June 9, 1905


111-. FITZPATRICK. I think it would be well to have the item stand over. When *the matter was up before my lion, friend *the leader of the opposition (Mr. It. L. Borden) put a question or two to me and I said if he would allow it to remain over I might give him the information he asked for.


CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

The matter I wish to refer to has no reference to the statement made by the hon. Minster of Justice. I think the hon. gentleman has made a satisfactory statement. I hope that this revision will be completed at as early a date as the hon. minister says it will be completed. Perhaps, if any mistake has been made at alT in regard to this matter, it has been in the fact that the government have allowed sixteen years to pass without having a revision. It may be all rigiht for lawyers who keep their statutes indexed regularly, but for the ordinary justice of the peace or layman who has occasion to refer to the statutes it is absolutely impossible to get anything out of the old" consolidated statutes or to know what tlie law of the 1-aqd is. But that is not the question I wish to refer to. I want to refer to the indexing of the statutes. Whatever the hon. Minister of Justice thinks of it, I desire to tell him that I regard the index as absolutely useless to the ordinary man and 1 believe it is next to useless to *the members of the profession.

I wanted to find the Inspection Act in this volume to-night, and I had to give it up. The index is distributed all over the statutes, one part here, another part there, and sometimes not there at all. To any one not in the legal profession the index is absolutely useless and even to the legal profession I believe the index is unsatisfactory. I trust that the index of the revised statutes will be in simpler form^so that we can make some use of it. I have bc-en told that the index to the Ontario statutes is far superior to the index to our Dominion statuses. I am referring now specially to the Acts of each session; I -had occasion recently to search for a particular Act and I was unable to find it. I showed it to a good lawyer in the House and he succeeded in finding it after some trouble, but he too complained that the index was most unsatisfactory. The Minister of Justice is so familiar with statutes that I have no doubt that what is easy to him is very difficult to ns, but nevertheless I have the idea that he will say that in his judgment the index could be vastly improved. I trust he will make a suggestion to that effect in the proper quarter.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I am in no way responsible for the index to the sessional statutes, and so far as I am personally concerned, and without wishing to criticise those who are responsible, I have to say 2304

that this index is nothing more or less -than atrociously badly done and is_ of very little use. The index to the revised statutes will proceed largely on the lines of the index of 1886. So much importance is attached to this index that I have been advised to secure the services of -a gentleman who has no connection with the commission to do the work. This gentleman has had in the past considerable experience in making indices, and I have been told that he has had some connection with the index of the revised statutes of Ontario. I am not committing myself to employ this gentleman, but I am perfectly convinced that we should get the best expert advice obtainable for the purpose of making that index. I agree with my hon. friend (Mr. Henderson) that the statutes ought to be revised as nearly as possible every 10 years. It would be more convenient to the public; the revision could be made more easily and altogether we owe it to the bar and to the general public. For one reason or another this revision has been extended beyond the time originally thought proper and the result is that a great deal of work has to be done. I have asked for a report as to what has been done on the revision up to the present time, and had I known this item would come up I believe I could have had that report before the House.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Is it the intention of the government to submit the draft report of the commission on the revision of the statutes to a committee of this House?

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

The work has to be approved by the House. The commission "simply revises the statutes, giving effect to the intention of parliament and making such verbal changes as are thought advisable, but of course the roll must be submitted to and approved by parliament.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

The statutes are revised every ten years in Ontario and referred to a special committee appointed for that purpose.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

That will be for parliament to decide next year.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

The consolidated statutes will not be available until next session ?

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

No.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

The Minister of Justice agrees to a large extent in what I have said respecting the index, and I hope he will take some quiet opportunity of giving a hint to the official of the government who has charge of making the index.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I think he is an official of parliament.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Whoever he is, I hope the hint will be conveyed to him that he ought to change the system.

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CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McLEAN.

I think there could be an improvement made in the index of the Ontario statutes as well.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BOUDEN.

I agree with the Minister of Justice and with my hon. friend (Mr. Henderson) with regard to indexing the new volume of the consolidated statutes. So far as the statutes are to be regarded as a work of reference, a great deal of their value depends upon the index, for if the index is not satisfactory the labour of finding what you want is intolerable. X must say that I have never seen in any volume of consolidated statutes either of the Dominion or of the provinces-I speak more particularly of the statutes of Nova Scotia with which I am more familiar-X have never seen an index that is anything like up to the mark, and I trust there will be an improvement in the index to the revised statutes. I was under the impression, until the Minister of Justice spoke just now, that the work of the commissioners would be completed so that the revised statutes might become law during the present session.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

The Criminal Code will not be ready.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I think the Minister of Justice expected earlier in the session that the work would be completed in time to be enacted by parliament his year.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I am afraid that cannot be done unless we deal with the Criminal Code as a separate work, and I do not think that would be advisable.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I do not think it, would.

Expenses of litigated matters which may be paid for services in connection with litigation, $15,000.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

1 have not my memorandum on this item with me and I would not be in a position to give information on it to-night. It is the same amount that has been voted annually since 1896, and if there are any inquiries i shall be prepared to answer them on another item. .

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The Minister of Justice might procure the memorandum and if there is anything of importance in it we might ask it on another item. If the minister would he prepared with the information on another item this one might pass.

Relief of distressed Canadians other than in the United States, $500.

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June 9, 1905