March 14, 1956

PRIVILEGE

MR. FLEMING ANSWERS TO FORMAL QUESTIONS ON C.B.C. "TABLOID" PROGRAM

PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinion):

On a

question of privilege, Mr. Speaker; in yesterday's Hansard, at page 2115 there are recorded six questions that I placed on the order paper concerning the C.B.C. "Tabloid" program on February 6 of the film of a marriage that was solemnized on February 4. There were six questions and apparently the Minister of National Revenue referred them all to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The answers given yesterday are answers that come from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because those answers are preceded by the words, "The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation advises as follows".

Now, the sixth question was:

Does the government consider such programs in good taste on television?

The only answer I have been given is that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is not in a position to answer this question. May I have the question answered by the government, to whom I directed the question, as to whether the government considers the programming of a marriage ceremony actually solemnized to be in good taste for television programs?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. FLEMING ANSWERS TO FORMAL QUESTIONS ON C.B.C. "TABLOID" PROGRAM
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Perhaps this matter could be dealt with when we reach the orders of the day.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. FLEMING ANSWERS TO FORMAL QUESTIONS ON C.B.C. "TABLOID" PROGRAM
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Mr. H. B. McCulloch (Piciou) presented the second and third reports of the standing committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines, and moved that the third report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS

LIB

George Carlyle Marler (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. George C. Marler (Minister of Transport):

I wish to inform the house that this afternoon I tabled the annual report of

Canadian National Railways for 1955 and the budget for 1956. I am sure all hon. members will be pleased to know that in its operations last year Canadian National realized a surplus of $10,717,689.

I also tabled this afternoon the annual report for 1955 and the budget for 1956 of the Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited. The operation last year resulted in a loss of $95,964, which represents an improvement of $532,446 over the result for 1954. May I be permitted to make a brief statement as to the future operations of the company.

After the company had experienced a very disappointing year in 1953, an impression grew that the government had in mind the termination of the company's operations. My predecessor reassured the house on April 12, 1954, that such was not the government's intention, but said that the results of operations would be carefully considered in relation to the usefulness of the service. Following the consideration of the accounts of the company by the sessional committee on railways and shipping last year, a thorough study was made of the prospects of the company.

Hon. members will recall that until the Canadian National service was started the government had found it necessary to grant substantial subsidies to steamship companies to induce them to provide regular service between Canada and the British West Indies. As the subsidized service was not entirely satisfactory, the government decided to inaugurate a service with Canadian ships. During its 27 years of operation, the Canadian National service incurred annual losses from 1929 to 1940, considerably reduced its accumulated deficit between 1941 and 1948, but experienced further losses after 1948. In 1954, the loss was reduced to about one-half the figure for 1953, and in the year just ended the loss has been a very modest one.

The company has taken measures to reduce operating costs and to develop new traffic, and is expected to participate fully in a gradual increase in the volume of trade between Canada and the British West Indies.

It is anticipated that the service will operate at a loss, but it is expected that the deficits will not average much more than $200,000 per annum and there are reasonable prospects that they may be less. The government believes that this is not too high a price to pay for the continuation of dependable steamship service between Canada and

Canadian National Railways the West Indies and for the tangible and intangible benefits for our trade and our relations with the British West Indies.

In the circumstances, the government has decided to continue the Canadian National (West Indies) service for at least five years, at which time the subject will again be reviewed in the light of the experience in the intervening time and of conditions then prevailing.

Mr. Speaker, if I have permission of the house, I would now move:

That the annual reports for 1955 of the Canadian National Railways, the Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited, and the Canadian National Railways securities trust, the auditors' report to parliament in respect of the Canadian National Railways and Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited, and the budgets for 1956 of Canadian National Railways and Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited, tabled this day, be referred to the sessional committee on railways and shipping owned, operated and controlled by the government, together with the following items of estimates for 1956-57:

Vote 454 Prince Edward Island car ferry and terminals deficit, 1956:

Vote 460 North Sydney-Port aux Basques ferry and terminals deficit, 1956;

Vote 466 Maritime Freight Rates Act;

Vote 467 Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited deficit, 1956;

and that the resolution passed by the house on January 26, 1956, referring certain estimates to the committee of supply, be rescinded so far as the said resolution relates to votes 454, 460, 466 and 467.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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PC

Thomas Miller Bell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bell:

Will this mean any new ships for the Canadian National (West Indies) run?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

That question could be 'asked when the orders of the day are called.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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Motion agreed to.



On the orders of the day:


PC

Thomas Miller Bell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Thomas M. Bell (Saint John-Albert):

May I ask the Minister of Transport a question arising out of the statement he just made with respect to Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships? Is it reasonable to expect some replacement will be made of the old vessels and if so when will an announcement be made?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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LIB

George Carlyle Marler (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Marler:

I might say that no consideration has been given to this matter by the interdepartmental committee which considered the subject of the activities of Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited since the last session of the house. I would suggest to the hon. member that, since he is a member of the sessional committee on railways and shipping, he might take up the subject during the sittings of that committee.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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PC

Thomas Miller Bell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bell:

Does the minister not remember that at the last session it was pointed out the condition of those vessels was very

serious, and if future plans were being made it would be essential that the boats be replaced immediately?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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LIB

George Carlyle Marler (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Marler:

I have no such recollection.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF ANNUAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS
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STARRED QUESTIONS

CLIFFORD WILLIAMS

PC

Mr. Fulton

Progressive Conservative

1. What consideration has the remission service given under the Ticket of Leave Act to the case of Clifford Williams?

2. Is it a principle followed in recommending ticket of leave that the convicted person should have served one-half of his sentence? If so. on what basis has this principle been established?

