January 30, 1973

?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL
Sub-subtopic:   PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
LIB

Jack Sydney George (Bud) Cullen

Liberal

Mr. Cullen:

I do not want to talk about particular cases, nor do I want to take the position that the right hon. gentleman took this afternoon to usurp the responsibility of the parole board, but the people of Canada are fed up with the easy access to leave of absence and parole. Mr. Speaker, I think I have made my position clear. I am an abolitionist; I support this bill. It would be my hope that amendments would take place at the committee stage which will see to it that there are no easy paroles, no easy leaves of absence. I hope the committee will read my speech and make appropriate amendments.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL
Sub-subtopic:   PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
Permalink
NDP

Douglas Charles Rowland

New Democratic Party

Mr. Doug Rowland (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, in any debate, when it comes time for the thirtieth or thirty-fifth speaker, or whatever I am, to stand and say a few words, that person wonders what he can possibly contribute to the debate. I expect the answer is always, very little. What I am really doing this evening is giving a personal testimony rather than attempting to influence the outcome of the debate, since most of the arguments on either side of this case have been presented very ably by members who

(Mr. Cullen.)

preceded me. There are a few things which are peripheral to the issue but they may have a bearing on the thinking of some members of this House. I want to draw these to the attention of the House before dealing with the main issues.

Some participants in this debate, notably the hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Nielsen), seem to consider it. to be a sort of interlude between discussions of more difficult and socially important legislation. There is a certain element of hypocrisy in the legislation before us, legislation which continues the practice of restricting capital punishment to murderers of policemen and prison guards. Most of us cannot conceive of a Canadian cabinet reversing the practice of more than a decade and failing to exercise the royal prerogative of mercy on behalf of someone convicted of murder.

As appropriate as the remarks of the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) were this afternoon when he said, in effect, "The law is the law; the cabinet must obey it. If it does not like it, it must change it," it is extremely unlikely that a cabinet would change the practice of the past decade or more. Like the hon. member for Calgary North (Mr. Woolliams) and the hon. member for Egmont (Mr. MacDonald), I would be much happier if we were completely honest with ourselves and the country and dealt with arguments for and against the abolition of capital punishment on their merits, avoiding the kind of obfuscation incorporated in the bill before us.

Having said that, I cannot associate myself with those who argue that the question of whether or not to retain the death penalty should be of relatively low legislative priority. To me, the outcome of this debate will reveal the general level of civilization, sophistication, compassion and understanding in Canadian society. It will also help to determine the level of civilization, sophistication, compassion and understanding in the years to come, because laws do change social attitudes. For that reason, this debate is important.

The debate is also important because the people of this country are telling us it is important. I very much doubt that any member at this moment is receiving more mail on any other subject. Public interest is revealed also in the response to questionnaires sent out by members. Returns of questionnaires which avoided the question of capital punishment have been much lower than returns of questionnaires which asked for opinions on the issue.

I entered this debate only after a considerable amount of soul-searching both with respect to the merits of the case and having decided that total abolition of the death penalty represents the greatest public good with respect to the correctness of taking a stand which would not seem to be in accord with that taken by a majority of my constituents, at least a majoi'ity of those who have taken the trouble to acquaint me with their views.

I feel obliged to inform the House, even in speaking for abolition of the death penalty, that returns of my questionnaire, about 3,000 of them now out of 35,000 mailed, confirm the results of similar unscientific, and I emphasize that word, surveys, conducted over the past few months by newspapers, magazines and the electronics media. In the returns of my questionnaire there is overwhelming support for the retention of the dealth penalty.

January 30, 1973

In retrospect, I believe that a more careful wording of the questionnaire would have modified the results of the questionnaire somewhat but would have left a majority of opinion in favour of retention of the death penalty.

