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.
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.