Gerald William BALDWIN

BALDWIN, Gerald William, O.C., Q.C., LL.D.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Peace River (Alberta)
Birth Date
January 18, 1907
Deceased Date
December 16, 1991
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ged_Baldwin
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=88de9baa-8839-401f-9aa2-55522b62d47f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (August 17, 1962 - February 6, 1963)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (July 27, 1968 - September 20, 1973)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (July 27, 1968 - September 20, 1973)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (July 27, 1968 - September 20, 1973)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (July 27, 1968 - September 20, 1973)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (August 14, 1974 - February 24, 1976)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (August 14, 1974 - February 24, 1976)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Peace River (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1377 of 1378)


June 23, 1958

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Last Friday, Mr. Speaker, I was attempting to relate what the Minister of Finance had said about the projected expansion of this country under this government to the question of railroad construction in the north country. I was making fairly heavy weather with my French when fortunately I was interrupted by Your Honour at five o'clock.

Before going any further, I should like to give briefly some of the background to this question of railroad construction in the north country. I am doing this because from what I know, confirmed by an examination of the records railroad development in the Peace river country has been a sorry record of neglect, delays, frustrations and broken promises. It is quite obvious that one injustice has been done to the people of the Peace river country, and I hope to see that another is not committed as well.

The Peace river country is not part of the western prairies, nor is it part of the true north, but a connecting link between the two. Many of the people who went overland to the Yukon came through the Peace river country. The first white man to cross this continent came down from the north along the Peace and wintered close to the town of Peace River, then went on the next spring to the Pacific coast. I refer to Sir Alexander Mackenzie. I know these things, sir, because from my home, four miles from the town of Peace River, I can see the hill known as Mackenzie lookout, in the shadow of which Mackenzie built his fort. Along the

The Budget-Mr. Baldwin trail past my home went the people who travelled to the Yukon. There is a further grim reminder, possibly, that this area forms the natural gateway to the north in the fact that recently teams of archaeologists have been seeking in our country some confirmation of the fact that countless generations ago people crossed the Bering strait from Asia and so came into the centre of this continent.

In earlier times the large railway companies could or would never accept the fact that our country constituted a natural road to the north, both from the centre of the continent and from the west coast. It was necessary for the province of Alberta to construct railways into the area.

The province, of course, was limited by its boundaries and financial resources, but all during the 1920's there was a constant effort made to persuade the government of Canada and the railway companies to construct an outlet to the Pacific coast and also to build toward the Northwest Territories.

I have been able to find a great number of references to this, particularly in the speeches made by the late Mr. D. M. Kennedy, who was the member for Peace River from 1921 to 1935. He was supported by such members from British Columbia as General Clark, Hon. Harry Stevens, Senator McRae and John Fraser. These men were amongst those who had sufficient foresight to understand the necessity for the construction of this outlet.

I should like to continue, however, with regard to these promises by referring to a statement made by the then prime minister, Mr. Mackenzie King, speaking in Edmonton. The reference is contained in Hansard for 1926-27, page 2214:

"It is the policy of the government of which I have the honour to be the head to introduce a vigorous policy of immigration which will people the vast areas of undeveloped country in the great west," declared the Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, premier of Canada, when addressing a mass meeting of the citizens in the First Presbyterian church last night.

The future prosperity of this country is bound up in the development of its great natural resources, and to develop these resources it is necessary to have a large increase in the population of Canada. There is to the north of this city a great tract of land that is crying out for development. The Peace river country is amongst the richest in Canada, but before the proper development of that country can take place an outlet to the Pacific coast is an absolute necessity. I pledge myself that as soon as it is humanly possible the great Peace river country will be given that measure of railway relief that will bring to the pioneers of that country the outlet they have been so long denied, and will open up the country for prospective settlers.

"The times that we are passing through are very difficult, and I would ask you to have a little patience, and in as short a time as possible, a railway outlet will be provided for the Peace river

1512 HOUSE OF

The Budget-Mr. Baldwin and northern Alberta districts that will open up an era of prosperity for that country which will not be equalled by any other province in Canada."

