Arthur Edward ROSS

ROSS, BGen Arthur Edward, C.B., C.M.G., B.A., LL.D., M.D.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Kingston City (Ontario)
Birth Date
June 9, 1870
Deceased Date
November 15, 1952
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Edward_Ross
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=17d9fbdf-1bc5-4137-ac59-4e782464990f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
physician, professor

Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
CON
  Kingston (Ontario)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Kingston City (Ontario)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
CON
  Kingston City (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Kingston City (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 388)


April 4, 1935

Mr. ROSS:

Exactly. Those cases admitted to the penitentiary are of the criminal class and therefore they should not be sent to the provincial institution. They should be treated as mental criminals. It is not a question of detaining the man; I think the whole situation should be cleared up. Take the situation with regard to the youth of the country. You have the dominion government treating them in a certain way and the provinces treating them differently. I hold that the two authorities should get together and decide upon one way of treating the youth. If the Borstal system is good for the dominion it should be good for the province also. I understand that the Borstal system takes in the class from sixteen to twenty-one only.

Topic:   CONFERENCE IN LONDON
Subtopic:   INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS BY PRIME MINISTERS WITH MEMBERS OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT
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April 4, 1935

Mr. ROSS:

I am afraid the minister

misunderstood me. The complaint is not as to detention or length of detention but it is this, that in the classification you have the mental case-that is, the criminal-and you have the other case, the man who is not a criminal but goes to the provincial institution.

Topic:   CONFERENCE IN LONDON
Subtopic:   INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS BY PRIME MINISTERS WITH MEMBERS OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT
Full View Permalink

April 4, 1935

Mr. ROSS:

I do not see the necessity

for sending anyone to England; we could take the system and use it in our own way, because the English system will not answer. You have the provincial institutions and the dominion institutions in this country. I think that everyone who goes to a penitentiary is a mental criminal and should not be treated in a provincial institution where people are treated for recovery. That is an important point. I am not saying that the department does wrong but I say that the system is wrong, and perhaps the best way would bp to have every case examined previously. We did that at the front. I do not like to refer to this, but one or two boys were shot for desertion and the thing struck a few of us then as being wrong. We felt that an examination of these boys would show that they had a mental, nervous condition that could not resist the strain, and it was wrong to execute them. What happened?

I recommended to headquarters that an

[Mr. Guthrie.)

alienist be sent us and every one of our cases in the Canadian corps was examined by that alienist before it went to court martial. The result was that we saved some boys from an unreasonable and an unjust death, and we were the only corps on the whole front that adopted that method. I throw that out as a suggestion which might well be adopted in the courts. You would not have three doctors testifying one way and three testifying the other, with the result that the boy goes to penitentiary for life. It would not do any harm if we had the whole matter threshed out. Perhaps I am a little obsessed; someone may tell me I am cracked on the subject. But I have had my heart touched when I have seen boys coming as they do to Kingston, knowing that they are mentally wrong. There is something wrong with the system, and surely we are big enough to correct it without party politics or criticism of the minister or the ex-minister. I am not saying that these boys who are sent to the penitentiary are not criminals; but remember this-the boy you see is some father's boy, some mother's boy, and they have suffered through an unjust system which I think we should correct.

Topic:   CONFERENCE IN LONDON
Subtopic:   INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS BY PRIME MINISTERS WITH MEMBERS OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT
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April 4, 1935

Mr. ROSS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CONFERENCE IN LONDON
Subtopic:   INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS BY PRIME MINISTERS WITH MEMBERS OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT
Full View Permalink

April 4, 1935

Mr. ROSS:

This has been a rather interesting afternoon and evening so far as I am concerned. For some time I have been the sole voice asking for certain things which today I hear granted. I am very much interested in the dismissals; certainly I have had my good share of trouble so far as dismissals are concerned. I do not feel that I would accept even the superintendent as investigator. I believe some person outside the institution and the department should look into these dismissals, especially when hon. members who have to bear the criticism ask for action.

I am not interested in the management of the penitentiaries. I quite agree that if he has any experience the warden should run it. Our experience has been that some wardens who did not know anything about them have run penitentiaries. To-day in Kingston we have a very good man in charge, and I have plenty of confidence in him. Although he is not a military man he has given service, has had training and is now giving satisfaction.

I speak to-night with some trepidation because I have seen so many of these things hurled across at hon. members who dare open their mouths in connection with penal matters. The record of the individual prisoner is thrown at you, as though it was something of which one should be ashamed. I know of no person either in the army or out of it who at some time or another has not been deceived. I can remember when only a few months ago a man was up for trial defended by a very celebrated member of this chamber. He forsook the case, and the witnesses ran away from him because that particular counsel was disappointed in and misled as to the character of the man. So it would seem that at times we all go amiss in these matters.

For a great many years I have been interested in two matters. To-night the celebrated gentleman about whom I have been speaking, the hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Bell) has backed us up, and has spoken strongly and reasonably in favour of the appointment of psychiatrists. May I point out that the department is spending as much money upon temporary mental examinations as would be sufficient to pay for the maintenance of a permanent psychiatric department. I have in my locker in this building many references . indicating that many examinations costing $10 each have been made. What has been the result? The result has been that we have

proved many cases of lowered mentality in our institutions. What has been the disposition? Surely hon. members will not say that the removal of these mental cases from penitentiaries to provincial mental institutions, places from which they can run away, is a proper disposition. We know, however, that that has been the custom.

We have contended right along that these subnormal people should be treated specially and should be segregated. They are not ordinary mental cases, because we know they are mental criminals. Only to-day a woman came to this building to see me. Perhaps I may be pardoned if I state that I believe I am approached more often than any other member so far as penitentiary matters are concerned. This particular woman wished to speak to me about her boy, a young lad sixteen years of age, who had been sent to penitentiary for life, despite the fact that an expert alienist had expressed the opinion at the trial that the boy had the mentality of a child of eight years. Despite the evidence of the expert this boy is in gaol for life. We do not say he should not be confined, but we do urge that such cases can be treated only scientifically, and that under our present system no scientific treatment is available.

Surely after listening to the presentation of facts offered by the hon. member for West Hamilton, hon. members will be convinced that the time has arrived when this country can afford to treat scientifically these mental cases. I have spoken about this matter for a number of years. I have spoken in this chamber, and I have heard the statement made not only in this building but in my own constituency that I am a thorn in the flesh so far as the government is concerned. Let me say that I shall remain a thorn in the flesh to this or any other government until some action is taken in this matter. I believe a great deal of the difficulty could be corrected and a great deal of discontent in the institutions eliminated.

There is another point about which I should like to speak, and in connection with which in the year 1928 I presented statistics to the house. Upon that occasion the then Minister of Justice promised action. At that time I believed I had accomplished something in life. I thought that the boys, the juveniles, were going to be taken out of large institutions and placed in separate buildings. Money was granted, and if hon. members consult Hansard for 1929 they will find that the then Minister of Justice, speaking from his seat in this chamber, stated that the vote was in answer to a promise given

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the hon. member for Kingston that something would be done before the end of the year. The money was then granted to buy the site and to begin building an institution for the juveniles. What happened?

Topic:   CONFERENCE IN LONDON
Subtopic:   INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS BY PRIME MINISTERS WITH MEMBERS OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT
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