November 12, 1909

REPORTS PRESENTED.


Report of the Department of Public Works for the year ending March 31, 1909.-Hon. Wm. Pugsley. Report of the Department of Railways and Canals, report of the Board of Railway Commissioners, and report of the Transcontinental Railway Commission, for the same year-Hon. Geo. P. Graham. Report of the Postmaster General, and report of the Department of Trade and Commerce, for the same year.-Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Report of the Auditor General (vols. i and iii). Report of the Superintendent of Insurance, and the Public Accounts of Canada, for the same year.-Hon. W. S. Fielding. Report of the Minister of Agriculture, and report of the Experimental Farms, for the same year.-Hon. Sydney Fisher. Report of the Department of Inland Rev enue. Report of Inspection ot Weights and Measures, and report on Adulteration of Foods, for the same year.-Hon Wm. Tem-pleman. Report of the Department of Customs for the same year.-Hon. Wm. Paterson. Report of the Department of Justice, for the same year.-Hon. A. B. Aylesworth. Report of the Department of Labour, for the same year.-Hon. Mackenzie King. Report of the Department of the Interior, report of the Department of Indian Affairs, and report of the High Commissioner for Canada, for the same year.-Hon. Frank Oliver. Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and report of Steamboat Inspection, for the same year.-Hon. Sydney Fisher (for Hon. L. P. Brodeur).


LIB

ADJOURNMENT-JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.


SIR WILFRID LAURIER moved the adjournment of the House.


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Mr. R. L.@

BORDEN, Mr. Speaker, before the House adjourns, I would like to bring to the attention of the government and the House, a matter connected with the administration of justice in British Columbia, which I would have considered worthy of presenting to you, Mr. Speaker, as a matter of sufficient public importance to justify me in moving specially the adjournment of the House if this oportunity had not been afforded. I think we all admit and realize that the power of appointment to public office in this country, or in any country possessing representative institutions, is a trust to be exercised in the public interest, and in no wise for party interest or for party consideration. That principle, whether it is acted upon or not, is recognized in every country in the world which possesses a government and institutions analogous to those which we happily have in Canada. The legislature of British Columbia in 1907 passed an Act constituting a court of appeal for that province. I do not propose to refer to that statute at any length. The second section enacted as follows :-

There shall be and there is hereby constituted a provincial court, to be called the Court of Appeal, which shall consist of a chief justice, who, as long as the present Chief Justice of British Columbia continues to hold such office, shall be styled the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, and three other judges to be called justices of appeal.

Section 6 provided as follows:-

The Court of Appeal hereby constituted shall be a superior court of record, and, to the full extent of the power of the legislature of the province of British Columbia to confer jurisdiction, there shall be transferred to and vested in such court all jurisdiction and powers, civil and criminal, of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the judges thereof, sitting as a full court, that were held and exercised prior to the passing of this Act and all other appellate jurisdiction and appellate powers, statutory and otherwise, and howsoever arising or conferred, that have heretofore been held or exercised by the Supreme Court sitting as a full court.

Then it went on to enumerate more particularly the jurisdiction to be vested in the court of appeal so constituted. Section 14 of the statute provided for the sittings of the court, and declared that it should hold four sittings in each year, and it gives the day on which each sitting should commence, the first sitting of the court being fixed for the first Tuesday in January, and so on throughout the year. This section also provided that, in addition to the above sittings, the court of appeal might hold special

sittings, either at Victoria or \ ancouver, for hearing any appeals that might be heard at the next regular sitting at either of such places. And finally, section 30 of the Act provided that the Act should not come into force until a day to be fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. That enactment was followed by a necessary Act of the Parliament of Canada, which is chapter 10 of the Acts of this parliament for 1908. Sections 1, 2 and 4 of that Act provide that certain jurisdiction which had heretofore been conferred upon and was to have been exercised by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, sitting as a full court, should thereafter be exercised in the province of British Columbia by the court of appeal as constituted by the Act of the province of British Columbia to which I Rave alluded. Section 3 of the Act made provision for the salaries of the judges, and section 5 provided that the Act should not come into force until the Act of the legislature of British Columbia which I have already quoted from had been brought into force; and thereupon this Act of the Parliament of Canada should come into force upon a day to be named by proclamation of the Governor general in Council.

I am informed that communication was sent to this government as far back as the month of May, 1909, to the effect that the Act of the legislature of British Columbia from which I have quoted would be brought into force by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the first day of September, 1909; and I presume that intimation was given to this government in order that they might make the necessary arrangements for the appointment of judges and of a chief justice; so that as soon as possible-immediately, if possible, upon the proclamation of the British Columbia Act-the court should be constituted and proceed to carry out the jurisdiction and perform the duties which were imposed upon it by the British Columbia statute and by the statute of the Parliament of Canada of 1908.

The Act of the legislature of British Columbia to which I have alluded to was accordingly brought into force by the proclamation of -the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the first day of September, 1909. I have the British Columbia Gazette containing the proclamation in my hand, but. I do not suppose there will be any conflict as to the fact. It appears that although the Act was proclaimed on the first day of September, 1909. and although by the statute of British Columbia the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of that province sitting as a whole court has been transferred to that court of appeal, there have been up to the present time no appointments to the positions which were necessary in order that that court should be fully constituted so

as to proceed with the performance of its very important duties. In the first place,

I would like to ask the government why it is, that there has been this extraordinary delay on their part after they had received, as I am informed, full notice and information as far back as the month of May last, six months ago, that the Act would be brought into lorce on the 1st of September last? I would further ask the government why it is that the confusion and the embarrassment and the delay to public business and the uncertainty in matters of legal procedure which must necessarily result from their inaction in that regard have been allowed to come to pass? I may say that there have been very unpleasant rumours prevailing in the province of British Columbia, especially of late, as to the reasons which have influenced the inaction of the government. There have been rumours to the effect that gentlemen who are taking a very active part in provincial politics at present, and whose names have been mentioned as possible judges to be appointed under the statute, hav-e had some sort of intimation or some sort of understanding that their claims to positions upon the bench of that court