However, this was an election speech; and since it was a promise made before an election I examined the speech from the throne of the following year with some care. I had to look through it twice before I found any mention of the Peace river, and then I found this promise had shrunk to this insignificant statement; "that in due course steps would be taken to further colonization and settlement in other fertile regions such as Peace river". This was as far as the matter went. This is typical of the treatment given to the people of that area in so far as this allimportant question of railroads is concerned.

Now, as a matter of fact some survey parties were sent out, and they came back muttering about tonnage, population and economics. At that time we had only

20.000 people. Our railway tonnage was

110.000 tons going out of the country and

50.000 tons going in.

I recognize that we cannot be starry-eyed and visionary about this question of railroad construction, but I submit that railroads and their construction should be regarded as an instrument of national policy. They were considered in that way by the people who made this country, and I feel that the same consideration should be given today. If Sir John A. Macdonald and the people who constructed the C.P.R. had stopped to confer with hordes of chair-borne statisticians the C.P.R. would never have been constructed. Western Canada would still probably be a vast hunting ground for the buffalo or, more likely than that, we would have fewer provinces in Canada and there would be more stars in the United States flag.

In 1929 the Alberta government sold its railroad system to a statutory corporation created by the government of Canada. What was known as the Northern Alberta Railways was created, comprised of equal ownership by the C.N.R. and the C.P.R. By the statute of incorporation this railroad, the N.A.R., was authorized to commence construction of and given authority to build a railway to the Northwest Territories. The statute is chapter 48 of the 1929 statute. There is one particular part of the schedule I should like to read into the record because I think it has some bearing on what I propose to say. This new statutory corporation was authorized to lay out, construct, maintain and operate-

*-a branch line from a point at or near Grimshaw in a generally northerly direction to a point that will when surveyed approximate to a point in township one hundred and eleven, range nineteen or twenty, west of the fifth principal meridian,

thence in a generally northerly direction approximately parallel to the Hay river to the northern boundary of the said province.

That is precisely the route which we in the Peace river country advocate today. It follows precisely the same route which we advocate today on the question of this railroad which has been projected to Great Slave lake.

Considerable exception was taken in the house at that time by those who were interested and had some knowledge of the situation to the way the N.A.R. was formed. They said the creation of a statutory corporation of that kind comprising equality of ownership by the two great railway companies which were actually competitive was not a good thing for Peace river. Actually that is the way it turned out, because not one mile of railroad was ever built in furtherance of the suggestions made in 1929 when that corporation was created. It was actually left for the province of British Columbia to build this coast outlet, which it did when the P.G.E. was eventually completed into the Peace river country; and only a few days ago I understand the first train from the coast came up and across the Peace river at Taylor Flats in British Columbia.

The excuse of the major railway companies was that they did not think there was sufficient tonnage or population. I recall Sir Edward Beatty in Peace River saying that just as soon as our production was ten million bushels of grain, that would justify a coast outlet. Later on he was speaking in Edmonton, and I have here a quotation of his that was given in this house by Mr. J. A. Sissons, who was the member for Peace River from 1935 to 1940. Sir Edward Beatty then said what all of us knew to be correct:

That north country needs a settlement plan and needs it quickly, and together with that there should be a program of rail development.

The Peace River district impressed me most favourably. But its one major need still is that of increased settlement. I am confident that the country could absorb at least twice the population it now bears.

I certainly intend to suggest to the federal government that it embark on a broad policy of settlement for the north. Extension of rail facilities to go hand in hand with colonization. That is something that should be axiomatic.

We have reached and far surpassed all the figures that have been suggested with regard to population, tonnage and crop production. Our crop production is many times that which Sir Edward Beatty had in mind. Our population is four times that which existed at the time former prime minister Mackenzie King made his statement in Edmonton. Our tonnage going out is ten times that which it was in 1924. That argument no longer should serve as an excuse.