Some grade 11 students from Lord Selkirk regional comprehensive secondary school in my constituency conducted a much more careful survey of 1,000 people on the issue of capital punishment. They discovered that in excess of 50 per cent of those polled favoured retention of the death penalty and only 36 per cent of the adults wanted abolition. I have lived in my constituency since I was 11 years old. I feel very much a part of it. I am saddened by the seeming fact that a majority of my neighbours do not believe, as I do, that capital punishment must be abolished. Yet I will vote for abolition in this House, or as near as I can come to abolition of the death penalty. What gives me that right? How can I, as an elected representative, vote against what would seem to be the wishes of the majority of my constituents at this moment?

Other members in attempting to explain their taking similar action, that is voting for abolition, referred to or quoted John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke on the difference between a delegate and a representative. Stripped of their elitist language, both Burke's statement to the electors of Bristol and Locke's passage in an essay on representative government help to explain my position. Put simply, I believe that as an elected representative I have been sent here to exercise my judgment based upon the best information available to me, and that one of the most important pieces of information upon which I base any judgment is my assessment of the opinion of my electorate at any given moment. The opinion of my electorate always remains one of my most important considerations. It is always taken into account. However, there must be other considerations as well. In the final count, the opinion of my electorate must remain just one consideration, however important that one consideration may be.

I am not a delegate. Our system, I believe wisely, does not require me to poll my constituents on every issue and vote according to the results of that poll. If after reflection my constituents believe my judgment to have been faulty, their remedy lies in the polling booth. It is my hope that they will never feel obliged to resort to that remedy, but in the final analysis I must live with myself and my conscience.

Capital punishment is an emotionally charged issue. It is the duty of a politician, when dealing with such an issue, to attempt to divorce himself from emotion and to make his decision on the basis of logic and the facts before him. If that means occasionally acting contrary to the immediate wishes of his constituents-and such occasions will present themselves only rarely-then so acting is his duty. There are few Canadians today who do not wish that more of their politicians had possessed the courage or the judgment to oppose the internment of Canadian-Japanese and the confiscation of their property during World War II, although public opinion at the time was overwhelmingly in favour of the action taken by the government. I wonder, in that regard, how public opinion would be expressing itself in relation to capital punishment today if yesterday we had discovered that the state

Capital Punishment

had hanged an innocent man or woman, something which has happened in the past.

The advocates of the retention of capital punishment have never yet answered Lafayette's challenge, "I shall ask for the abolition of the penalty of death until the infallibility of human judgment has been demonstrated to me." The hon. member for Calgary North tried to answer this challenge yesterday but I believe he failed to do so. No one can say how many innocent persons have been murdered by the courts. Consider the opportunities for error, the opportunity for false testimony to be given, the possibility of mistaken identification, the possibility of a biased jury, the possibility of evidence being misinterpreted. I could go on.

Responsible estimates of the proportion of innocent persons among those executed run as high as 5 per cent. But even if the figure is only .5 per cent, the argument against capital punishment because of the possibility of judicial error is a powerful one. That a judicial error may occur, even if only rarely, is sufficient reason to avoid exacting the penalty of death. I believe society should never lay claim to absolute authority over life.

Why do so many Canadians at this point in time wish to retain the death penalty? Part of the reason lies in the fact that we are disturbed, even frightened by the pace of change, social and technological, in our society. We seem to be losing control over important events which affect our daily lives. We set up a complicated system to ensure a reasonable standard of life for those people who have suffered misfortune-people who for illness or some other reason are no longer capable of providing for themselves-and we see people for whom the system was never intended benefiting from it. We pay our taxes and for the most part we obey the laws which govern us; we avoid temptations to cheat and steal and to take advantage of our neighbours. Yet we see others almost literally getting away with murder.

We search desperately for a touchstone, some evidence of permanence and certitude in a world increasingly characterized by change. And our search is without success. This leads to frustration, to a desire to lash out and assert ourselves As a result, some citizens commit crimes of violence. The rest of us react by saying, "Kill them", thinking perhaps that in so doing a danger to our lives and to the lives around us may be removed and that others so inclined might be frightened away from such action.

