April 29, 1901

CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHANCY.

Hon. gentlemen opposite came into power here.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Well, that was a very good reason in itself. But my hon. friend must remember we have had the same difficulty in Quebec. In Quebec perhaps we have too many judges. That is the opiniou we have heard expressed on the floor of this House, and it has been expressed in the local legislature, but we have not been able to convince the local legislature that there have been too many judges. The system is growing. I think it a very good system in many ways, and it would be difficult, whei'e people have been accustomed to have one judge or two judges iu their midst, to remove them. It may be the same in Ontario. Perhaps there is not much judicial business at this time in certain localities, but there may be other localities where the county court judges have as much as they can do, and where to draw the line is a very difficult matter ; I do not think it is possible to draw the line anywhere. There must be some inconveniences and, perhaps, some mistakes, but, on the whole, as long as the local legislature has j Mr. BENNETT.

control of the establishment of the court I do not see how we can do anything but comply with their legislation, unless we are prepared to believe that they acted in bad faith. But so long as we have not that conviction, we have no discretion but to appoint the judges and to pay them.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACHEAN.

It follows then that we must have some kind of constitutional reform in this matter.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

My hon. friend is a reformer, although he pretends to be a Tory.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACHEAN.

The time may have arrived when we must agitate to have a constitutional reform. I agree with my hon. friend behind me (Mr. Bennett), who says that we have too many county court judges in the province of Ontario, and that we do not pay our Superior Court judges enough. The way is to bring about some kind of court reform in the province of Ontario. That is being discussed there every day, but somehow people do not seem to reach a conclusion themselves, and it Is put over from session to session and nothing is done. But something must be done and at an early day, and some of these unnecessary judges in the province of Ontario must be got rid of. and the money that now goes to them ought to go to the Superior Court judges who are really doing the work. As a parliament we must find a way out of that.

Mi'. BENNETT. In the case of, superannuated judges, do they have to pay anything towards a retiring allowance ?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
?

The SOLICITOR GENERAL.

No.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Mr. SUTHERLAND (Essex).

It is hardly fair, it seems to me, in discussing the work that is being done by the county court judges, simply to point out that it is only a few cases which they actually try in the county court, because that is but a trifling part of the work they do. The jurisdiction which they have in the division court enables them to try an immense number of cases in that court. In addition to that in their capacity of local judges of the High Court, they bave a large number of motions in the High Court to dispose of in chambers. In addition to that they have interim criminal sessions work, they have appeals from Courts of Revision, they have drainage assessment appeals and all that class of work ; and I am bound to say, speaking of the county in which I live, that the judges of the county court have a great deal of work to do. Over and above that we know that just at the present time there is an agitation going on in the province of Ontario to give increased jurisdiction to the county court, which will bring under their work a class of cases which do not now belong to it. and which at present are being tried by judges of the High Court on circuit. So I

think that not only can no charge be made against them that they are not doing sufficient work, but I believe they are not getting, in many cases, sufficient pay for the work they are doing ; and this is particularly applicable to the junior judges of the county court who are doing in many counties a large part of the work, and are not getting, in my judgment, adequate pay.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
LIB

Byron Moffatt Britton

Liberal

Mr. BRITTON.

I think the discussion has gone on so far it ought to go a little further. I quite agree that the time has come for a rearrangement of the salaries of the judges in the different provinces, especially in the province of Ontario. Yet there is a considerable lack of information as to what the judges really get in that province, and that remark will apply both to the Superior Court and county court judges. Not only do all Superior Court judges get the salaries that we find in the estimates of $5,000 and $6,000, but they are allowed $1,000 each from the province of Ontario. That is paid in this way : The judges do a good deal of work for the province of Ontario proper, for instance, in election trials, and there used to be a commission which was the foundation of the grant on the part of the province. However, that is done away with now, at least, there is no work under it now, but still the allowance goes on. Then eleven of the judges in the province of Ontario go on circuit, and these are the judges of the King's Bench Division, the Common Pleas Division, and the Chancery Division. In all there are ten judges who go on circuit, and they hold fifteen to eighteen courts each year on circuit, and are allowed $100 each for that. Of coure, their expenses are not nearly as much as the $100 allowance that is made. While I say that I still agree with what has been said by so many hon. members, that it is time for a rearrangement of salaries, and yet hon. gentlemen will see the difficulties that attend the matter when it comes up for adjustment, because it is only those judges that go on circuit who get this allowance-which is very considerable in the aggregate. Judges of the Court of Appeal, who do not go on circuit, are debarred from this extra allowance. Then, you have the county court judges, and some of the county court judges get as much as $3,500 and some of them more than that. That arises from the fact that the senior county court judge is also the surrogate judge of his county. The fees of the surrogate judges are according to the wealth of the county for which he is judge. In many of the counties these fees are commuted, and they are commuted for a very liberal allowance. The commutation in the county from which I come is $900 odd. The wealth of the county has increased to such an extent that if he got fees instead of a commutation allowance he would get probably as much and perhaps more. Then, county court judges get fees

for selecting jurors, for acting under the Ditches and Watercourses Act, for the revision of the voters' lists and in other ways in connection with their duties. They get allowances which, in the aggregate amount to a very fair sum. In some counties these fees are large and the aggregate is considerable. So, it requires readjustment. It will not do to say that the time has come when a certain bulk sum, irrespective of the work done by the particular judge, should be added to the judge's salary. I only mention these matters for the information of the committee. Hon. gentlemen will see from what I have mentioned that it is not simply on the salaries that we see in the estimates that many of the judges entirely depend.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

Would the hon. gentleman increase the salaries of the Superior Court judges of Ontario ?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink
LIB

Byron Moffatt Britton

Liberal

Mr. BRITTON.

Yes, I think I would.

Resolution reported.

On motion of the Prime Minister, House adjourned at 11.40 p.m.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   SALARIES OF JUDGES.
Permalink

HOUSE 0E COMMONS.


Tuesday, April 30, 1901.


April 29, 1901