As a matter of fact I think we have ample confirmation of the truth of the statements our people had made earlier. As a result-and I think it is no accident that the two matters that have come to pass are linked together-of the projection of the P.G.E. to the Peace river country in the last two years, we have seen the beginnings of industrialization and growth. In the small southwest area of the Peace river country comprising part of my constituency and part of that of the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Henderson) there are a large plywood plant, two oil refineries and the beginnings of a petrochemical industry probably running into $30 million or $40 million and ultimately two or three times that much.

That has come about, I submit, as a result of the fact that at long last the coast outlet was brought to Peace river. I hold no brief for Premier Bennett, but I think it is only proper to pay tribute to him for the industry, initiative and intelligence he has exercised in directing that railroad into our country. I can only assume that it was because of the years he had spent as a member of the Conservative party that he acquired those characteristics.

We now face the question or the problem of constructing a railroad into the Northwest Territories. In that regard I should like to refer to a statement by Hon. Charles Dunning, who was minister of railways in the King administration. It was truly a pertinent one. This is what he said during those debates which took place in 1929 on this bill creating the Northern Alberta Railway. Speaking about this railroad into the Northwest Territories he said:

I believe I shall live to see the day when there will be a railhead on Great Slave lake tapping the resources of that great northern area.

This indicates what was intended at that time; and having in mind the countless numbers of people who went in there on the basis of promises of that kind, I submit it should be considered when we now come to deal with this question of a railroad into the north country.

Quite recently the government of Alberta established a royal commission known as the McGregor commission to inquire into the development of northern Alberta, which by the terms of reference was defined as being that part of Alberta lying to the north of the 55th parallel of north latitude. This commission has made a very extensive survey and I commend it to hon. members in so far as facts and statistics are concerned, though I must say I disagree very violently with some of the conclusions derived from these facts.

Included in these statistics is information relative to undeveloped agricultural area,

The Budget-Mr. Baldwin including certain territory which the commission designates as arable and other lands which are said to be possibly arable. I checked the figures with my own personal knowledge derived from almost 30 years' residence in that country and continuous travel through all parts of it, and I agree with their views which give a maximum of 14 million acres of undeveloped agricultural land with a potential production running into some $600 million to $700 million a year.

Certainly there is no doubt that here is the last great source of undeveloped agricultural country on the North American continent. I do not like cliches, yet the phrase "great inland empire" I think could nowhere be better applied than to this particular country. But empires, like all living organisms, must have nourishment and this empire was in grave danger of destruction, of dying stillborn because of lack of transportation facilities.

Following along the Peace river, the Northern Alberta Railways and up to the Northwest Territories, are people who for many, many years have struggled against tremendous odds to try to maintain themselves in that country. I say to the hon. members of this house, particularly those who come from agricultural constituencies, think of the problems of these people who have to pay 40 cents to 50 cents a bushel for wheat in order to bring it down to the railhead, $10 a head for cattle, $3 for other stock and so on. These are extreme examples, of course, and as you approach closer to the railroad the figures become somewhat less.

There is also the reverse side of the coin, and we must consider that everything which goes into that country requires an extra toll from the people because of the cost of transportation. We have every problem and every difficulty faced by people in other parts of Canada, but we also have this immense difficulty with respect to transportation owing to the great distances involved. On the economic scale there was slowly but surely being poured into the balance, the weight of these figures and if we had continued under the methods established by the previous administration there could have been but one inevitable result, stagnation and ultimate extinction.

That is why the people of my part of the country were so glad to hear of the program of national development planned by the Conservative party, as national development of course to us means primarily northern development. We were glad to hear of the construction of a railroad to the south shore of Great Slave lake, and to learn that we had not waited in vain for this railroad which, provided it commences at or near Grimshaw

1514 HOUSE OF

The Budget-Mr. Baldwin and goes through the Peace river country, will bring many obvious benefits to us.

I would like to mention the mineral production of the Pine Point area of the Great Slave lake region which, since it could reach the market at a cost which would make it competitive, would be a great step forward; but this is only the beginning, and there are many other tremendous considerations. The Northwest Territories would have the advantage of obtaining food supplied from an area comparatively close at hand which would substantially reduce the cost of living. The farmers providing these supplies would have a corresponding advantage by being able to increase their sales, and the new and expanding secondary industries of our country would find their markets increasing in both area and population.

