June 9, 1948

PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHURCH:

I do not come from Saskatchewan, and unlike some others, I do not intend to take any part in the affairs out there, and I know of no Toronto member who wants to. I want to bring three or four matters to the minister's attention. I shall just mention them without discussing them.

There has been a lot of trouble about what is and what is not a voluntary statement made by one in the custody of the police. It was referred to in the court of appeal for Ontario last year in connection with a Hamilton case. There should be some clarification of the law in that respect, to find out how far a police officer can go in examining a prisoner in his custody. For example, the other day the court of appeal dismissed the case of an Indian charged with murder because the Indian said he was talking in his sleep. Notwithstanding all that the chief justice said about it, how could it be a voluntary statement? Many people talk in their sleep. They are not conscious-or it is the operation of the subconscious; it was not voluntary. I cannot understand it.

The second thing is this. Parliament has no power to enforce its own laws across Canada. A couple of hundred thousand orders in council were passed during the two wars and the interval in between. Since confederation the enforcement of all federal laws that we pass, the statutes and the orders in council and their interpretation are left to the crown officers of the provinces. For this reason, every bill we pass has become a very heavy burden on the municipal police systems. In Australia a bonus and subvention are given to the large city of Sydney. When I looked it up some years ago it amounted to a subvention of $2,000,000. I believe the time has come when two things should be done. Either the

federal government should enforce its own federal laws, or it should give some bonus! subvention or subsidy to the police system, as they are doing all over the dominion today in many other matters involving section 92 of the British North America Act. A cash subsidy was given at confederation for the definite and specific purpose of maintaining municipal institutions and justice in the provinces. A duplicate municipal system has been foisted on the country by section 92. I hope this matter will be considered by the government during the parliamentary recess.

Many young people are in trouble today. It follows every great war. We all know wrhat the Addington administration said in 1801. That situation followed Pitt on down through to 1815, and it has followed every great war. It followed the Crimean war, the South African war and others. Many young people get into trouble, but they have no counsel. They roam all over the country looking for work, and my hon. friends capitalize on them later on. Steps should be taken for the improvement and betterment of the citizen. During the days of the depression a large number of high school students were roaming around looking for jobs, but no work was provided for them. The result was that they got into trouble. The police could not do anything about them, and some of them were cpm-mitted to jail.

I should like to know how far policemen can go in these cases. I know of about seventy-eight policemen in the Court Street station in the business district south of Queen street in Toronto. A large number of them are returned soldiers. They are the finest possible type of officer. Of the 104 members of parliament who visited our city the other day, one or two commented on that fact. We should have clarification of the law regarding our police officers. I am only expressing my own personal opinion about it. In many of these cases the youth is not armed where he is trying to do something he should not do and all that kind of thing. Some of them are panhandlers. Others are down and out, and they flock to the city. Some of these are displaced persons who have been brought in for certain specific work; they roam back to the city, and the police have trouble with them.

I suggest to the minister that there should be some clarification of the law as to how far a police officer may go in firing first in the air, then along the ground. He may injure somebody who may have committed only a petty offence under the law. Clarification is in the interests of the police themselves, because some of them have been sued in the civil courts for such offences.

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I will just mention two or three other matters. One is with regard to accidents on the roads and highways in Toronto and throughout Ontario; all over Canada I believe it is the same. At weekends some of the poorer people who own a truck take fifteen to twenty people, including children, out to the country. The roads are crowded. Eight here in this city there was a week-end accident. Five people were injured, and nobody faced a charge. In our city a small truck with thirty-two people in i.t collided with another vehicle. What is the law in that matter? As far as I know, there is no law except the Highway Traffic Act. This is a dangerous situation. You see these trucks going along on weekends, when there are thousands of cars on the roads. I know of no law by which anyone could be charged.

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PC
PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHURCH:

There should be some federal liability to cover it.

Another thing about which there has been considerable trouble is the overcrowding in streetcars. I brought this matter to the attention of the house about a year ago and made a suggestion to the minister. The present minister, from what I have seen of him, has been efficient and hard-working. I suggested that where there is overcrowding in streetcars, or disorder in the streetcar system, something should be done. I had a clause in my private bill to cover disorderly control. This is a matter which was referred to in another place by some of those who seldom if ever travel in the streetcars. There is a great deal of disorder on the streetcars all over the country. There should be some amendment of the law to deal with it. There is such a law on the steam railways; I do not see why it should not be applied to buses and streetcars as well. Another matter has to do with the banditry which is going on all over the country. There is no amendment to the code, so far as I can see, to deal with banditry, although there are sections of the code having to do with this offence. The law clerk has written me a letter about it. I do not think there is anything personal in it, and I shall quote a part of it, as follows:

All the offences that bandits can commit are already provided for in the code. I have searched everywhere for a definition of "banditry" and do not think there is a special one which would apply, and, if we were to improvise one, we would be sure to come into conflict with existing provisions of the code.

