June 27, 1946

PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

But this section also permits the information to be laid within one year.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I take it that means that a complaint is made under oath for a warrant and that an information is laid for a summons.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

I am told that under the criminal code action must be started within

.

six months. The department wanted a longer period, and asked for this alteration to one year.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

There seems to be a conflict of opinion between the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I think it should be a shorter time. I do not see why the time should be extended, particularly in view of the provisions of the following section.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I am sorry; I had possibly in mind the provision of our Quebec statutes, which I remember having had to seek to have applied in several instances, where the period is two years if no special time is set. I see in the criminal code, in the case of any offence punishable by way of summary conviction, if no time is specially limited for making any complaint, or laying any information, in the act or law relating to the particular case, the complaint shall be made, or the information laid, within six months from the time when the matter of the complaint or information arose, except in the northwest territories and the Yukon territory.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink

Section agreed to. On section 17-Power to enter, inspect and seize.


PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

Apparently power is given in subsection 1 to enter and seize, and under subsection 2, to hold the articles for ninety days, or almost ninety days, and then proceedings can be instituted. Subsection 2 says:

Any article seized pursuant to subsection one of this section may be retained for a period of ninety days and if before the expiration of such period any proceedings in respect of such article are taken under this act may be further retained until such proceedings are finally concluded.

In other words, they can seize the articles, they can hold them for practically ninety days, and then they can commence proceedings. Why do they not have to commence the proceedings when they seize the articles? Why are they permitted to wait ninety days?

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

This extra time is frequently needed. There are, I am told, only two points in Canada where the proper assay can be made to determine the quality of the goods seized, and it is found that this extra time is necessary. It is for the protection of the department that this extra time is provided.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

I should like to say another word about section 17, subsection 1. From a note on another page I find that before it was amended the section provided that any officer appointed under this act or any regula-

Supply-Justice

tion should have power during business hours to enter the premises of any dealer. Now it is proposed to delete those words "during business hours" and substitute the words "at any reasonable time". It would appear that this is being done merely to meet the convenience of some inspector. He may go into some city and want to get out before the man's store is opened, or he may arrive after it is closed and he does not want to stay there. So to meet the convenience of some government inspector this amendment provides that he can enter a man's premises "at any reasonable time". Why should that be permitted? Why is the act as it stands not satisfactory? It must have been satisfactory to everybody except some government inspector; at least that is the way it impresses me. It seems to me that no government inspector should be permitted to enter business premises at any time that he considers reasonable, and that is all this section is going to amount to if it is changed as proposed. I think we should have some explanation. I may be putting a wrong meaning on the amendment; there may be some other reason why this is being done, but I do not think a government inspector should be permitted to enter a man's premises except during business hours, while he is carrying on his business there.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

This clause is introduced to cover a point which the hon. member has not thought of. Across the country many people keep their merchandise not only in their business premises but also in their homes. This is to allow an inspector to make an investigation and get possession of these articles at any reasonable time,-not merely during business hours, which may be from six to eight-where part of the merchandise may be in the merchant's home.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink

Section agreed to. On section 18-Certificate of master or assayer of Royal Canadian Mint.


PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

I think it is reasonable

that a certificate signed by any assayer of the mint shall be evidence of the facts stated therein. It is the standard certificate, the only possible certificate of fineness. The question I want to ask is this. Is there a definite Canadian marking, as there is in silver, with regard to platinum articles? We are probably the greatest producer of platinum; if not, we are very nearly so, and it seems to me that we should have some specific Canadian marking for platinum goods.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

In Canada there is a definite marking for silver and gold only, but not for platinum.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

I suggest to the minister that he consider a definite Canadian marking for platinum, in view of our particularly large production of platinum, iridium, and other metals which are in so much greater demand now than heretofore on account of their great strength.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

I shall see that that is done.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

There is no decimal point used either in regard to platinum?

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink
LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

No.

Topic:   PRECIOUS METALS MARKING
Subtopic:   REPEAL OF ACT-CONSOLIDATION OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Permalink

Section agreed to. Sections 19 and 20 agreed to. Schedule agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time, and passed.