The orthodox development of oil and gas would favour the route through the Peace river country, that is to say through the western part of northern Alberta. The figures given to the McGregor commission by the oil and gas conservation board of Alberta show as a minimum that 8,000 wells will be drilled by 1980 in the area affected by this railroad, at which time there should be an annual production of 62 million barrels of oil and 230 billion cubic feet of natural gas. This is a controlled production based on market requirements, and there are very interesting tables on pages 59 and 60 of the McGregor report with regard to this aspect of development.

The proposed route would serve 90 per cent of the people of northern Alberta, including those living on the British Columbia side of the Peace river, which provides the largest concentration of people and thus potential labour north of the 55th parallel in Canada, which I must say contrasts quite pitifully with what is believed to exist in the same latitudes in Russia. There is an excellent forestry potential with respect to both timber and pulp, and there are also first class hydro power facilities in the area to be served. The cost of construction would be reasonable, since there are no bridges of any consequence nor are there any substantial grades. Finally, having in mind the diversity of potential production, the railway would not be exclusively dependent on minerals which, being non-recurring resources, often cause the abandonment of railways and of towns.

The McGregor report recommended an alternative route. If this should be adopted, which I hope it will not be, I am quite certain many of the pioneer farmers of our country may well give up the struggle, which would result in a large exodus from some areas. I have recently been receiving an

average of 50 to 75 letters a day with respect to this matter, many from people I know personally as pioneers of the area, all urging me, as I hope they have urged the members of the government, to take these things into consideration when a decision is reached with respect to the route to be adopted when building this railway.

These people, and there are thousands of them, have held on grimly and tenaciously Dver the years in the face of considerable obstacles. They have cleared their lands, built homes and become good farmers- which they had to do in order to exist at all-and have also become good citizens. They have raised and educated their families, expanding the perimeter of civilization. So far they have done all this without too much help from government sources. They know nothing of national housing and very little of unemployment insurance benefits. For many of them some of the ordinary assistance available to agricultural producers has also been lacking. Even the benefits under the Can. Farm Loan Act have only recently been extended to some of the northern regions, and then only to a limited area close to the railroad. Despite these disadvantages, however, they have always held before them the hope that some day, somehow, at the end of the rainbow, there would be the construction of a railroad.

Many of us, of course, knew that a realistic appraisal of the national and world situation, so far as agricultural commodities are concerned, would make it difficult to justify, and indeed that it might be found impossible to construct that railroad having in mind only the agricultural aspects of the matter. We did however feel, as we still feel, that an additional incentive has now been provided by the further discoveries of minerals in and around the Great Slave lake area. We believe, therefore, that when the railroad is built it should be built through the Peace river country. We should not and we must not abandon these people. They must not be content to be second class citizens if they wish to remain in their country, or to have only one alternative, namely to give up their homes and everything for which they have struggled and move elsewhere.

If we permit them to leave behind them everything they have built up we shall be abdicating our responsibilities and failing in our duties. I suggest this railway is a fair test of what lies ahead in respect of northern development. Are we to consider human resources as being of paramount importance? Do we want to fill the country with people or are people to be subservient to the privilege and interests of those concerned in exploita-

tion? We are confident that the Conservative party, with its history and traditions-and this government has expressed its views by actions and utterances in recent months-will recognize our position and will appreciate that railroads exist to serve the people and not people to serve the railroads.

We have been told that a highway may be constructed as a substitute for this railway, that is to say a rebuilding and extension of the Mackenzie highway which now runs over 400 miles from Grimshaw to the port of Hay River on Great Slave lake. We welcome the fact that we now have this indication of the firm intention of this government to thus develop the northland, but I say this is not an alternative for our agricultural producers, who simply cannot develop farming communities at a distance of 40 miles or more from railway facilities.

