February 2, 1967


A motion to adjourn the house under provisional standing order 39A deemed to have been moved.


ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE-ABSOLUTE PARDON FOR FIRST OFFENCE

RA

Joseph Alcide Simard

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Alcide Simard (Lac-Saint-Jean):

Mr. Speaker, I want to re-read the question I put to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General (Mr. Cardin) last January 18:

Could the hon. minister tell us whether his department intends to exercise its prerogative of absolute pardon in the case of a person who has committed only one offence during his life?

In the few minutes at my disposal, I wish to put forward the main reasons which motivated my question.

At a conference on criminality, under the sponsorship of a Quebec welfare council, some outstanding experts on criminology agreed unanimously that, in some cases, a criminal record may stand in the way of rehabilitation.

The members of that panel were Messrs. Julien Chouinard, Yvan Migneault, Quebec's deputy minister of justice, as well as Messrs. Thomas Tremblay and Noel Dorion. Along side those distinguished lawyers were seen doctors, social workers, psychologists, probation officers, welfare officials, even police officers.

Last November 26 in he Soleil one could read this:

The chief justice of the Court of Sessions of the Peace, Mr. Thomas Tremblay, and a well-known criminal lawyer, Mr. Noel Dorion, deplored last night that the federal cabinet is no longer called upon to exercise its privilege of absolute pardon which makes it possible to erase completely the criminal record of a citizen who, for instance, has committed only one offence in his life.

At that conference, Mr. Dorion pointed out that as a Conservative member in Ottawa he had submitted a bill to destroy the record of an offender who had not committed any offence over a period of five years.

Since the hon. members of the time had boycotted his bill, his deduction was that only public opinion could conquer the inertia of certain members of parliament, when confronted with such important matters.

Mr. Yvan Migneault, Associate Deputy Minister of Justice, quoted a provision in our Criminal Code which, according to him, discourages rehabilitation completely; it is the section dealing with persons convicted of impaired driving. A $50 fine is the penalty for a first offence, but if there is a recurrence, the law provides for 14 days compulsory imprisonment; I submit that, instead of spending 14 days in jail, the man's driving licence should be suspended for two years.

Another section of the Criminal Code provides for imprisonment when a convicted person is unable to pay the fine; this measure was also labelled discriminatory by two members of the panel.

Mr. Dorion explained that a convicted person who could afford to pay a $50 fine, for example, did not have to go to jail, whereas a poor person could not get out of it.

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Proceedings on Adjournment Motion

In view of the opinion expressed by such distinguished lawyers and criminologists, I feel we can reasonably say that some of the laws in our present judicial system are archaic and outdated, and that it is high time for parliament to draft legislation which will eliminate all types of discrimination and place the emphasis on rehabilitation of the citizen who makes an unfortunate mistake, perhaps only once in his lifetime.

What are the views of the hon. minister in this respect?

[DOT] (10:40 p.m.)

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE-ABSOLUTE PARDON FOR FIRST OFFENCE
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LIB

Stanley Haidasz (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Liberal

Mr. Stanley Haidasz (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Solicitor General (Mr. Pennell) I would like to say that pardons, as the hon. gentleman is aware, may be granted pursuant to the letters patent constituting the office of the Governor General, and under section 655 (2) of the Criminal Code.

By well established practice the advice tendered to the Governor General in regard to pardons is regarded as confidential and is not disclosed except in very exceptional circumstances. Every application for pardon is considered on its individual merits. Among other things, the age of the applicant at the time of the offence or offences, the nature of the offence or offences, the amount of time that has elapsed since the offence or offences were committed, and the subsequent conduct of the offender are taken into consideration. It may be of interest to the hon. member to know that the policy in respect of pardons generally is under consideration in the department at the present time.

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NATIONAL FILM BOARD-FAILURE TO PRODUCE FILM ON CANADIAN CENTENNIAL

LIB

Gérald Laniel

Liberal

Mr. Gerald Laniel (Beauharnois-Salaberry):

Mr. Speaker, when I put a question to the Secretary of State (Miss LaMarsh) last Friday, with regard to the National Film Board and the availability of recent films on the Canadian confederation, I knew beforehand that my question was not urgent as required under the standing orders of the house. However, since I find this lack inexcusable, I wanted to raise the matter right in the house in order to give more weight to my representations, in the hope that remedial action would be taken without delay.