That is right. I might point out that it is difficult to secure a conviction because there are loopholes in the other sections.

I know of no law which compels a woman to wear a hat in a court of law because she

is a person. Some of them do not wear hats even in parliament. I know of no law by which a judge can say that a woman must wear a hat before she can become a witness. Some of the hats worn are small, and some of them are large. As I said to the minister one day, when I was calling his attention to the matter, some of the judges might want a long hat about the size of the paper carton in which molasses is put up in the cafeteria or in the parliamentary restaurant. The hon. member for Temiseouata said those hats would be too big for the honourable justice who requires the ladies to wear hats. There is no law in the matter.

The time has come when there should be abolition of imprisonment for debt; this was covered in my criminal code bill of last night. The minister referred to it last night in connection with Bill No. 207, when for the first time second reading was moved. That is the first opportunity we have had to consider it. and this is the 102nd day of this session. We have never had five minutes' time in this house to discuss the matter. We talk about the rise and fall of stocks, the rise and fall of wheat, and all those material things, but we have never had five minutes' time to devote to one of the main issues here

motorcar and other deaths. Eighteen people were injured or killed on May 24 on the roads of our country. The highways are not safe, owing to the way people travel on them. Men and women have been murdered in cold blood by hit-and-run drivers. We have not investigated the deaths at level crossings, the deaths of children who have been burned in their homes, and all these other matters, including the problem of babies born in prison. In England there is a law with respect to that particular matter. I understand that at the great battle of Queens-ton Heights only eighteen lives were lost on our side. That many people are killed in a week-end right here in the two central provinces, and the rest of Canada is not much better. I suggest that more time be given to discussion of these important subjects.

In England there is a law with regard to babies born in prison. Some people have fines imposed on them with no time to pay them. Many people are committed to jail who cannot pay their fine. Some of these are women. With regard to babies born in prison, I suggest that it is against the public interest to give a pregnant woman a term of imprisonment. I understand that, under the present minister, these women are moved to some other place. I am hoping that we may have some law to deal with the matter so that

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a stigma will not be attached to an infant who has done no wrong. I believe some survey should be made throughout the country with a view to making it impossible for a condition. such as that to which I have referred, to be continued.

I should like to see the state do something further. The state is responsible for young people who leave jail. They have no chance. The hon. member for Spadina is not here this morning but his partner Mr. Borins, K.C., was assistant crown attorney in the city of Toronto for some years, and he was a good one. He knows the facts. He gave an interview to the press which appears under the heading "Young man leaving jail hasn't a chance-Borins". The article reads:

Norman Borins, Toronto's 38-year-old assistant crown attorney, who prosecuted nearly half of all Ontario's criminal cases during the past eleven years and who has retired to enter private practice, yesterday expressed alarm over the fate of youthful offenders against the law in this province.

Pointing out that 75 per cent of all crimes are committed by youths between 18 and 25, the attorney, who looks nothing like the Hollywood conception of a hard-driving prosecutor, said emphatically that the provincial system of dealing with young offenders is all wrong.

Then the report goes on to say:.

"As a prosecutor, it was not my place to advise the courts as to the treatment of convicted men and women," said Mr. Borins, "but I always did what I could out of court to help young offenders and never put barriers in the way of pleas for consideration made by their lawyers."

Little or nothing is being done in this matter. Just the other day the Toronto Synod of the Church of England was complaining about the same thing. The diocesan council for social service built, at their own expense, a hostel to rehabilitate these young offenders. The Church of England have a hostel for young women in trouble, and they intend to do the same thing for boy offenders, at their own expense. When a great many of these young offenders who get into trouble are in the downtown district, it would help to keep some of them under control and assist them to get on their feet again. Nothing has been done about it, though, by the state.

There was a case in Toronto the other day, in the riding of the hon. member for Danforth, which in the newspapers has been called the battle of the trolley. Citizens who came to the aid of a constable were abused. The constable's uniform was badly torn, and he was assaulted. That is not the sort of thing we should permit on our street cars, yet it is comparatively common in most of the cities of this country. There is a law about it in respect to railways. The present minister I

think did have some provision passed in that regard, but those in another place did not sanction it.

