June 2, 1947

LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. I must inform the hon. member that his time has expired.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Go on.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

I shall not deal with the other matters I had in mind, but I have one other suggestion in that connection. Imprisonment because of inability to pay a fine has been done away with in Great Britain. Let us do away with it in Canada. Failure to pay a fine should not give poverty a compulsory passport to imprisonment. The individual who is imprisoned for some petty offence serves his term and is marked, and from that point many of them start on the downward path on account of the ostracism which is shown to individuals who have suffered incarceration because of the commission of offences. People do not separate the different offences and say, "Well, it was a picayune matter." All they understand is that the individual has served a term.

My concluding words are in reference to the staffs. However well disposed we may all be toward the matter of reformation; whatever our desire may be to improve the administration of criminal law, the work finally will rest upon those charged with that administration. As far as the two commissioners who will operate along with General Gibson are concerned, there should be available outstanding psychologists, penologists or educators. Advances are being made by the provinces. Ontario has made great advances in the last two years under the Hon. Mr. Dunbar. I pay tribute to what has been done in Saskatchewan even in the last few months as a consequence of the momentous report which was made by the Doctor Lay-cock commission in regard to the question of penal reform. We should recruit for these institutions men and women trained in social and penological science. The universities have many students, overseas men who have returned to this country, who would be only too willing to undertake that type of study, if they were given the opportunity. If this plan of reformation is to be set up, and if we do not have the proper personnel, we are again in the position where, while we have the letter of the law, the spirit will not and cannot be carried out.

I am glad that, under the report, consideration is to be given to increasing the salaries of guards. Major consideration should be given to that matter. There may be some who will say, "You advocate cutting expenses, but at the same time you advocate increasing salaries". I have never advocated increases before. I have never preached both ways. But if we are to make the penal institutions of this country worthy of the responsibility which will rest upon them, I submit, first, that we shall have to come back to the system which prevailed prior to the thirties, whereby the employees will be placed under the Civil Service Act.

I know what the arguments against this would be. But these employees want permanency. If the government wants to recruit the best men it will have to meet the rate of salaries. The present system has its shortcomings, in that efficiency is not always the basis upon which appointments are made. First, we should give opportunity to the servicemen of this and the last war, second, a training course should be provided for so as to encourage young men who have been discharged from the armed forces to go into this work. Salaries should be made attractive enough that the best may be recruited, and permanency must be assured.

I wish to thank the house for its consideration in allowing me to do what ordinarily I do not do, namely, go over the forty minutes allowed. I have endeavoured to place these few suggestions before the minister, based as they are on some knowledge of the subject. General Gibson's report is one which shows that he has devoted himself to the responsibility which has been his. It is the place of parliament at this time, when we are making changes in the Penitentiary Act, to go as far as we can to the end that we make it worthy of the challenge which must come to all of us to make those who are discharged from penal institutions reformed individuals, worthy and willing to take their place in the battle of life.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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PC

Harry Oliver White

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. O. WHITE (Middlesex East):

Mr. Speaker, during the past I have had the opportunity of listening to lawyers, preachers and teachers deal with agriculture, so that tonight for a change I think it would be all right if a farmer were to deal with justice.

The farmers in my constituency have been waiting for justice since June, 1945, and we have not got it yet. One of the reasons I rise tonight is that in my constituency two young lives have been ruined, and one has been lost. I feel, in one case particularly, it was probably on account of lack of cooperation between the dominion federal prison at Kings-

Right Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Veterans Affairs) moved that the house go into supply.

He said: Last week the house was kind

enough to consent to call some items in supply. We asked for four, but, after discussion with the leaders, we agreed to call three items tonight, not for discussion, but just to get them into committee. That would give us thirteen out of twenty.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee of supply, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT


261. Departmental administration, $1,203,977.


LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

May the item stand?

Item stands.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS


*79. Departmental administration, $227,019.


LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

May the item stand?

Item stands.

Inquiries oj the Ministry

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
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DEPARTMENT OF RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY


S49. Dominion fuel board-administration and investigations, $38,004.


LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

May the item stand? Item stands.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie the house adjourned at 10.58 p.m.

Tuesday, June 3, 1947

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY
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June 2, 1947