To such thinking I pose two principal objections. The first is that we as a society have no right to take the life of any person. The second is that state-sanctioned murder probably accomplishes no real purpose in any event. The first argument is a moral one. I appreciate that there are sincere, concerned people who will disagree with me on moral grounds. For many of us, this is a matter of interpretation. What do we do when in one place a guide book to moral behaviour says, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed" and in another place seriously questions the moral authority of judge and executioner, "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone"?

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January 30, 1973

Capital Punishment

I hope that this debate will not see numbers of members quoting the Bible as an authority for the retention of the death penalty. If such does happen, there are other members of my party who are better equipped than me to offer rebuttal. But in anticipation I should like to draw the attention of hon. members to a passage from a publication put out by the Institute of Mennonite Studies:

A close study of these earliest chapters of the Bible shows that the death penalty as stated there is clearly not so much a requirement as a limitation. It is spoken against the background of a story of corruption in which vengeance was the general pattern . ..

Let us, therefore, begin realistically as the Bible does. Vengeance does not need to be commanded; it happens. It is the normal response of fallen man to any situation which calls for his hostility. And normally such vengeance is unlimited.

Most primitive peoples show the same pattern of vengeance as the Old Testament peoples for whom the rules in the Bible were initially established. In such societies it is normal for vengeance and counter-vengeance to raise the toll of suffering brought about by any offence far beyond proportion to the original damage done. Limits have been set, as in the Old Testament. But I believe it to be a terrible distortion to interpret this practical solution, to limit punishment to the actual wrongdoer, as providing some sort of sanction for the death penalty. On the contrary, I believe the most powerful assertion of my heritage is in favour of the sanctity of human life.

I want no part in a decision, even a collective decision, which leads to the taking of sentient human life. Murder of any sort, in any circumstances, even in the course of an execution, is never moral and it should not be legal. In "Spirits Rebellious," the Lebanese philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, comes across the corpses of three people who have been executed for committing crimes. He writes:

Three human beings who yesterday were in the lap of life today fell as victims to death because they broke the rules of human society. When a man kills another man, the people say he is murderer, but when the Emir kills him, the Emir is just. When a man robs a monastery, they say he is a thief but when the Emir robs such a man of his life, the Emir is honourable.

Shedding of blood is forbidden. But who made it lawful for the Emir? Stealing money is a crime, but taking away one's life is a noble act. Shall we meet evil with evil and say this is the law? Shall we fight corruption with greater corruption and say this is the rule? Shall we conquer crimes with more crimes, and say this is justice?

I said earlier that some people are leaning toward retention because they feel capital punishment may reduce the number of murders committed. This theory of deterrence is undoubtedly the most serious of the social arguments for the retention of the death penalty. It is argued that if persons who are tempted to commit a crime know in advance what the punishment will be, they will turn away from committing such a crime. Superficially this appears to be a sensible argument. It is the argument put forward by the hon. member for Crowfoot (Mr. Horner) on Friday.

However, that the argument is basically in error can be seen clearly upon closer examination. A major source of the error is the assumption that murder is like speeding and that a normal person, through fear of being caught, will refrain from it out of consideration for the consequences. But the fallacy is this: murderers are not normal people, for the most part. Most of them are driven by forces of emotion, or outright insanity even, to such an

extent that no reasoning takes place at all; there is no weighing of consequences as they proceed to kill. I am not necessarily making a plea that such people ought to be pitied; it is a demand that we understand the circumstances in which they are, for the most part, incapable of reacting and reasoning like normal human beings.

Thus to attempt, as did the hon. member for Crowfoot, to draw a parallel between the noose and the breathalyzer is at best foolish. Numerous psychological studies have made this fact clear. In committing murder, people for the most part are committing an insane act and are not capable of reasoning rationally. I think the hon. member for Egmont (Mr. MacDonald) this afternoon cited studies made of skyjackers, but there are other cases on record where unbalanced persons lacking the strength of will to kill themselves have committed murder or other violent acts as an indirect act of suicide. Here the death penalty is an encouragement to murder, not a deterrent. A small minority of murderers are professional criminals for whom death is simply one of the occupational hazards. They are also reasonably sure of avoiding capture, or if captured of avoiding conviction, or if convicted of avoiding execution.