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Proceedings on Adjournment Motion

Mr. Speaker, it is unthinkable, in my opinion, that in this very centennial year of confederation, the National Film Board authorities have failed to provide for one or several films on confederation and the Confederation Act.

That is why I suggest immediate measures should be taken to remedy the situation right away and to start production on some films of the Confederation pact, of Confederation, of preceding events of the development of our political system toward the federal system as well as of the British North America Act, its adoption and finally, of the various stages of the Confederation pact from 1867 to 1967.

Throughout the year, Mr. Speaker, it is hoped that the public will take part in civic, artistic and sports events to mark Canada's centennial. Should not, at the very basis of such activities, a fair programme of information have been initiated to make Canadians cognizant of their political system of the ties that bind them together and of the efforts made by our leaders to ensure the development of this association of citizens?

Of course, the National Film Board has some more or less recent documentaries on the Fathers of Confederation and on certain Canadian politicians. Furthermore, the Film Board has a number of film strips on our constitutional evolution and on our system of government at the federal, provincial and municipal level, but these are caricature films without handbooks or commentaries.

I think it would have been easy for the Film Board to prepare a program of film productions before centennial year, so as to make 16 mm. synchronized sound films available to the public, to schools, and even to members of parliament. Within the framework of an educational centennial year program, the Film Board could perhaps have prepared 30-minute films on the events which led to the signing of the British North America Act, covering perhaps the period from 1860 to 1867, as well as other films explaining the Canadian constitution, the political evolution which took place during the last hundred years, our parliamentary system in the country and perhaps particularly in Ottawa, the proceedings themselves, the responsibilities of the different levels of government, and, finally, the main events which occurred in Canada during these years.

Mr. Speaker, I do not mean to disparage the work of the National Film Board. I know

DEBATES February 2, 1967

it has prepared films which will be distributed across the country for centennial year. I wish to congratulate the Board particularly for its last production, called "Helicopter Canada", which allows us to travel clear across the country and to see our cities, our panoramas and our scenery.

I congratulate them in general for most of their contributions, and it is precisely because they deserve to be congratulated for the fine work they have accomplished that they should undertake today, or as soon as possible, the program I suggest.

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that the member for Bonaventure (Mr. Bechard), in his capacity as parliamentary secretary to the Secretary of State, will make the necessary representations to the proper authorities, and I thank him warmly.

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LIB

Albert Béchard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Albert Bechard (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, after hearing on January 17 last the member for Beauharnois-Salaberry (Mr. Laniel) express his concern with regard to films which the National Film Board should have or should not have produced with regard to the centennial of Confederation and especially a certain reproduction of the ceremonies surrounding the signature of the confederative pact. After hearing the stirring words of my good friend of Beauharnois-Salaberry tonight, I must say that the government may be rightly proud of the enthusiasm of a member for one of the Quebec ridings most concerned with the celebrations, throughout the country, of the centennial of our Confederation, the success of which we are happy to celebrate this year.

[DOT] (10:50 p.m.)

However, Mr. Speaker, in order to do justice to the National Film Board and to the government of Canada, but more particularly to the National Film Board, it would be proper to point out to the worthy representative of Beauharnois-Salaberry, that to think of making a film about Confederation, about the signing of the confederative pact, was in itself a rather far-fetched and ambiguous idea since in 1867 the cinema industry was in its infancy.

It would also be proper to remind the hon. member that there is a series of five historical films on Canada, of 28 minutes each, intended for television, in French and in English, bearing the general title "Our History Makers". The five films are entitled as follows: Sir John A. Macdonald, The Fantastic

February 2, 1967 COMMONS

Intuition; Alexander Galt, The Unrepentant Idealist; George-Etienne Cartier, The Quebec Lion; Charles Tupper, the Magnanimous; and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine.

Moreover, it might be well to add that-

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LIB

Herman Maxwell Batten (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. I am sorry I have to interrupt the hon. member but his time has expired.

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LIB

Albert Béchard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bechard:

Mr. Speaker, allow me to add-

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LIB

Herman Maxwell Batten (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. The time

allotted the hon. member is over.