I do believe something will have to be done during the recess of parliament to speed up implementation of the report of Mr. Justice Archambault in regard to prison reform. The minister has done something; but as the Ottawa Citizen said in a long article the other day, the pace of prison reform is very slow. I believe there should be a real housecleaning, because conditions have not improved. I know about some of these prisons. In my own constituency we have the Toronto jail, which was built at about the time of confederation. Years ago the late Doctor Hastings, the health officer, and I, visited the jail and found it to be unfit for human habitation and against all known laws of public hygiene; yet today it is still used to house prisoners, many of whom have to sleep on the floors at night because of overcrowding. I compliment the minister on having made a start at prison reform, yet we are far behind the mother country in constitutional reform, parliamentary reform, cabinet reform and most of all law reform. So I believe we have reached the stage when more time should be devoted to these matters. Under our present control system many people are going to jail because they do not have the money to pay the huge, savage fines imposed in Our police courts. I have objected to that, and I object to it again, today. Just the other day a poor woman was sent to jail for some minor breach of the income tax law. She did not file a return, through a misinterpretation of the law. As a result she had to go to Toronto jail, where there is no room for her, or to Mercer reformatory, an institution which should have been burned down long ago. I can tell you that in England they have closed half their prisons through real law and prison reform. They have done this by means of what is called the summary offenders act, under which a person is given time in which to pay his fine. He may have to spend an hour or so in a central office down town or in a police station, but he is allowed out on bail before five o'clock on the same day, and is given time to pay his fine.

My hon. friends to the left have been adopting this policy, I understand, just as they have conscripted the policies of our party during the last five or six years, as well as some of the policies of the Liberal party. Let me tell you that if I have my way there will be no union government in Canada. We had one experience of that kind in this country, and even today they

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have coalition governments in British Columbia and in Manitoba. The only alternative to such a government seems to be the party to my left. I say to hon. gentlemen of the C.C.F.: you have adopted the policy of bonuses, subventions and subsidies; it is a Conservative doctrine. Hon. members may smile, but they need not worry; I am not going to Saskatchewan, nor do I know of anyone else who is going there to take part in the local election. On the contrary I invite them to come to my riding or city at any time; we are always glad to see them.

I agree with hon. gentlemen to my left to this extent, however; that it is the duty of the state to take care of the matters I have mentioned, including the granting of time in which to pay fines, looking after those who come out of our prisons when their time is up, and all that sort of thing. That is a form of Christian socialism, and I am a Christian socialist just as well as hon. gentlemen to the left. I compliment them on what they are ready to do.

I believe the day is coming when we should devote some time to these questions. Now we do not have an hour to spend on them. I do not blame the minister, because he has been very hard-working. I have had a great deal to do with him and a great deal of correspondence with his department, and we heard his speech last evening in which he said the department was considering many of these matters. I do urge that more time should be devoted not only to the questions I have raised this morning, but to motorcar accidents, level crossings, fires, drownings, floods and all other things that contribute to the loss of life. By doing so we will be following a form of Christian socialism in this country, as they have been in England.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I wish to say just a few words on the matter brought up by the hon. member for Lake Centre-the delay in the appointment of judges. The minister stated that at various times in the maritime provinces there had been some delay, and we all know that is quite true. We have suffered not only through delay in the appointment of judges in our province, but some judges have been ill for long periods of time, and as a result I think the work of the judiciary has suffered. The chief justice of New Brunswick died over two years ago, and another vacancy was caused by the death of Mr. Justice Eairweather. While the minister says he does not think law enforcement has suffered, I do not believe that is the opinion of the bar in general.

I should like to ask the minister when the vacancies in New Brunswick will be filled. The

position of chief justice was filled a short time ago by the appointment of one of the sitting judges, Mr. Justice Richards. I want to compliment the minister on this appointment, which was completely non-political, since at one time Mr. Justice Richards was Conservative premier of New Brunswick. He has been on the bench of that province for the past thirteen or fourteen years, and has had wonderful success as a judge. I believe his appointment as chief justice has been received with very general favour in our province. There was some feeling, perhaps, that his appointment might have been made to prove the truth of a statement made by Mr. McNair, Premier of New Brunswick, that he personally would not accept the appointment as chief justice. However, the people of that province know that while the position of chief justice has been filled there are two more appointments to be made to the bench, and there is a feeling that while Mr. McNair was not appointed to this position he may still accept an appointment to fill one of the remaining vacancies. As I say, I wish to compliment the minister on the appointment of Mr. Justice Richards as chief justice, though I believe Mr. Justice Harrison could have filled the position equally well.

