1979 Legislative Session: ist Session, 32nd Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 1979
[ Page 503 ]
An Act Respecting the Commercial Use of Lie Detectors (Bill M203). Mr. Leggatt.
Introduction and first reading –– 503
Rape in British Columbia report.
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 503
Denman Island subdivision. Ms. Sanford –– 503
Salary of Wendy Robertson. Mr. King –– 503
Acute-care hospital finances. Mr. Cocke –– 503
Television coverage of Provincial Games, Mr. Barnes –– 504
Cancelled meeting with agriculture representatives, Mrs. Wallace –– 505
Committee of Supply: Ministry of Attorney-General estimates.
On vote 19.
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 505
Ms. Brown –– 506
Mr. Hall –– 507
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 508
Mr. Levi –– 508
Mr. King –– 509
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 510
Mr. Levi –– 510
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 511
Ms. Brown –– 511
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 512
Mr. Nicolson –– 513
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 516
Mr. Barnes –– 516
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 518
Mr. Howard –– 519
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 520
Mrs. Dailly –– 522
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 523
Mr. Leggatt –– 523
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 524
Mr. King –– 525
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 525
Mr. Nicolson –– 527
Mr. Mitchell –– 527
Hon. Mr. Gardom –– 528
Obsolete Statutes Repeal Act (Bill 20). Hon. Mr. Wolfe.
Introduction and first reading –– 528
The House met at 2 p.m.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure this afternoon to introduce our new ombudsman for British Columbia, Dr. Karl Friedmann, who is present with his family and his mother who recently arrived from Germany. I'd also ask hon. members to pay special welcome to his guests, Mr. and Mrs. Ulf Lundik. Mr. Lundik until recently was the chief ombudsman for Sweden, and he's currently visiting Canada as the president of the International Ombudsman Institute, which is at the law faculty at the University of Alberta. We have a third ombudsman present, Mr. Dave Tickell, the ombudsman for Saskatchewan. I'd like to pay special welcome to all these people. This is a historic day in British Columbia. The ombudsman, Mr. Speaker, is aboard.
MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to lend the congratulations of the official opposition to Dr. Friedmann and his family upon their taking up residence and duties in beautiful British Columbia. I would like to also extend the warmest greetings and support and associate myself with the Attorney-General's remarks with respect to Dr. Friedmann's guests.
MR. D'ARCY: I would like to welcome to the House, in time for the Attorney-General's estimates, the first member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Lauk), who has just recovered his best courtroom suit from the dry cleaners and is joining us today.
MR. NICOLSON: This is the first opportunity I've had to welcome representatives from one of the five new village councils that have been added to the riding of Nelson–Creston. I'd like the members to join me in welcoming Mayor Erling Johnson, of Nakusp, and Mr. Stroud, his village clerk.
MR. HALL: I would like the House to welcome a community worker and good friend from White Rock, Mrs. Betty Leonard, who is in the gallery today.
MR. LEVI: I would like the House to welcome Mr. Tim Covell, one of the B.C. junior debating champions, and his coach, Mr. Bruce McBay. I've told Mr. Covell what he can expect; however, I hope the House doesn't meet those expectations.
MR. SPEAKER: We have with us today Dr. Miltmore, who is the director of the experimental farm in Agassiz. We have with us Mr. Charlie Thomson, world ploughing champion. And we have with us Mr. Peter De Groot, all from my constituency. Would the hon. members please make them welcome.
Introduction of Bills
AN ACT RESPECTING THE
COMMERCIAL USE OF LIE DETECTORS
On a motion by Mr. Leggatt, Bill M 203, An Act Respecting the Commercial Use of Lie Detectors, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Hon. Mr. Gardom filed the report Rape in British Columbia.
DENMAN ISLAND SUBDIVISION
MS. SANFORD: My question is to the Minister of Transportation, Communications and Highways. Can the minister advise the House what reasons there were for approving the Seaview Land Estates subdivision on Denman Island, when the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona, the Islands Trust and the senior approving officer of the Highways ministry were opposed to granting that approval?
HON. MR. FRASER: Mr. Speaker, I'll take that question as notice.
MS. SANFORD: I have a second question for the minister. I wonder, when he reports back on the question he's just taken as notice, as well as the question he took as notice last week on this particular issue, if he could advise why the government would rule in favour of a developer rather than the people when there is a dispute on such an issue.
MR. SPEAKER: That's further advice for notice.
SALARY OF WENDY ROBERTSON
MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Provincial Secretary. I note that the employment status of Wendy Robertson has been extended to September 30, 1979. I would advise the minister that last year his predecessor notified the House that this lady was receiving payment for only a ten-month period. I would ask the Provincial Secretary if he could advise the House now as to whether or not Miss Wendy Robertson received $28,800 for the term of her employment in the calendar year 1978.
HON. MR. CURTIS: I think the hon. member would understand that I would want to take that question as notice in order that I might have a completely accurate answer for him. Off the top of my head this afternoon, I am unable to answer the question satisfactorily.
MR. KING: I am more than pleased to provide that time for an absolutely accurate answer, which is a distinct and refreshing change.
ACUTE-CARE HOSPITALS FINANCES
MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Can the minister confirm that he has received the monthly financial reports from the acute-care hospitals of this province for the month of April?
HON. MR. McCLELLAND: No.
[ Page 504 ]
MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, this is a traditional report that has been coming in for years and years. I just wonder why the minister cannot confirm that he has received the financial reports from the acute-care hospitals of this province.
MR. COCKE: Maybe I can make it a little plainer. Mr. Speaker, what the minister would obviously like to do is take the question as notice. So I'll give him something to take as notice. I would ask the minister if he would provide this House with the aggregate deficits of the acute-care hospitals in this province for the month of April.
MR. SPEAKER: That has to do with the future action of a minister, and I would have to find that section of the question not in order.
OF PROVINCIAL GAMES
MR. BARNES: I have a question for the Provincial Secretary, Mr. Speaker. As the minister knows, many British Columbians were not privileged to view the television coverage of this province's first summer and winter games in 1978 — a situation resulting from a decision by the director of the games, despite protest by the B.C. programmers' association, to permit only one large private company to telecast, while excluding the province's 40-odd local stations and community-service TV channels. This was a serious disservice and conflicted with the spirit and principle of these valuable community events. Would the minister give assurance that this most unfortunate and unfair situation will not be repeated in the future?
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, in answering the member's question, I would not want to leave this House with the impression that I agree with all the opinions he expressed in the question. But with respect to the British Columbia Summer and Winter Games, there is in existence a contractual arrangement with British Columbia Television which was arranged prior to the portfolio changes in December 1978.
MR. LAUK: A secret deal.
HON. MR. CURTIS: The member interjects, and I think that it's nice to know he's feeling better. It's nice to know he's back.
Mr. Speaker, at the time of the Winter Games in Kamloops the problem to which the hon. member refers became apparent, and that is the contractual arrangement of making it difficult if not impossible for community cable in Kamloops in that instance to give local coverage to the games. Frankly I think that's unfortunate, and that can be corrected.
In discussions with the chairman of the Summer and Winter Games, I have already indicated the desire that this should be reviewed, notwithstanding the fact that there is a contractual arrangement, in order that community cable systems in the host community can at least carry some coverage. The matter is not yet fully resolved. I'm hopeful that it will be, and negotiations, I believe, are underway at this present time.
MR. BARNES: I appreciate the minister's response. That is certainly an improvement over the situation that existed in 1978. However, could the minister indicate to the House the reason why an exclusive contract would have been given to the detriment of the province's many community outlets, in an occasion when these events are low-profile, are not professional, and are not to promote any particular interest other than to engage the communities in sharing and cooperating with their local athletes? So I'm just wondering why there would be a difficulty in ensuring the House that this situation will not be repeated. What kind of contractual arrangements are that binding, under the circumstances, that they can't be reversed?
HON. MR. CURTIS: It might be more appropriate to deal with this when there is not the pressure of time in question period in my estimates, which will be coming up in August or September. I'd be happy to assist the member, but in the meantime the contractual arrangement was made, we assume, in the interests of providing the broadest possible provincial coverage. We're very proud of the British Columbia Games — I think that applies to members on both sides of this House — and inasmuch as they are very large and involve many hundreds of participants from all parts of British Columbia, I can only assume, Mr. Speaker — to the member — that it was felt by my predecessor that there was a desirable arrangement, an opportunity, in terms of having province-wide coverage in order that family and friends of participants from all parts of the province would have an opportunity to see the games and perhaps see their own youngster or their own neighbour participating in those games. But if the member wants to pursue it further, I'd be happy to do that in the estimates if he feels that's appropriate.
MR. BARNES: This is really just one final observation.
MR. SPEAKER: It must be a question, hon. member.
MR. BARNES: It is in the form of a question, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the minister how he can suggest that the idea was to broadcast the B.C. Summer and Winter Games on a province-wide basis when, in fact, it was quite a selective system that was used by this company, obviously because they are limited in time. The only way you are going to involve local communities in events of which they themselves have supported the development is to put emphasis on those athletes in those areas. And that can only be done where a local community channel or a community-service channel has the time and the knowledge and the patience to follow those particular athletes from that particular area. Certainly you couldn't expect one company to do that in every local area.
MR. SPEAKER: The member is using question period for debate.
MR. BARNES: With respect, Mr. Speaker, I think that was a question, and the minister was going to answer it — if you'd permit him.
[ Page 505 ]
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I was simply going to agree with your observation with respect to the comments by the member.
MR. SPEAKER: Thank you for that support.
CANCELLED MEETING WITH
MRS. WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and Agriculture. I understand that a meeting was arranged in March of yourself, Mr. Minister, the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Vander Zalm) and the Minister of Environment (Hon. Mr. Mair) with the B.C. Federation of Agriculture. I understand further that that meeting was cancelled and a meeting was set up for June 26 — last week. I wonder whether or not the minister can confirm that, in fact, some of the representatives of the B.C. Federation of Agriculture travelled from as far away as Vanderhoof and arrived at your office at 9:30 in the morning, only to be told that that meeting was cancelled.
HON. MR. HEWITT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the member for Cowichan–Malahat is correct that the meeting was scheduled, I believe, for the 26th — a Thursday or a Friday morning. It was an error in scheduling. The House was in session and other committees were being arranged, and as a result it was cancelled. I apologize to the Federation of Agriculture representatives. I did meet with them for approximately an hour later on in the day, and we have rescheduled that meeting for this Friday, I believe, with the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Municipal Affairs. We will be getting together at that time.
MRS. WALLACE: Can you assure the House, Mr. Minister, that those ministers will be available on July 6 to meet with the federation members when they come down?
HON. MR. HEWITT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I are certainly going to be present.
MRS. WALLACE: I have a further question, Mr. Speaker. I understand that the Record of Production Committee has been trying to meet with you, Mr. Minister, last week and again this week. On both instances they have been told that you were unavailable to meet with them. Can you assure the House you will make yourself available to meet with this committee, and could you tell us when you would be available to meet with them?
MR. SPEAKER: A good suggestion, but the question is not in order.
MRS. WALLACE: Can you confirm, Mr. Minister, that you have found yourself unavailable to meet with the ROP cattlemen's committee on two different occasions?
HON. MR. HEWITT: Mr. Speaker, because of the two portfolios I carry, I've had to reschedule and look after meetings as the time demands. But I can tell you that my door is always open to the agricultural industry in this province, and I'll go anywhere to meet with them.
MRS. WALLACE: Inasmuch as the minister has not found time to meet with this committee, I wonder whether the minister can assure the House that he will revise the directions to the district agriculturalists to stop weighing-in the cattle for a record of production and reinstate that weighing in program so the ROP program can continue. Will the minister assure the House that he will undertake this action?
MR. SPEAKER: The question inquires into the future activity of the minister. Does the minister wish to answer?
HON. MR. HEWITT: When the House rises, I will make every effort to deal with some of the problems that are happening throughout the province. But I would like to mention to the member that last weekend I met with grape growers; I met with BCFGA and I met with cattlemen — on a weekend — to ensure that there was good communication between my office and the agricultural industry.
MRS. WALLACE: The minister has mentioned that he has met with the grape growers. I understand a further meeting has been set up with his ministry and the grape growers. In view of his past history of cancellation of these meetings, can he assure us that that meeting will go forward as planned on July 11?
MR. SPEAKER: The question is not in order.
Orders of the Day
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Rogers in the chair.
ESTIMATES: MINISTRY OF
On vote 19: minister's office, $145,623 — continued.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Referring to the couple of questions to the Attorney-General, Mr. Chairman. In response to the question about the rape report that was filed today, I would like to say it is a result of a province-wide review of rape centres, and an analysis of nearly all available literature. Among its recommendations are these, and I think the hon. members would be interested in hearing them: that a child sexual abuse response unit be set up to establish and monitor procedures for dealing with sexual assault on children; that victims of sexual assault be given the choice of being interviewed by a male or female investigator; that where female officers are not available, the victim be provided with a victim-advocate to assist in investigation; that police develop strict guidelines for classifying rape reports as unfounded; that a standard procedure be adopted by all hospitals for the handling of suspected rapes and such procedures would include matters such as standard forms that would make no reference to a particular sex.
Other recommendations are: the use in large hospitals of salaried physicians for examination and treatment of suspected sexual assaults; a priority treatment in all hospitals in cases of suspected sexual assault; routine venereal disease and pregnancy tests in suspected rape
[ Page 506 ]
cases; and the making of transportation arrangements by the hospital for the victim of the suspected rape, where necessary.
The report goes on to make a number of other recommendations, including a larger number of B.C. rape centres, and calling upon the ministries of Health and Human Resources to join with medical and health associations to better develop a community approach to reporting and treating rape cases. There is the further suggestion that Education undertake a rape-prevention program aimed at high school students. It is suggested also that in the prosecutorial area the prosecutor should provide more support to rape victims, both prior to and during trial, that there be consultation with Crown counsel before pleas and lesser charges, and that the same counsel, where possible, be allowed to appear at both the preliminary hearing and the trial.
As a ministry, hon. members, we are now examining and analysing the report's recommendations. Copies have been sent to the ministries of Health, Education and Human Resources for their consideration. We are going to be able to make an additional statement once we've had an opportunity to consider the report and receive the views of the other ministries.
It's never too comforting to talk about statistics in this particular or any field involving crime, because the best statistic, of course, is a zero one. But rape as a crime is of paramount concern to this ministry, and to similar ministries throughout our country. Insofar as B.C. is concerned, rapes reported last year totalled 403. This was an increase of about 17 percent over 1977. The Police Commission feels this increase does not necessarily reflect an increase in the actual number of rapes so much as that more victims are now reporting attacks to the police.
If this is true, this certainly could be the result of excellent work now being carried on by rape relief centres and similar organizations. It is of some comfort to notice the statistics for the first four months of 1979. To the end of April, 102 rapes were reported compared to 134 in the last year, which is about a 24 percent decrease. The same applies to indecent assaults on females. In the first four months of this year, 219 were reported, as opposed to 246 the year before. That's an 11 percent decrease.
So if the first four months are an indicator, which they may not be, it's indicative that we have a lessening number of these offences, which is, of course, a great tribute, as again I say, to the people who are involved in this.
I would like to make available, at a time suitable to all members of the House, the viewing of two films. One produced via the B.C. Police Commission is called This Film is About Rape. It received a great deal of credits and recently won a second prize in the American Film Festival at New York, according to a dateline here, June 26, 1979. Secondly I'd like the hon. members to see the film which is deemed to be controversial, How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive. That is the film that records a lecture by a Mr. Fred Storaska.