As a matter of fact I am being a little optimistic when I say 40 miles, for I have in my hand a volume entitled "The Settlement of the Peace River Country", which was written by Professor C. A. Dawson, professor of sociology at McGill University, and Professor R. W. Murchie, professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.

Their position as a whole strengthens mine. Here is what they have to say:

In the older settlements of the prairie provinces there are few farms more than 10 miles from the railway. Productivity fades before the twentieth mile from the railway is reached; beyond that it declines with great rapidity.

The McGregor report states that the need to stimulate agriculture in the north country remains open to question, and I assume that other people may entertain the same opinion; but if so they are not taking the long range view, as I propose to point out later. In any event I want to say that our agricultural economy is largely becoming, and will be even more in the future, one of mixed and diversified farming tailored to help us sustain our role as supplier of the Northwest Territories, as well as being geared to the exigencies of the larger world picture. Our people are realists, and the Peace river country has the necessary requirements so far as land is concerned to go into the type of production which will find and is finding markets, and we are turning away from the commodities which are surplus.

Such being the case, is it not a far better thing to do what is necessary to quicken the stirring of new life by opening this country, by establishing the many communities which will provide the necessary services along the new railroad through the country to Great Slave lake, than to accept the defeatist and narrowly pragmatic attitude which is inherent in this other type of thinking?

57071-3-96J

The Budget-Mr. Baldwin

I believe that the appointed purpose of this land is that it should be made available for the many, a home for all who wish to come; and there will be many who will wish to do that. Any railroad construction and any development which aims at a lesser result is an abuse of the trust we have had bestowed upon us. "Without vision the people will perish" surely applies here, and this government has a vested interest in that phrase.

At this point I want to make it absolutely clear that anything I have said is not meant to suggest that the railroad should be built through the Peace river country without regard to the proper and natural aspirations and the development of the eastern half of northern Alberta. As and when, and that time may well be now, the economic development of that area and the requirements of Canada as a whole justify railway branch lines or highway construction or navigation improvement, then by all means they should be undertaken. But I submit as strongly as I possibly can that at the present time a branch line to the north which disregards the logical needs, and fails to give effect to the long held prayers and hopes, of the people of the Peace river country is wrong.

It has been said that the sole responsibility for providing communication to these people in our country rests with the provincial government, and I admit that it is a responsibility which Alberta must share, having in mind that the Northern Alberta Railways was originally constructed and operated by the province of Alberta. However, I would point out that most of the settlement came into the north country from 1912 to 1935, and that prior to the passage of the statute which implemented the agreement for the transfer of natural resources from Canada to Alberta in 1934, Canada alone had control of the land settlement. The homestead and land officers were those of the senior government, and the people who went into this northern area were encouraged to do so by the Canadian government. So the responsibility should be shared jointly among the province of Alberta, the federal government and the railway company.

Certainly the statement made by Mr. Dunning to which I referred previously with regard to this line to the north was accepted by many who went in there as a firm indication of the government's intention, and I know as a fact that many people who went into the north country did so because they honestly believed that this line would be built and that it was the intention of the government and of the railways to proceed with it. Certainly the department of northern affairs felt that way in 1956, because they presented a brief to the Gordon commission. On page

1516 HOUSE OF

The Budget-Mr. Baldwin 24 of the brief there was a map-I believe it was submitted by Mr. R. G. Robertson, commissioner of the Northwest Territories- which shows this railroad projected into the Great Slave lake area, and it shows it starting from Grimshaw. On page 29 of this report on the economic prospects of the Northwest Territories I find this:

A railway to Great Slave lake will not be just another railway. It is not a railway to a lake or to open a mine or to serve a community. A railway to Great Slave lake will be one of the great development railroads of the country. It will not bring population to the Northwest Territories to the same extent that the western railroads brought it to the prairies; but it may well bring in the years ahead a comparable increase in the wealth of Canada. This railway is quite different from most of the branch lines constructed in recent years which were destined to serve one mine, or a group of mines; its purpose is to open up a whole new region.

