Mr. John L. Skoberg (Moose Jaw):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words on the bill as a layman, not a person with legal talent but rather as one who becomes concerned with the type of treatment many people in our society are receiving today. All too often we in this House and those in the courts of the land pass and deal with legislation when all we are doing is using our direct judgment of the moment. Unless some realistic and humane consideration is given the legislation that we pass, then nothing is going to be resolved so far as the amendments before us are concerned. If we are to be consistent in this House of Commons we should give consideration to those people who, in the last resort, will make the final judgment on those who are covered by the legislation.
It appears to me that all too often those who have to make that final decision let their bigotry get the best of them. All of us remember what happened in Toronto not long ago when a justice of the peace deliberately let his bigotry get the better of him and some people suffered in the process. No doubt the minister will look at this situation and will carefully scrutinize those who in future are appointed to a position where they make a final judgment on others, to ensure that they are themselves able and capable of appreciating the social consequences of any sentence they may impose.
My colleague, the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Gilbert), dealt at length with the various sections of the bill and I have no intention of recovering that ground at this time as a layman. Let me deal, as did the speaker before me, with some of the provisions in the hijacking section. I
May 2, 1972
Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1972 believe the time has long passed when these provisions should have been brought in, even if it were necessary to bring them in as separate amendments a year or two ago. Even if some amendments are made to the present provisions in the bill dealing with hijacking, we still have to ratify both the Hague and the Montreal conventions following approval of the Criminal Code amendments. It seems to me we spend a lot of time in this House spinning our wheels, so to say, not getting very far with the very specific legislation required to deal with a situation that has come upon us within a very short space of time. I have listened to the observations of those who are in the position of making this kind of decision and who suggest that in the very immediate future they will be taking some action concerning the situation confronting us. I am wondering whether the "very immediate future" means in one month, two months, one year or two years.
We all realize the serious situation regarding the kind of hijacking that has been going on during the last while, and if the minister is really concerned about this, surely some immediate action could be taken to alleviate the problem confronting the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association, the travelling public, and others who face the dilemma of whether to travel by air in view of the frightening situation that exists. As I have said, even with the passage of the bill we still have to iatif T The Hague and the Montreal conventions. I hope tht. minister will keep in constant touch with his colleague, the Minister of Transport (Mr. Jamieson), so that this matter can be taken care of as soon as this bill gets through the committee and comes back to the House, with whatever amendment may be made to it.
The hon. member who preceded me spoke of some prison situations, and in the short time that I have been a member of parliament I have had the opportunity, along with some of my colleagues, to visit both the Prince Albert penitentiary and the new Millhaven penitentiary. The latter visit did not turn out too well, since the minister decided that as members of parliament we should not perhaps go there to see what is going on behind the scenes and we were asked to leave the premises.
However, at the Prince Albert penitentiary we talked to the inmates and found all too often that the only concern of the people running the institution was to make sure the inmates were subjected to the utmost confinement. They were positive that that was the way to bring rehabilitation to the inmates. They were not concerned about rehabilitative measures that embraced technical schools and the technical courses which are available in some penitentiaries. Instead of that, they tried to ensure that the prisoners were confined to their cells for the majority of their time. Not surprisingly this only makes the prisoners bitter, and when they are released at the end of their term they vent their bitterness on society for dealing with them in this unjust way.
Even though the Millhaven penitentiary is nice and shiny, with all modern conveniences, if no real consideration is given to how prisoners in penitentiaries are treated, then what can we expect as far as law enforcement is concerned? I am sure we all recognize that our police forces try to do a good job, but when they are confronted with people who have become better as a result of serving
a term in a penitentiary how can they cope with them? With my limited knowledge, I am still of the opinion that those people involved with welfare committees, those who do not have anything, believe that the law of this land deals with them unjustly and that we in this House of Commons must become concerned if we want people to respect the law.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the people who say that the law is applied in two ways have a case. I am sure the minister has run into the situation, as we all have, where people with money and position seem to be able to get away with murder, while all too often people on welfare receive the full effect of the laws passed in this House. It would appear that if you have money you can hire someone to get you off the hook. I hope that the minister realizes it is not good enough to have the best legislation in the world; we still need the realistic and human touch of those who mete out the sentences under the legislation.
I would like to suggest to the Minister that, in addition to the submissions made by the Canadian Airline Pilots Association, in addition to the submissions made by the poor people's associations and the welfare groups and others who feel they are being dealt with unjustly, when appointments are made to the various positions he give consideration to the social sciences involved in those positions, which many people now consider to be most important.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: CRIMINAL LAW AMENDMENT ACT. 1972 AMENDMENTS TO CRIMINAL CODE, CRIMINAL RECORDS ACT, NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT, PAROLE ACT AND VISITING FORCES ACT