I have had the benefit of one view of each of these films and the difference in approach is very dramatic. Both of them, I think, have some excellent points and make excellent points, and are of considerable value. I would be quite prepared to say that there are certain drawbacks in each of them as well, but I'd like all of the members to have an opportunity to see those particular films. I'll be making arrangements with the Whips for a suitable time for viewing.
MS. BROWN: I'd just like to respond to the issue raised by the Attorney-General. First of all I'd like to thank him very much for tabling this report, and I certainly intend to go through it in great detail and probably discuss it with him after.
I would like to suggest, Mr. Chairman, through you to the Attorney-General, that when those two films are shown there should be representatives from the Rape Relief Centres present so that there could be some discussion afterwards, because they're certainly not films that should be viewed in isolation. As you say, both of them have drawbacks in them. Certainly on the second one, How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive, the consensus of opinion is that it's a very dangerous film and maybe we should talk about it. I wouldn't like the members of the Legislature just to view it and go away thinking that this is the way in which the issue should be handled. So maybe at the time when the viewing is planned, representatives from one of the Rape Relief Centres should be present and there should be a discussion afterwards about it.
I'm also quite relieved that the statistics on rape are going down. I don't think there's any question that certainly the Rape Relief Centres, improved police training and the really very positive action on the part of the Ministry of the Attorney-General have something to do with that.
I would like to say that I hope that the funding for Rape Relief Centres has now been put on a firmer setting and that they are not going to have to go through the anxiety each year of waiting to see whether their funding is going to be approved or not. They have proven that they are meeting a need in the community, and I think the time has passed when they have to come forward every year with cap in hand and a plea to justify their existence. Is there any way that the ministry can seriously look at the business of seeing that there are Rape Relief Centres in all of the major communities in British Columbia, and that their funding is secure? Because there isn't any question whatsoever that they are meeting a very serious need and they are doing a good job.
The other thing that you touched on lightly, Mr. Attorney-General, is the sexual abuse clinic for children, which you mentioned as one of the recommendations in this report. I would like to share with you a concern which certainly surfaced with the report done by the United Way, and that is that the emphasis is on the victim of sexual abuse, but the Attorney-General's ministry is not paying sufficient attention to the abusers. We recognize that it's important that the victims have all of these support services and that they be cared for immediately that the incident occurs, but we would really like to see more attention paid to the abusers, the people who are sexually abusing the children in this province.
Last night when I raised this issue, the Attorney-General said that he was not aware of the report prepared by the United Way.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Well, I've issued a press release on one. I think you are speaking about a different one.
MS. BROWN: I'm sorry.
[ Page 507 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Perhaps you might want to take your place and let the Attorney-General speak on it, but I must insist that the debate continue.
MS. BROWN: No, I have made a copy of the section dealing with the Attorney-General's ministry for the Attorney-General, and I'd be very happy to pass it on to him. But in fact what the report says is that the juvenile delinquents Act and the Act dealing with protection of children does not protect the child sufficiently against sexual abuse. Again, there's a lot of legislation dealing with the young offender, and a lot of legislation dealing with young people who break the law, but the people who are actually abusing the children are not sufficiently protected. In addition, the definition of a child in need of protection varies from statute to statute, and according to this report "generally deals with situations in which a child is in some physical, emotional or moral danger."
Really, what they are saying is that this particular section of the Act needs to spell out more clearly just what the moral danger is that one has to take into account: that the abuse of children, using female and male children as prostitutes, has to be included in the definition of physical as well as moral and emotional danger. The section of the Act that deals with the protection of children in this regard needs to be tightened. The whole business of sexual exploitation of children is not covered by this particular piece of legislation. That comes under the province; that is not a part of the Criminal Code; it is not covered by federal jurisdiction. That is covered by provincial jurisdiction and that is something that the Attorney-General's department should certainly look at with a view to amending it. The sexual exploitation of children is not covered by this particular piece of legislation. It says that there needs to be a specific mandate in it for protection and intervention where needed. It says British Columbia protection legislation fails to consider the rights of the child.
I'm not discussing the federal legislation; I recognize that the Criminal Code has to do with part of it. But, provincially, the province is responsible for the protection and the rights of the child. It says Ontario and Quebec already have reform statements dealing specifically with the rights of the child. This is what we need in British Columbia. This, the International Year of the Child, would be a very good year for that piece of legislation to be amended to take into account the rights of the child. I'm quoting here from the report: "It is felt that the sexually exploited child needs to be considered a victim to an adult, and in need of protection, and this protection should be sufficient justification for intervention." I'm going to make an additional copy of this report available to the Attorney-General, since he has not yet seen it. If it's possible or an amendment dealing with this to be introduced this year, it would certainly be a very meaningful way in which to deal with the International Year of the Child.
MR. HALL: I have one question of the Attorney-General on this vote. It is to do with a situation in Surrey. I have received a number of phone calls and letters asking me to look into a number of things which are alleged to have happened. All of us know, as MLAs, that one person's viewpoint in not necessarily the correct viewpoint, and we can all see incidents and accidents in a different way, even though we are all watching the same incident.
The incident I'm talking about refers to the industrial dispute that has been taking place in Surrey for some time. I don't wish to comment on the court action — either the verdict of the judge or the sentence that was placed on the strikers at Adams Laboratories. That matter is before the courts, Mr. Chairman, and I don't think it would be correct for me to pass any comments on it. What I am concerned about is the apparent harsh treatment, or perhaps unsatisfactory treatment, that ordinary people got — if I can use the word "ordinary" meaning working people charged with one offence and found guilty of one offence — at the hands of the public servants who come under the Attorney-General's control.
I'm referring to the treatment that was afforded, following sentence, to some people who had been accused of certain things on the picket line. One person, who is head of a single-parent family, was not afforded opportunity to make any arrangements at all to look after her youngster after she was sent off to jail. Also, the use of handcuffs was undertaken by the peace officers who were escorting the guilty parties from one place to another.
I'm not trying to find any differentiation in the treatment of one criminal from another, if indeed the word "criminal" is correct. But I do want to question that kind of conduct, and in questioning it I want to find out if the Attorney-General has indeed looked into it, because it was reported in the press. I'm sure he must have received correspondence asking him to look into it. I'd like to know if he has responded to the organized body of labour that has asked him for some sort of observation as to what did take place on June 8, 1979, when those people appeared in court charged with the offences stemming from a legal strike against Adams Laboratories.
While I am not going to make any observations as to whether those people were or were not guilty, or whether the sentence was excessive or not — because that's being appealed, as I understand it — I can make some comments about the dispute if you want; but the Chairman will probably rule me out of order. It was a long and arduous dispute; and while you're getting instructions from your seatmate, perhaps I can tell you that when I see two young women escorted from one place to another in handcuffs, and another one not allowed to make proper arrangements for the safety and protection of a child, I'm beginning to wonder what we're doing. I know that strikes and lockouts and trouble on the picket line are unpleasant things, and I think it's time that we made sure we treat everybody equally and we treat people with some humanity.
I would like the Attorney-General to respond, and in particular to respond to organized labour, who have asked him over three weeks ago to look into this and as yet have not received any reply. Indeed I think it's something which gives the kind of ammunition to people who want to exacerbate the situation on the picket line; it gives ammunition to those people who want to accuse the authorities of being unthinking; it gives ammunition to those who want to look with blinkers on at the conduct of authority in labour-management industrial unrest.
I would appeal to the Attorney-General to look into this, and I'll have more to say about the actual situation itself under the Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. Williams). I'd like the response now in terms of the matters I've raised.
[ Page 508 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Just prior to recognizing the minister I have one small note from Sir Erskine May. The member for Burnaby–Edmonds (Ms. Brown) was discussing the matter of legislation, and while it's very interesting, it's not appropriate under Supply. I'd just like to remind all the members that the administrative action of the department is open for debate, but the necessity for legislation and matters involving legislation cannot be discussed in the Committee of Supply. That's just for the information of the members of the committee, and not meant in any way to admonish anyone.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. In response to the second member for Surrey (Mr. Hall), we will be looking into the matter and if there has been any excessive activity, we'll certainly see that doesn't happen again. I cannot confirm or deny at this point in time whether there is any excess of action; secondly, the matter you've stated is before the courts, so I'd rather not get into any degree of depth today.
MR. HALL: That's fine. Knowing the Attorney-General as long as I've known him, I'm certainly going to accept the answer that he will look into it. Again, I was particularly careful, Mr. Chairman, not to deal with the merits of whether or not those picketers were outside the law. But I do want you to look at that conduct, and as fast as possible, because in my view every day that goes past without those kinds of answers being given.... Knowing the kind of climate in this year, of all years — the largest contractual year that we have in labour-management affairs — I think the Attorney-General would be serving this province well indeed if he answered these things as quickly as possible.
MR. LEVI: I'd just like to ask the Attorney-General a few questions. Perhaps while he's making his notes he might tell me how much money the government has put into Oakalla in the past two years. Since I was out there recently, I see that there are a large number of extensions going on out there, which makes me rather curious.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I can't give you that today.
MR. LEVI: The minister is already bleating and I haven't even asked him anything yet. There are some extensions going on out in Oakalla, and quite a few in the years that I've been going out there. They have finally decided to do something that should have been done 20 years ago. But in view of the fact that they're possibly moving out of there, what are they doing all the extensions for? I understand that those extensions will probably cost $750,000. Now what are you doing building up something that you say you're going to tear down? I'd like you to make a comment on that.
But what I want to deal with now is something more specific in relation to police policy. I'd like the minister to tell us — not in a long discourse — how policy is made in this province. At the present time we have the B.C. Police Commission; we have the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit; we have the various police commissions. I'm finding it very difficult to understand where the Attorney-General's ministry comes in in respect to making particular policy decisions about how they will approach, for instance, matters dealing with crime.
We've seen over the past year what appeared to be some very serious disputes between the mayor of Vancouver, who is also the chairman of the Police Commission, in respect to pursuing the prostitutes and also theSun day closing law. There are two particular pieces of legislation. The mayor in his capacity as mayor of Vancouver and as chairman of the Police Commission is saying one thing about how you should go after prostitutes and what you should do about theSun day closing, and then we have no action really on either matter from the Attorney-General. But what I'm interested in is how policy is decided. Is there in this province a body within the Attorney-General's ministry that makes specific police policy or is it, as I suspect, somewhat ad hoc in respect to the various jurisdictions? I'm not now talking about the Police Commission, because, as I understand it, that is not a policy-making body. It has a number of inspection and surveillance functions which really don't relate to policy, but rather to see that certain things are carried out. I'm interested in the development of policy.
Earlier this year we had a discussion in this House and in the press on how the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit sees the problem of organized crime, and on their recommendations in respect to some form of crime commission. We've had the Attorney-General's reaction to this, which I think I might characterize as being a little cavalier, because he says that he doesn't think the thing is serious enough at the moment to merit a type of crime commission. Now I'm not personally in favour of a crime commission, for instance, of the Quebec type; but I would like to see this House — if possible, Mr. Chairman, the labour and justice committee — given the job of looking at what kind of commission we should have. I do not want to see it inquiring into crime, but into what is the best vehicle to deal with this problem. I don't think there is any doubt — and there has been no doubt in my mind in the years that I have spent in the corrections field and monitoring what goes on — that.... I do not share the Attorney-General's rather cavalier approach that somehow things aren't bad enough for us to want to investigate what is going on.
I'd like to draw the Attorney-General's attention to two rather interesting statistics which have come out of the Solicitor-General's reports for 1975-1976 and 1976-1977. They deal specifically with some of the problems of organized crime, and particularly of white-collar crime. Now we are dealing here with figures in Canada. I don't have the breakdown for British Columbia, although I do have a figure for British Columbia in respect to these figures. In 1975-1976 in Canada, according to the RCMP commercial crime branch, there was some $244 million worth of fraud investigated in Canada. That branch was instrumental in recovering approximately $11 million, along with court fines totalling some $700,000. The following year the commercial crime branch reported that there was some $359 million worth of fraud investigated; approximately $21 million was recovered, and a total of $1,055,000 in fines. In 1975 they also reported some $27 million in stolen securities; in 1976 approximately $80 million of stolen or missing securities remained outstanding.
Now here are two reports, for 1975-1976 and 1976-1977, which point up a very serious problem in terms of
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organized crime and white-collar crime across Canada. We do not escape that in British Columbia. We have some very serious problems in relation to fraud. In 1976, I am informed, some $56 million was the total taken by fraud in the province, with some $2 million recovered; and this is in a variety of activities: mortgage brokers, stock exchange, some real estate rip-offs, and that kind of thing.
All of this is going on and is increasing. There has been no decrease in this kind of activity. It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that the Attorney-General should have a great deal of concern and even anxiety about dealing with these particular problems. One of the things that particularly annoys me is that the provincial government does not take seriously the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit, one of the prime functions of which is to look at the operation of organized crime. It is my feeling that their function is to deal primarily with the underworld crime — if one may put it that way — in respect to drugs and related problems, and some of the upperworld crime, which relates to the stock markets, and some frauds.
I want to go back to the question regarding policy that I asked the Attorney-General in the beginning. Which individuals or which group or committee in the Attorney-General's ministry make policy about how the law enforcement agencies will do their work and what particular areas they will pursue? What kind of mechanism exists for this kind of decision-making? I hope that the Attorney-General has been able to hear what I have been asking.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Well, you've got about 14 questions.
MR. LEVI: Well, I've gone back to the first question because I knew you weren't listening to the other 13.
What I would like the Attorney-General to do is comment on how the policy-making process takes place in this province in respect to police matters and the prioritizing of police activity in the whole province and in the community. And ancillary to that, would he also comment on what the relationship is, in terms of policy-making, between the RCMP and the province? I realize we have a contractual arrangement with the RCMP. But who basically are the RCMP responsible to in terms of policy-making?
Now there are a couple of questions, Mr. Chairman. Perhaps we would give the minister an opportunity to respond.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I'll be back to you.
MR. LEVI: He's going to be back to me. If that's the case, then maybe I'll let my colleague have a go at him and I'll get up again.
MR. KING: I just have a couple of brief areas I would like to discuss with the Attorney-General. One relates to the Crown prosecutors that are available in the Interior. I would draw to the Attorney-General's attention the fact that the Crown prosecutor for the Revelstoke area visits that city, I understand, once or twice a week. He is located normally in Salmon Arm.
We've had quite a number of problems in the community, some with respect to vandalism and general hooliganism by some repeaters who seem to frequently get into trouble. It's not a large number of young people. Generally speaking, the young people there are well occupied and involved in a variety of healthy pursuits. But over the years we have had a number of problems that seem to continually recur. I've had complaints from citizens who say that there never seems to be effective follow-through of the legal process in terms of dealing with them.
I have discussed it with the RCMP in that community from time to time, and I find that to some extent they are somewhat frustrated with laying charges only to find that the Crown prosecutor comes in at the last moment from Salmon Arm and is restricted in terms of staff. The prosecutor has to appear in court first thing in the morning with no opportunity whatsoever to research the case, with no opportunity to even read the files and thus be in a position to do an effective job of prosecuting.
Frequently the result is that the charges are lost, and the RCMP, ultimately through frustration, comes to the conclusion that there is little value in prosecuting a case that is not a highly serious one but can nevertheless be a very disruptive one to the peace and the security of local citizens. I'm of the view that no one is particularly to blame in this matter. I think the prosecutors who are obliged to serve a number of communities are short-staffed. They have an extremely heavy workload, and I don't think the fault lies with them. It probably lies with the shortage of staff that is presumably made available through the Attorney-General's budget.