What I have said so far may be construed as being on a purely limited and local basis, but I submit that examined against the larger background of the national interest the answer comes out precisely the same. A branch line from Grimshaw to Great Slave lake would permit agricultural and other products from the northern and the Peace river country to seek their natural markets. We hold no brief for or against any particular area, but we wish to encourage our products to flow to the Pacific coast or to the east as economics may dictate.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

June 20, 1958

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to belatedly extend my congratulations to the Speaker on his election to that high office and commend him for the tact and skill which he has displayed in guiding the deliberations of this house. I extend the same complimentary words to yourself and to the Deputy Speaker. May I express the hope that the patient attitude you have demonstrated with respect to new members will continue and that the sands of your good nature will not run out at least until I have completed what I have to say.

I would also like to extend congratulations to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) in respect of his first budget and to say that in presenting it he has in an honest and competent way faced realities and has been able to come to grips with the fiscal facts of life and at the same time has been able to maintain benefits which have been derived from tax deductions introduced at an earlier date,

to add something to them and also has been able to provide for the extensive public undertakings of this government. It has been a Herculean task and he should be given full credit for it. I would like in particular to comment on the proposal with regard to succession duties. This suggestion is most welcome and together with the companion measure permitting a tax-free gift up to $10,000 of a home or farm will remove inequities and injustices which have been apparent in the past.

I described the task of the Minister of Finance as a Herculean one and in so doing I had in mind that this government had to acquire some of the characteristics of Hercules in cleaning up after the previous administration by altering their unfortunate financial policies and doing what had to be done to remove the effects of such policies. I was thinking particularly of the task which was assigned to Hercules in cleaning out the Aegean stables for the first time in 100 years and I am sure the present Minister of Finance is thankful that he had only 23 years' accumulation to deal with.

I would now like to relate what was said in the conclusion of the budget presentation about the great destiny of this nation to observations I wish to make regarding a problem which affects the country generally and my constituency in particular, namely the question of the proposed construction of a railway to be built to the south shore of Great Slave lake.

The constituency which I represent is one of a tier of ridings lying at the northernmost extremity of the western provinces and occupying over one-third of the province of Alberta with an area of 80,000 square miles and containing a population of nearly 70,000 people. The people who live in the district constitute a reasonable cross section of Canada in the ethnic sense as here the two main streams of our population have joined and into the river which has resulted have been poured the smaller tributaries comprising the sturdy and fine people of every racial extraction who make up this country, all of us proud to be and to be called Canadians.

(Translation):

I am happy to know that the district which counts several thousand French-speaking voters supported me during the last election by awarding me 80 per cent of their votes. I hope that when I shall again ask for their support on another occasion, I shall be able to express myself in French, and I beg my hon. friends to pardon the errors I might commit when speaking in this language for the first time.

(Text):

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

June 12, 1958

Mr. Baldwin:

May I say, sir, that I had only intended, in deference to your ruling to suggest that if proper care and caution were exercised in the selection of the route it would not be necessary at any time to apply for a reduction in services.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING REDUCTIONS IN RAIL SERVICE
Full View Permalink

June 12, 1958

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, possibly before I launch into my observations on this matter, in view of the ruling which has been made and which of course I accept, sir, I might mention that I had intended to approach the matter in this way, that this bill appears to be appended to section 168 of the Railway Act, which reads as follows:

The company-

Referring to railway companies.

-may abandon the operation of any line of railway with the approval of the board, and no company shall abandon the operation of any line of railway without such approval.

This bill, of course, refers to the right of a municipality to appeal to the board with respect to the curtailment of services. I will state what I have in mind at once, and that is that in considering this question of abandonment or curtailment the matter cannot be dealt with without a proper study and survey of the economic factors which justified the original construction of the line and of the route it follows. I wish to discuss, secondly, the question of the route of the railway which is now proposed on the basis that in my opinion if proper considerations are not given to the choice of route it might be necessary at some time to apply under the terms of the section I have quoted, either as it is now or as it may be amended, for the right to abandon or curtail such services. With def-eference, if I am not in opposition to your ruling, sir, I would like to say that I had intended to confine my remarks to the question of a proper choice of route for the railway now proposed so that there would be no need for recourse to this particular section.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING REDUCTIONS IN RAIL SERVICE
Full View Permalink

