June 30, 1934

LIB
LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Seeing that the

Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) is so strong on rules, under what rule are we working at ten minutes past eleven? I do not believe in con-

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ducting the declining hours of parliament by departing from the practices of decency and order in all things, including prorogation. I have seen this trick tried before. It was tried in 1931; I objected then and I object again. I have been here since January 25 without going home, and I am prepared to stay until we prorogue. This working in the dead of night would seem as if our deeds were evil.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I submit that my right hon. friend is wrong, but I am not going to take up time by arguing further. The article reads:

The business community received a tariff appeal court with approval and began, promptly, to make good use of it. Under the impression, untrue as the event proves, that it had judicial powers, the tariff board proceeded to bring order out of departmental red tape and confusion: It nipped political interference in the bud: and it gained the respect and confidence of the business community.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Do not read any more speeches now.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It continues:

The tariff board, as it stands in the light of the supreme court judgment, can perform only limited services for Canadian business. The government, if not prepared to amend the law-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It continues:

-and give it the authority of a court, should repeal Part IT of the Tariff Board Act and proclaim, in all honesty,-

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CON

Ernest D'Israeli Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Smith, Cumberland) :

I ask the hon. member not to read the article.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It continues:

-that tariff enforcement is to revert to a purely political basis.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

When we were discussing

Part II of the tariff board bill it was clearly stated to the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), who invited the statement, that the decisions of the tariff board sitting as the customs board would be subject to the approval of the minister. In order to make it very clear that there was an appeal in certain cases, at the suggestion of the right hon. gentleman I drafted an amendment to that effect. Whatever the opinion of the hon. member for Shelbume-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) may now be I am quite sure that there was no misapprehension in the mind of his leader to that effect. The discussion is there reported and may be referred to. It is quite possible that the editor of the paper which has been quoted was entirely misled by certain statements that were not in accord-

ance with either the fact or the law which the hon. gentleman had made on several occasions. The hon. gentleman seems to be under a complete misapprehension as to what the facts really are.

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Item agreed to. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Peni ten ti aries- Amount required to carry out agreement between His Majesty and the municipality of the village of St. Vincent de Paul for extension of the present water and sewer system connected with St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary, $3,000.


CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS:

I had the floor when this item was up before. I am going to detain the committee only a few minutes. I am compelled to speak to-night on behalf of those guards who were dismissed by the new administration some years ago to promote efficiency. Their notice to go was in these terms: "Guard So and So: Acting under instructions from Ottawa, I have to advise that you will be retired from the staff of this institution to promote efficiency;" or: "Guard So and So: Acting on instructions from Ottawa, I have to advise that you have been retired from your position on the staff of this institution, to take effect from the 25th, to promote efficiency." I have a dozen of them here, notices to men who were dismissed by this new administration to promote efficiency, and now we have information that for eighteen months there has been no efficiency, though these gentlemen have lost their positions. I want to say on behalf of these guards that, at the time the riots occurred, the new superintendent came to my door, without solicitation from myself after he had dismissed about five or six of them, and gave me the promise that these men would be restored. He gave me a straight promise that they would be restored. I went to these men and begged them not to raise any disturbance but to keep quiet because they would be put back in their positions, and I told them that on the word of the superintendent. That word was not fulfilled, but instead of that about thirty more were dismissed. I am speaking to-night on behalf of these men, pointing out the injustice that has been done them. In addition to that, I would point out that if Warden Megloughlin has been dismissed, the people want to know on what ground and for what reasons. Was he dismissed because he was inefficient? Was he dismissed because he had not support from higher up? Or was it because he was carrying out some administration of his own or the administration laid down for him? These are matters that are disturbing to the people of Kingston and to the

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guards who have been dismissed.. It is too late to discuss the matter to-night, but I can assure the committee that, having waited patiently for some time for an explanation of their dismissal, I am speaking now only in the interests of the penitentiary. No matter what any newspaper or anyone may say, I am expressing my own views, and I have at heart the welfare of these guards and of the people of Kingston as well as of the penitentiary. The people of Kingston are disturbed after the disclosure that has been made to the house that efficiency has not been secured, although a dozen or two of guards have been dismissed. I have done my duty, and though I have not time to-night to discuss the matter further I promise you that I shall return to the subject at the very beginning of the next session of parliament.