It's a difficult problem but the final consequence of it seems to be a kind of despair and malaise in which individual citizens in the community wonder what is the point of trying to enforce the law because the system is incapable of carrying it through effectively. The other sad feature of it is to possibly deter the RCMP from doing an adequate job of dealing with the people who, on a repetitive basis, are troublemakers in the community.
I would like to hear from the Attorney-General how this problem may be dealt with, whether it's simply a matter of providing a greater budgetary allocation for staffing. Perhaps in his view some more senior Crown prosecutors are required to do the job necessary to carry through effectively on prosecutions. What might be required to improve the situation?
I've had quite a number of complaints from people in the community who I believe are taking a moderate and a responsible approach. They're not out for vigilante justice, and they do not have a vendetta against young people. Rather it's in the extreme cases where they feel that the weight of the law should be felt, and apparently it is not being carried through.
The other point I would like to raise with the Attorney-General is just a sidelight. I would like to ask the Attorney-General whether he had the opportunity to view a film that was carried on channel 9 from Seattle. "Scared Straight," it was called. I viewed it on two occasions and was most impressed with the impact it had on young offenders.
AN. HON. MEMBER: It was pretty rough.
MR. KING: Yes, it was indeed rough. I was scared myself. I didn't have to go straight, but in terms of the shock involved in that kind of treatment I think it was a very interesting kind of exercise. In the final analysis you can’t knock success. I did see some follow-up shows with some
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statistical data on the success rate for young people who had gone through that experience. It was a truly remarkable success story in terms of discouraging young people from going the way of the streets and entering into ever more serious crime. I wonder whether the Attorney-General, or any of his staff, have made contact with the founders of this particular program.
This program literally puts young people who are second-time offenders into jail with hard-core criminals for a period of a few hours. They are subjected to the reality of the very harsh and hard-bitten criminal life in the jails. It lets them know what they are headed for.
I understand that at least one other province in Canada, I believe Saskatchewan, has a limited experiment with a program similar to this one, and I would be interested in hearing the Attorney-General's reaction.
[Mr. Strachan in the chair.]
HON. MR. GARDOM: In response to the last speaker, Mr. Chairman, and the last question re the film "Scared Straight," yes, I did see that film. It's a very provocative film. It's a very strong film. It's one we felt our senior officials should see and consider in light of British Columbia and in light of the ethic that we have in this province. They are going to see it and it will be under review by the senior officials of the ministry.
The first question that you raised dealt with witness management, and I'm not going to take the time of the House to go through the various steps. If you just look at last year's Hansard it's all in there, and you are aware of the steps in any event.
But there is always a responsibility upon us to improve processes, and recently we've had a witness management survey in one region of the province — in the North Fraser region. I have the June report of the regional Crown. It is interesting to see that in this particular situation of the 129 police witnesses who attended trial, 103 of them were called. So 80 percent of those police witnesses in this test sample were called. Twenty-six were not called and about 40 percent of them were not called because of defence admissions. About 30 percent were not called by virtue of lack of court time, guilty pleas during the course of proceedings or the case broke down or what-have-you. Thirty-one percent of the 26, or about a third — eight — were not called because they were deemed, at the point of trial, to be unnecessary. Witness management — greater screening of the witnesses beforehand — has proved to be very useful.
The figures with civilians, during this test pattern, are just about the same. There were 76 civilians who attended the trial. Of those 68 were called — that's a considerable improvement — which means about 90 percent of them came into court and took their place on the stand. There were the same reasons for those who did not take the stand: the case fell apart, their evidence was not required, guilty pleas or one thing or another throughout the process.
In response to the member for Maillardville–Coquitlam (Mr. Levi), which is easier to say than Shuswap–Revelstoke, I can assure you, by a long shot.... Do you find it that way, sir?
MR. KING: Not at all. I've become very accustomed to it.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I see. You've become accustomed to its place. That's right, sir.
He was talking about the formation of police policy in the province of British Columbia. The ministry, as any ministry in the country, has the responsibility to see that the rule of law is fully complied with. The RCMP have internal matters dealt with by their commissioner and the CO of the E division. In regard to municipal police, the mayor is the chairman of the police board and the police board deals with the specifics of the municipal police.
We are in the process of giving consideration to reshaping a portion of the ministry. We are considering the idea of an associate deputy minister in charge of police. We do now have the police committee, which is new, and the police committee is chaired by the Deputy Attorney-General. The membership of the police committee is the commanding officer of E division, the chairman of the Police Commission, the director of CLEU, and the gentleman responsible for our federal-provincial dealings with Ottawa for the new contracts. They're already starting in the negotiating process, and it expires in 1981. The other member of the police committee is a representative from the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police. This is really the first time, to my knowledge, perhaps since the days of the provincial police in the province of British Columbia, that this cohesive direction has started. I'm not prepared as yet to say that it's the kind of product that we wish to have as a final product, but we have initiated that. What's going to happen to policing in the country is rather a big question today. Under the former federal administration it became somewhat apparent that there was going to be a weaning off of federal responsibility for police servicing and police costing throughout the country.
We have had the benefit, as the members know, of the report of a task force which was initiated by myself and my colleague, the then Minister of Municipal Affairs, concerning police costing in British Columbia. It's a very compendious report. It's not yet been considered in depth by myself. It's under review right now by both the ministries for advice to government. There are a number of very wide-ranging recommendations in there which, if adopted, would certainly be rather a considerable impost on the provincial taxpayer, as opposed to the municipal taxpayer, because we have the municipal police in the province of B.C. who are essentially funded by their own municipalities, as some of the members know, and we have the cost-sharing with the RCMP.
Canada is somewhat taking the same position as British Columbia vis-à-vis the RCMP, because they're saying: "Well, okay, Ontario has its provincial police, Quebec has its provincial police and there's not any federal contribution into those areas." So I'm not going to say it's going to be anybody's guess over the next 15 years as to what the final route will be. I think there is a great responsibility upon Canada to maintain a federal force. I'd say that we're very happy with the RCMP in this province. We'd like them to continue.
MR. LEVI: From what the minister said, I gather that up to now there has never really been a body within the government that has made specific decisions regarding police policy. I'm not now talking about the matter of cost-sharing with Ottawa. That has always been an ongoing battle that has needed a lot of attention.
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I would like the Attorney-General to comment, for instance, on how one makes a decision in the ministry as to whether there should be an emphasis on the apprehension of prostitutes, in terms of the allocation of manpower, versus the other serious problems. For instance, there's no doubt that one of the new burgeoning problems in our province, as it is in many other provinces, is the whole issue of white-collar crime and fraud, particularly commercial fraud. Now we know that certainly up to last year the RCMP had about 13 people in the commercial crime squad in that area. We had a great deal of discussion and we appear to have a great deal of police time devoted to the apprehension of prostitutes. Now I'd like the minister to comment on the great emphasis on the apprehension of prostitutes. I don't want him to stand up and moralize to me. It's not Sunday morning, so we'll just stay with some of the realities.
We've seen over the years that whichever way you go in terms of the apprehension or pursuit of prostitutes, you always end up with the same results. You catch a few; you go to the supreme court; you spend a lot of money; you get a lot of judgments; and in the final analysis, they move down to Hornby and Georgia Streets and they're still operating and they're still supplying the trade. They're involved primarily in what is now characterized in the criminology field as victimless crime. They're providing a service.
What I want to deal with is how one makes a decision to do that and to spend a lot of police time on it. The minister has indicated that if they have trouble with the new federal government wanting to get out of cost-sharing on the whole issue of police costs, we're going to have less policemen and therefore we're going to have to do much more serious allocation of what kind of work they do. If that's the case, then we should see a de-emphasizing of this whole pursuit of the victimless crime kind of thing, such as prostitution, and we should be looking at some of the things that are having a tremendous impact on our economy. The whole fabric of our economic enterprise in this province is being viciously attacked by white-collar crime.
I would like the minister to comment on this. Is it someone in his ministry that makes a decision collectively through the police committee, Mr. Chairman, as to whether this is going to be our approach in respect to the apprehension of prostitutes? Or do they say: "No, that is not a major priority. We're going to concentrate on an area particularly because it relates to the economy, where there is a great deal of victimization of a large number of people."? People who lose money in no way can be characterized as victimless crime problems. They are direct victims, and that's going on every day.
Now I would ask the Attorney-General how that kind of decision is arrived at. Because what we have at the moment quite obviously is that it's fair game in the pursuit of prostitutes, but let's not get too involved in the apprehension of the whole business of commercial crime.
We have to look at the allocation of manpower — 13 people in the RCMP commercial crime squad and scores of people in the municipal police forces involved in the apprehension of prostitutes. When are we going to look at the worthwhile allocation of manpower resources in respect to how we spend the police dollar? We have to look at what is good for the citizen. I fail to see that one can make a decision to opt for the pursuit of prostitutes when people are being ripped off in this province with hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of commercial fraud with a very small allocation of manpower to do anything about that serious problem.
Perhaps the minister would like to comment on that.
HON. MR. GARDOM: First of all, dealing with the prostitution issue, I've no intention of moralizing with the hon. member. He's fully aware of the decision in the Supreme Court of Canada which created the capacity for an influx of more evident prostitution in our largest city. There were amendments placed before the House of Commons, as your new colleague will inform you. They were never passed and hopefully the new government will be considering amendments or somewhat similar amendments to provide better mechanisms for control.
Now insofar as the decision within areas as to what specific activity is going to be addressed by municipal forces, that's essentially a local decision. They have to distribute their resources as they are best able to. They're obviously not able to say: "Look, we're not going to pay any attention whatsoever to gambling or loan sharking or rape or child abuse. We're going to concentrate on prostitution or organized crime." They have to priorize their activities but they've got to spend some portion of their time on all of them.
Insofar as the activity towards commercial crime is concerned, I think the hon. member knows full well that a considerable amount of resources is spent in that area by the RCMP, by the joint forces in Vancouver and in Victoria, and certainly by the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit.
A fairly recent status report showed that about 800 charges involving commercial crime were laid throughout the province over the last year. There are a number of active charges. I'm not going to mention these names to the House here but there are just a raft of active charges that are under trial right now or are very close to trial. Also there is a very active list of matters that are under continuing investigation, and these are confidential. It would be inappropriate for me to make any reference at all to those.
I would also like to say. Mr. Chairman, that the targeting process of the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit is an ongoing process, and it now has an additional list of names that are being investigated for connections with organized crime in B.C. The latest list was prepared as early as May of this year at the regular meeting of the CLEU policy board.
I would be happy to share some of this information with the member, more in confidence than with the general public, for the sole reason I don't want to make it easier for the people who we're trying to catch here. But I'm very impressed with the progress that is being made in this area and I want to assure the hon. member, and all hon. members of the House, that this is a matter that is receiving the continuing attention of the police forces in this province, of the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit and certainly of this ministry.
MS. BROWN: First of all, I would appreciate it if the Attorney-General would respond to some of the questions I raised earlier about amendments to the child protection legislation to deal with sexual abuse of children. I would like to bring to his attention that this is not an isolated incident. In fact we are told that up to 300 children were involved in this form of abuse during the summer months
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alone in the city of Vancouver alone. So it's a reasonably serious matter and I would appreciate if he would respond to some of the suggestions made about ways in which the Act should be amended.
I want to raise two other issues, and first ask a question about the request for funding from the Coalition of British Columbia Rape Centres. In introducing his report to the House he did not mention whether he had in fact given them the $170,000 which they requested, which constituted an increase of about $33,000 over last year. Would he let me know whether that has been dealt with?
HON. MR. GARDOM: We'll let you know. It comes from two other sources.
MS. BROWN: Okay. I want to deal with two very brief things. One has to do with the compensation payments being tied to the COLA clause. Would you like to respond to that, because I've been...?
HON. MR. GARDOM: Sure.
MS. BROWN: Can I raise my other one, because then you will never hear from me again.
HON. MR. GARDOM: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I do wish to hear from this lovely lady again.
MS. BROWN: Mr Chairman, I appreciate the lovely gentleman making that comment, and I will try to deal very quickly with the very pretty gentleman, and get this very serious matter over with so that that darling of a gentleman over there will not have to worry his pretty head about these issues again. [Laughter.]
This has to do with a gentleman who was injured in 1975, and at that time received criminal injuries compensation. There was no COLA clause attached to it; he has not received an increase; he's supporting a family; and he's now fallen below the social assistance rate. I've been corresponding with the Attorney-General, and I just wondered whether he has considered my recommendation that compensation payments be tied to the cost of living so that these victims are not penalized for the fact that they are victims.
The last issue which I have to raise has to do with the business of maintenance payments. I've lost all of the letters — oh, I've found one — from people who have been awarded maintenance payments in the courts, and have just not been able to collect them. Every year I raise this issue, Mr. Chairman, with the recommendation that comes from most of these abandoned wives that it would be quite a simple matter to garnishee their husbands' wages. In every instance the Attorney-General explains that this is not the correct way in which to deal with it. The fact of the matter is that what happens is that these women then fall on welfare. They become part of the welfare population simply because the province or the individual involved is unable to collect these payments. Once again I bring it to the attention of the Attorney-General. Are you seriously thinking about garnisheeing the wages of these husbands or wives, as the case may be, who are failing to meet their maintenance payments?
HON. MR. GARDOM: I have a number of responses to the hon. member. First, I thank her for sending over to me the material entitled Laws Related to the Sexual Exploitation of Children. It refers to federal and provincial laws related to the exploitation of children: the Code, the Juvenile Delinquents Act and child welfare Acts.
First of all, I think the criminal law in our country, quite frankly, requires a major review and I have just recently made that recommendation to the Minister of Justice. The last time the criminal law in our country was reviewed was some 25 years ago; we've had one-quarter of a century of backfill and increase. I wish I had at my fingertips the specific number of sections, but about 1,300 or 1,400 sections have been added to the Code since it was revised 25 years ago. There is indeed a requirement, by virtue of a number of different directions in society since that period of time, to revise the Code from the viewpoint of additional consideration for the victim, additional options for penalty and for reformation of the convicted, and different dealings with specific offences.
Dealing with specific offences, and dealing with specific groups of people, the federal government over the past four or five years has been, of course, agonizing over juvenile offenders legislation. They produced something that was considered, at least by professionals in the field in British Columbia, to be almost unworkable. It was somewhat of a maze; you had to go from step 14 to 73, down to 4 and through a couple of closed doors before you could get any resolution of anything. I doubt very much that it would be proceeding in its present form. I'm not going to say it's lost work, but it certainly hasn't produced a heck of a lot; but that is still a federal statute, and until such time.... Maybe there is a requirement for an alteration to the BNA Act; but you know the difficulty that we've had trying to bring about constitutional change in Canada. Assuming we're not going to have rapid constitutional change in the country, we've certainly got to proceed at the federal level, within its spheres of competence, to delegate greater roles to the local areas vis-à-vis the provinces, so they can better deal with some of the problems at their own end.
I commend to you the report of the Law Reform Commission of Canada on sexual offences. They've got some very, very interesting premises in there. They've made a report and it's not yet really been effectively distilled by the people who are involved in the criminal justice process in our country. I think that will be happening quite shortly. I know it's under consideration and review, and maybe it's an item that will be coming up even for discussion at the next provincial attorneys' meeting. So all of these things are starting to either reflect public opinion or perhaps shape the mores which we're attempting to produce as an effective way of life for today.