3. Is it considered that Williams is rehabilitated to the point where he could now safely be released on ticket of leave with the prospect of leading a useful and orderly life? If not, what steps are being taken to rehabilitate this young man so that he will not be doomed to spend 28 unproductive years in prison?

Topic:   STARRED QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CLIFFORD WILLIAMS
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Mr. Speaker, I propose to deal first with the second question asked by the hon. member for Kamloops, namely whether it is a principle followed in recommending ticket of leave that the convicted person should have served one-half of his sentence and, if so, on what basis this principle has been established.

For many years the remission service of the Department of Justice has followed a rule of general application that requires at least one-half of a sentence of imprisonment to be served before an inmate of a penal institution becomes eligible to be considered for release on ticket of leave, that is, on parole. I am not aware of any parole authority in any country that does not have a rule similar, in principle, to the half-time rule applied by the remission service in Canada.

The proportion of the sentence that must be served varies from country to country, but in every instance the general rule is that some minimum period is required to be served. The rule is applied to the general run of cases in which the sentence of imprisonment imposed by the court is not more than is adequate as punishment for the offence nor more than is required for the reformation and rehabilitation of the convicted person as a result of the treatment that he receives in the institution. Exceptions are, of course, made to the rule in cases such as the Williams case. Those are cases involving very long sentences where after a reasonable period of imprisonment, having regard to the circumstances of the offence, the inmate has shown evidence of reform sufficient to justify the granting of parole to him. I emphasize the fact that in these cases the rule is not applied. Indeed, 6 to 12 per cent of all paroles are granted before the inmates concerned have served half of their sentences.

The half-time rule is well known to the courts, the police, prison officials and inmates. The rule is designed primarily, in the cases where it applies, to ensure some degree of equality of treatment as between inmates. In the cases where it is applicable it does remove uncertainty from the mind of the inmate concerning the time when he may expect to be considered for release on parole and thus helps him to accept the reality of his sentence. If no such rule existed an inmate might during the early part of his sentence continually build false hopes for early release only to have those hopes dashed when he was not released as soon as he expected to be. Such a state of affairs would impede rather than promote his reform and rehabilitation. Moreover, the rule makes possible a minimum period during which the officers in the institution can plan and carry out a proper program of treatment and training for the inmate. Again, it furnishes to the courts and law enforcement authorities generally some assurance that a reasonable proportion of the sentence imposed by the court will be served by the convicted person and that, thereby, the deterrent value of the sentence will be preserved.

In administering the Ticket of Leave Act the remission service of the Department of Justice does not purport either to fulfil or to interfere with any function that should, under our system of law, be performed by the courts. The release of a person on ticket of leave, that is, on parole, is not an interference with the sentence imposed by the court but is, rather, a step designed to assist in the rehabilitation of the offender in society.

The first and third questions relate to a particular case in which the remission service of the Department of Justice is interested. It is the case of Clifford Williams, now an inmate of St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary.

To answer these questions in the sense in which they are framed would necessarily involve a discussion of the merits of the case and disclosure of the contents of confidential reports that have been received in the department concerning it. Hon. members will realize, of course, that confidential reports concerning the background and the development in the penal institution of every inmate are received from a great many sources.

Since the Ticket of Leave Act was first enacted in 1899 it has been the invariable practice of my predecessors to avoid discussion in this house of the merits of individual cases of persons undergoing imprisonment.

Without going in any way into the merits of this particular case, may I say that the latest occasion on which the case of Clifford Williams was placed before the Solicitor 67509-134

Questions

General, who has charge of these matters, was October, 1955. At that time, after a careful review of all the reports, he was unable to recommend that Williams be granted parole. This was not the first occasion when my colleague considered the case. A sentence of 28 years upon conviction for the first time is not a usual sentence in Canada and its length itself was sufficient to ensure that the case would not be dealt with on any routine basis and that no arbitrary rules would be applied that would result in the confinement of Williams in the institution for a period that in all the circumstances is not warranted.

I do not propose to express any opinion on the question whether it is considered that Williams is now rehabilitated to the point where he could safely be released on ticket of leave with the prospect of leading a useful and orderly life. To do so would necessarily involve a discussion of the merits of the case and disclosure of the contents of some, at least, of the confidential reports that have been received concerning the case. As to the steps that are being taken to rehabilitate this young man so that he will not be doomed to spend 28 unproductive years in prison, I may say that the officers of the penitentiary have given and will continue to give to him the treatment and training that are appropriate to the circumstances of the case and his willingness to respond. There are in the institution concerned rehabilitative facilities from which every inmate may derive benefit and, in all fairness to this young man, I feel that I should say there is no indication that he is unwilling to avail himself of these facilities.

Topic:   STARRED QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CLIFFORD WILLIAMS
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March 14, 1956