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

Unfortunately it always happens that the penitentiary estimates come up at the very close of the session. I have sat through this session and listened to a good deal of good talk and a good deal that might have been better left unsaid, and I intend to-night to take up as much time as I would two weeks before prorogation.

In the winter the Minister of Justice, discussing the Kingston penitentiary riots, said that they were due to communist activities in that institution. When General Ormond, who was superintendent of penitentiaries in Canada, was listing the causes of the riots in Canada he enumerated eleven, and the last one was the only cause that could be interpreted as communistic. Oddly enough, the riot of October 17-20, 1932, was by no means the only one in Kingston. I take my information from Superintendent Ormond's reports. There was an uprising in Kingston on September 17, 1921; another on January 17, 1923; another on October 3, 1924; another on January 22, 1927, and some sort of disturbance called the conspiracy on August 5, 1931. Then there were the riots in October, 1932. It would be interesting to bear from the Minister of Justice what caused all the other riots, since many of them took place before the communists were in Kingston. It is too thin a reason to give to an intelligent body like the House of Commons, and I think that the events since that speech was made by the Minister of Justice have borne out the contention that the reason simply was not good enough. The minister at that time took the ground that the 50,000 communications he had received asking for an investigation into our penal institutions were from communist sources. I do not know where they came

from, but I do know that the Toronto Globe, which could not by any stretch of imagination be said to be a communist journal, for weeks and even months campaigned in favour of an impartial investigation into the difficulties at Kingston. And not only the Globe, but other newspapers, such a journal as the Whig Standard of Kingston and more recently, since the debate in the House of Commons a few days ago, the Hamilton Herald and many others, have asked for an impartial investigation into all Canadian penitentiaries and particularly Kingston penitentiary, where there has been one disturbance after another. Moreover, such eminent authorities as Archdeacon Scott and Mr. W. M. Nickle, K.C., of Kingston, who had much to do with the defence of certain convicts in Kingston and has for a long time been deeply interested in the conditions in the penitentiary, and whose father was one of three people who made the finest report on penitentiaries we have ever had, have urged such an investigation.

Possibly at this point I might say to the hon. member for Marquette that Major W. M. Nickle, in an interview given the Toronto Globe on Wednesday, June 27, made reference to the hon. gentleman in these terms:

Just to bring this matter to a head, I challenge Mr. Mullins to prove that any instance in my letter to Canon Scott is incorrect or false; and if the government will give me a chance I will prove that what I have stated in my letter is correct in every detail.

His letter, which was read on the floor by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, is a terrible indictment of the management of Kingston penitentiary. Surely there should not be required any further urging of the government for an impartial investigation. There should be a royal commission or a special committee of investigation to look into conditions not only in Kingston penitentiary but in all the penitentiaries throughout Canada.

I should like to take some time to give what I think are some of the causes of the riots.

I am going to quote for a moment or two from the decision of Judge Deroche in the Rex versus Kirkland case in which he says:

The men (meaning the inmates) had for months and possibly years been asking for the removal of certain grievances which were in their minds, with little or no response.

Then he goes on to say:

They now decided that on October 17, at three o'clock p.m. they would walk out of the shops and make a peaceful demonstration to impress the warden and through him Ottawa.

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At the end of the judgment he says again on page 7:

Then to go back to the cause of the riot. This peaceful demonstration which developed into a riot, was for the purpose of emphasizing the demands of the men for redress of certain grievances which had been long and repeatedly denied them. Many of the grievances for which this demonstration was staged have already-

Before this trial took place.

-been granted to the men, proving conclusively to my mind that those demands must have been reasonable.

Those are the words of the judge who tried one of the rioters and in his opinion there was cause-not that the judge wanted a riot- and he gives as proof of his belief that the grievances which' the men enumerated were remedied between the time of the rioting and the judgment made by him. I am, however, inclined to think there has been a slipping backward between that day and this.