The house in committee of supply, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.


DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE


106. Penitentiaries branch-administration,


CCF

James Herbert Matthews

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MATTHEWS (Kootenay East):

When the debate was adjourned last Friday evening I was commenting on the fact that people like myself who take a deep and keen interest in penal reform are often criticized. It has been said on more than one occasion that we are a people who are swayed by emotionalism and by sob stories, and I for one have resented that, because I think I can say rather that we are men and women who are motivated by the dynamic of righteousness. It will be a sorry day for Canada, and a sorrier day for the inmates of our federal penitentiaries, when our hearts fail to be moved by the needs of these unfortunate members of society.

I have seen men working in prison gangs garbed in prison clothing, guarded by men armed with rifles, and I have said to myself, as I suppose many another hon. member of the house has said to himself: "There I go but for the grace of God". For my part, I do not want ever to condone wrongdoing, no matter where it is found. I fully realize that men and women with criminal tendencies need to be taught that crime does not pay and that certainly the way of the transgressor is hard. But when all that has been said, I believe we still need to temper our justice with mercy.

As I read carefully the report of the Archambault commission, I find that it has some scathing things to say about penal administration in the past, and it emphasizes

Supply-Justice

the need for a humane and brotherly understanding of these unfortunate people. I am inclined to think that the criticism of the Archambault commission's report made by the Minister of Justice last Friday evening had to do with these particular assertions on maladministration. I notice that the minister very graciously admitted that there is very much that is good in the report itself. Then he went on to say at page 2739:

There are certainly some assertions in it that are exaggerated.

That to my mind is a very serious reflection to pass upon esteemed persons whose judgment and ability have been so highly praised during the course of this debate. Speaking to tire member for Selkirk, the minister qualified his criticism, when he said:

I have not had time to verify all the conditions described in the report.

And later on in the discussion, speaking about Stony Mountain penitentiary, the minister said-page 2740:

I have not been there myself. In fact, I have not been anywhere else since I came to Ottawa four and a half years ago.

I am satisfied in my own mind, Mr. Chairman, that when the minister made that statement he. was not offering it to the house in any way as an excuse, because I do not think he is that type of person at all. But the people across Canada read Hansard, and they are going to read those remarks that the minister made and that other people are making. I know they read them, and I believe that a great many people will say to themselves it is about time the Minister of Justice got around a bit and visited some of these institutions that are under his care.

We who are here in the house from day to day and see the minister sitting in his place know that he has a most difficult task to perform and is giving himself to that task most diligently. It seems to me however that he ought to visit the federal penitentiaries as occasion offers, possibly between sessions of parliament, and acquire for himself first-hand information of the conditions that exist in those institutions, because I am satisfied that many of the conditions that have been complained about still exist, and they form the basis of our modem appeal for penal reform. Not punishment, but reformation, not revenge, but redemption: that, I believe, should be

the keynote of our penal institutions to-day. And here I would place on the record an item culled from the Vancouver Sun of June 17, entitled "Contrast in Crime":

Education minister G. M. Weir said in Burnaby a few days ago that reestablishment of the Borstal home at New Haven "likely will be considered soon." It would be more