There's a lot of catch-up. There's a similar degree of catch-up, I would say, in the area of children's statutes that is local in nature. I think we're facing, really, the same kind of a challenge and the same kind of requirement here, and we're going to have to look at them. Pardon me for being so long-winded.
Rape Relief: I don't have the figures and the funding; I'll get them for you. They come from two other ministries as well.
As for the criminal victims' indemnity fund people, this has been a matter very close to my conscience for a number of years, because I was the first person to ever introduce a bill in this Legislature dealing with the point. Yes, I believe there should be some type of increase. It has been a static
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sum, and a static sum put into place five years ago does not have the same kind of purchasing power today. That is at present in the process of submission preparation for me to proceed to committees and cabinet. Aren't I wonderful?
MS. BROWN: Maintenance.
HON. MR. GARDOM: The hon. member asked me about the collection of maintenance, and she mentioned the problems involved with people who have maintenance orders outstanding, and the fact that they do, in many cases, become a burden upon the general public, because they have the capacity to pay, and they are not paying. The net result is the claimants are on welfare.
We made an estimate of what the unclaimable amount might be and it came to around $10 million to $12 million. That is why we instituted the automatic enforcement of the maintenance orders program. That has started, and it's working darned effectively in two regions of the province; but we are collecting an amount that would realize about $10 million to $12 million a year if it were reflected throughout the province. It is automatic enforcement of maintenance orders. There have been a few bugs in the earlier stages of the program, but they are starting to be ironed out and I hope to report much more favourably about this in the future.
Here is an example, Madam Member. For the month of January, under the automatic enforcement of maintenance orders, in only two regions $278,000 was collected. February produced $260,000, March $269,000, April $273,000, so from January we've got a total of $1.5 million in those areas alone. So, yes, it's working. But it's not yet throughout the province, where we want it to be.
MR. NICOLSON: Of the two matters I'd like to bring up, I think one is very serious. It is characteristically oversimplified as the Doukhobor problem, and therein might be the source of the problem itself. People tend to look at this as a rather special situation when, in fact, it is simply a matter of the law of the land and whether or not the law of the land should apply. Some almost unbelievable actions have been taken by various agents of the justice system in the province of late. But first I'd like to say that the average Doukhobor — and I suppose many of them live in Vancouver, Victoria, all over the province, in Saskatchewan, other parts of Canada, and in Los Angeles — is not a simple peasant who lives from the soil. Quite often they do happen to try to live close to the soil, but their vocation or profession could be almost anything from a top director of the B.C. Central Credit Union to a faller or a person in contract logging. In my riding two very modern sawmills are owned by Doukhobors. There are several school principals and vice principals, credit union managers; there are building supply companies and construction companies owned by such people. So one might say they are, more or less, typical, average persons. distinguished only by ethnic origin, religious belief, and second language. One might say that there are two fairly distinct groups: the USCC, people who belong to the United Spiritual Communities of Christ; and the Freedomites. Probably within the Freedomites there is another minority.
Without really going into one celebrated case which is presently before the courts — and there is no reason why I couldn't bring it up in the House — I would like to bring the attention of the House to the frequency with which certain acts of violence are being committed. It's not a politically associated thing. One can go back to 1970, when the home of the USCC honorary chairman, John J. Veregin, was completely destroyed by fire. Six women were found guilty and all of them were sentenced to various terms. Then, two years later in May of '72, 16 members of the Freedomite sect were charged with indecent exposure when they demonstrated outside of a USCC hall in Grand Forks. They were released on the agreement that they would return to Agassiz, and at this time a great number of these people were still living in Agassiz under parole or because their next-of-kin were imprisoned. In June of '72, 22 members were arrested for staging a camp-in at the home of John J. Veregin. They spent 20 days there before the authorities decided to remove them.
This is getting to part of the message I would like to impart to the Attorney-General. Suppose that there was a sit-in at the home of some other prominent citizen in British Columbia, and people were on his lawn for 20 days with a rather threatening attitude. Would it be normal not to act upon this, to ignore it and treat it in a very soft way, hoping that the problem would go away? In what other instance would we look the other way for 20 days?
The next incident of note was about three years later, in March, when the Brilliant community centre was burned. Six women were convicted and sentenced. I dare say that in most of these instances the same people were the ones who were convicted and sentenced.
During that time I started to voice my concerns to the Attorney-General of the day. One person from the department was dispatched to look into some of these matters and come back with some recommendations. On December 7, 1975, the Sunshine Valley Co-op and USCC office were totally burned down. Arson was definitely the cause of the fire. No one was apprehended until December, 1978, and this touches on the matter which is presently before the courts and I won't go into that too much more. In 1977 the USCC community was completely burned, and again no one was apprehended until the present case was brought to court.
On January 9, 1978, 29 persons attempted to burn down the Passmore hall. They were convicted of conspiracy to commit arson and given two years suspended sentence. Some of these people had already served time, I believe, and had other convictions. I agreed with the judge at the time that there might have been a place for showing good faith, and although most people in the community would disagree with me on that point, I said it publicly to anyone who would be interested.
Now the frequency is starting to increase. On September 23, 1978, 12 persons attempted to burn down the home of Anna Markova, mother of Mr. John J. Veregin, honorary chairman of USCC. Considerable damage was done, and I might say that a 70-odd-year-old woman was dragged out of that house preceding the setting of the fire. A stay of proceedings was entered against the 12 people who had set the fire because the Crown counsel believed that, as the accused people told him, Mr. Veregin had directed the accused to burn down the house. No, this is not part of the case which is before the courts. It was, in their opinion, not a criminal offence to burn down your own building. In other words, Crown counsel assumed that these people had been directed to do so, and so they entered a stay of proceedings.
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That's only item No. 8, and we're in 1978. Now the items start to get a little more frequent, and there are 17.
Then, on September 19, the home of Joseph Potavinikoff Jr. was burned. No one was ever apprehended. On November 30, 1978, a group of persons, most of whom had been granted a stay of proceedings on the setting of the fire at the home of Anna Markova, appeared at the home of John J. Veregin and staged a sit-in. They were alleged to have had gasoline and matches in their possession, although the RCMP would not deny or confirm this.
There was another incident which does touch upon the present law proceedings. On December 27 five women were found guilty of setting fire to the home of Stefan Sorokin and were sentenced to nine months, and one person to two years. On December 19 the present charges were brought about, and I don't intend to bring that up.
Then, on December 21, eight persons attempted to burn down the home of Mr. Larry Swetlekoff at Brilliant, B.C. You know, one of the things is that when one says the name "Larry Swetlekoff," one might sort of conjure up — if you live in the lower mainland — a picture of some person.... Well, I'd just like to say that Mr. Larry Swetlekoff strikes me as probably being a small, independent business person. I don't know if he owns a lumber supply yard, or maybe works at Can-Cel, or where he might obtain his income, but I would say that he otherwise looks no different from any person in any group.
Seven of the eight persons were part of a group who had attempted to burn down the home of Anna Markova, and were later released when the stay of proceedings had been granted.
MR. NICOLSON: It's just that type of ignorance that causes such concern. I'm sure that member is perhaps titillated by this thing, but I want to tell you, Mr. Chairman, that it appears that there is one kind of law for one kind of people in this country, and there is another kind of law for others. That's what I am trying to address myself to. This person might be against law and order but I must say that I take it very seriously.
On May 4, eight persons were sentenced to one day's imprisonment plus two years' probation for attempting to burn down the home of Larry Swetlekoff.
Now when you think about the past things which have happened with these people, they had been given a stay of proceedings in the case of the home of Anna Markova, and then to be given one day's imprisonment and two years' probation!
Then on May 13, 1979, seven persons, five of them persons that were also at the home of Anna Markova and Larry Swetlekoff, appeared at the home of USCC member Joe Potavinikoff and attempted to set fire to it, and a preliminary hearing is set for some time later on.
Mr. Chairman, these things are starting to happen with greater and greater frequency. It is sometimes very disgusting when persons for whom I have a great deal of respect, if they happen to read it in the paper, will make a passing remark. Friends of mine in Victoria or Vancouver, or sometimes even friends right in Nelson or Castlegar who should certainly know better, seem to treat this as a family quarrel. It isn't a family quarrel. You have one group of people who are law-abiding citizens of this province and are entitled to the same type of legal protection as any one us would have and would expect.
Back in the earlier days, back in the forties and fifties.... The member for Shuswap–Revelstoke (Mr. King) well remembers when these aggressions were against private property of the CPR and against public property of the government. The member for Shuswap–Revelstoke well remembers in his days working on the Kettle Valley line when he could expect tracks to be dynamited and people lost their lives. People remember when a bomb was left in the Nelson movie house and also in Hudson's Bay Company, I believe.
But now these attacks have been against people and they have been directed only against people of the Doukhobor religious ethnic community. For that reason, we seem to treat it in a different sort of a way. It seems that the action of the government is looking for one simple little thing to grab hold of, one linchpin with which they think they are going to solve this problem once and for all.
I submit that it is not a problem which has a linchpin. It is going to have to be looked upon as a very serious problem. I think that the law of the land should have to prevail. I know that it is not a simple matter just to use normal remedies such as imprisonment but things were down to a pretty small.... Well, things had very much calmed down between about 1969-72 for the most part even up until 1975.
But I think the government is going to have to really address this problem with just a little bit more than ordinary priority, which they are giving now. They are going to have to give it an absolutely top priority. There have been repeated requests for a special committee. I would like the Attorney-General to consider whether a special committee might not be a good idea. Perhaps he should consider having the Select Standing Committee on Labour and Justice look into this matter. I think that it could do a great deal to help re-educate the people of British Columbia as to what some of the problems are in this situation and it might, I would hope, lead to a little bit better and more informed coverage by the press of this very difficult problem, a little bit of a de- sensationalizing of some of the aspects which have to this time taken most of the attention of the press.
I don't pretend to have all of the answers to this but I do feel that the line of information which the Attorney-General is depending upon in this matter is really directed through very constricted channels. I think that it is selected information which is coming through, because it's linear. One person really is responsible at this point. He reports to a person above him. That person reports to somebody in Victoria, and the whole approach which is being taken seems to deny some of the facts of the majority of law-abiding people. The majority of law-abiding Doukhobors in the area feel that they are being.... They say they are being persecuted by the government because, Mr. Attorney-General, they are being ignored. I know that you have met with some of them but it's always a matter of a short little meeting and then things aren't followed through with.
I'm saying that you've got to do something pretty big. Now if we continue to wait until things are resolved and cooled down before we start doing something, they aren't going to cool down. Right now, with all the stays of proceedings and one thing and another that are happening.... It really comes very close to home when you go knock on a person's door during a provincial election and
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two days later you read that there were about seven or eight people at that person's home that threw gasoline on his walls. It's a very beautiful home that I'm sure any one of us.... Well, I'd be pleased to trade the man even for mine, I'll tell you that. They threw gasoline on the walls and threw matches at it which just, by some fortuitous circumstance, didn't catch fire.
Just because there is an important case before the courts right now, it simply does not mean that we must wait and wait and wait for something that might drag on through appeal courts and supreme courts, and might end up taking every legal step for years. We can't afford to wait around in order to do this. I'm suggesting that we can't afford that luxury and some step should be taken. Now whether you would sooner trust the labour and justice committee, or you want to choose a committee of very learned people, experienced people, I think that there's going to have to be some facing up to this problem, because it is not getting better, it's getting worse. If you think that I get up here in this House and say this lightly.... If it were political considerations, there are no political points in this for me, believe me. When I step into the middle of a situation like this I have no more appetite for stepping in than I would for stepping between two party members of mine that might happen to be in a neighbourly dispute and taking one side against the other.
I say that right now we see people who are in violation of parole and they're not even sent back to jail, according to some of the information which I've had, because we're treating things with such tender, loving care.
[Mr. Rogers in the chair.]
So, Mr. Attorney-General, I have asked that you seriously consider creation of a special committee. It would be hoped that through the activities of that committee some of the ignorance and misunderstanding which exist throughout the length and breadth of British Columbia might be, in some measure, rectified. I don't know if we ever will rectify this completely, but as things are going, it is getting more and more chaotic. Everything that has been handled in the courts has served more to inflame than it has to solve or to tone down the situations which are happening.
The other topic that I would like to bring up today is the matter of the use of BATmobiles, which I said I supported when they were originally instituted. I am very concerned about impaired driving. I thought that one of the things that was mentioned the other day about impaired driving in a particular case.... It did not seem to be the case that was brought up by the second member for Vancouver East (Mr. Macdonald), I believe; maybe I'm wrong on that. But it concerned a fatal accident. It seemed to overlook the fact that the really deadly mixture in traffic fatalities is the combination of alcohol and aggression, and it does account for the fact that while the average impaired driver apprehended by the police is a person in his 40s, the average impaired driver involved in a traffic fatality is in his 20s.
I'd just like to say that the Attorney-General, when I talked about BATmobiles in the last Legislature, dismissed my concerns by saying, well, there were a few problems that had been ironed out. Well, Mr. Attorney-General, not only are the BATmobiles going to be some problem and are ineffective.... They are effective in terms of education programs and taking them into schools and taking them to job sites and creating some awareness about impaired driving. But I still stand by what I said earlier, that they are not effective in terms of bringing successful prosecution where somebody goes to the trouble of getting good legal counsel. Not only is the BATmobile in some jeopardy, but even the Borkenstein breathalyser.
I don't know if the Attorney-General is familiar with decisions which have occurred recently. There was the case of Regina v. Robertson, and by some coincidence the judgment....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Hon. member, in Committee of Supply decisions before the court are not admissible.
MR. NICOLSON: This is not before the court; this is decided.
MR. CHAIRMAN: "...the decision of a judicial court," reading from page 766 of the 17th edition of May....
MR. NICOLSON: I'm not questioning the decision.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I hope you're not arguing with the Chair.
I shall read the whole thing. It says: "Nor can the actions of those high public servants whose conduct can only be criticized upon substantive motions nor the decision of a judicial court, nor action for which a minister is not responsible...." So we're dealing with the Attorney-General's estimates; there are times when we get close to getting involved with a judicial court, and I just ask you to take that into consideration.
MR. NICOLSON: I'm not about to criticize these decisions. What I would say is that, while the Attorney-General said that there were some problems, but they'd all been overcome, there was the case of Regina v. Robertson in the Court of Appeal. Since then the reasons for judgment have come about by Mr. Justice Robertson.
In reading them it becomes apparent that there are real limitations to the Borkenstein breathalyser, not the least of which is that it says time and again in decisions like this — and that of Mr. Justice Washington in another matter — that the breathalyser must be kept within one degree centigrade of the atmosphere, that sampling has to be done in certain prescribed manners, that things have to be pumped so many times, and to administer these things, as technicians have informed me, in the controlled environment of a police station is difficult enough, but to administer them in a breathalyser.... Lawyers have told me that when a person has been charged, and when a person brings in counsel to fight a case with the breathalyser, the prosecutor has simply dropped the case.
I'm suggesting that there is a little bit of a problem down the road, and that the Attorney-General is going to have to come up with something else. The BATmobile does not solve the problem, and I would hope that he would consider some increased enforcement, particularly during the very sensitive hours, weekend evenings, when the problem of traffic fatalities is at its greatest.