This idea of non-political appointments is very wise, particularly in some provinces. I do not say this to discredit the bar of New Brunswick, but I feel that political appointments in that province have been pretty well exhausted, as far as government appointments could be made. I suggest to the minister that in filling these vacancies he continue the policy of making non-political appointments. Appoint the best men you can get. There are splendid lawyers on the Conservative side in that province, and I know the minister would do great credit to himself and to the bar of our province if he forgot about politics in making future appointments, as he did in filling the position of chief justice, and that it would be better for the bar in general.

My object in rising was to ask the minister w'hen he intends to fill these vacancies in New Brunswick. I do not think he can use as an excuse for not filling them the suggestion that they are not needed.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I have a feeling it is quite unusual for a Minister of Justice to say when he intends to make recommendations for the appointment of judges. I should not like to create a precedent by doing so in this instance. The situation is constantly under review, and a recommendation will be made in due course and in accordance with the facts of the situation.

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I thank my hon. friend for his kind words respecting the promotion of Mr. Justice Richards. I thought when he was saying that there were good lawyers on the opposition side he was going to say, "on the opposition benches"; but he did not go that far.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

May I say first I am sorry this will be the last time the present Minister of Justice will pilot these estimates through the house. As a Nova Scotia man I was happy that we had in the house at least one sound and sensible person from Nova Scotia.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

That is a bit hard on the rest of you.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I was referring to the government side, of course. I am sorry the minister has decided to leave us, because he will be greatly missed, particularly in the field in which he is now engaged. Because I view the Department of Justice as the one department which could do a great deal to civilize this country. I say that advisedly.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

More particularly Ontario, from the standpoint of justice.

I have checked over the details of estimates, and I have only this to say, I have listened to hon. members talk about reforms in the administration of justice, but in my opinion they are talking from the wrong end. Reforms do not come from the top; they must come from the bottom. From the point of view of personnel, administrative staffs, salaries, and the like, I believe the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice in the administration of justice in Canada is sufficient. In my view, if there is to be any reform in this regard, we must start in the magistrates' courts. My experience has been that across this country in most provinces-

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

AH right; they should be. If you are going to talk about reforms you will have to get sane and sensible persons into the courts of first instance. No self-respecting lawyer in this country today wishes to hold the post of a local magistrate. The result is that, by and large, you have administering the courts of first instance local civic politicians with practically no training in law, and in many cases very little judgment. When juvenile delinquents and young offenders are taken before these local magistrates they are up against men who not only are lacking in knowl-

edge of law but subject to civic pressure, smalltown politics ini most cases, pressure from all directions, and the pulling of strings.

In many oases young offenders who have been sent to the penitentiaries for a year or fifteen months have been made criminals in the first instance because a local magistrate lacked judgment and discernment in handling the case. The young man comes out of penitentiary stigmatized as a criminal, when perhaps he should not have been' sent to a penitentiary at all. He comes out with a grudge against society, believing that he got a raw deal. And there is no doubt in my mind that many of them did get raw deals; their cases were not properly handled.

If there is a desire to reform the penitentiaries or to spend more money in the Department of Justice, I suggest that the department will have to make some arrangements with the provinces by which qualified persons, with knowledge of the law-they should be required to pass examinations in respect of their judgment in handling the oases coming before them -shall be appointed. Anyone wishing a position as a civil servant, a grade II stenographer or a filing clerk-anyone who wishes to hold even the lowest position in the civil service, must write an examination, pass aptitude tests, and so on. If we insisted upon that same procedure for the filling of positions in the lower courts, where the basis is laid for whatever may *happen in the higher courts, and insisted that the man before whom offenders must first appear is properly qualified, we would be taking a proper step.

The man in the lower court should be obliged to pass an examination. We should see that he has a knowledge of law-because evidence in murder cases is heard first before local magistrates. In many instances the evidence is written in longhand by the magistrate himself.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I have sat in courts in Ontario and tried to read the handwriting of some of your local magistrates. I admit I am not a very good writer, but the worst writing I have ever seen was certain evidence that the magistrate scratched out himself. That is true in many cases across this country.

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PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. TIMMINS:

The magistrate does not try a murder case. You know better than that.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Does he not? Go into some of the courts across this country and find that out.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

You were talking about murder.

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CCF
PC

June 9, 1948