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History Table of Contents
1991 Summer Conference
Summer Conference 1991
Growing up on the Edge: The Emerging Generation and Canada's Future



Judge Stewart, there has been a number of somewhat gruesome crimes involving young offenders and some public unease about both the sentencing and the fact these offenders are not even named. Could give us your view on that aspect of the Young Offenders Act?

I have always been ambivalent about the whole process. I am not at all sure whether we should have ever eliminated the Juvenile Delinquents Act, because it had some things that we have lost in terms of a human approach to the problems of young people. Once you start to move the age up, you start to run into all kinds of difficulties. I am not to sure if we have the answer yet. I am not to sure in my own mind what the answer is.

Kathleen, you talked about how an entire educational group from 1968 onwards has really determined its' own value system and its' own moral system. What about core moral principles?

A number of researchers and historians have done studies of the core moral principles that were shared by any number of civilizations. They really are: mercy, justice, honesty, duties to parents and elders, duties to children, law of justice, the law of good faith and veracity, the law of mercy, the law of magnanimity (which I really think is compassion).

Kathleen, what kind of action would you suggest be taken to find the middle ground to bring people together into a cohesive set of moral values that we could agree upon? What would you suggest?

One of the major ways is through role modelling. If we are talking about education in the classroom, the teacher just modelling those values rather than making a lot of speeches about them.

In what way can we foster the re-emergence of the family as an institution?

Kathleen: I think the religious component is obvious. It certainly gives structure and meaning to so many values which is really why I raised the whole issue of the spiritual; that would the big one. I think the role of husband and father is being reinstated by the males. So I think we are making some headway.