Maclyn (Mac) Thomas MCCUTCHEON

MCCUTCHEON, Maclyn (Mac) Thomas

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Lambton--Kent (Ontario)
Birth Date
June 17, 1912
Deceased Date
May 19, 1978

Parliamentary Career

April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Lambton--Kent (Ontario)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Lambton--Kent (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Lambton--Kent (Ontario)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (January 1, 1972 - September 1, 1973)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 67 of 69)

April 25, 1966

Mr. Mac T. McCutcheon (Lamblon-Keni) moved:

That in the opinion of this house the government should give consideration to the advisability of constructing a bridge on Chenal Ecarte (also locally referred to as the Snye), one of the channels at the mouth of St. Clair River, where at present there is a cable-operated ferry linking the shore of Walpole Island to the shore of Chatham township, county of Kent, (mainland side), Ontario.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I cannot begin my remarks on this subject without first thanking hon. members most sincerely for their generosity in allowing a full hour for private members' business so that I may present this motion.

Rarely do we as members of this house have an opportunity to do something directly for our fellow man that will be as helpful to any group of people in Canada and as satisfying to hon. members as the acceptance of this resolution. Here is a golden opportunity for us as members to go on record. When we

Bridge Construction

support this resolution we will be taking a great step toward establishing again in the minds of the public the fact that members of this house do care about their fellow man and can co-operate for the common good. Many of the newspaper reports of political infighting, partisan prejudice and bias will be proven wrong in the face of such action on the part of men of good will in this house.

It is in this vein that I thank the hon. member for Lambton West (Mr. Foy) for his interest. I welcomed his offer to second my motion. He has done this because I believe he honestly and sincerely wants to help the 1,500 people living on Walpole Island in my constituency. Let me remind the house that these people vote in my riding, not his. However, he is fully aware of the problem as he lives close to the area and is therefore well qualified to speak on the subject as I hope he will.

This bridge is required desperately so that reasonable access may be obtained to the island which is only about 300 feet from the mainland. Transportation to the island from the mainland is only possible by the use of an antique scow whose only condescension to modern trend in the past 100 years has been the replacement of handpower on the cables by a gasoline motor. For a ride on this contraption the public pay 25 cents each way. Quite often an hour's wait or more is required before a potential user can get aboard and pay his 25 cents to risk his life and vehicle in the crossing.

Many people in the area will not cross to the island because of a well-founded fear of the crossing. Indeed, there are people in this area who have never been on the island. If reasonable access to the island can be obtained it will means many dollars of extra income to the residents. There are natural resources on the island that can be utilized. To give one example, there is a large, sandy beach which could become a source of income to the band and thus reduce their dependence on federal funds. In addition, there are thousands of acres of the most fertile soil awaiting development. I am told that less than one-third of the potential agricultural area on the island has been developed. The island, if provided with reasonable access, could be a veritable garden spot.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, there are many skilled and semi-skilled people on the island who would naturally gravitate to our side for employment rather than as at present going on the diesel ferry that carries them to

April 25, 1966

Bridge Construction

Algonac, Michigan, where many work in industries. We need these people in industry in Canada now and they have a great contribution to make to our economy.

Many times during the past winter the residents of the island were isolated and bread and other essentials were only obtained by most dangerous and perilous trips across the ice. I only wish Hansard had the facility of putting on the record pictures such as I have in my possession of the situation there this spring.

I do not intend to take up much more of the time of the house. Someone may ask about the cost, which I have purposely not mentioned. The cost is not important really, because if any member feels we cannot afford a structure such as this let me remind him that, while I favour toll-free access, people in the area would gladly pay double what it now costs to risk life and limb on the scow for the privilege of crossing on a bridge.

Therefore, before anyone in this house thinks he can use the "no money" device, shall I say, to delay this bridge let me point out that I know that I speak for the people in southwestern Ontario when I say they want the bridge and need it badly enough that a self-amortizing plan with tolls would be readily acceptable although, of course, not as satisfactory as a free way. Remember, they already pay to ride on the scow.

[DOT] (6:30 p.m.)

For the benefit of members who are not familiar with this area of Canada may I point out that the St. Clair River flows between Canada and the United States from Sarnia past Walpole Island, roughly 30 miles. The stream is approximately one mile wide and at Walpole Island the river divides into three narrower channels before emptying into Lake St. Clair. The channel between mainland Ontario and Walpole is called the Snye or Chenal Ecarte. This is where we need the bridge immediately. The channel is about 300 feet wide. On the opposite side of Walpole Island is the middle or main ship channel, approximately a quarter of a mile wide, between Walpole and Harsen's Island which is United States territory. Harsen's again is approximately three-eighths of a mile distant from mainland United States.

At the rate our country and population grow it would seem that an international bridge to the United States of America must soon be considered. As things now stand, in order to proceed from Wallaceburg to Algonac, Michigan, it is necessary to drive to

Sarnia and cross the Blue Water bridge, a trip of 40 miles up one side and 40 down the other. If you go the other way it is approximately 70 miles by highway to Windsor where there is the Ambassador bridge and the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

It would seem to me-and this is only a layman's view-that three bridges hopping from island to island would be more feasible than one large structure crossing a mile of open water. The bridge to Walpole Island could be the first step toward an international bridge in the future. This would be of benefit not only to the 1,500 residents on Walpole Island but to probably half a million people in Ontario and many, many more in Michigan. So you see, Mr. Speaker, this is a worth-while idea in many ways.

