May 12, 1970 (28th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

I do hope that this commission will not use this method to procrastinate in bringing about the necessary reform. What are some of the other reforms? I just returned from a conference on law reform which several professors from various law schools across the country attended. The conference was held at Cedar Glen on Thursday and Friday of last week. Some top men in the field were present, such as Hogarth of Osgood Hall. I am sure that the former dean of Saskatchewan university wiU give a sympathetic hearing to some of the suggestions I will make. He pointed out that although there is not one law for the rich and one for the poor, that is the case in its application.
Let us consider bail, for example. Members from all sides of the House have been asking for some reform in the law as it applies to bail. Only two weeks ago, in Banff, Alberta, three young men were picked up on a drug charge. Two of them, who were from affluent families, were granted bail on Sunday morning. The third, who was from a poor family, remained in jail. So, there is discrimination. The three young men were charged with the same offence. What do our young men think of a society in which two people who come from affluent families can be left free while their trial is pending, a trial which may not take place until next fall after the case goes through a preliminary hearing, while the third remains in jail? Fortunately, the two young men went out amongst high school and university students and personally raised enough money to bail out the young man who did not have a rich family behind him. In many cases this does not happen. The point I am making is that I hope this law commission will not just be a piece of window dressing. I hope that when we ask the Minister of Justice (Mr. Turner), the Solicitor General or anyone else connected with the administration of law a question in the House with regard to reform of the law, they will not say that it is before the law reform commission. I hope this Commission will not be just another excuse for an all-powerful government, with an all-powerful bureaucracy behind it, to hide and procrastinate on the reforms that are needed.
The next matter with which I wish to deal concerns the question of drugs. I heard a newscast the other day which I found very interesting. Members from all sides of the House have been asking for the LeDain Commission report on the drug problem which is one of the most serious social questions

Canada is facing today in relation to the young people in high schools, universities and elsewhere. I listened to the newscast in which it was suggested that there has been some interference by members of this government, by cabinet ministers, with the work of the LeDain Commission. They want to delay its recommendations because this is such a serious social problem they are frightened of the recommendations of the commission. They are afraid to face up to their responsibilities and to the recommendations made by the commission, so they want either changes, delay or procrastination.
These are my fears when we have before the House recommendations for the establishment of a law reform commission. These are beautiful words, but I expect little action and much procrastination. It seems to me that when a commission is set up to study such a serious matter the government should not interfere until the independent commission has held its hearings, analysed its evidence, and made its recommendations. The government is not obliged at any time to implement any recommendations, whether these are the recommendations of the Carter Commission, recommendations in a white paper or recommendations of the LeDain Commission. Once these recommendations come before the House in the shape of a white paper or a bill, we know that the government intends to act on those recommendations.
I should now like to deal with the appeal Procedure. I am still convinced that in the application of that Procedure the rich and the poor are treated differently because affluent people can afford the cost of an appeal, whether it is an appeal from summary conviction, which is a trial de novo in county or district court, or an appeal to the courts of appeal of various provinces. One of the great problems is in getting the evidence. As you can appreciate, Mr. Speaker, being a member of the bar yourself, in order for an appeal case to be successful in any appellate court, it is necessary for the evidence of the lower courts to be typed and printed. There again the cost per page is $1 and in some cases more than that, so that very few people can afford to appeal. Therefore, there are sometimes miscarriages of justice because of that cost.
On the basis of what I have said, surely we do not need a law reform commission to decide on certain amendments to the code. I agree with the minister that it would be a good thing, instead of patching up the Crimi-
May 12, 1970 COMMONS
nal Code, to have it analysed completely by a law commission which would then make recommendations. However, the Criminal Code is a large and complicated statute, so that job is not going to be done in six months or in a year. Let us have our own House committee examine the Criminal Code and make recommendations with respect to reform whereby bail will be made available to everyone wanting it. Surely, we have reached a stage in judicial history when bail, the right to have freedom, should not be based on dollars and cents, the keystone of a materialistic world.
[DOT] (3:10 p.m.)
I think that many times bail is set not to guarantee that persons will appear in court at the proper time but so that they may be incarcerated for a period of time during which the authorities make efforts to get more evidence against them, or so that they may suffer punishment even before their case is heard.
I also believe we have reached a time in judicial history when certain offences under the Criminal Code should not require bail provisions. I am speaking of instances where people are charged with impaired driving offences. In fact, I have been told by a judge from the city of Hamilton that in that city no bail is set for such offences. A person arrested on an impaired driving charge usually has a family living in the city where he is charged, and for that reason alone he will appear for trial. Let us do away with bail entirely for this kind of offence.
We all know very well that bail is not a guarantee that a person will appear for trial. After all, Banks' bail was set at $25,000, but he never put up the money. It was probably some syndicated criminal group that put up the money. Banks disappeared into the United States, and even though the United States now says the case can be re-opened and we can get him back here, apparently the government does not want him back in Canada. In this modern age bail does not guarantee that a person will appear at trial. If he has enough money he can afford to let the bail money go to the Crown. If he does not have money for bail he must spend the time in jail.
These reforms will have to come soon or we will have more of what took place yesterday in this House, and of what is taking place throughout the nation, all of which is only keeping pace with the demand for social and
Law Reform Commission Bill other reforms. If we implement these reforms we will then get the confidence of the young people who are now growing up in a very unhappy world, or in what to them seems to be an unhappy society. Then, they would appreciate that there is not a generation gap, that we who are here now can assist them to get the kind of reforms they are demanding.
Let us have no more of that bluffing which says that we are reforming the Criminal Code, particularly with respect to matters which affect the consciences of men and women like abortion and homosexuality, when in fact we are not changing the law one iota. That is what caused the trouble yesterday. It is that type of thing which often causes the trouble and gives rise to protests by the public. I have said what I wished to say on third reading. I only hope that this law reform commission will not be used as an excuse to procrastinate on other reforms which I and other hon. members have urged on other occasions.

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