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HON. MR. GARDOM: I'll endeavour to be short because there are a number of members who wish to ask questions, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, dealing with the matter of the safety of the Doukhobor community and other Doukhobor problems, I'd like to inform the hon. member that there has been continuous and ongoing consultation with the community by senior officials of this ministry. These have all been chronicled and recorded; it is an ongoing process; regional managers are in the field, who are available to consider special concerns — and they're doing that. Right now, as a matter of fact, we have one gentleman up there and others going, and they will be considering such matters as organizing exchanges on specific issues of interest to both Doukhobor groups, justice managers and other people in the community, recognizing, of course, the need to work on long-term solutions beyond the justice system. They are going to try to bring together informed and concerned citizens to explore solutions as proposed in the various reports that we've received from consultants. Meetings are starting early in July; and, as I say, it is an ongoing process.
I would also like to say that senior officials, regionally and in Victoria, have been accessible and receptive to orthodox and reformed Doukhobors. They have met on many occasions to consider possible remedies to their various problems in the community, which are unique problems, to encourage them to participate in local justice councils, and to try to attempt to reach local decisions. It is a local problem, and it's only a local decision that would bring about a solution for the Doukhobor community. They have the capacity to produce the solution, and I am very hopeful that they will fulfil that capacity. Regional managers of courts and corrections and Crown counsel, together with justice coordinators and the police, have offered individually and collectively to help in every possible way to alleviate the internal tensions and problems in the area.
All calls to police are responded to promptly. The police have been very diligent in the discharge of their responsibilities, and they're going to continue to be. On many occasions, as a matter of fact, special arrangements were made with the police for the protection of property and maintenance of the peace, and preventive patrols and so forth have been conducted. All occurrences have been thoroughly investigated and charges have been laid where justified. The police force has stationed constables with knowledge of the Russian language and Doukhobor customs in the area to better serve the needs of the whole of the community. A request for special peerage constables for Doukhobor use has been granted; provision has been made to make access by the community leaders to senior RCMP personnel a priority, and senior police officers have mediated in a number of disputes between Doukhobor groups in the hope of preserving harmony. This, I think, is a brief outline of the matters that are under consideration and the procedures that are taking place in the Doukhobor community.
We do develop our own sources of information. There have been illegal acts, and people have knowledge of those illegal acts. I would commend the hon. member that if he has any specific knowledge of any illegal act, he should bring that to the attention of the authorities as soon as he possibly can. I put that message similarly to any other people in that community or any other community in the province. B.C. people are law-abiding people and we're going to continue to be law-abiding people, and I'm very, very hopeful that the difficulties in the Doukhobor community will be resolved. I would say that by determined effort and resolve on the part of them, we can bring about an effective solution.
Quickly dealing with the question of BATmobiles, I'd have to inform the hon. member that the police who operate these vehicles do not agree with his position whatsoever — and neither do I — but you're certainly entitled to it. They are an excellent basis for the development of public awareness and alcohol education programs. This Counterattack program is unique in Canada; it's already producing very, very significant results, and we are going to have quite some things to announce for new strategies over the next coming months.
The BATmobiles, on balance, are used about 25 percent of the time in community projects, displays at schools, malls, exhibitions, service club meetings, et cetera. They're essentially responsible for developing the public awareness at the outset. Without public awareness you can't develop an attitudinal change. We have been able to do that. When I say "we," I mean the ministry and the people in this province. I give credit to the government and to the ministry for initiating, but I'll give full credit to everybody in B.C. for making it work. This is certainly not a political direction under any circumstances at all. It's a program, and without the support of everybody, and especially the media — the media have been fantastic in their support of this program — and without the support of the community groups and the schools and the trade union movement and the management, we would not be able to have the success we have.
Now Surrey concentrates on law enforcement with its vans and it only uses them, not 25 percent, but 3.4 percent of the time for other than standard police work. They have recorded, according to the figures I have here, some 23.8 percent decrease in alcohol-related casualty accidents. Driving-while-impaired charges have decreased from 13,068 in 1977 to 10,030 in 1978; fatalities decreased from 35 to 15; driving-while-impaired charges decreased by 24.7 percent. So you can see the deterrent effect that the BATmobile has created in that particular area alone. Insofar as the number of vehicles they checked in a year in B.C., this is an amazing statistic. We've got about 1.5 million cars in the province, and they checked last year about 240,000. If you want the precise figure, 239,879 vehicles were checked by the BATmobiles, and that's about one-sixth of the vehicular population in the province of B.C. So I think the message from this assembly to the people of the province of B.C. is this: if you wish to drink, that's your business; if you wish to drive, that's your business; but if you wish to drink and drive, that's our business and we're out there to see that you don't.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Just before I recognize the next member, perhaps the members of the committee would take this opportunity of welcoming a young man who is here to spend his summer holidays with his father. My son is in the gallery — age 9 and he's been here for half an hour. I don't know how he can do it.
MR. BARNES: Mr. Chairman, my comments will be very brief as usual. I would like to give a comparison to Mr. Attorney-General's suggestion that if you drink, if you
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drive or whatever you do in an automobile it becomes the government's business unless you're sober. Well, "if you drink and drive, it's our business." If you drink and do something else, it's your business — something to that effect.
I have one query to make of the Attorney-General: when does it become the government's business to enforce regulations dealing with maintenance orders that are passed, for instance, by the court in family court?
HON. MR. GARDOM: I answered that earlier, Em.
MR. BARNES: You'll get an opportunity to answer it again, and again, and again; answering it is only part of the problem. We want action. There are a number of situations that I have had an opportunity to attend and I think it's an incredibly unfortunate situation at a time when we are professing to be concerned about youngsters, having associated ourselves with this as the International Year of the Child, by creating a number of initiatives, such as the new Family Relations Act, and by trying to streamline our approaches to services to families. In fact we already have on the statute books sufficient regulations and enabling legislation that would assist in carrying out orders of maintenance where families, unfortunately, have had to part and youngsters are caught in the middle.
So my question to the Attorney-General is fundamental. Our laws are supposed to protect the offspring of families that have had to terminate. Why don't we enforce them effectively? I'm not suggesting there are not cases in which there are extenuating circumstances where a father, if he is designated the payee, or whether it be the contrary in some instances.... Perhaps it may be a female; whatever the case, surely we can be at least as enthusiastic about enforcing maintenance orders as we would if it were robbery, as suggested by the former Attorney-General, the second member for Vancouver East (Mr. Macdonald), when he suggested that you wouldn't hesitate to go after someone who had robbed a bank, who had violated someone's privacy in terms of their material belongings. But when it comes to violating the privacy of the youngster or the privacy of a female, and the rights of a person who is charged with maintaining another human being, we don't seem to have the capacity, or the enthusiasm, to ensure that justice isn't only seen to be done but, in fact, is done.
This is a condemnation of our system — not to suggest that it hasn't been addressed before, but to suggest that the situation is one that is not effective. I'm thinking of a family court in Vancouver where, it is said, 1,500 to 1,800 cases at any one time have to be processed with a staff of something like three officers who have anywhere from 400 to 600 cases. Obviously it is a far greater number than is possible to process by one individual. Further suggested is that, at the best estimate, they can process only about 80 of these cases in a month.
Clearly, it is a case of frustration for staff, and would signify a lack of government concern on behalf of the authorities who are to finance the proper numbers, and make effective the complements needed to carry out the regulations we're committed to enforce.
I am asking the Attorney-General to indicate to the assembly the government's attitude, its sense of concern and willingness to commit itself to a principle. I can recall when the 1975 election had just been completed. The new Premier stood before this House and he exclaimed the virtues of restraint. He talked about the need to tighten up our belts because they were going to be cost-efficient, and said we're going to concern ourselves with judicious expenditures of public funds and responsibility, and so forth.
However, Mr. Attorney-General, I'm sure you will agree that when you cut back funding for legal services and for services to people in general, you crippled programs such as the family court; and the damage, having been done, is now much more difficult to repair. That, in fact, is the legacy which you yourself inherited after the May 10, 1979, election. You created a problem and it's still with us. I would like you to comment on your justification for talking about this government as being a bottom-line government. Relax, you'll get an opportunity to respond in just a moment.
You're concerned with fiscal responsibility, with good husbandry of all resources and all of those great platitudinous concepts and principles of responsibility to the electorate. But don't you think that it is an oversight, Mr. Chairman, for this government which is concerned about bottom lines and cost efficiency not to recognize that young people, especially in the Year of the Child...? Is it not reasonable to assume that young people are really the bottom line in any society? They are really the most natural, the most important, the most cherished resource that we have. I don't think that the actions of this government in any way indicate that they are really committed to that concept and to that belief.
It is much more difficult for me standing here, Mr. Chairman, to try and speak on behalf of those mothers who are attempting, on their own, with little experience in the questions of judicial process, to try and enforce regulations that sufficient complements should be available to enforce on behalf of the province. There are many cases of women who have simply given up. They've given up because the staff that they apply to in the family courts put them off, and the reason they put them off is because they're overworked. They have insufficient facilities to cope with the caseloads, and out of this hopeless kind of overload evolves an attitude of hopelessness, an attitude of perhaps, with respect, Mr. Chairman, indifference.
It is not an indifference that they come on the job with, but it's an indifference that develops when you become frustrated because there simply isn't anything that you can do. You can't do the impossible. Why else would a good service — especially a family and children's court, Mr. Chairman — concern itself with a regulation that says: "Please do not telephone the court regarding non-receipt of payments."? In other words, what they are saying is: "Don't call us, we'll call you. We know you've got a problem; we've got a problem too. We can't do anything about it. All we can do is take your application and hope for the best."
There are cases, Mr. Chairman, where mothers have applied for restraints on husbands to try and locate them, or in some cases have even located them, which is even more significant. They have located their husbands and have given the addresses to the courts, and have said: "I know where my former husband lives. He is working at such and such a place, has been there for a year or six months or whatever. Would you please enforce the court order?" And to this day some of those orders have not been enforced,
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Mr. Attorney-General. The excuse is that our details that look into these matters are overloaded and there is at least a two-month wait before we can get around to giving out an order.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Your colleague has gone through this whole thing. I'll be happy to respond to it. You didn't hear the answer.
MR. BARNES: Mr. Chairman, with respect, I appreciate that my colleague may have gone through it, but would you make a public statement, would you go on the air tonight, would you go on television and tell those people that henceforth, as a commitment on behalf of the Attorney-General's department and the province of British Columbia, we will ensure that the same respect will be paid to those court orders as is paid to someone who gets robbed and we send the police after them and hound-dog them to death until we nail them and make them pay? Or what about the child? What's happening to the child in the meantime as these payments are delayed? I'm not suggesting that there are no cases that have a valid reason, perhaps, for non-payment. There are a number of extenuating circumstances, as I've said before, but I don't think there is any excuse for the court not ensuring that that is the case. How are you going to know whether there is an extenuating circumstance if you don't inquire, if you don't follow through, if you don't get the person in a position where they at least will make a commitment or a submission with respect to their former wives and their child? As you said yourself, if you drink and drive, that's our business; you can do a number of other things and it is not. Well, if you are going to have kids, it should be our concern that those kids be protected, even if only as a gesture. Mr. Chairman, I think we have that duty and responsibility.
I would like to suggest a challenge to the Attorney-General. I think that he has a golden opportunity, one that he could use, if he is so inclined, for political purposes. I'm sure he wouldn't do this in the House, undivided as it is. I don't mind if he gets political kudos from doing a good deed for the public, but he has an excellent opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to proclaim personally that his ministry, not only because this is International Year of the Child — as has already been proclaimed by the government — will scrutinize every single piece of legislation on the statutes with respect to ensuring that children are given full protection under the law, and are given the knowledge that we respect them and appreciate them as our most valuable resource.
I think that if we start to do that, the same as we protect our forests, our natural resources and our minerals in the ground, then we will begin to get the kind of enthusiasm from the young people and from the families that we need, and the confidence in our system and the belief that we mean what we say when we say that this is a free and just society, and justice will be done, come what may. That is not the case.
I would challenge the Attorney-General not only to respond to my questions, which he says have already been answered, but to take the initiative to promote the concept of justice, to let the youngsters know that we really care about them. How many youngsters really know that this is the International Year of the Child? Certainly you can't convince those who are being battered. You can't convince those mothers who are struggling, trying to chase down husbands in order to get maintenance, and being turned down by the staff at the courthouses because obviously they can't handle the situation.
I think the situation, Mr. Chairman, borders on a non-deliberate form of criminality. I say "non-deliberate" because I don't think that any of those staff want to be derelict in their duties and responsibilities, but the fact is that we are undermining our youth, we are creating youngsters with a sense of cynicism, with a sense of disbelief. I think we will find that, for a bottom-line government, you are going to get back far more than you reap. I think that in your expediency, your measures of restraint and cost-efficiency at the cost of good attitudes and developing young minds and giving the democratic process a chance to work in the sense of fair play, these things are being seriously neglected.
Would you please, Mr. Attorney-General — through you, Mr. Chairman — respond to those remarks?
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Chairman, I don't usually, and I'm not going to this time, say that nothing happened before and we were the first people that did it. I really thank the hon. member for his remarks, but I bring to his attention that it was we who initiated the automatic enforcement of maintenance orders. It didn't happen before. It should have happened before and, quite frankly, I would have been much happier if we had been able to have got to it a great deal earlier than we did, but, as I mentioned to your colleague when you weren't in the room, I made the announcement along the lines of what you discussed today because you hit the nail on the head. There are people out there who have the capacity to pay, and they haven't been doing it. They've been shirking their duty and it has been lodged into your taxes, your friend's taxes, my taxes and my friend's taxes. It is just improper, because they are improperly avoiding their responsibilities.
Now that was the thrust of your remarks, and you said something has got to be done about it. I agree with you. You said I've got to go on television, I've got to go on radio, I've got to tell you across the floor of the House.... I'm going to tell you right now that something is being done about it. It's not yet throughout the whole of the province. It is, in my view, not the most difficult thing to incorporate, but there have been some difficulties in the initial stages. Automatic enforcement of maintenance orders is now in place in Vancouver Island and in the Interior. These are two out of the six regions in the province, and in the first four months of this year, out of those regions there was collected about $1.5 million.
So, hon. member, the figures that you'd like to have.... We can estimate between $10 million to $12 million will be collected from those people who have the capacity to pay. Up until now, and during the former administration — perhaps the former former — no steps were being taken in many cases automatically, and the step was left entirely to the individual to take those procedures — and it's usually "she," the lady herself on behalf of her children. That's the most frequent case. Sometimes it's the other side of the coin.
What would they do? Well, they could try to garnishee wages, or moneys that were owing. They could seize goods if necessary and sell them, in the event of the fellow defaulting and not honouring the capacity to pay. They
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could seize land, or an interest in land if he had an interest in land, and put it up for sale to try to realize upon it. If an order was made and there was an absolutely flagrant disobedience of the monthly order, the individual would have to come to court to show cause why he should not be committed for contempt. Those provisions are in the new Family Relations Act; they have been even beefed up under the new Family Relations Act. We have started the program of the automatic enforcement of the maintenance orders.
Primarily, I want to thank you for your support. But I sure wish I'd got the support of people like yourself and other people in the House in this project a few years ago, because it was needed just as much then as it is today.
MR. HOWARD: If one ministry is more singularly important than others I think this would probably be it, because it concerns itself or should concern itself with a subject matter that has concerned societies ever since societies existed. Generally speaking, this subject is what society does to relate to and be of help to those who — and I hesitate to use these words because they're so imprecise, but they're the ones that are used and I don't know if any others exist that would better describe it — deviate from the norm, whatever the norm may be at any given time and whatever it might mean.
