Mr. Jack Wratten (Brantford):
I have to speak as a result of one or two experiences I have had in connection with this subject. I associate myself with the hon. member for Maisonneuve-Rosemont (Mr. Deschatelets) who said that he would have to vote against this bill. If a vote came now, I would do the same.
I believe that corporal punishment is a deterrent to crime, and I believe this as a result of one or two experiences I have had. I listened with interest to the hon. member when he said that, in Ontario, they have taken the strap away from the magistrate. Certainly we know it has been taken away from the school principal and the teacher. I believe that is one of the reasons we have so much juvenile delinquency in our province today. There is no doubt in my mind but what hon. members in this house, at some time or other, were chastised, perhaps rightly so, and learned a good lesson, one that they did not forget. I should like to read part of an article that appeared in a newspaper the other day. I quote:
One reason there are so many delinquents today is that their dads did not burn their britches behind them.
I think that quotation is applicable to this bill before us today. I should like to refer
also, Mr. Speaker, to an article which appeared in the Toronto Star, the weekly magazine section, written by a chap who visited Kingston penitentiary. There is one paragraph I should like to read, and it is as follows:
X also found-and surely this is strange-that whereas many men expressed regret for what they had done, they were primarily concerned with their misfortunes, their problems, their future. "The jailhouse conscience is like jelly," somebody said, and this seems to be true. For not one prisoner that I met showed any interest in or concern about the people he had robbed, cheated, beaten or killed. The one possible exception was a modern Robin Hood. "I never stole from a poor man," he said.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if the abolition of corporal punishment is going to do as much good as we have heard some members say it would today, why has it had no effect on these men who have been incarcerated? It does not seem to have had much effect on them because, although they are in prison, they have not been subjected to corporal punishment.
I recall very vividly an incident that happened some years ago. A youngster who lived not too far from me got into trouble with a gang of boys who broke into a house. He was caught and taken to magistrate's court. I was with his father when the sentence was pronounced because the man was deaf and could not hear. The magistrate said, I can either put him on suspended sentence and have him report to a probation officer or I can have him strapped. Which do you prefer? I said to the father at the time, I think the best deal here is to let the boy have a good strapping; perhaps it will smarten him up quicker than anything else. This is what happened. They boy never got into any trouble afterwards. Today, he is a father of a family and is an exemplary citizen of Brantford.
They talk about corporal punishment not being a deterrent. Some two or three years ago, there was a murder committed by four young punks here in Ottawa. This is what Judge Allan B. Fraser had to say when he was talking to an association, and I quote from a newspaper article:
Judge Allan B. Fraser said yesterday that corporal punishment was used in the case of one of the young defendants in a recent murder trial in Ottawa.
The judge of the juvenile and family court of Ottawa and Carleton, speaking to the engineers' wives association, said that while the defendants were in jail awaiting trial "they were still pretty cocky".
"Finally they used corporal punishment on one of them and it worked wonders."
The warden of a jail is empowered to use corporal punishment on prisoners if it is thought necessary.
Judge Fraser said he favoured corporal punishment "when all else fails".
"The boy came up and thanked the authorities afterwards", said the judge. "He said that if his parents had done the same thing earlier he wouldn't have been where he was."
This is just one incident, Mr. Speaker, that I think bears out the belief I have that corporal punishment is a deterrent to young people. 1 should like to refer to another article that appeared in the London Free Press, and which refers to a meeting of the law enforcement officers of Essex county. They came to the conclusion that the young criminals considered Essex county magistrates lenient and treated the suspended sentences they frequently hand out as a joke. The majority of law enforcement officers in the area are in favour of using the whip to deter young criminals.
May I call it six o'clock?
Topic: CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO ABOLISH IMPOSITION OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT