May 5, 1965 (26th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Mr. R. Gordon L. Fairweather@Royal

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that the time on the clock will mean that even if I gurgitate I will nevertheless talk this motion out, which makes me very sorry because it is a most important one. However, owing to the mechanics of the House today this motion will not get the consideration it deserves.
I want to commend the hon. Member for Greenwood (Mr. Brewin) for his motion, at the same time regretting the absence of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Favreau), who 1 should have thought might be present to hear these few comments. I have no quarrel with the hon. Member for Greenwood about the method he has advocated, of reaching a solution to this problem, but I am wondering why the National Association for the Administration of Justice is not functioning in this regard. Perhaps it is because we are afraid to use the word "national" now. I really do not care what title we give it, but this was an Association under the aegis of the Minister
Administration of Justice of Justice and the Attorneys General of the Provinces, including representatives of the Canadian Bar Association and the Provincial Bars. Such matters as, for example, the ridiculous lapse of time before bringing people to trial, which was mentioned by the last speaker, I know were being considered some years ago when I was a member of this committee.
My interest in Gideon's Trumpet-the rather colourful expression used to bring this deficiency to the attention of the public of North America-was aroused by the case of an 11 year old child held in jail, I am sorry to say not only in my Province but in my own constituency, without a charge being laid. This child was there for some five days until the padre who was visiting the jail telephoned me. Parliament happened to be in recess at the time so I was able to go to the jail quite shortly, to be told, I am sorry to say by a member of the R.C.M.P., not to interfere because they were about to break the child. This language will, of course, never be forgotten by me; it will always be a matter of regret. However, I was able to persuade the constable that if he did not release the child to me and have the matter brought before the magistrate it would not be the child who would be broken; and I do not mean by that in any physical sense, of course.
There is, Mr. Speaker, a great need for a public defender. The County of Los Angeles has had such officers for the last 35 years and this procedure could be well copied by Canada. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Macdonald) will see that this very important motion receives the impetus it deserves.

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