Unless we can come to grips in our own consciousness about how this subject matter should be approached, we are faced with a far more serious social difficulty than we've experienced up until now. We have had a tendency — and perhaps this thing is cyclical, I don't know — in the last 15 or 20 years to shunt off the decision-making to the group of professionals loosely identified as social scientists. Generally speaking society and governments — the political level — have absolved themselves from direct involvement. They've left the experimentation, the decisions and the programs to the psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and the group of professional scientific minds in the category which deals with social matters.
HON. MR. GARDOM: As opposed to the family.
MR. HOWARD: "As opposed to the family," the Attorney-General says. That's unnecessarily narrowing it down, I think, because it is not only a family problem; it's a social matter that we have to look at. Whether we like it or not, there are children who are born and grow up with no families. There is no family responsibility there. That's what I mean by saying we have absolved ourselves, society generally, from tremendous concern in that area; we've let somebody else do it.
There are community programs that come before us from time to time. They have varied experience and varied beneficial effect. The minister and I have talked about one. He knows about it. It's referred to as Camp Weewanie in the Douglas Channel, and it's operated by a group called the Northward Bound Society, which I understand is the only residential centre to assist younger children who get into the glue or into grief with the law. It has operated as a summer program three or four months out of the year. There was an attempt made and there is still the hope and the desire that that camp will be able to be placed on an operative basis for a nine-month period. They chose the nine months, excluding the three winter months because of excessive snowfall in that part of the country. They thought that they would have insurmountable weather problems if they tried to run it year round. So they thought in terms of the nine months. They have sought to get long-term commitments from the government, from the Attorney-General, from his department, about funding that program, so they could plan ahead and so they could have more than just the casual summer type of activity. There was a letter written in this regard dated May 30 of this year by a Bernard G. Robinson, who is the commissioner of the corrections branch. I only quote one part of it because I think, as I've expressed to the minister also, that there is a misunderstanding about what has occurred there. Mr. Robinson says: "Moreover, it is the view of the corrections branch that an evaluation of the program based on more than one summer's operation is required." And there are other factors that he wants to examine, such as the location of the camp and so on — fine and dandy and worth examining.
The implication in the letter is that that camp has only been in operation for one summer. That is not the case. There is more than one summer's experience by the group in the Northward Bound Society who have operated that camp. They have asked for and in fact at one time had a meeting scheduled with the minister. This was before the intervention of that provincial election which the Premier now, I gather, says he wishes he hadn't called. Nonetheless it did happen. There was a meeting scheduled for April 19, I believe it was.
HON. MR. GARDOM: You'd still be in Ottawa.
MR. HOWARD: Whether we like it or not, here I am, and here I hope to stay. And I hope also, Mr. Chairman, to move to the other side of the House the next time around. Lest there be any uncertainties about that, I'll belong to the same party that I belong to now when that happens.
There was a meeting scheduled with the directors of Camp Weewanie with the Attorney-General for April 19 because they wanted to talk with him about the long-term commitment, about the funding, about the necessity of having the evaluation of that camp and its operations. The meeting was cancelled, hasn't been resumed. Requests have been made for it, a request for an evaluation, and nothing so far except two very important things that have taken place.
One is that there was a boat available through the corrections branch which the Northward Bound Society used to travel from Kitimat down the channel to Camp Weewanie and back, taking workers and people and supplies back and forth. On the very eve of a meeting that I had scheduled with the minister to talk with him about this, the board of directors of Camp Weewanie got a phone call from the corrections branch saying it wanted the keys to the boat because it was being relocated out on the coast some place — you couldn't have it any longer.
Now there is some breakdown of communication between the minister and the corrections branch, if nothing else, when the minister is prepared to meet one day to talk about the long-term funding, or the evaluation of it, and his own people in his own branch are cancelling it and saying they want the boat, that it's not any longer available.
I raised that with the minister privately. He did say: "Don't take the boat away for a while, until we can look at this." But it's now gone or in the way of being gone. Somebody in the convention branch, I think, has been giving the minister bad advice — either that, or the minister
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has been misinterpreting the advice that he's got, because what the minister says about Camp Weewanie and the intentions and the hopes of government is not what the corrections branch says.
Apropos of that I ask the minister if he would make a commitment here to assign somebody immediately, please, to go up to Kitimat to talk with the Northward Bound Society board of directors, to start the evaluation process, to look at the location, to see whether something could be done to save what is a very valuable facility for young kids in that area. I notice the minister shakes his head, saying, yes, he'll do it. But will he make that commitment to do that, so that I can get back to the people in Kitimat and say: "Look, Mr. Gardom is a good guy."?
HON. MR. GARDOM: Don't go too far!
MR. HOWARD: Well, they might not believe me, but I'm sure they will, especially if I tell them that, yes, you'll have somebody on the plane tomorrow morning to come up there to talk with them.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I can't give you any commitment about the plane tomorrow morning, hon. member.
Unfortunately I don't have the Weewanie material in front of me, but we have discussed it and we're each aware of the problem. It has proved to be a useful short-term program. But it is very questionable, because of that particular locale, with the heavy winters and the snows, that it would be useful as a long-term program.
The corrections branch was fully committed to carry on the program this summer, and the offer was made to Weewanie. Weewanie said: "No, we're not prepared to carry on with the same type of program that we had last year. We have to have a longer program or no way." They were given an increase of around 12 or 13 percent — I forget the exact amount of money, but there's more than adequate money for them to have carried on the same program that they had last year. Their last year's program complement was not full. I think they had 10 or 11 youngsters in each camp, whereas they had a capacity for 15 — I may be incorrect in those particular figures. Insofar as giving you a commitment is concerned, sir, to have somebody go up there and have additional discussions with them, I'm very happy to do that but I think there's been a lot more discussion between people first hand at Weewanie than you and I know about — I think they've been almost talking their ears off up there — but if it will serve any purpose I'm delighted to say, yes, I'll see that somebody will re-approach them. It's getting to be a little late in the summer, probably too late for them to even have an August program now. But it was Weewanie who turned it down.
I know you are doing a good job for your constituents there, and I congratulate you on that. But I have to mention that, insofar as saying we're prepared to go ahead and commit the necessary dollars to have it run on a year-round or nine-month basis, sir, on the advice that we have received to date it does not appear to be practical.
MR. HOWARD: Camp Weewanie directors, or the Northward Bound Society directors, have been in touch with the minister. They did have a meeting set up for this spring — in April, as I said — which was cancelled. Perhaps if the minister had kept that commitment and kept that meeting, things wouldn't have got to the stage that they are at now. When he says that the board of directors of the Northward Bound Society decided that they could not proceed with the program this summer, they advised him why, and the reason is a very simple one: that they could not get workers who are basically volunteer workers to go there and participate in a program if it was only going to be for three or four months of the year — that was their difficulty. They should have got some commitment from government earlier in the spring — to do an evaluation, to have a look at it. But if the minister — who is not here with us now; he politely said he had to step out for a minute, and that's understandable — had taken the trouble, Mr. Chairman, to have examined this last winter when the directors of the Northward Bound Society were trying to get a meeting with him and a commitment from him, and if he hadn't goofed off and said, "I can't do anything until the budget comes down" — which is really not so — he could have met with the people, he could have talked about it, he could have had this evaluation made.
I must come back to the fact that I think, regardless of what the minister says about his support for the program, et cetera, somebody is making a mistake. It's either that the minister is getting the wrong information tunnelled through to him from the corrections branch, or he is not interpreting it properly, or he is playing politics with it, dating back to last winter. The sad part of it is that a lot of kids who might have been helped by this particular program — and proof of the past is that they have been helped by it — will not now be helped.
I think all that happens, all this reflects is seen in the government's response to the Kitimat Justice Council, an organization operating in Kitimat at a different level than the Northward Bound Society and Camp Weewanie. It's an organization that operates within the community, working with youngsters who have difficulties in school or difficulties at home or difficulties with their contemporaries, emotional or associative problems and so on, a corps of mental health workers of tremendous value and help to youngsters in society. We can't even get a letter in reply from the Attorney-General about setting up a meeting with that council. I've written to him and I spoke with him about that. We don't even get a response that says: "Yes, let's sit down and have a meeting with the people from the Kitimat Justice Council." I just think it's a sluff-off of responsibility.
Now, Mr. Chairman, we're dealing in an area mentioned earlier that's an extremely sensitive one, something that, I'm sure, each person is concerned about, probably has a different approach one from the other. I'd mentioned earlier that part of the problem we are facing stems from the fact that governments in society have abandoned their responsibility and their concern to a group of professionals, and have hoped for the best. There has been a lot of experimentation that's gone on and I don't know whether it's been measurably helpful in the long run, but it has happened.
In my view, the place where we should concentrate our activity, the age group within which we should bend over backwards to do everything possible to help, is that age group in the teens. When youngsters are in school, when youngsters are in their early formative years, that's when they need the help the most, particularly if they have emotional difficulties, particularly if there are family problems, particularly if there are difficulties of a social
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nature that we don't want to identify by declaration but know exist.
Unless we're prepared to put the time and the money and the effort into working with youngsters in those earlier years, then we should be fully prepared to accept the fact that many of them whom we abandon now are going to end up in our Oakallas and are going to end up in that fancy drug treatment centre that's just been opened up-Island here somewhere, and are going to end up in our prison system. Once they do that, the opportunity for any valuable or meaningful rehabilitative work — and I use that word rehabilitative advisedly because it's a meaningless catchphrase — disappears.
The time to help and the time to work and the time to bend the effort is when a person is younger; when a person has his first brushes with the law, to use that phrase; when a person is in his formative years and wondering what it's all about; when a person is growing up and wants to experiment with life, as we all do and all did, as to what this life thing is all about, and who are we within it, and what are our contemporaries doing. We have an attraction and a group of attractions in society that say to us that this is the live-it-up year, this is the live-it-up era, this is the time to be excited about things, this is the time to experiment. We get advertisements bombarded at us that we should experiment with booze and drugs and a variety of other activities. Many kids do, and I think it's probably normal for them to do that, because that's part of what growing up is all about.
There is very little attraction, very little pressure, very little advice given to younger people as to how they can learn to be responsible to themselves as growing citizens; they're abandoned to their own fates. The Attorney-General interrupted earlier and said the family has abandoned its responsibility, and that is probably as accurate as anything where the families exist. I know of families, and I'm sure everyone in this chamber does, where the family — the mother, or the father, or both — will very readily say to the youngster of 12, 13 or 14 years old: "Here's $10. Go out to a show or go out someplace tonight. Don't bother us. We're going to a party." Or "We're going someplace else." The more the youngster finds that money comes easily and that he can live his own life with his contemporaries and his peers in the areas which are attractive to him, without the counterbalancing parental or adult guidance about responsibility to the individual, then we are headed for trouble.
Just the other day, now that the Sun has resumed activities — and I don't recall whether this was a column in an earlier edition of the Sun or not; I'm told it isn't — in the July 3 edition was an item called "Youth Clinic" where young readers submit questions and ideas about what is troubling them. Let me read one, and I submit to you that this is symptomatic of what a number of young kids are facing:
"Dear Dr. Levine:
"I'm 16 years old. I've been depressed and having a lot of problems lately, especially with my parents. For the last two weeks I've been drinking almost every day in the morning, just before my first class, and again just before I go home. I know if I don't stop I'll turn into an alcoholic. I'm pretty fed up with life right now, myself included. There's absolutely no one that I can talk to."
He gets advice about those things. The responsive Dr. Levine is okay to that, but I only wanted to read the letter to indicate that each of us knows about families and thinks about families in our own communities. We know that that story of that young person can be duplicated over and over again. All the social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists to whom society has given the responsibility are not going to be able to help those youngsters to the extent that we would hope to be possible.
Over the years I have talked with a number of adults who have got themselves further and further into the jail business and into the jail system. If one gets to know, on a personal basis, a lot of people in that category, you get many kernels of truth from them as to what the situation is. The Attorney-General could go tomorrow and talk with dozens of people in the B.C. Penitentiary, and if he got from them the truthful attitude they have — and I'm sure he could get it — he would find that not one of them would indicate that all the social workers and psychologists and psychiatrists in the B.C. Penitentiary are of any help to them. Many in the B.C. Penitentiary, having gone through the system, look upon their relationship with social workers and psychologists as fun and games.
They like the change from the dull routine of prison life. They like the idea of stepping out of the ordinary daily activity in a prison system and going down and talking with a nice-looking young person of the opposite sex who is a psychologist or social worker. It's great activity for the guy while he's there, but it's not helpful; it is at the wrong time in that person's life.
If the minister is not prepared at this stage to go a little bit further than he has gone in talking about groups, about the Northward Bound Society; if he is prepared to put money where his mouth is — as the saying goes — and expend a little more interest and activity in the area of dealing with younger kids when they get into trouble, then we don't have very much to look forward to, except, as I said, an intensification of those sorts of things we wish we could straighten now.
We can't look forward, I think, to any tremendous decline in the delinquency rate. We can't look forward to a lessening of the vandalism that takes place from time to time. We can’t look forward to a reduction in the numbers of people either absolute or proportionate who run afoul of the law.
The statistical analysis made of federal prisons dating back well into the 1930s, ranging over a period of time when the prison systems operated from the crushing silence system, in which inmates weren't allowed to talk to each other except at certain periods of time, had their heads shaved and all of the other indignities that were visited upon individuals, to the complete near-open type of prison system that we have today, shows that the statistics with respect to recidivism today are identical to what they were in the 1930s. There has been not one whit of change over that whole period of time.
The range of concern shown by prison administrators has gone from one extreme almost to the other. There is no effective statistical indication of a change in the pattern, because, or partly because, they're dealing with people in the prison system at the wrong point of their life, at the wrong time in their life. A person who ends up in a prison, having gone through the juvenile delinquency period and the juvenile detention homes and the correctional institutions and Oakalla and so on, has established a pattern of activity. He's comfortable with it. So-called rehabilitation,
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which is a misnomer and an inapplicable phrase, doesn't serve much point. As sure as we are sitting here in this Legislature today, if we could spend the same kind of effort with a person who is 15 and 16 and 17 years of age, or in that general age area, as we do on the third- and fourth-time loser in the prison system at the federal level, we'd have many more successes to look forward to. It's just regrettable that we have sought to place the emphasis in the wrong place. We have sought to put it at the wrong level.
It may be a question of jurisdiction — I don't know that — because we know that people who run into the prison system and get sentences of two years less a day come under the authority of the provincial government, and that sentences which are two years or longer are in the federal system. It may be that because of the relatively short length of sentences that come under the jurisdiction of the province — you know, three months for this and six months for that and 30 days for something else — they have felt any concerted approach to so-called rehabilitation in the provincial system is not very appropriate because the timespan of the individual in contact with the rehabilitation program is very minimal. They may have felt that because of that they haven't gone too far into the rehabilitation system. But it cannot come back too strongly, I think, for the minister himself, who immediately responded when I opened my commentary about this by making reference to the family.... He should spend some time trying to get the family back into the system again.
I put this forward as a very serious proposition, although I can appreciate that there will be difficulties in attracting this group of people to work with younger children who get into difficulty. But if we could employ the services of men and women who have had experiences in the past similar to those which youngsters are having, then we would be doing some beneficial work.
What's the secret of AA? As any member of AA will tell you, the secret of AA is based on the in-group theory — namely that a person will more likely accept advice from somebody who has a similar history or is in a similar set of circumstances and will tend to reject advice when it comes from the outside. So an alcoholic will accept guidance and advice from someone who has been an alcoholic more readily than he will from a clergyman or a social worker or somebody who doesn't know what it's all about.