The river drive from Sarnia to Walpole Island is one of the most beautiful in Canada. This fact has been recognized by the municipalities involved and the provincial government. Indeed, the minister of highways of Ontario, Mr. MacNaughton, has already introduced or will soon introduce legislation to establish this route as a scenic parkway. It will rival the Niagara parkway in beauty. Further, he has personally signified to me his interest in this bridge, which adjoins Ontario highway No. 40. It would be complementary to the parkway and to the expressway being built to take commercial traffic off the riverfront road.

As a matter of fact, Mr. MacNaughton has written me as follows in a letter dated March 1, 1966:

My capital construction program for the 1966 construction season is pretty well set by treasury board and by my own department, which would preclude anything of an imminent nature being done, but probably we can get on with some of the preliminary investigatory work in any case.

So, Mr. Speaker, here is the offer of the province of Ontario to co-operate. This bridge must be a joint effort, and I am sure that the province is ready and willing to co-operate with the proper federal authorities and make a start toward this worth-while endeavour.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, let me ask members of this house to place themselves in the position of a husband or a father on Walpole Island whose wife or child is seriously ill or, for that matter, dying. The ferry cables are broken or the ice floes have isolated your island home for several days. You cannot get a doctor to the island and you cannot get your loved one to a doctor or a hospital. How would they then vote on this resolution, Mr. Speaker?

April 25. 1966

Topic:   BRIDGES
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April 4, 1966

Mr. Mac T. McCuicheon (Lambion-Keni):

Mr. Speaker, my intervention in this debate 23033-242J

Criminal Code

will, I trust, be brief. In a debate such as this repetition is impossible to avoid. However, I hope I shall not inflict repetition upon the members of the house more than is necessary.

I have listened intently to the many eloquent presentations and those I have not heard I have read. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that a new high in quality of debate has recently been achieved in this house. I believe the quality of the speeches which have been made and the thought which has been put into them are on the whole better than any series of debates to which I have listened since becoming a member of this house. There has certainly been much research in depth.

Having regard to the arguments presented in this house, and following the perusal of much material relating to the subject, I have formed three main conclusions. My first one is that capital punishment has not been proven to be a deterrent. I have uncovered no incontrovertible evidence pointing to the fact that it is. By the same token, Mr. Speaker, the lack of capital punishment has not clearly demonstrated or pointed up an increase in the murder rate per capita. There has not in my opinion been any irrefutable evidence pointing to an increase. Indeed, the evidence, as I see it, would seem to point up the fact that the punishment for the crime is not the deterrent; the actual deterrent is the fear of being caught.

Therefore I have concluded that the average criminal type has only one basic thought regarding punishment and that is the fear of being caught. The criminal mind seems to assume that the offender will remain undetected and therefore that punishment is of secondary consideration. In this regard he acts and reacts not unlike other members of society such as those whose most serious crime is, say, a parking violation.

We must bear in mind that for over three years, through the device of cabinet reprieve- I might add, automatic cabinet reprieve-we have in effect had abolition of capital punishment in this country. I do not blame individual cabinet members for the stand they have taken. Personally I would find dealing with the subject a most trying experience. But I submit that jointly and severally the members of the cabinet have not taken the proper stand.

April 4, 1966

Criminal Code

I should like to refer to an article in the Toronto Telegram of March 23 which reads in part as follows:

Note of the government's policy toward capital cases was taken by Mr. Justice Eric G. Moorehouse, of the Ontario Supreme Court, when presiding at a murder trial in Bracebridge. He agreed there was no point in proceeding with the charge against a former milkman, because the penalty for murder had not been exacted for several years.

He accepted the plea of guilty on a charge of non-capital murder.

The crux of my speech this evening is based on one basic fundamental. Since, in effect, we have had abolition for three and a half years-and I am not arguing the pros or the cons to satisfy some members of this chamber who are concerned about statistics -which indicates to me that three and a half years is not a long enough period to establish trends or meaningful statistics, perhaps we should continue with abolition of capital punishment for a reasonable trial period in the future. Frankly, between Biblical quotations and so-called statistics it seems to me almost anything can be proven, either by quoting the Bible or citing a ream of statistics. I do not object either to quotations or statistics but they should be taken in their proper context and in their proper concept.

May I refer again to the article in the Toronto Telegram for March 23:

[DOT] (6:40 p.m.)

Capital cases in Canada have increased by 120 per cent since the Conservative government amended the Criminal Code in 1961 to establish degrees of murder. This figure from the Dominion Bureau of Statistics refutes the suggestion that the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder.

I suggest it does no such thing. This is using so-called statistics to prove a point. I submit that by virtue of the changes made in the law in 1961 an increase might naturally have been expected, not necessarily because of an increase in the number of capital murders but because of a difference in reporting. In my humble opinion no statistics can prove so completely nebulous an item as this is when they are based on such a very short period of time. One multiple killing could throw these presentations all out of line.