June 6, 1958

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I say quite simply that I find myself in favour of the principle of this bill and in sympathy with the objective at which it is apparently aimed, namely the deletion from the Criminal Code of all the provisions which sustain what in my opinion are useless and obsolete measures designed to inflict corporal punishment on persons who are sentenced to that punishment. [DOT]

So far as I can ascertain-and I think I differ slightly from what has been said by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch)-there are four countries which still retain that method of punishment, which include the state of Delaware, the Union of South Africa and apparently what was formerly Egypt, and we rank with them in occupying that unique position of still keeping corporal punishment on our statute books.

My own personal opinion is largely derived from my experiences over a period of some 30 years in the practice of my profession in defending people who were charged with offences which included this punishment in addition, of course, to the other punishment of imprisonment. While I have struggled to achieve the reputation of not appearing for anyone who was guilty, I am afraid from time to time I found judges and juries who could not agree with me in that point of view: but when I had occasion to appear for anyone charged with such an offence I inquired with the greatest measure of anxiety as to this question of punishment and the possible effect it might have on the individual who was charged and, of course, the effect it might have on society as a whole. I do not think you can possibly separate the two. You cannot put the individual

Criminal Code

charged with the offence in one corner like a boy who is put in the corner as a dunce in the schoolroom and say that he is separate and distinct from society because the punishment which is inflicted upon him is bound to have an effect on society as a whole.

The measure of that effect is difficult to estimate accurately, but there is no doubt that over a period of time it could have a serious effect upon his family, his business associates, his friends, all the people with whom he might come in contact, not only at the time but for many years afterwards. I consider, therefore, that any such punishment could not effectually achieve any beneficial result which would overcome the bad results.

From time to time I have also had occasion to discuss this question with judges. My experience has been that the question of infliction of punishment is one of the most onerous of the responsibilities of any judicial officer. Once the verdict has been brought in, the question of what should be done is one which I think greatly exercises the minds of all those who sit upon the bench. I have always found that they have been willing and anxious to go into all aspects of the background of the individual and the basis of the commission of the crime. In fact, they will discuss any matter at all which may have any bearing on the question of punishment. As a result of this discussion and my own experience I feel quite definitely that there is no beneficial effect to the retention on our statute books of this particular punishment.

May I say this, sir? Usually when a request or a suggestion is made that a certain enactment should be deleted or abolished the onus largely lies upon those who make the suggestions; but I would say that is not the case here. Here is a question of a form of punishment which is so repugnant to our sense of what is normal in human behaviour, so opposed to what we consider as being the concepts of decency and propriety, that I would suggest that, in assessing the various arguments, the onus lies upon those who suggest that the punishment should be continued to convince this house that this is so, and they have a difficult argument to carry.

The basic purpose of punishment, of course, is deterrence. You say, in effect, that if such and such a crime is committed, then the individual committing the crime shall be punished for it. I would suggest, sir, that every illustration of the commission of that crime is an illustration of the failure of that punishment to achieve its objective. I may be met with this answer: how many cases may there

not have been where the commission of that crime was prevented by the fact that there was in the statute books a provision that if you commit the crime you would be punished. The answer to that, of course, is a difficult one to ascertain. I would suggest that even the late Dr. Kinsey, with his peculiar propensity for eliciting unpleasant information for statistical purposes, would find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain from individuals the fact that they had contemplated committing a crime but had failed to do so because they realized there would be certain punishment. I would suggest that you might possibly divide those people who commit crimes, or contemplate committing crimes, into two classes. This is an over-simplification because I am inclined to the opinion that there are as many types of criminals as there are crimes committed. But let us suggest for the purpose of argument that you might divide them into the class of hardened or callous or professional criminals on the one side and on the other those people who through stress of emotion, without premeditation, have come to commit some act which is contrary to what our laws prescribe. In the first instance I doubt very much whether those criminals carry around with them a copy of the Criminal Code and consult it prior to the commission of any offence. I would suggest that if they did the only effect would be to make them more careful, more cautious, more inclined to take measures to prevent detection. As for the second class, the crimes which they commit are not those which are committed with previous thought being given that they would be committed. They are not the type of persons who have knowledge that a certain act is punished in a certain way and therefore that knowledge would prevent the commission of that offence.