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CANADIAN CENTENNIAL-SUGGESTED COMPLEMENTARY TRIPS TO EXPO FOR OLDER CANADIANS

NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, two days ago, as recorded at page 12459 of Hansard for January 31, I asked the Secretary of State (Miss LaMarsh) a question in which I made the suggestion that the centennial commission might be asked to arrange for complimentary trips to Expo for Canadians 80 years of age and over. As hon. members will recall, the asking of my question seemed to attract a bit of banter. I did not mind this because it at least had the effect of drawing attention to my question. I am sorry that the Secretary of State cannot be here tonight, after the arrangements that were made in public, but she has extended her apology to me and has indicated that she is well represented by her parliamentary secretary.

I should like for just a moment or two, Mr. Speaker, to press the point I made by way of a suggestion two days ago. In this centennial year we are trying to honour our older people in a number of ways, but to a large extent the honours that we pay to them are quite formal. I think, for example, of the framed certificates that are being presented to those who are 100 years of age or over, and there are other ways in which tributes are being paid to our older Canadians.

It seems to me it would be a good idea to do something concrete for some of these people who have seen most of the century of our history, and have helped to build Canada into what it is today. It was for this reason I suggested that Canadians who are 80 years of age or over might be given a complimentary trip to Expo. Someone may say this would cost a lot of money. I suggest that a lot of money is being spent on travel in this centennial year. I think it is a good idea that young

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion people and others are being facilitated in their travels about our country. But if we are finding it possible to help our younger people to travel, why not make it possible for older Canadians as well?

I realize that many people 80 years of age or over would not be able to make the trip because of their health or for other reasons. But surely some arrangements could be made for those who could make the trip to get to Expo to see what is going on there. I know that Expo is largely a case of emphasizing what is happening now, and what is going to happen in the future. There is therefore an emphasis on getting young people there to see it. However, do not our older people who have helped to bring this country to where it is today also have the right to see what may be ahead in Canada's second century? I recognize that the confederation train is being taken around the country so that people can see it in various parts of this land. In the main, when they see the train they see the history of the past. I think our older people are not only interested in the past, in the last 100 years, but they are interested in the next century as well.

In so far as Expo has been billed as a glimpse into the future, I think it would be a very fitting tribute for the country to make provision for as many as possible of our older people to see what is being put together in the St. Lawrence river at the city of Montreal. I hardly expect the parliamentary secretary to the Secretary of State to give the final answer to this suggestion tonight, but I trust he will at least indicate that his minister will be prepared to pass this suggestion on to the centennial commission, in the hope that the commission might give it favourable consideration.

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LIB

Albert Béchard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Albert Bechard (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, I first want to express the regret and apology of the Secretary of State for not having been able to keep her date tonight with the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. In his question to the Secretary of State on January 31, as reported at page 12459 of Hansard, the hon. member asked:

Mr. Speaker, I wish to address a question to the Secretary of State. If she decides to give me a one word answer, as she did to the hon. member for Winnipeg South, I hope it will be "yes" rather than "no".

The minister answered:

I have to confess to the house that I have been waiting 40 years for the chance to say "yes" to a question, but this is not it.

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Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, I too am not in a position tonight to answer "yes" in the sense used by the Secretary of State in her answer the other day.

Mr. Speaker, in short, the hon. Secretary of State (Miss LaMarsh) is quite sympathetic to the hon. member's suggestion so that our older people, 80 and over, may visit Expo '67.

However, I must say to the hon. member that no funds have been appropriated for that purpose in the budget of the trade and commerce department or the centennial commission, to organize such free trips for our old people, although the government would like to give to all the Canadian people the financial means to see that memorable and unique event for us, Canadians.

DEBATES February 2, 1967

However, I shall be glad to pass on to the hon. Secretary of State the views of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, which, I am convinced, meet the approval of every member, so that she may make the necessary representation to the centennial commission, even if it is a little late, in order to find out its views on the matter.

Before concluding my remarks, I should like to add that the old people who will be 68 and over during Expo '67, thanks to the policy of this government, will have more financial means to visit Expo '67 since this thoughtful government has granted them a $30 a month increase.

Motion agreed to and the house adjourned at 11 p.m.

Friday, February 3, 1967

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February 2, 1967