The same is true in the area of criminality. Young kids who think it's a great and glorious and romantic venture to engage in escapades of a criminal or near-criminal nature will listen to their elders if their elders have gone through the same system. This is the kind of advice that I would recommend to the minister as well.
I gather my time is running short and such being the case, I leave it at that. Perhaps I'll have an opportunity later to ask the minister further about some responses.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Member, I was just going to remind all hon. members that there appears to be an awful lot of conversation going on in the House. That was what my comment was. I wasn't referring you to the time or anything but that I thought the noise level was getting rather high.
MR. HOWARD: I'll conclude it at that, then, in any event, Mr. Chairman. It seems like a good stopping place.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I have a quick response to the hon. member concerning problem areas and sentencing alternatives. There are some very interesting statistics here, and I'm referring to the British Columbia system, not the federal corrections. This is only the B.C. system — two years less a day.
In 1964, for example, 65 percent of all offenders were in custody, and the rate for an offender in custody today is about $13,000 per annum. In 1964, 65 percent of all offenders were in custody; in 1978 the percentage was reduced to 20 percent. Now that's really a dramatic change and a great credit to all the people who are involved in the correction system in the province. We dropped from 65 percent of every convicted offender in B.C. in custody to 20 percent in 1978. I suppose if the trend holds, we could contemplate a reduction to about 16 percent by about 1983. This is a substantial shift in the pattern of the very costly secure-custody bed spaces.
In 1968, 71 percent of the inmates were held in secure custody; in 1978 the figure was 55 percent, and 45 percent were in open custody and in bed spaces. As you are perhaps aware, we have a variety of programs here. There is the temporary absence program, which is an excellent program. Last year individuals on the temporary absence program — and there were 2,841 people employed — earned about $1.1 million. Out of that they acted as responsible citizens and paid restitution and fines of some $27,000, room and board of $60,000, family maintenance of $257,000, debts of $111,000 and they even paid income tax of $214,000. Now that is a good utilization of a program.
We also have the community service orders, the community correctional centres, the forest camps, the Outward Bound programs and the fine option programs.
I'm not going to start taking credit for all this, I'll tell you. I'll take credit for some of it, but certainly not for all of it. A tremendous amount was done by the former former administration in this field, and I thank them for that. I'd also like to say, though, that the people who I think have been the leaders in the field are the professionals in B.C. They have produced the best system in Canada, and we've got a great deal to be proud of. But we are not stopping, under any circumstances. It's their mandate, and it's certainly our request that they continue to do whatever they can to improve the situation. There will always be anomalies; there will always be, unfortunately, some failures. We can't avoid that — we're human beings. But on balance, hon. member, I think we've got about the best program in Canada.
MRS. DAILLY: Mr. Chairman, I have just two brief questions for the Attorney-General. First of all, though, I would like to congratulate the Attorney-General on what is apparently a very sincere commitment to eradicate the drinking driver and the ravages and the accidents which have come from the great increase in the numbers of drinking drivers over the past years. I think the Attorney-General has given excellent leadership in this.
Following that, I would like to mention particularly to him, though, that I have a very grave concern about the increase in the number of teenage alcoholics. I've watched very carefully the programs which the Attorney-General's ministry has been putting on the television and on radio.
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HON. MR. GARDOM: I believe some of those are Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
MRS. DAILLY: Well, whoever's ministry it is. Maybe I should bring it up with him. But could you use your influence to try and zero in more on the teenage driver? I hope that you can work with the Minister of Education, Science and Technology (Hon. Mr. McGeer), and the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mrs. McCarthy) in this area. I'll have an opportunity to bring up more on that in the other ministries' estimates.
The second question has to do with the illegitimate child. In the province of British Columbia much has happened to eradicate some of the stigma which is attached to illegitimacy, but I am still very concerned, Mr. Attorney-General, that there is still a considerable amount of discrimination which exists against the illegitimate child. I understand that in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario they have actually brought in legislation which eliminates some of the last vestiges of discrimination against the illegitimate child.
The specific example I want to talk about is in the area of inheritance and maintenance as it relates to the illegitimate child in British Columbia. I'm sure that the Attorney-General is aware that if an illegitimate child lives with his parents, along with his legitimate peers, if the father should happen to become deceased, the illegitimate child has actually no claim at all on the estate.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Under the Testator's Family Maintenance Act.
MRS. DAILLY: Yes. I consider that completely discriminatory, Mr. Attorney-General, and I'm sure you'd agree with me. As you know, in this International Year of the Child we are very concerned about the rights of the child, and I think this is an area that your ministry and your government could move upon. It also affects the area of maintenance, because I think we all know that the illegitimate child is also left without any real status in this area at times. They're not treated equally with the child who is legitimate.
So what I'm really saying is: can we not abolish illegitimacy altogether in the province of British Columbia? We could do that if your ministry could move on those areas with reference to inheritance and maintenance. So I'd be most interested in your reaction to that.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Chairman, unfortunately I can't put my fingertips on the specifics dealing with what Counterattack is now doing in the schools. but we have developed a major program this year in the schools. We had the scholarships. They proved to be very successful. They have been to a number of schools in the province developing the program and securing the interest and the assistance of the teachers. At that time, the message is primarily drinking and driving, but I agree with you about the cause of alcoholism and the advertisements you were referring to. Ours really only dealt with Counterattack. This ministry's is only Counterattack, and my colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, had run some advertisements concerning lifestyle and drinking, and they were very well received. Perhaps you can address your specific questions to him.
Dealing with inheritance and maintenance, I think you're referring really to two statutes here. First of all there is the Administration Act, and there are, by virtue of an amendment to the Administration Act in 1972, provisions for a common-law spouse and illegitimate children. The Administration Act comes into play where people don't have wills.
Now in the will situation, I think you were drawing to my attention the Testator's Family Maintenance Act, where provision is not made in a will. Is it possible to make a provision for illegitimate people? Under the Testator's Family Maintenance Act, section 2 says "For the purposes of the Act, an illegitimate child shall be treated as if he were a legitimate child of his mother." So we have the protection in each of those statutes, but I’m very interested in what you're talking about in other jurisdictions. If you'd like to let me know what those particular bills are, I would certainly like to take a took at them because insofar as the thrust of your remarks is concerned, I agree with them.
MR. LEGGATT: I'd like to raise briefly again with the Attorney-General a matter that I raised yesterday evening. I've now had a chance to canvass the answer that was given in the House last night to my inquiry about a telephone call that was placed to a provincial court judge. The minister, in answer to my general questioning, said:
I can assure you, sir — and I've been informed by the Deputy Attorney-General — that at no time would the Deputy Attorney-General, or any Deputy Attorney-General that I've known, attempt to interfere in any manner whatsoever with the independence of the judiciary . If he was doing that, it would be highly improper. He would be the first person to say that and so would I."
I'm quoting from the Attorney-General's remarks.
Now the difficulty I have with that answer, Mr. Chairman, is that those were remarks of the provincial court judge given in open court, given in the presence of a court reporter, clearly trying to sound a warning to the public, as I read it, that something had happened that had upset him and concerned him a great deal.
I want to just go back again very briefly to some of the history, but I'm not suggesting here that the motives of the person making the call were improper. I would think his motives were, in terms of his own responsibility, seen to be an attempt to keep provincial jurisdiction surrounding family law in the province of British Columbia. Now that, as far as it goes, is a worthwhile motive. Why I raise this question is that it is still improper, in my view — and the Attorney-General must take responsibility for the actions of his deputy — for a phone call of this nature to be made to a judge.
One of the reasons that this kerfuffle came about and one of the great difficulties is that the Attorney-General did not take the legal course available to him in regard to the family law which he should have done. There is an element of neglect, Mr. Chairman, before we even get into this problem of the phone call to the judge. I could perhaps illustrate it very briefly by referring the Attorney-General to the decision of Mr. Justice Gould of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, quoted as Re C. v. C. (1974) 17 RFL 96 at page 100. I will give just a brief quotation from it:
"The task of sorting out precisely what the province of British Columbia can and cannot do in matrimonial law bristles with difficulties. This judgment is not an occasion for a full treatment of
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the subject, because such would be mainly for the academic guidance of provincial legislators who very properly do not — and should not — act on the findings of a single judge sitting in a court of first instance."
This is the part I want the Attorney-General to take notice of:
"The provincial executive has at hand, by the Constitutional Questions Determination Act, RSBC 1960, c. 72, the means of invoking a full judicial opinion, if it wants such, on the whole difficult subject from the appellate court of the province."
Now, it seems to me that we have an Attorney-General who is afraid of the decision that might be given by the appellate court of the province of British Columbia with regard to the constitutional jurisdiction of that particular legislation. And where the error began was with the failure of the Attorney-General to refer that under the Constitutional Questions Determination Act, because clearly his advisers must have had serious reservations about the constitutional validity of that particular law. Instead of that we had a provincial court judge who clearly had serious questions about the constitutional validity of the law that he was asked to deal with and, in quite a sincere way, had no choice but to follow his legal instincts and find that it was not within his constitutional jurisdiction to deal with it. Instead of referring that matter to the Court of Appeal for a determination of the constitutional validity, a mandamus proceeding was taken to a supreme court judge to require that judge to hear the matter. Subsequent to that a telephone call was received, as I read the record from the court, which attempted — and if I'm in error I would be pleased to be corrected — to have the judge disqualify himself on the ground of bias. And the judge in inquiring into the thing found, in fact, that he wasn't biased; he didn't know the people who were in front of his court; all he knew was the constitutional question, and he did what a good judge always does.
Now we need good, strong, independent judges in the province of British Columbia, who are willing to stand up to the Attorney-General. And, Mr. Chairman, that's a pretty important principle. And so, as I said at the beginning of my remarks, I wasn't suggesting that there were improper motives, in the sense that any phone call was made for personal gain or to help someone out. No, the motive was clear: it was to try to protect the constitutional validity of this particular law. But the conduct was wrong, Mr. Chairman, because that judge in open court clearly felt that he was interfered with.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I'm asking the Attorney-General to give serious consideration to appointing either a retired supreme court judge or someone senior in the legal profession to conduct an inquiry to determine if the complaints by this particular judge have validity. And if they don't I would be the first one to say: "Fine, the air is cleared, and we know that the independence of the provincial judiciary is protected." But I must say, Mr. Chairman, at this point I don't think we can say that, because, you see, the Attorney-General is in the unfortunate position of being a judge in his own case in this instance. I accept what the Attorney-General says in this House, as I have to as a member of this Legislature. But it seems to me a question is still left open: was there an interference with this particular court, in the sense that the judge felt he was interfered with and took the trouble to say in open court that he did not appreciate the phone call? It does seem to me that something more is required than simply a reply in this House. It seems to me the public are entitled to be satisfied through an independent inquiry, by a person not under the jurisdiction of the Attorney-General's ministry, as to what in fact was said and done in this particular instance.
Now I don't know whether the Attorney-General would like to respond at this point. I have several other matters I'd like to raise, Mr. Chairman, but perhaps I can raise them as the votes proceed.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Hon. members, I would like to just detail some of the sequence of events, if I may. First of all, the hon. member last night quoted from a transcript of court proceedings on Wednesday, May 9. I think it is necessary for me to give some additional background on the matter, and that is that on Tuesday, April 10, Judge Govan gave a lengthy and reasoned judgment in which he declared section 6 of the Family Relations Act to be ultra vires of the province of British Columbia. When this judgment was brought to the attention of ministerial officials, they realized that there were two defects in it. There had not been notices which are called for under the Constitutional Questions Determination Act served on either the federal government or on the provincial government pursuant to that statute, and that statute calls for that action to be taken. The second defect was that argument in support of the section's validity, or against the section's validity, was not presented by either counsel concerned in the case. As a consequence there were a number of telephone conversations between the Deputy Attorney-General, Chief Judge Goulet, Administrative Judge Reed and His Honour Judge Govan. As a result of these discussions it was decided by ministerial officials to bring on a mandamus application in the Supreme Court of B.C., which would compel the matter to be returned to the provincial court. This would bring on another hearing in that court, but after notices had been issued, and appropriately issued under the Constitutional Questions Determination Act to the federal attorney, and to the provincial attorney, also subject to argument being had by both sides.
The proceedings in the supreme court were before Chief Justice MacEachen on April 23. The chief justice of the province, after hearing the arguments both from the provincial Crown and on behalf of Judge Govan, made the order and remitted the matter back to the provincial court for hearing. On the Wednesday, May 9, counsel for the ministry appeared before Judge Govan and the submission made at that time was that the judge disqualify himself from further consideration in the matter on the basis that he, having previously given judgment on the issue, would raise a reasonable apprehension of predisposition.
MR. LEGGATT: It wasn't on that issue.
HON. MR. GARDOM: My friend across the floor says there's no problem with that issue.
MR. LEGGATT: He hadn't dealt with the litigants.
HON. MR. GARDOM: It was therefore suggested in front of Judge Govan that he was now unlikely to be able to be seen to be unbiased on the law. Essentially he would be asked to re-hear something which he had already taken a
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step ab initio himself to determine without the notices being given and without people having opportunity to argue the issue in front of him. The remarks which you refer to were made by the judge in the course of the submissions on the occasion. As a consequence of the concerns about which I referred to last night, I spoke to the Deputy Attorney-General, and he does not agree with that which was attributed to him by Judge Govan. The deputy is fully prepared to appear before Judge Govan in open court, or anywhere else for that matter. We're quite happy to do what we can to see that the matter is fully on record.
I've had a discussion earlier today with Chief Judge Goulet, and he informed me that he had had a number of conversations with the deputy about the administration of justice in the family division of the provincial court, as one would anticipate, as a consequence of the judgement in the Sumner v. Sumner case given on April 10. These were routine, and expected, and anticipated. The communications between the chief judge and the Deputy Attorney-General were in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. That's essentially where we are today.
MR. LEGGATT: The Attorney-General hasn't directed his attention to two issues which I raised in my remarks. First of all, would he respond to whether he feels it incumbent upon him, in view of the remarks of Judge Govan, to have an independent inquiry by someone in the profession, and not under the jurisdiction of the Attorney-General's department? That's one of the questions I've asked to which the Attorney-General has not responded. The Attorney-General has not responded to the question of why the Constitutional Questions Determination Act was not used in the first instance, in view of the fact that there was a general feeling some serious constitutional question had resulted. I want to make it clear, Mr. Chairman, that we support the principle behind the family law. We think it's a very progressive and desirable move. But that's a different question from the one we're dealing with here, and that the very real danger of a judge feeling he has been interfered with. Our judges are not a political arm of the Attorney-General's department. He simply appoints those judges, and from that point on they are generally free to act completely and properly independently, subject to recall only for misconduct. It's very clear that this particular judge acted properly and appropriately, and that he felt constrained to put it on the record.
Read it again; it seems to me there is a matter of deep principle here involved when the Deputy Attorney-General can suggest that the administrative judges, judges who in good faith render judgments contrary to the administrative convenience of the Deputy Attorney-General's department, be transferred elsewhere in the province. That's a very serious thing for one of our provincial court judges to say. It seems to me the Attorney-General could clear the air. He's given a statement without going into detail that in fact there was nothing improper in any phone call that was made.
I appreciate that there are times when an Attorney-General or a Deputy Attorney-General may have to call a judge in terms of the administration of justice, but not in regard to an issue that he is facing before him in the court. It seems to me the place for the Attorney-General to argue that is in the court in front of the judge, not over the telephone.
