June 4, 1947

INQUIRY AS TO SUSPENSION FOR JULY 1


On the orders of the day:


PC

Theobald Butler Barrett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. T. B. BARRETT (Norfolk):

I would ask the Minister of Finance if he is ready to answer a question I asked a few days ago regarding the suspension of meatless day regulations on July 1.

Topic:   MEAT RATIONING
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SUSPENSION FOR JULY 1
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of Finance):

The matter is still being considered. I hope to be able to make a statement in a few days.

Topic:   MEAT RATIONING
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SUSPENSION FOR JULY 1
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

Before July 1?

Topic:   MEAT RATIONING
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SUSPENSION FOR JULY 1
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PENITENTIARY ACT

PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER


The house resumed from Tuesday, June 3, consideration in committee of Bill No. 177, to amend the Penitentiary Act, 1939-Mr. Usley-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair. On section 1-Definitions.


CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. JAENICKE:

I presume that General Gibson was appointed under the amendment to the act in 1945 and that he is to be the commissioner. Would the minister state the qualifications of the new commissioner already appointed?

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

No commissioner has

already been appointed.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. JAENICKE:

Was he not appointed

under the amendment of 194ij?

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Oh, yes.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. JAENICKE:

I think we should know his qualifications.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

It is difficult to give a

complete statement of any person's qualifications. I do not know just what General Gibson's life history has been. He is a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ontario. He practised law in Toronto, and he was in the army during the war, where he displayed, so far as my relations with him disclosed, excellent judgment and executive ability. I do not know what to say on the military side, of course, because I would not be qualified to judge, but he is a man who I think impresses everybody with his breadth of outlook and his good judgment. He has a certain humane and liberal type of mind.

I cannot say very much more than that. Those who have come in contact with him, the associations of Canadians who are

interested in criminology, penal reform and prisoners' aid, seem to think well of him and speak highly of him.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. JAENICKE:

Was he engaged in an

actual theatre of war or was he retained in Canada in an administrative capacity, and if so, in what capacity?

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I am unable to answer that question. When I knew him he had a highly responsible position at national defence headquarters, but there again I cannot say what his executive responsibilities were. I came in contact with him from time to time, and I know he had a very responsible position there.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

The minister yesterday made a short statement. If he will remember, when the resolution was up for consideration, he promised to make a statement about several different phases of this problem. For example, at page 2683 of Hansard he was asked:

Will the minister give us in some detail what his plan is for improving the penitentiary system ?

His answer was:

I think it would be more appropriate to do that at a later stage.

Again, at page 2686. he was asked about classification, segregation and after care, and in particular about the Borstal system. He said:

At a later stage I shall be prepared to discuss the Borstal system, and how far it is possible for the dominion government to do anything in the application of that system here in Canada. The whole problem is complicated by the division of responsibility between the federal and provincial governments, but probably it will not be impossible to apply certain features of the Borstal system, even in connection with some federal institutions.

At page 2687 he was asked how far the commissioner would be going in carrying out the recommendations that he had made in his report, and the minister replied that he would have to make a statement on that at a later day. There were also questions about calling a conference of the dominion and the provinces, and about giving aid to the prisoners' aid societies, and the minister said in respect to both these matters that he would make a statement later. Could he deal with these different, aspects of the problem today?

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

What I had in mind was doing it on the penitentiary estimates rather than on this bill. This is a simple bill, as I have said. The principle of this bill can be summed up in just a sentence or two. I would prefer to discuss most of those matters fur-

Penitentiary Act

ther with the commissioner after he has been appointed commissioner of penitentiaries. Thus far that is not his position. He has prepared a report which was placed on the table of the house, and in that report it is recommended that in due course the construction of an additional penal institution in the province of Quebec be proceeded with, where the principles of the Borstal system in so far as possible would be applied. The division of constitutional responsibility as I understand it is something like this. Under section 92 of the British North America Act gaols and reformatories in and for the province are under the jurisdiction of the province, and by section 91 penitentiaries are under the jurisdiction of the dominion. If the dominion were to construct and administer an institution which is not a penitentiary it would have to be one which would not come within the words "in and for a province." It would have to be an institution which extended to more than one province. Within these limitations it is thought that it would be possible to undertake the administration and control of reformatory institutions. I take it that these Borstal institutions could be described as reformatories; I do not think that they can properly be described as penitentiaries. Of course the situation is complicated by the fact that simply because the dominion may have the power to administer reformatories, provided the scope of their operation is extended to more than one province, it does not mean that they should do so if they are to duplicate the work of provincial institutions directed to a similar object. Therefore I am sure it would be necessary to work more closely in cooperation with the provinces.

The only institution as to which there is any degree of definiteness about the plans is the one mentioned for French-speaking convicts. I gather from what my hon. friend says that the province of Quebec is making plans for a reformatory institution. If there is a duplication there that is something which would have to be considered between the dominion and the provincial authorities so that we would not be covering the same ground.

With regard to the prisoners' aid societies, General Gibson came to the conclusion, after making a study of plans for after care, that the simple and probably the most practical plan for providing for that care was by financial assistance to prisoners' aid societies. From conversations with him my impression is that they are not far enough advanced; that is, they are not quite in a position to establish that their activities would be effective, that their activities are the kind of activities that we would want to assist them in financially.

When I say that the financial plans are indefinite I mean that the matter of finances, as I said before, has to be authorized by the governor in council and by the treasury board; but so far as I am concerned I would be disposed to accept and act on, as a very practical measure of advance, of progress, the report which I secured from General Gibson and which was placed before the house some time ago. Without reflecting upon the Archam-bault report, I think this report is a more practical one than the scheme for an over-all inclusive centralization and an elaborate organization. The Gibson report is the report that I think we should proceed on for the time being, and I would recommend that we do so.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

I notice that by section 1 of this bill there is to be added to section 2 of the Penitentiary Act the words "prison reformatories." I suppose that is because the department have in mind setting up the Borstal system.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I think that is based upon the theory that we can deal only with penitentiaries. For the reasons that I have stated it may not be strictly true. It may be that we have jurisdiction also over penal institutions which are not penitentiaries, provided that they are not penal institutions in and for a province. I think this section is based upon the safer ground that we can administer only penitentiaries. This gives the governor in council power to designate certain prisons, prison reformatories and public institutions as penitentiaries.

Topic:   PENITENTIARY ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER
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June 4, 1947