Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):
I should like to ask a question of the Minister of Justice in connection with the report made by Mr. Justice Kellock on the Y-E day riots in Halifax. Is it the intention of the government to file that report? Is consideration being given to the remission or reduction of the penitentiary sentences that were passed on the naval personnel as a result of the riots?
Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Minister of Justice): The report of Mr. Justice Kellock was submitted while parliament was not in session, and it was immediately turned over to the king's printer. The copies became
The Address-Mr. Benidickson
available some two or three weeks ago. In view of the widespread public interest in the matter it was felt that it should be made public at that time, and it was made available to the Canadian press. If it is desired to have a copy tabled here I will arrange to have it done at one of the early sittings. Copies of the report are in the office of the king's printer and can be obtained by any hon. member of the house who wishes to have one.
As to the second part of the question, the remission branch of the Department of Justice has been making the usual investigation into the matter of the sentences passed upon not only naval personnel but others as well who were convicted of having participated in the disturbances of that day at Halifax. The hon. member knows that it is not the practice to announce in advance at what time a ticket-of-leave will be issued or at what time a recommendation will be made for a reduction of sentence. It is only when the moment has arrived to give effect to the recommendation that it is transmitted to His Excellency.
There are no reductions made in sentences until they become effective when announced; but a very careful and, I may add, sympathetic investigation into the situation has been under way for some considerable time. As soon as it is completed, and if it appears that it is possible at once to give effect to a recommendation for clemency, it will be submitted. I can assure the hon. member that the most sympathetic consideration will be given to the cases of the misguided young men who participated in that unfortunate disturbance.