reassuring if he had said that this matter is already receiving the earnest consideration of the provincial government. The record of both provincial and federal governments with respect to the treatment of delinquents and any real farsighted attack on the problem of crime, is disheartening. The public had a right to expect action earlier than this from Attorney-General Wismer, who is known to have the right idea but who seems, since his reappointment to his high post, to have let the matter sleep. The Department of Justice has issued a report which shows that 78-4 per cent of the 1945 penitentiary population were repeaters. This is an increase of 10 per cent in the last decade. What a terrible indictment of the existing penal system and of governmental sloth! Society is not getting the protection that a decent penitentiary system would give. The penitentiaries supply no corrective, they afford no deterrent. They are making criminals instead of curing them. The Sun, long an advocate of the reintroduction of Borstal, has pointed out before the sorry contrast the Canadian record offers when compared with that of Britain. An article in the current issue of Maclean's magazine highlights this contrast. Between the two wars Canada's serious crime rate multiplied three times while Britain's rate dropped one-quarter. In 1942, for example, the forty-one million people of Britain committed 4,000 indictable offences. In Canada, the same year, our twelve million people committed 46,723. What does Borstal purport to do? Maclean's article gives the answer. Regarding the years between 16 and 23 as the most critical in the life of the criminal, its sponsors try to give youths in this group a treatment that will "turn one kind of human being into another kind of human being." All but those who have demonstrated themselves as hopelessly vicious morally or defective mentally go to Borstal for a term of three years-that being the length of time that it takes to do what Borstal aims to do.

The system works. Four out of five Borstal graduates go straight, and Britain is able to get along with 39 prisons and jails for forty-one million people, while Canada maintains 147 corrective institutions of various kinds.

Before I bring these remarks to a close I want to offer a couple of suggestions to the Minister of Justice. First I suggest that he give serious consideration to the possibility of granting an amnesty to those whose conduct shows them to be deserving. By the grace of God we have been granted victory in a world shattering war. As nations and as individuals we have celebrated, and have expressed our joy and thankfulness. In some lands I believe it is customary at such times to mark the occasion by the granting of an amnesty to certain groups of prisoners. While it may not be feasible, and may not even be desirable, to grant a general pardon, surely something can be done, such as the partial remission of sentence, to mark this great victory.

My second suggestion may be more far-reaching, because it would entail a radical departure from our present system of adminis-

Supply-Justice

tration. I realize that as a suggestion it may appear to be one born out of due time, but in my own mind I am convinced that it is sound and that time and the evolution of circumstances will bring it into being. To-day an arrested person is brought before a court of justice and tried. If found guilty of a serious crime he is sentenced to a period of imprisonment, and if that period exceeds two years he is confined in one of our federal penitentiaries. My suggestion is that after a man has been arrested, charged, tried and sentenced, the court of justice has done its work. From the moment a prisoner enters the gate of a prison he should no longer be under the law, which has been applied in the past in military form. He should be under the care of social and redemptive agencies, persons specially trained in reform work. It should be made quite clear to the prisoner that part of his punishment is the curtailment of his liberty, but that the period of his incarceration will afford him opportunities to regain

his lost manhood. .

. -*"**

I realize that I have spoken at some length,

but the subject is one in which I am deeply interested. For long enough we have contented ourselves with talking about penal reform. Now may God give us grace and strength to go ahead and do something about it. In closing I should like to read a clipping from the Christian Science Monitor of a few weeks ago, written in connection with the revolt, at Alcatraz prison:

The revolt at Alcatraz prison caused five deaths and hundreds of war-sized headlines. The only corrective result so far reported is a plan to repair the cell block which gave a desperate convict a chance to get weapons. Will that be the total product of the headlines? Or will the attention focused on Alcatraz prick the public conscience a mite?

What is Alcatraz? Is it simply an "escape-proof" prison set on a rock amid the rip tides of San Francisco bay? Or is it a spectacular symbol of society's failure to deal adequately with crime? It is not a place for reform or rehabilitation; most of the 277 there society has given up. Most of them are "lifers" the public did not wish to execute and dared not give any chance at freedom. At Alcatraz they are safe-[DOT] and comfortably forgotten.

George Bernard Shaw has a new book called "The Crime of Imprisonment," in which he says: "In imprisonment, the public is seeking its own salvation, not that of the lawbreaker." Perhaps this is the best our society can do at present-seek protection for itself from such desperate enemies as it sends to Alcatraz. Prisons arc easier to repair than men. But the method is costly and does not provide any protection from new crops of criminals-it is not even a sure deterrent. If we could not put such men out of sight in the Aleatrazes, would we make more effort to remove the causes of crime?

This, sir, I contend is a question that society as a whole must answer, and that very soon.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Permalink

June 27, 1946