The error of the deterrent theory can also be shown statistically. I do not intend to cite the great tables of statistics that are available, because this would take up too much time. In addition, such statistics are vulnerable to subjective interpretation and most of the statistics available have already been cited by other participants in this debate. However, I will cite the judgments of objective studies which have analysed the statistics. These studies have consistently found that there is absolutely no valid evidence to prove that the death penalty has any deterrent value whatever. This has been the finding generally throughout the western world and it has led country after country to abolish capital punishment over the course of the past 100 years. There are now probably in excess of 70 jurisdictions in the world that have abolished capital punishment.

In 1953 the British royal commission on capital punishment concluded that there is no clear evidence that homicide rates are influenced by the death penalty or by the frequency of executions. The New Jersey commission to study capital punishment found that the death penalty could not be demonstrated to be a more effective deterrent than life imprisonment. In Canada the joint committee on capital punishment reported on June 27, 1957, that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent, that it had no unique deterrent effect that could not be accomplished by imprisonment.

Ten years ago the United Nations published a report questioning the deterrent value of the death penalty in which it said that data showed no correlation between the existence of the death penalty and the incidence of murder. More recently, Dr. Fattah of the University of Montreal once again demonstrated in an objective study that a case cannot be made for the deterrent value of capital punishment.

I shall not waste time exchanging interpretations of statistics with hon. members who wish to retain the death

January 30, 1973

penalty, but I will say this. If there is dispute about the meaning of the statistics-and I would admit the possibility-then the burden of proof rests on those who wish the state to commit murder. There is a powerful moral argument against killing a person even by way of judicial execution. To support their position, those in favour of the retention of capital punishment, by any standard of justice, must present evidence beyond reasonable doubt that executions have some beneficial social effect. So far in this debate I submit they have not done so.

I am convinced that the people of Canada do not lust after the blood of murderers. I am convinced that if at the moment the majority tend to favour capital punishment, it is because they want an assurance that their lives and the lives of their loved ones will not be placed in jeopardy because of inadequacies in our penal system, our parole system and the totally and completely inadequate attempts at rehabilitation in penal institutions.

I am convinced that if the people of Canada could see avenues to explore other than the death penalty in the search for security from crimes of violence, they would eagerly explore them. To the extent that we as elected politicians have not made .it apparent to Canadians that other avenues do exist, we have failed the Canadian people. We should be looking, for example, at indeterminate sentences for crimes of violence. We should be looking, until we can bolster and render effective our efforts at rehabilitation and at making our parole system effective, at longer mandatory sentences for those who commit violent crimes. We should be seeking effective psychiatric services for those in our penal institutions. Finally and most importantly, we should be seeking the means to remove the social causes, the inequalities, the injustices, the uncertainties, the frustrations that foster and nourish crimes of violence.

However this debate is decided-and I fervently hope it is decided in a manner that will bring us closer to the total elimination of the death penalty-we will be failing ourselves and our electorate if we do not immediately begin work on providing real measures of security for Canadians; and I submit that the death penalty does not provide any real measure of security. We shall have failed if we do not immediately begin work on improving our penal system; to ensure that our penal system is capable of rehabilitating criminals; to ensure that until that rehabilitation is complete, possibilities for parole do not exist; to ensure that until our penal system is capable of accomplishing rehabilitation we do not admit persons to the streets who are incapable of undertaking their responsibilities as citizens.

This is the kind of action we must take. We must immediately begin the task of removing the injustices, frustrations and uncertainties that produce crimes of violence. Once this debate is finished this must be our task; otherwise this debate will have been pointless and we will have failed in our duties as legislators.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL
Sub-subtopic:   PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald W. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Mr. Speaker, contrary to all calculations and to my own expectations, my remarks in this debate at this hour of the night turn out to be my maiden speech. On this special occasion, therefore, I wish to join my voice with those who have

Capital Punishment

extended congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, on election to your high office and to those who also occupy the chair.

