to the very important matter of narcotic drugs.

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

We have an

organization known as the narcotic division. It is officered by chief officer Colonel Shar-man, with assistant officers, clerks and stenographers under him. He is in charge of the work of that division and he cooperates with the mounted police force throughout Canada. He is also in close contact with the municipal and provincial authorities. We have of late confined our activities more to the larger trafficker under an arrangement with the provincial and municipal authorities, depending upon them to take care of the smaller trafficker. We have, I think, been fairly successful. There have been a good many convictions. In the early days, through the efforts of the provincial and other police, the number of convictions was high. They are as follows:

Number of

Year convictions

1922-23 1,858

1923-24 1.102

1926-27 743

1927-28 490

1928-29 430

1929-30 563

As regards our later convictions, we have been fairly successful in securing long term sentences. It was difficult in the earlier stages to get the magistrates to commit these people for long terms. On the 31st March, 1930, there were in the Westminster penitentiary 82 traffickers, many for five years and some for seven years. As stated in the 1929 annual report, whereas in the preceding year the number of cases in which the option of a fine was given largely exceeded those in which there was none, in 1928-29 the situation was reversed, and 240 of the 430 convictions resulted in gaol sentences in that year; one of seven years, eleven of five years, four of four years, eight of three years, nine of two years, and twenty-eight of one year and over. In checking up with the statistical department we found there were duplications in the same case and the number was reduced.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

This is a subject of such

vital importance to Canada that I would like the minister to understand my purpose is really to bring out exactly what this branch of the department is doing. I find there has been an increase in the proportion of expenditures to prosecutions and convictions by the department in connection with this subject, I find, moreover, there is an increase in travelling expenses, a decrease in revenue, an increase in salaries, a decrease in the number of convictions. The department to-day has a larger staff dealing with this very important subject when, before, according to the minister himself, with a lesser staff it was more efficient than it is now.

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

No.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

I do not know-and the

minister can inform me-whether or not increases are proposed to be made in connection with the staff handling this matter. I honestly believe there is some kind of concealment by the department lumping convictions which are really obtained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with those secured by the department. In other words, a number of these convictions which the minister has mentioned really are the result of the work of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I have here figures which rdveal an extraordinary story which concerns the national life of Canada. I find that in 1921-22 the total revenue from licensed fees, fines and seizures was $29,832.82, and to January 31, 1929-30, $12,375.77. If those figures are not correct, I wish the minister would correct me.

2832 COMMONS

Supply-Pensions and National Health

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

I would like to correct my hon. friend. He has given the totals, and I think he has the figures reversed. The figures are for 1925, $12,833.43, and for 1929-30, $14,240.77.

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CON
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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

Just reversed.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

The expenditure charged to the appropriation, not including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was in 1921-22, $13,305.S3, and to January 31, 1929-30, $31,235.77. The civil government salaries, permanent and temporary, were $7,292.78 in

1921-22, and to January 31, 1929-30, $14,808.40. What about travelling expenses? In 1921-22 travelling expenses amounted to $704.31, and to January 31, 1929.30, to

$3,748.57. The total national health expenditure in 1921-22 was $21,302.92 and to January 31, 1929-30, $49,792.74.

I come now to the number of federal, provincial and municipal convictions for the judicial years ended September 30. They are as follows:

1922- 23

$1,8581923- 24

1,1021924- 25

9971925- 26

8351926- 27

7431927- 28

4901928- 29

551

I cannot get the number of convictions for

1929-30. Now, one of two things is taking place to-day. In the report issued by the department, of national health, I find a statement which is not in accordance with the figures which I have given. On page 85 of that report there is this very important paragraph:

Such improvement, of course, is only relative and is to ,a great extent occasioned by the-increasing number of drug traffickers actually being incarcerated, together with a much greater cooperation with and control of the wholesale and retail druggists.

That is in contradiction of the figures which I have here, which show increased expenditure, a bigger staff, and a smaller number of convictions. In fact, it is difficult to ascertain with any authority just what the number of convictions is. The minister must admit that whoever wrote this report realized the gravity of the situation. There is something wrong in the department. Just three weeks ago I asked a number of questions with the purpose of eliciting information as to the actual situation. It is one that deeply concerns our national life, because opium and narcotic drugs generally are the ruination of many. I have not yet received an answer to my questions. I repeat, I find increased

expenditure, a bigger staff, and a smaller number of convictions, and the public is convinced that the opium and narcotic traffic is on the increase. I would like to know from the minister just what the situation is.

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John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

The figures which my hon. friend has been quoting are - not proper figures. I regret very much that the report which he asked for has not been tabled. I found it on my desk yesterday, and it was sent to the Secretary of State, and I thought it would have been tabled to-day. The figures in that report do not coincide with the figures which my hon. friend has quoted to-night; his figures are not correct. Of course, our expenditure and costs are increasing. We have been very active in control. If my hon. friend has any knowledge of the traffic or would care to go to Montreal and make inquiries, he would find that it was very difficult for him or anyone else to secure narcotics in the city of Montreal, whereas five or six or seven years ago there were recognized places throughout the city where men could go and get a supply without difficulty. That is confirmed by the fact that at that time you could buy crude opium for $25 an ounce whereas to-day it cannot be procured for $125 an ounce. We know from day to day from the correspondence in the department that the addict is having a more difficult time in securing a supply, and that is due to the activities of the department. It is true that our travelling expenses have increased, from $635.35 in 1925, to $4,881 last year. The small travelling expenses in 1925 did not aid in diminishing the traffic in Vancouver. To-day the officers of the department make not one trip, but two or three or four trips across this continent, and travel to different centres in the United States, getting in touch with those in control of gangs in that country. We also have men in the old country trying to tie up the threads of this traffic, in order that we may have control. I am pleased to say to the committee that of all countries that are trying to control this traffic to-day, Canada is recognized I think as having the best control of all.

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May 29, 1930