I suggest we should take note of the speech made by the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Wahn). If I understood the gist of his remarks correctly, he considered we might have to settle for a trial period of abolition. As I have mentioned, virtual abolition has been in effect now for three and a half years. I could support abolition for a period of the next five or seven years provided, and I think this is a

(Mr. McCuteheon.]

reasonable proviso, that the most minute records should be kept and the most searching examination made of all activity relating to murder, attempted murder and crimes of violence. This material having been accumulated and digested, parliament could then study it and reach a decision on the basis of fact and logic, not as at present I fear largely on the basis of emotion.

The hon. member for Prince (Mr. MacDonald) made a most moving presentation. He painted a picture of rehabilitation rather than punishment or retribution. I think this aim is commendable and perhaps one day, we can advance to this great position in the evolution of our society. I hope we shall be able to do so. But I submit we have a long way to go.

This is not the problem of the criminal. This is the problem of society. When we have to put people in hallways and corridors due to overcrowding in our hospitals, remembering that those who are in these corridors have only committed the crime of being ill, then, desirable as the hon. member's suggestion is, I fear we have not yet advanced far enough to be able to put it into practice.

The hon. member for Royal (Mr. Fair-weather) brought out some statistics which were meaningful to me. He compared the state of Maine with the province of New Brunswick. He pointed out that Maine has had no capital punishment for 80 years. These statistics were meaningful to me because both these areas have the same culture and the same economic background. On the basis of his figures there appeared to be no difference between the rates of murder per capita.

However, this brought up a question in my mind. I often read in the press-and in the part of the country where I live I have access to many United States newspapers- that a suspect was shot during the course of arrest. What happens? Does the old rule of shoot first and ask questions afterwards apply?

I have no statistics from the state of Maine or the province of New Brunswick in this regard, but before the statistics given by the hon. member for Royal are completely meaningful to me they would need to cover both aspects of this question. To me this is another consideration which adds weight to my suggestion that we should introduce abolition for a stated period and keep meticulous records until that period is over. If, for example, we were to find that innocent people

April 4, 1966

Criminal Code

were in danger of paying with their lives as a result of a quick decision to shoot by a police officer under extreme stress in the performance of his duty, then, of course, something would have to be done.

I therefore suggest a trial period long enough to enable meaningful statistics to be compiled. This would give time to all those engaged in law enforcement, in the penal service, in medicine and in psychiatry to become better prepared to assume the new responsibilities which would be theirs. We must never forget that regardless of what happens the first and most important consideration is the protection of our society.

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June 3, 1965

Mr. Mac T. McCutcheon (Lamblon-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to address a question to the Secretary of State. Can he say whether the B and B Commission has dispatched a research team to South Africa to study the origins and applications of the policy of apartheid, and the successful supplanting there of the English by the Afrikaans language?

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April 8, 1965

Mr. Mac T. McCutcheon (Lambion-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, I should like at the start to compliment the previous speakers on their presentations relating to the Speech from the Throne. Both the Mover (Mr. Cashin) and Seconder (Mr. Chretien) could be singled out for special consideration because of the excellent manner in which their material was presented. I would also be remiss if I did not compliment the lady Member from Westmorland (Mrs. Rideout) upon her maiden speech in this House. My own first speech here is not so far removed that I cannot vividly recall it, and sympathize with her in that rubbery feeling this Chamber brings to one's knees.

We have all heard comments presented from various sections of the House relating to various items in the Throne Speech. I believe therefore there is no need for repetition. My only comment on the Throne Speech is that it is a truly fantastic play on words. In order to describe the verbiage contained therein, I should like to recall an old Irish saying in our family which goes like this: Talk is cheap, but it takes money to buy whiskey. I do not believe there is any segment of the population that has not been mentioned in a general way for health or welfare. There is even a plan for those unfortunate Canadians who are in jail. Of course it is obvious that neither Lucien Rivard nor Hal Banks will be able to benefit, as things stand at the moment.

The announcement in the Speech from the Throne that Parliament is finally going to have an opportunity to discuss the agreement with the United States covering the automobile industry is indeed most welcome. It is long overdue. This agreement, which appears to be as one-sided as anything ever entered into by the Canadian Government, affects a wide range of industries in Canada. It affects

April 8, 1965 COMMONS

the livelihood of many Canadians, and many of them are In my own constituency. These people want to know, what is this agreement and how was it made? How will it operate in the future? With all due respect to the Minister of Industry (Mr. Drury), and I have a high regard for his abilities, the information he has given up to now is not enough. He wants Parliament to accept the deal and feel that he has made the best deal possible. I cannot accept that and few Canadians, I find, are accepting it. The Minister of Industry has been one of the biggest disappointments in this Cabinet, and that covers a lot of territory.

May I call it six o'clock?

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August 19, 1964

Mr. Mac T. McCutcheon (Lambion-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that not much new can be contributed to this debate-

Topic:   IS, 1964
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