I am sure Mr. Speaker will understand when I suggest that to some extent I was encouraged to present myself as a candidate for a parliamentary seat by the firmness and impartiality-and even humour, where humour was needed to defuse tense situations-with which you and your illustrious predecessors, one of whom is sitting here with us, one in the other place, and still another being the present occupant of Rideau Hall, conducted the business of this House, thereby preserving for us its ancient and noble role, its dignity and tradition against so many attempted affronts.

It is a formidable task, I suggest, in this my maiden speech and as a retentionist, to follow almost immediately on the heels of the eloquence of the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker). I accept the challenge although I have none of his legal training nor practice before the courts and in this House. I accept it more readily because, fortunately, there are a number of incidental statements made by the right hon. gentleman with which I do not have cause to take issue. I refer to his comment about the need of the fulfilment of the law carried out to the full, granting mercy where mercy is recommended but executing where execution is warranted, hard though that may be when no extenuating circumstances have been advanced. With all deference, however, I find that I must take issue with the right hon. gentleman not only on his basic stand for abolition but also in citing a supreme court ruling uttered by United States judges and suggesting that it might have a bearing in the Canadian context.

Meaning no disrespect to the right hon. gentleman or for the law of another country, I find the law of Canada, if properly administered, to be a law under which I feel I can live. I know we have inherited much of our law from Britain. We inherited it and we have transformed it and made it something Canadian of which we can be proud. Properly administered, that law is something of which we have no need to be ashamed. Nor do we have to go outside this country to buttress our respect for it. Carry an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, if you will, but let us draw all our arguments in any such submission from Canada's own experience and Canada's special character.

It has been said on a number of occasions from this side of the House that those sitting on the other side failed to get the message the electorate was seeking to get across during the campaign in September and October of 1972. Usually this deafness or obliqueness on the part of the Liberal party has been cast in economic terms; we have said it frequently and we will say it again. I think the Progressive Conservative party has tuned in to that message and is now seeking from this side of the House to get the government on the proper wavelength, but the government is being very obtuse.

The government missed the message that was cast in economic terms and, as evidenced by its approach to capital punishment, it missed it again on this issue of law and order. At least that was the message in my constituency, and I would say the government missed it throughout

25714-52J

January 30,1973

Capital Punishment

the land. Had the government been attuned to the public pulse it would have heard the refrain, "Bring back capital punishment. Our womenfolk can no longer go out in the evening alone to post a letter." I have heard that said in my constituency, and I am ashamed. Petty larceny, assault with violence, muggings if you will, purse-snatching and even assault causing bodily harm are on the increase in this country.

In these circumstances the people in my constituency want tighter disciplinary controls imposed on those who refuse to accept the laws of society. They are not against rehabilitation, do not get them wrong. What they are against are consultants and do-gooders being hoodwinked by a bunch of smart con men into getting early paroles or leave passes on compassionate grounds. Where does compassion lie? What compassion had these miscreants when they snatched a purse from an elderly lady who had just got her pension cheque cashed, or when they mutilated a little girl and left her abandoned beside the road to be found by heartsick parents and angry neighbours?

Compassion is a virtue whose display restores man's faith in his fellows and whose absence breeds only disgust. The people of this country are compassionate people. They know what compassion is. But let not those who know no compassion seek, by feigning contrition, to wring compassionate tears from those who have compassion deep in their hearts.

In addition to failing to get the message the electorate was seeking to put across in September and October, the government managed to get its priorities thoroughly confused. From statements issued by the government during the campaign and since, it is clear that the rights of the criminal are placed above the protection of society. How can such a government demand the support of society and the Canadian people?

Furthermore, since coming into the House the government has demonstrated with incredible clarity just what is its set of priorities. These priorities are not those of the Canadian people, of that I am convinced. The government refused to respond to the Conservative party's offer to defer the throne speech debate in order to get down to priority matters-inflation, unemployment and relief for the elderly living on fixed incomes. The government's response to inflation was a proposed inquiry into food prices.