Then, too, I want to say something about the number of repeaters. The figures were given the other day by the hon. member for Kingston City (Mr. Ross), that in Canadian penal institutions twenty-one per cent of all the inmates are serving a term for their second offence; fourteen per cent for their third offence and twenty-two per cent for their fourth offence or over. Using a statement from Superintendent Ormond's report, seventy-five per cent of all the prisoners in Canadian penitentiaries have had previous convictions, for incarceration possibly not in penitentiaries, but, if not, at least in some other place such as a gaol or a reformatory. I remember one time Brigadier General Hughes told me that the average cost of a conviction was SI,200, so if we figure it out on that basis, the repeaters, using the percentage I have just given and the prison population of this year, mean an increased cost to the people of Canada of $6,735,600; that is the repeater cases over and above the first conviction. Therefore, I should think if the House of Commons is not affected by a humanitarian appeal it ought to be affected by a financial or purely material appeal. It is bad business to go on putting men into penitentiaries where they are not reformed, where apparently, after leaving such institutions, they cannot make a place for themselves in life and so return to prison.

I feel the House of Commons ought to take much more interest in this subject than hon. members have shown. It always happens just as it is happening now that this matter comes up at the very end of a session, one gets an indifferent house and nothing is done from year to year. So we have such cases as the

one mentioned in Mr. Nickle's letter and corroborated in Judge Deroche's statement that a man called O'Brien has been in solitary confinement in Kingston penitentiary from August, 1931, at least until July 12, 1933, and is quite probably still in solitary confinement. Since, however, the department guards its secrets so very carefully I cannot say whether that is still the case, but it is quite true that he was in solitary confinement for the period mentioned. Just think of it! a man in solitary confinement from August, 1931, to July 12, 1933! It would have been much more humane to stand him up against the wall and shoot him. The idea of putting a man into solitary confinement for a period running on into two years in a cell three or four times the size of a piano box, to use the term of the report prepared by Nielde, Biggar and Draper, and leaving him there for that length of time, although during that time he has never been tried for the offence for which he was committed to the solitary cell. Whether this has been done recently, I am not prepared to say I would like the Minister of Justice, when he replies, if he does reply, to tell us whether or not O'Brien is still in solitary confinement.

I have also been interested in the case of Tim Buck. There are various reasons for my interest in him. The committee will recall that it was said he was shot at. That was denied, but it was admitted the other day by the Minister of Justice that eleven shots were fired into the cell of Tim Buck. I notice that Major Nickle in an interview which he gave to the Toronto Globe recalled to us all that when crown counsel MacKay was questioning Tim Buck, he, Buck, stated that his cell was the only one of seventy-six cells in D range which was fired at. It would be interesting to me to know on what date he was fired at, whether it was on the riot of the seventeenth or the riot of the twentieth, and whether he was fired at from the corridor directly into the cell or whether he was fired at from the yard outside. It seems rather remarkable that if there are seventy-six cells in range D, one cell should be chosen and eleven shots should be fired into it. We were told the other day that they were fired into it in order to quiet or frighten Tim Buck. I should think it ought to have been a successful method. I do not know whether others in the house feel as I do about the matter, but to me it seems a remarkable action that one cell should have been chosen and these volleys should have been fired into it. The shots were all supposed to have lodged in the ceiling and it is very lucky for Buck that they did. If they were fired from

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the yard outside they must have been fired by excellent marksmen if they hit the ceiling every time and did not hit Tim Buck.

I am going to quote Judge Deroche again. It was said by the minister that Buck was standing in the door of his cell encouraging the rioters. In this reiport the judge says on page 7:

Buck told them-

That is the .prisoners.

-that the soldiers would not hurt them if they did no violence to person or injury to property.

That does not sound very much like encouraging the rioters or like a terrifically dangerous man who needed to be fired at eleven times in order to cow him. I am going to quote again from page 3 of the same report; it is very much in the same language:

When it was announced that the soldiers were coming, one of the men, Tim Buck, advised the men that the soldiers could not or would not hurt them so long as they did no damage to property or violence to anyone, and instructed the men to gather pails of water and barricade the door, expecting to stand siege.