My reading of this particular judgment is that the argument was made over the telephone, not in court. It seems to me incumbent therefore that the Attorney-General give serious consideration to this matter. I'm not suggesting some full-blown inquiry, but I'm suggesting a report be given quite quickly by a retired supreme court judge or, if the bench is busy, any other person in a senior judicial capacity. We have to clear the air in regard to this particular matter. It seems to me that's the minimum that the Attorney-General should consider.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Yes, I'll take the suggestion under advisement.
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I just want to make a couple of comments in respect to this matter of the phone call from the Attorney-General's ministry to the judge. I'm not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to counsel anyone with respect to the niceties of respecting the independence of the judiciary and so on. But I was a bit concerned by a retort which the Attorney-General made, and a couple of remarks which he made.
He said that the judge had held that the Act was ultra vires the province of British Columbia, and in looking at that judgment a number of defects were found. No notice had been extended to the province and to the federal authority that the constitutionality of the statute might be questioned. Flowing from that, there was not the opportunity for the province or for the federal authority to enter argument with respect to the constitutionality of the matter.
It seems to me that the proper course and the obvious course for any citizen of the province to take who finds a judgment rendered respecting their interests is the appeal mechanisms that are provided for by the law. For the Attorney-General to suggest that....
HON. MR. GARDOM: It was a nullity, Bill. I'll get up and explain it.
MR. KING: I'm very interested in hearing that because on the face of it, it sounds as though the Attorney-General's ministry was prepared to shortcut the normal appeal processes which are open to any litigant before the courts.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Do you want me to say something about it?
MR. KING: Just don't get too impatient, Mr. Attorney-General.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I didn't want you to go down a wrong track.
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I'll make my point and I will be very very happy and very interested to hear the Attorney-General's explanation. But on the basis of his response, it appeared to me that he and his ministry had made a somewhat arbitrary judgment that there were defects in the judge's finding. They took the route of a direct phone call to apprise him of those defects rather than the normal appeal mechanisms that are open with respect to any judgment.
The other thing I want to raise....
HON. MR. GARDOM: Can I answer that one first? Just to put this matter to rest before the member for Shuswap–
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Revelstoke, the proceedings insofar as the parties were concerned were an nullity. To my understanding, the evidence was not presented to the court. The parties did not argue the point in question. They had nothing to appeal. The judge had just stopped and under section 10 of the Constitutional Questions Determination Act: "Where in any cause, matter or other proceeding the constitutional validity of any Act of the Parliament of Canada or of the Legislature is challenged," et cetera et cetera, "the Act shall not be held to be invalid until after notice of the challenge has been served upon the Attorney-General of Canada and the Attorney-General of the province." There was nothing to appeal. It would have to get back to the court in order to have a hearing.
There might well have been an appeal by one side or another after the hearing, but there had to be that hearing.
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that my colleague for Coquitlam–Moody (Mr. Leggatt) has put his finger on the problem, in that the Attorney-General failed to investigate the validity of the statute under the Constitutional Questions Determination Act, which was open to him to do, I believe, either before or after the case had been before the judge in this incident. Certainly that would have been another way of resolving it without having to call into question the impartiality and the independence of a judge.
I think this is a very sensitive issue and I certainly do not question the motivation of the Attorney-General's ministry. The Attorney-General himself must be the one who takes the responsibility for this phone call. He is the one who is responsible. That is the price of being a minister of the Crown in this parliament or any other. But the motivation being correct does not minimize the seriousness of the incursion and the interference with the independence of a judge. Once that kind of precedent is established, then it can be contemplated that it will occur again, with perhaps less acceptable motivation.
I think that the Attorney-General has an obligation, under these circumstances, particularly in light of the public statements made in court, to assure this House that there will indeed be an investigation, that there will be a full and impartial venting of the very serious implications contained in the judge's comments. I would expect the Attorney-General to want to do that, so that any question of impropriety through his own ministry can be vented in public and there can be an assurance to all of the people of British Columbia that nothing is being covered up by his department. He is not acting as the judge and jury with respect to matters that have been raised involving the propriety of his own staff and his own department. I think that's the acceptable thing to do, and I believe the Attorney-General should be duty-bound to commission such a study, as my colleague has indicated, under the auspices of a supreme court judge.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Insofar as there not being a case under the Constitutional Questions Determination Act, we would perhaps would have indeed welcomed one, and this could have been one.
MR. KING: Why didn't you initiate it?
HON. MR. GARDOM: Because, my dear friend, there were no requests for me to do that. This is between the parties. Parties are going to these courts every day, and justly so. They're receiving their maintenance....
MR. KING: Nonsense!
HON. MR. GARDOM: Their wish, when they go to that court, sir, is to receive their order of maintenance. It's not to get involved in a constitutional question which will go to the Supreme Court of Canada, and you know that full well. That's their desire as parties when they're going there. The lady doesn't have any money. She's got some kids at home who need some clothes. She goes to the court to get an order to make her defaulting husband pay. That's her object in going to court, not to go to the Supreme Court of Canada under this particular question.
If there had been a proper notice given, yes, there would have been a determination there and there would have been argument on the validity or constitutionality or otherwise of the section. We do have the expressions of opinion of Judge Govan; we also have expressions of opinion to the contrary. There may well be a need for the determination of the constitutionality of the section.
Now that I've dealt with that point, insofar as the second point is concerned, as I said to your colleague who spoke a few moments ago, I will take that under advisement.
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I don't think the Attorney-General is on very valid ground to get up and start pouring out pity for the litigants in the case. They are caught in the dilemma of seeking remedies under a statute that it's the Attorney-General's responsibility to ensure is within the jurisdictional purview of this province. And if there's delay in terms of obtaining a fair settlement, it is through the inappropriate attention given by the Attorney-General's department to drafting a statute which would meet constitutional challenges.
For the Attorney-General to infer that he could only take this action after people were before the courts in litigation under this statute is patent nonsense. He knows as well as I do — and one doesn't have to be a lawyer to know — that there can be a reference case to the Supreme Court on the question of its statutory constitutionality. And that can occur before the statute is used by litigants at all. So for him to attempt to use the dilemma and plight of people awaiting a determination before the courts is a bit of a distortion, and I think he knows it.
Mr. Chairman, the Attorney-General either doesn't understand some things or deliberately bends them a little bit. I'm not sure which. I asked him a question earlier on in the day, and I wish he would respond to that also. He responded previously, indicating that either he misinterpreted the question or didn't understand it. I'm not sure which.
My question was simply this. What can his department do in the case where Crown prosecutors have such a heavy workload and have to serve so many communities that they have no time afforded to them to study the evidence and study the cases that they must take to court?
HON. MR. GARDOM: Have you got a specific problem?
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MR. KING: I outlined briefly the case of a Crown prosecutor arriving in the city of Revelstoke at 9 o'clock, having to be in court at 10 o'clock....
HON. MR. GARDOM: When?
MR. KING: On many occasions. I understand this is the normal procedure in that community.
HON. MR. GARDOM: When did you find out about it?
MR. KING: I've had complaints about this for the last year.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Why didn't you let us know?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I'm certainly raising it with the Attorney-General now, and he doesn't have to counsel me on how to do my constituency work. I can handle that quite well. I know that he can't understand the name "Shuswap," but I can assure him that it is more understandable from where I sit than the name "Bawtree." Perhaps that was a bit more difficult for the people in my area to understand also.
Mr. Chairman, the point is it is a very simple question, and I think if the Attorney-General really directs his full attention to it he can provide an answer of equal stature. The system of justice does suffer when regional Crown attorneys are not able to devote adequate time to studying the case that they must take to court. I would like some assurance from the Attorney-General that he will have a serious look at that problem with a view, mainly, to providing adequate staff so that the Crown attorneys are not spread so thin and have such a wide area to service that they are unable to devote the necessary attention and the necessary research to doing an adequate job and presenting a very strong prosecutorial, I believe is the term, case in court, Mr. Attorney-General.
HON. MR. GARDOM: It's always difficult to follow the hon. member, Mr. Chairman. However, I would say to him he's moved admirably from the specific to the general. I would like some specifics on the specific. If you could furnish us with those, we will certainly look into it and hope to give you a very appropriate answer and belay all of your fears and doubts and woes as best we can.
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, part of the problem with providing specifics is that it's my understanding that....
AN HON. MEMBER: You don't have any.
MR. KING: No, the problem is that some Crown attorneys are not prepared to criticize the staff allocations they have and the system that prevails. To do so sometimes brings pressure and expressions of dissatisfaction from the Attorney-General's ministry. Some of the staff members of that ministry, as with others, do not want to put themselves on the public record as criticizing administrative procedures within the ministry.
I think it's ridiculous for the Attorney-General to ask for specifics in a case like this. I've raised a particular case in point. I think it would be easy enough for him to have a look at the staffing system in that general area and to decide whether or not it's adequate. Talk to the Crown prosecutors. They are the ones who can give you more precise information than I can. If they are satisfied, which I understand they are not — certainly the citizens are not satisfied, nor are the police detachments — then I think he can find the answers which he seeks and hopefully come up with some recommendation that will be beneficial.
MR. NICOLSON: It's unbelievable to sit here and see the Attorney-General treat this as if it was something unique to one area. I'll give him a specific — Regina v. Heddle — which occurred about a year and a half ago in Nelson. The case came to court, the prosecutor didn't have their file, the RCMP constable witness didn't have his file and it was a near fatality.
[Mr. Rogers in the chair.]
HON. MR. GARDOM: That was a drug case. You've talked about it in the House twice before.
MR. NICOLSON: We're talking about an impaired driving charge; it wasn't a drug case. Again, he makes light of these things.
HON. MR. GARDOM: It was. I'll show you.
MR. NICOLSON: Mr. Chairman, the fact of the matter was that because of the strained circumstances that the prosecutors were having to work under in Nelson at the time, where about three different people were in two different offices, and files were in different places, it led to that circumstance. As a result of that and just some questions that I made to the ministry at the time, the matter was rectified. They were put into one office and so on. But I think that what the member for Shuswap–Revelstoke (Mr. King) is describing is the norm, and it is a general thing. It isn't a specific of Regina v. Heddle, or whoever. This is the norm in the Interior and the lot of Crown prosecutors. I think there is a serious problem, probably, in what you are able to offer in terms of pay for Crown prosecutors. The number of experienced prosecutors and the number that have maybe one or two years of experience since being called to the bar is really ridiculous. Believe me, I have many people come into my office complaining about justice that does not seem to be done.
If I wanted to merely bring many things to the attention of the Attorney-General, I could have brought in the editorial of the most recent Creston Review, and again on this very same theme. So what the member for Shuswap–Revelstoke was bringing up is a very general malaise, and I think that most members, certainly from the Interior, could bring this up.
MR. MITCHELL: Mr. Chairman, as I look at the clock, and I look at all my notes I have here, and I listen to my Whip, I am forced, because my Whip controls me, to keep my little talk down to something philosophical. It's hard to follow all these very deep, passionate speakers, but I would like to take this opportunity, as an active policeman, to thank the minister for continuing the police academy that was started under the second member for Vancouver East
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(Mr. Macdonald). I was one who grew up on the philosophy that when you joined the police force you were given a uniform, a gun, a ticket book and a quota. You had the counsellors looking over your shoulder to make sure that you kept the mill rate down.
I say that quite sincerely. But when the second member for Vancouver East started a police academy, we who were active police officers really welcomed it. I'm happy that the present government has continued it. I ask you at this time to get into more sophisticated training and continue training within the department.
There's one other thing that I would like to bring to the attention of the Attorney-General. I couldn't help but listen when I heard the member from Skeena go on asking for more money to be spent on the 14- 15- and 16-year-old juveniles. I bring to your attention that the early identification of juveniles is not 13, 14, 15 and 16 years of age. If you talk to the psychologists, school teachers or social workers, you'll learn that potential clients to the criminal justice field can be identified at 5, 6, and 7 years of age. It's the kid who steals the apple from the girl's lunch next door, who steals the rubber from the boy in his grade 1 class. It's the same person who rifles the teacher's purse in grade 2. These are the children who are going to enter the criminal justice field, and unless the Attorney-General's ministry in conjunction with the Minister of Education and the social welfare department start to seriously make an attempt to give the proper treatment as a first offender.... When a child is a first offender is when he is trainable. I have seen many cases in juvenile court where juveniles have gone to court with 10, 15, 35 cases of breaking and entering, and the defence lawyer and the probation officer stand up there and say: "This is his first offence." Mr. Minister, that is not his first offence. And I say that to attempt to treat him as a first offender when he has had ten years of reward in the criminal field and to think that you are going to be successful in telling that child to go home and sin no more is barking up the wrong tree.
I feel that if we are going to make any headway in the criminal justice field, we have to set up within your ministry and in the government some study and some pilot project. These projects have been successfully concluded in many parts of North America, in which the early identification of the criminally minded child is made when he is five, six and seven. And the treatment is made and the policy of developing a program is made in conjunction with the home, the school and the local police departments, and that child is monitored. I know it's expensive, and I know you don't see any action or any results, in many cases, for ten years, until the age group that you are training would normally reach the criminal justice field. Without some long-range programs we are going to continue to need prisons, reform schools, and the more expensive confinement institutions that we have today.
I feel that somewhere along the line your ministry should give this leadership. It should give this leadership not only for the youths that are coming up, not only for the active policemen who must control them, but also for the citizens whose homes are continually robbed, whose properties are vandalized; to the school teachers whose schools are disrupted because the knowledge or the training that is needed for some of these youths is not being given when it would be valuable. I say, Mr. Minister, your ministry must give the leadership. Your ministry must take it in hand and make a study that is going to be of some value to this province.
This is not a short-term program. Too many times people think crime can be solved with simple little films. As my fellow member said, they scare them silly. You don't scare them; it has to be done on a long-term basis. A lot of thought must go into it. There is a lot of resource in the schools, in the colleges and in the police departments that we must coordinate. We must work together on what is going to be effective for a long-term program.
HON. MR. GARDOM: I'd like to respond quickly to the last speaker, who made abundant sense. I'd like to refer quickly for his own information to some of the training now available for our municipal police in the province. The recruit training program is about 50 weeks or five blocks of training — last year 352 people received that.
The peace officer's advanced training course is a two-week program dealing with legal issues, investigational techniques, firearms, crime prevention, and human behaviour — 144 police constables took that last year.
The field instructors' training program is a junior leadership program, intended to prepare these people to perform their role of training and develop police recruit training. This includes communication, coaching, counselling, planning and leadership. That is new this year and it's getting underway in the near future.
The general supervision training program subjects include communications, performance evaluation, firearms, driver training, counselling, crisis intervention, management practices, problem solving, decision-making, coping with stress and change. Thirty-seven NCOs took that.
The middle management training program, expanding the knowledge of the senior NCOs — 26 people received that kind of training.
The general investigators' program is a two-week program for people to develop and expand their skills as investigators, and 36 took that.
So there's a great deal of work done in a specialized area now at the Justice Institute, which is brand-new to B.C. over the past few years.
Mr. Chairman, it has been a very pleasant day. I've enjoyed the questions from the hon. members. I would now much more enjoy having dinner, unless we're going to get all of the votes. So in the unlikely event that we are.... Are we going to get a vote or do you want to adjourn?
MR. COCKE: Tomorrow.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
The committee, having reported progress, was granted leave to sit again.
Introduction of Bills
OBSOLETE STATUTES REPEAL ACT
Hon. Mr. Wolfe presented a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Obsolete Statutes Repeal Act.
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Bill 20 introduced, read a first time, and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Hon. Mr. Curtis moved adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 6:01 p.m.