I am reinforced in that opinion by what I have read in a book entitled "The Gallows and the Lash". The author is Mr. W. T. McGrath. I should like to read briefly from it because it sets forth in a more concise and apt way the sentiments I have tried to express here. On page 72 there is the following:

With the co-operation of the Home Office and New Scotland Yard, we have been able to analyze the subsequent records of 440 persons who were convicted of robbery with violence during the period 1921-1930, and in appendix III of this report the subsequent record of those flogged is compared in detail with that of those who were not flogged. Of the 142 flogged, two have subsequently been convicted of a second offence of robbery with violence and in a third case a charge of robbery with violence was dropped when the offender was sentenced to ten years' penal servitude on another charge founded on the same facts. Of the 298 who were not flogged, three have since been re-convicted of robbery with violence: but two of these men were mentally unstable and it seems very doubtful whether either of them would have

been restrained from committing the second offence if he had been flogged on the first occasion. So far as these 440 cases are concerned, it appears that a sentence of imprisonment or penal servitude without corporal punishment was no less effective in deterring the offender from committing a further offence of robbery with violence than a sentence of imprisonment or penal servitude combined with corporal punishment.

Again, on page 81 there is the following:

For the most part, corporal punishment is ordered for those who have either committed a crime of violence such as armed robbery, assault or rape, or for those who have committed a sex offence interpreted as disgusting, such as sodomy or incest. The people who commit these crimes are those least likely to benefit from corporal punishment. They are the emotionally unstable, probably aggressive people who will only react with further violence. As far as sex offenders are concerned, these people are unable to control their emotions and will commit further crimes even against their own wishes.

There probably are unusual people who would respond favourably to corporal punishment, but they are very difficult to identify, and certainly no court has the facilities to select them . . . Any possible deterrent effect is further weakened by the necessary time lag between the crime and the infliction of the punishment. If the offender could be punished immediately he commits the offence he might connect the two, but there is delay while he is awaiting trial, and further delay of some weeks to allow for appeal; only then is the lash administered. By that time, the connection between the crime and the punishment is not very clear.

Again, Mr. Speaker, referring to the report of the parliamentary committee to which the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch) made reference, there is in my opinion a very significant table on page 43 giving the number of convictions in cases where corporal punishment might have been inflicted in addition to the normal punishment of imprisonment and also giving the number of cases where corporal punishment was actually ordered to be inflicted. I think the two figures of significance occur in the years 1931 and 1954. In the year 1931 there were 1,360 cases where corporal punishment could have been inflicted in addition to penal servitude and there were 165 cases out of that number where corporal punishment was actually ordered to be inflicted. In the year 1954 we find that there were 2,344 cases where corporal punishment might have been inflicted and actually only 14 cases where the judges who imposed sentence thought it fit as a result of their deliberations to impose corporal punishment.

From these figures I would derive the impression that the people best qualified and whose duty it is to inflict this means of punishment have come to the conclusion over the intervening period of time that flogging does not have the effect of deterring or reforming. I would suggest that these circumstances be borne in mind when considering the effect of the proposal before us.

Criminal Code

Finally, I have it in mind that there are still quite a number of jurisdictions in Canada where police magistrates can be appointed without necessarily having the qualifications to exercise the functions of a judge which in my opinion they should have. That being the case, and bearing in mind that in my experience 90 to 95 per cent of criminal cases are actually tried at the magisterial level, I would be most reluctant to see continued a state of affairs whereby we put into the hands of these possibly unqualified people the right to inflict punishment of this kind. For these reasons I am in favour of the principle of the bill and feel obliged to support it.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO ABOLISH IMPOSITION OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
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