At the end of this document when Judge Deroche is giving judgment on Kirkland, he gives a modified judgment because he says that they did no injury to anyone. All that would lead one to think that there was possibly as much violence on the part of the authorities as there was on the part of the men.

There is one other protest I wish to make; I feel it is useless and still I want to make it.

I think we have altogether too much military control in penitentiaries. We started off with General Ormond, and then we had Colonel Megloughlin who now has been asked for his resignation. I want to point out that the technique which serves well with normal and healthy men and men more or less free, as soldiers are, would be quite different from the technique required for men who are morally or mentally sick, who are not free and who are embittered and therefore very difficult to deal with. I do not think that the method which works in one case will work in the other. We need to start as soon as possible to handle intelligently our prison population. We need a psychiatrist, as mentioned by General Ross, and we need segregation of prisoners. Possibly the Minister of Justice himself made the best plea for segregation of prisoners of any I heard. I think he said that there were not more than one hundred prisoners in Kingston -he was speaking of Kingston particularly -who were of a violent sort, and that the others were, to use what I think was his term,

law-abiding citizens: I suppose he meant to say they did not give much trouble. One hundred out of something like-I forget at the moment what the population of the Kingston penitentiaiy is; at any rate they are a small part of the total. Superintendent Ormond gave the percentage of incorrigibles as fifteen. In another part of the same report he said that twenty per cent belonged to the bom criminal class. Nickle, Biggar and Draper in the report of 1921 said that fifteen per cent had given trouble, and not more than five percent were difficult to control. From all this I think we can conclude that only a small percentage of the prisoners are incorrigibles. Therefore it would seem a logical and sensible thing to segregate these, and try our best to save the others, not only for their own sake but for the sake of society to which they must one day be returned. Because if these men continue to be criminals they are going to cause destruction to life and property, with a great deal of suffering and misery to people outside the prison.

I feel that the government of Canada should no longer refuse to have an impartial investigation into our penal institutions. If they do, the responsibility must be entirely on the shoulders of the administration. We have done as much as we can do; newspapers and societies and a great number of people as individuals have said there should be an investigation. I believe that the public will never be satisfied until there is one, and I urge upon the government once more that it be held.

Before I resume my seat I would like to ask the Minister of Justice if it is true that Colonel Megloughlin is to be given a position in the civil service, as reported in an Ottawa paper just the other day.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I know nothing of the report, nor of any foundation for such a rumour.

I should like to detain the committee at some length in regard to the situation spoken of by the hon. member, but as I understand His Excellency is on his way to the parliament buildings, I shall have to reserve my answer to a future occasion, in order that what I think is the desire of everyone may be complied with and the house enabled to prorogue.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The minister has

taken a most remarkable attitude.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I have given my reason.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The minister has given his reason and I regard the reason as

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entirely insufficient. The hon. member for Kingston City (Mr. Ross) said a little while ago that it is perhaps too late to-night to discuss this, but we have been put off for several years. It is an unfortunate condition, that even a supporter of the government has to admit that he has been put off for several years. We have all been put off for several years. Again and again the government has brought on these estimates at the very latest moment-

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

That is not a fair statement. These estimates have been up on at least two previous occasions this session; they have stood from time to time on special request.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

When the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) was away.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Last year the estimate was put through at a very late time and without any warning. Often notice is given; last year it was not given. It is true that this year the estimate was held up, or one item, but there is no reason whatever why these estimates could not have been brought down earlier than on the last night.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the welfare of nine hundred men is at stake. They have been neglected for several years. The department has carried on the affairs of the penitentiary in such a way that very serious riots have occurred, riots that have involved heavy expense on the part of the government, and that have shocked the conscience of the people of Canada. I refuse to permit the Minister to say at 11.40 o'clock on a Saturday night that on account of the Governor General coming here he will decline to answer, and that we shall again be put off.

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June 30, 1934