I think this action on the part of the government has not been taken any too soon. I believe, in fact, that the government might very well go a little further and give assistance to some of the other chief officials of our penitentiary system-the accountant, for instance. From Stony Mountain to the Pacific coast, these institutions, in my opinion, suffer a great ideal from the lack of supervision by the officials who are now resident in Ottawa. The visits of the inspector and other officials are so rare that the supervision of these institutions is left almost entirely in the hands of the local officials. I do not say that these officials are not competent, but they have so much work of their own, that I think, in justice to the institution, and to the service, extra officials should be appointed. Now, as provision is made for an extra inspector, I submit that the new inspector should be, and I am confident that he will be, located in the west. He will have jurisdiction, I suppose, up to the Yukon. I think that in the province of British Columbia that inspector should be located. I am sure the government will not be unmindful of the facilities that will be afforded to the western portion of the Dominion in respect to penitentiaries, and will see that this extra inspector shall be selected from, or, at any rate, shall be located in the western part of the Dominion. I would also suggest the appointment of some other officials, especially an assistant accountant.
I do not know exactly what the duties of the inspector are. But, there are six penitentiaries, so the inspector has two months for each one. I should think that some of the smaller penitentiaries would not require so much time. We are informed likewise that the inspector is at present engaged in doing special work in one of the penitentiaries. This, surely, is evidence that he cannot be overworked in the performance of his duties as inspector, or he could not give time to this work in the penitentiary. It seems to me that we ought to have full information as to where the work is going behind, or why the inspector
is employed as warden of St. Vincent de Paul, if there is so much work to be done in the inspection of other penitentiaries.
At present, the inspector is not engaged at St. Vincent de Paul. He was engaged there for some time, but on representation made to the Minister of Justice, he was recalled and the work was done by the deputy inspector. As to the other information my hon. friend (Mr. ISproule) is asking for, I am sorry to say that I cannot give it off-hand. But I will ask him simply to consider this-that the present inspector would have to visit and look after minutely the penitentiaries at Dorchester, St. Vincent de Paul, Kingston, Stony Mountain and British Columbia, and has also to go to Dawson City. The hon. gentleman will understand and will agree with me, I think, that one man cannot adequately discharge these duties, prepare his reports and do all the other work involved. The complaint uttered by my hon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. Morrison) shows clearly that we have not moved in this matter too soon.
I am not specially disposed to oppose the motion, but I think that, with the limited information we have at our command, we can hardly judge whether it would be the part of wisdom to make this additional appointment or not. The hon. member for New Westminster seems to take it for granted that if the inspector is appointed, he must be located in the west. I do not think that would be the best plan. If an additional inspector is appointed, he should be located in the most convenient place to reach the largest number of penitentiaries, that is, supposing his work is to cover the whole Dominion. With the improved methods of transportation already existing, and with still greater improvements probable in the near future, it will soon not be a matter involving much loss of time to go even to Dawson City, and I respectfully submit that the size of the penitentiary there is such that it is not likely to occasion great delay or occupy a great deal of time to do the work. So, it is not so much that his time is taken up with travel as the additional work that is imposed upon the inspector. I know that some years ago the inspector had plenty of time to turn up whenever an election was on in a constituency, to do little parish work for his party. I do not mean to say that is the case now, I am talking of what took place in the past. I neither know this gentleman nor do I know whether he is overworked ; but, it seems to me there ought to be some evidence, either of his work getting behind, or of his inability to do it, before the House is asked to vote the salary of another inspector.
Mr. Chamberlain is not an official of this government. But, I do not think that Mr. Douglas Stewart has been inspector of penitentiaries during the present regime. If he has been, It must have been when the hon. gentlemen opposite were on this side of the House.
I want to say one word with reference to the inspection. I have some knowledge of the Inspection of Dorchester penitentiary, N.B. Dorchester penitentiary is one of the smallest penitentiaries of the whole number in the Dominion, and it has been found that the inspector is not able to visit New Brunswick more than once a year, and some years he does not succeed iii getting there at all. When he goes there his work requires him to spend at least two months. Now, I would imagine that if he requires two months properly to inspect Dorchester penitentiary, he would require a longer period to inspect larger penitentiaries. As a matter of fact, it is very unsatisfactory to have the inspector visiting a penitentiary only once a year, or even twice. He ought to be able to make frequent visits, and to keep his eye upon the way in which the institution is being conducted. He ought to be able to make unexpected visits, so that he could drop in at a time when the officials would not be apprised of his coming. I have no doubt that what I have said with regard to Dorchester penitentiary can be said with equal or greater force of the larger penitentiaries.
I think there is a good deal in the suggestion of the leader of the opposition. I submit it is necessary to divide the district. Now, what the Minister of Railways and Canals has said with regard to Dorchester penitentiary, is true to a greater extent in the west. It is impossible for a proper inspection to be made from Ottawa. Now that the government proposes to effect reforms, it should introduce this reform of ceasing, so far as possible, from directing everything in the extreme west from this remote part of the Dominion. I think some of the duties now entailed upon the head Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
officials in Ottawa should be relegated to officials in the extreme parts of the Dominion. In my opinion, this second inspector will be practically useless, as regards the inspection of the institutions in the west, if he is located in Ottawa. It will cost time and money for him to travel.from Ottawa to these remote parts of the country. The inspection is of no use unless it is effective, and, in my opinion, many of the investigations which have been held in various penitentiaries would have been obviated if there had been thorough and frequent inspection. You cannot have that from Ottawa, at least in the west. The hon. member for Grey (Mr. Sproule) made some remarks about the majority of the penitentiaries being .in the east. That is not so. Stony Mountain and Regina, if I mistake not, and New Westminster, have penitentiaries.
Well, there is a jail at Regina which is inspected, or, at least, which the inspector visits. So, when we have this additional one in Dawson, we will have the same number in the west as there is in the east. These in the east are all accessible to the officials in Ottawa. I think an effective inspection of these three large penitentiaries in the east affords sufficient work for one man, and if the selection of a second inspector can be justified, it would be for the purpose of assigning to him the exclusive care of the institutions west of Stony Mountain. On that ground the government would have sufficient justification in asking for the appropriation of this amount and the appointment of this extra official.
There is one difficulty in getting effective inspection when it is made from Ottawa, that is, when the official is otherwise largely occupied, and only goes out there on spasmodic trips. But, there is also a good deal to be said in favour of the work being centralized at Ottawa. I have charge of a department having a large amount of work to be done in distant places, and there is much to be said in favour of the minister having the inspector directly under his control. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice will be well advised to take this fact into consideration when he is making his arrangements.
I may state that the method is adopted in respect to other departments. We have an inspector of customs for the province of British Columbia, for instance. We have also an inspector especially for timber, we have a number of officials of that kind, and I think the appointment of an additional inspector of penitentiaries for the distant distrcts would not be a departure from the policy of the
government already adopted. A close inspection of penitentiaries is often more desirable than a close oversight of some of these other departments that I have mentioned.