Then it set out, not to suggest measures for curing unemployment but, rather, to legalize an illegality in procedures in respect of financing insurance payments, plus a number of schemes for toughening up the regulations affecting qualification for unemployment benefits and increasing penalties for illegitimate claims. Now we have had this eleventh hour consideration of the pilotage bill. The government certainly failed to read the message of the general election. Not only that, it is derelict.

May I call it 10 o'clock, Mr. Speaker?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL
Sub-subtopic:   PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Is it agreed that we

call it ten o'clock?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL
Sub-subtopic:   PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   REINSTATEMENT OF LAW RELATING TO CAPITAL
Sub-subtopic:   PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 30, 1972
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PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 40 deemed to have been moved.


HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS

PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Don Blenkarn (Peel South):

Mr. Speaker, on January 19 I asked the Secretary of State for Urban Affairs (Mr. Basford) a question in respect of land banks and the sum of $500 million suggested by the minister to be used over a five-year period at the rate of $100 million per annum. I asked the minister whether he was going to use these funds in any one particular urban area in Canada, particularly metropolitan Toronto. I suggested to the minister that if he was going to use these funds in metropolitan Toronto, he would have to buy land from certain large corporations around metro Toronto sometimes referred to by the hon. member for York South (Mr. Lewis) as corporate bums.

The matter was brought to my attention even more forcefully in a call from a constituent, Joseph Pittari. He was very upset when he went out in Mississauga to buy a house and found that although he earned $13,500 a year he, his wife and daughter could not find a house in a new development, not even a semi-detached house, for less than $35,000. He telephoned me and wanted to know what this government was going to do about that problem.

Clearly, the problem of housing in metropolitan Toronto in particular, and in all Canada probably, centres around the cost of urban land. There is no question that the price of a lot in metropolitan Toronto is as high or higher than anywhere else in North America. It is disgraceful that less than 11 per cent of the people in this area can afford to own a new home.

The minister has set aside $100 million a year for the acquisition of land for a land bank in all of Canada. On checking the cost of vacant land in and around metropolitan Toronto and the town of Mississauga which I represent, I found that the average cost of land which could be developed in the immediate future or within four or five years for housing is $40,000 per acre. I calculate that if the entire $100 million were used to purchase land in the town of Mississauga, the minister might conceivably acquire 2,500 acres for the whole of Canada, all in one municipality. Mr. Speaker, that is less than half of the land owned by S. B. McLaughlin and Associates Ltd., less than one-third of the land owned by Erin Mills Development Ltd., and approximately two-thirds of the land owned by Mark-borough Properties Ltd. If the land of each company was purchased, it would still amount to a minor proportion of the land available or needed. The truth of the matter is that there is a land bank in the metropolitan Toronto area but it is owned by private development corporations.

We shall not solve the problem of making housing available by spending limited social capital on buying land. The problem will be met by using social capital to service land and to make municipal road patterns possible. It must be spent to make water and sewers freely available,

January 30, 1973

on public transit, on halls, on public arenas, on community centres and schools. It is because there are problems connected with the provision of these amenities that it is impossible for the province of Ontario and municipalities in and around to permit land to be developed.

That land is there; developers right now want to develop it and are trying to develop it. The Urban Development Institute in Toronto which recently submitted a brief to the Prime Minister of Ontario set out this problem. They said that developers do not want to withhold land from the market place, that they want to develop the land in their land banks. It was suggested that the problem really is one involving ancillary costs of development. The province of Ontario and certain municipalities, particularly the municipality I represent, have already indicated to developers that development cannot be allowed to take place because there are not funds available for looking after those ancillary services.

The real difficulty is that this government is bankrupt when it talks about land banking. Land banks are not the answer. The answer will be found by using money presently available for LIP projects, for Opportunities for Youth projects, for waste here, there and everywhere and for every conceivable demand, in the right way. That money should be made available and lent to municipalities. It should be lent on debentures and secured against the land only so that needed land can be developed and the municipalities and provinces can get on with the job of making housing available.

Just going out and buying a piece of land has never been the answer to the problem of lot values. I speak with personal knowledge on this matter. A few years ago, I and some associates purchased 178 acres in the towmship of Vaughan, south of No. 7 highway; land you can stand on today, just, as you could five or seven years ago, and see apartments and a housing development on three sides of it, with a sew'er running through it. But that municipality still has not enough money to put in the access roads, the u'ater mains, develop the water capacity, or build the schools to make it possible to service this land. Indeed, that and many other parcels of land could be made available so that lots could be sold in the area at the price they fetched ten years ago.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Order. I regret to interrupt the hon. member, but the time allotted to him has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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LIB

Ian Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Ian Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister ol State for Urban Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, the question put forward by the hon. member relates to the exact location of federally-supported land banking activities in the coming years. He mentions the Toronto area specifically. It is the government's belief that the specific location of these land bank areas is to be negotiated with the provincial and municipal governments directly concerned. So far as the government of Canada is concerned, the problems of price and the availability of serviced land in cities have to engage the attention of all three levels of government. A few months ago when Bill C-213 was introduced in the last session, again with the recent federal-provincial conference on housing and with the NHA amendments introduced today, the government has made clear its position on the question of land banking.

Adjournment Debate

The idea behind land banking seems to have been missed entirely by the hon. member for Peel South (Mr. Blenkarn) who has made the point that he feels the water, the sewer services and the other various service costs for a particular piece of land which he has given as an exam ple should be paid for by the municipality. Mr. Speaker, I represent an area outside Montreal where over the years I have seen this kind of speculative activity which does not profit anyone but the speculator, the land profiteer. I put it to the hon. member for Peel South that it is not the municipality involved with the particular 178 acres that he mentions who should be responsible for those services; the owners of the land should be responsible for them. There is no question about that. For too long in this country we have seen examples of-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

On a point of order-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Order, please. The hon. member knows that he cannot seek the floor when he is not speaking from his own seat.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

It is you he should be addressing, Sir.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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LIB

Ian Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Watson:

Mr. Speaker, for a number of years we have had money available for land assembly projects. The total amounts which provinces have sought for this purpose in the past year comes to $50 million. We are offering $100 million and it is our belief that at the moment $100 million is sufficient for these land banking purposes. The objective is to create an amount of land available-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Order, please. Again I regret that I have to interrupt the parliamentary secretary, but the time allotted to him has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING-PURCHASE OF LAND TO ESTABLISH LAND BANKS
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CANADA EVIDENCE ACT-SUGGESTED AMENDMENT TO COMPEL. SPOUSES TO TESTIFY IN CHILD-BEATING CASES

NDP

Derek Nigel Ernest Blackburn

New Democratic Party

Mr. Derek Blackburn (Brant):

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago I asked the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) if he was considering bringing in appropriate amendments to the Canada Evidence Act that would make spouses compellable and competent witnesses in cases relating to child-beating. The minister replied that the Law Reform Commission would probably be looking into this matter and that he would be considering the recommendations contained in its report.

Child-beating by parents is one of the most heinous of crimes as the victims are innocent and totally helpless. Each year in this country thousands of parental child-beaters go unpunished because the common law for many purposes has long regarded the married pair as constituting only one person, so one spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other in many instances, one of which is child-beating. Mr. Speaker, it is high time the Canada Evidence Act was amended to put an end to this archaic practice.

Most parental child-beatings take place within the confines of a house or apartment so that it is extremely difficult to find third party witnesses to such crimes. It is this problem, plus the Canada Evidence Act, which makes

January 30, 1973

Adjournment Debate

it virtually impossible to prosecute such cases in our courts. In 1971 there was 442 known or suspected cases in the province of Ontario alone of parental child-beatings, only 51 reached court and only 15 convictions were secured. And the rate of child-beatings has been increasing over the years. It has been estimated on good authority that in Canada in 1971 there were close to 5,000 such crimes.

The problem, of course, is that while physicians may report such incidents, law enforcement agencies in an overwhelming number of alleged incidents simply cannot lay charges because they know full well that neither the father nor the mother can be compelled to give evidence in court. Consequently, policemen are forced into the frustrating position of not laying charges when in fact they have good reason to believe that child-beating has taken place, complete with medical evidence. And if charges are laid, prosecutors are in the unfortunate position of either having to withdraw the charge "due to lack of sufficient evidence" or to attempt to proceed knowing full well they cannot examine the witness to the childbeating for corroborating evidence with which to gain a conviction.

I am fully aware of the fact that even if spouses were made compellable and competent witnesses in cases of child-beating, great fear would exist in the mind of a parent as a witness-I would think in most cases the mother-to tell the truth for fear of physical reprisal by the other spouse. But surely, Mr. Speaker, this is no excuse. In the first place, the spouse testifying would have the full protection of the law on her side and threats of physical reprisal could be dealt with effectively by the appropriate authorities. Besides, it is the infant's mental and physical well-being that we are concerned about here.

I strongly plead with the Minister of Justice to introduce amendments to the Canada Evidence Act to attempt at least to lessen the number of child-beatings in this country. I have talked to Crown prosecutors, police officers, and Children's Aid officials, all of whom have urged me to make this representation in the House of Commons and all of whom have expressed their utter frustration at the present limitations of the Canada Evidence Act. I sincerely hope the Minister of Justice will act quickly to plug a legal loophole that is responsible for allowing parental child-beaters to go unprosecuted and unpunished.

It is my understanding that the Law Reform Commission is looking into the whole area of family law, which badly needs reform. It is my hope that the Minister of Justice will in his wisdom and sense of compassion expedite recommendations of the commission as they may relate to child-beating.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I emphasize my argument with regard to certain anomalies in the Canada Evidence Act by citing the following: A spouse may testify against the other spouse in a case of rape, but not murder. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the time is long overdue in bringing the Canada Evidence Act into the twentieth century.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADA EVIDENCE ACT-SUGGESTED AMENDMENT TO COMPEL. SPOUSES TO TESTIFY IN CHILD-BEATING CASES
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LIB

Raynald Joseph Albert Guay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Raynald Guay (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, the suggestion that the Canada

[Mr Blackburn.]

Evidence Act be amended to make spouses compellable and competent witnesses in cases relating to child-beating will be studied very carefully by the Department of Justice. A recent report of the committee assigned to review the criminal code in England recommended, and I quote:

9.(3) In any court proceedings, the wife or husband of the accused shall (unless one or the other is accused jointly) be compelled to act as witness against the accused or the person jointly accused with the latter.

(a) The act or acts constituting the offence will consist of assault or violent treatment on the part of the wife or husband of the accused, or any person who belonged, at the time, to the same family of the accused and was under 16 years of age.

The committee assigned to review the criminal code felt that this would protect battered children who might be unable to supply themselves the proofs of the accusation.

As indicated by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) in his reply the first time the question was put in the House on January 16, 1973, the question of amendments to the Canada Evidence Act and the criminal code is at present under study by the law Reform Commission, but in a broader context.

One of the first reports submitted by the Law Reform Commission relates in part to the appearance of witnesses in criminal cases. The report suggests that spouses should be forced to give evidence in all cases. That, naturally, would involve a substantial change to present legislation and before preparing final recommendations on the subject, the law Reform Commission wisely called for the opinions of competent individuals and groups interested in this legislation.

In the circumstances, the minister of Justice feels that he should await replies from the public and final recommendations of the commission concerning the admissibility and the appearance of witnesses before bringing forward new legislation in this field, particularly since the law Reform Commission is making satisfactory progress in its project related to evidence.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADA EVIDENCE ACT-SUGGESTED AMENDMENT TO COMPEL. SPOUSES TO TESTIFY IN CHILD-BEATING CASES
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January 30, 1973