I would first inquire from the government whether or not there has been directly or indirectly any promise made to, or any understanding with, any of these gentlemen who are now actively engaged in the provincial campaign in British Columbia, as to the recognition of their claims when the appointments come to be made to this court of appeal? In addition to that. I have to ask that a definite and explicit answer shall be given to the^ question, why when the province of British Columbia has constituted a court- which in the judgment of the people of that province is necessary, and why when this parliament has been advised of that action and has talren the necessary steps to place upon, the statute-books of Canada the enactment to which I have alluded, why is it that m view of all these circumstances the government of this country has allowed no less than ten or eleven weeks to elapse during which legal business, so far as the Court of Appeal in British Columbia is concerned, has to remain at a complete standstill, or to be in such a state of confusion and uncertainty as to he absolutely detrimental fo the public interests of the province. Under these circumstances I thought it no more than right that I should bring to the attention of the House and of the government the matters to which I have a-hided thus briefly. I do venture to think

that it is a subject upon which the answer of the government should be given categorically, fully and explicitly so as to reassure, if possible, public opinion not only in British Columbia but throughout the Dominion in regard to these important matters.

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LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. A. B. AYLESWORTH (Minister of Justice).

Mr. Speaker, with the general observation with which the hon. gentleman opened his remarks, and as to the impropriety and undesirability of making any question affecting the constitution of the courts or appointments to judicial offices matters to be bandied about between one political party and another in this country, I am sure every one who listened to him will cordially agree. And, but for the observations which at a later period of his remarks fell from his lips one might have been in doubt whether the point of the statement with which he opened was directed towards this government or towards the provincial government of Brit-ish_ Columbia. This legislation under which the court of appeal of that province was established is now some two years and six months gone; it became the law of the province of British Columbia as long ago as April, 1907. And, one who has followed the course of public affairs in the province of British Columbia might have been given rather to wonder why there was such extraordinary delay-to quote the words of the hon. gentleman-in the putting into force of this statute which presumably the legislature of British Columbia when it passed it, thought provided for wants which the province then had and of which the province itself felt the need. The provincial statute establishing the court of appeal was passed in April. 1907, and assented to on the 25th of that month. The parliament of this Dominion happened to be then in session, but it prorogued two days later, on the 27th of April, 1907, and long before any official notification of the passing of this particular statute could reach us at Ottawa. I am free to say-I wish to conceal nothing-I am free to say that during the spring of 1907 I had the pleasure of a personal interview with the First Minister of British Columbia, then on his road to the old countrv, and I was perfectly aware some weeks before this _ parliament prorogued on the 27th of April, 1907. that legislation of this character was under consideration in the legislature of British Columbia, and that in all probability it would become law when the assent of the Lieutenant Governor was given to the statutes of that session. But I had not seen a copy of the statute, and knew nothing of its provisions except what was conveyed to me in the personal interview to which I refer. I suppose accordingly no one would attribute any blame to this House, at any rate, or

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Mr. R.@

h. BORDEN.

to the parliament of the Dominion, in the circumstance that there was no legislation by the Dominion parliament during the session of 1907 to supplement that of the province of British Columbia. It was impracticable that it should be so. I do not think that any one in British Columbia expected that it would or that it could be done. If there were no other reason why this parliament could not act during the session of 1907, the circumstance that the legislature of British Columbia chose to postpone the putting into force of their legislation until a proclamation bringing it into force should be issued, was in itself a sufficient reason why this parliament could not be blamed, at any rate, if it did not pass the necessary legislation providing salaries for the judges of the new court during the session of 1907.

During the session of 1908, and notwithstanding that the Act of the provincial legislature establishing the court had never yet been brought into force, this parliament passed its legislation providing for salaries to the judges of the new court, and providing that the legislation of this parliament in turn should not become effective until a proclamation to that effect was issued by the Governor General in Council; and as far as the department of which I have charge is concerned, I might, I think, offer a sufficient answer to the observations of the hon. gentleman, by stating that I am not in a position to make recommendations for the appointment of judges in British Columbia until the Act of this parliament providing for their salaries has been brought into effect by His Excellency. But I am taking no such position. So far as I am concerned I am perfectly willing to assume responsibility for any delay in issuing the proclamation by His Excellency in Council bringing into force the Dominion Statute providing for the payment of salaries to the judges of the -court of Appeal in British Columbia.

Now how stands the matter as far as dates are concerned? In April, 1907, the court was constituted in British Columbia, the statute not made effective or brought into force. In 1908 this parliament provided the salaries, the statute not brought into force. The Statute of this parliament was assented to in July 1908. If there had been any crying need for this new court in British Columbia, if the five judges they already had were unable to cope with the business of the court so that they needed four additional judges, one would suppose that those who were charged with the responsibility for the administration of justice in that province would at least have acted then with promptness, and when the salaries had been provided by the necessary legislation of the Dominion parliament; and when nothing remained but the bringing into force of the provincial Act consti-

tuting that court, and the appointment of judges to that court, one would suppose, if there were necessity for prompt action, we should have had something done during the summer months of 1908. We had nothing done.

The hon. gentleman refers to unpleasant rumours on the subject at the present time. I wonder if he heard any rumours twelve months ago. I wonder if he heard during the summer of 1908 and rumours that these judicial positions were being made pawns in the political game, that the government of British Columbia were waiting in hope that the elections of October, 1908, might bring ia change of government at Ottawa. That delusion was dispelled on the 26th of October last by the electors and yet the government of British Columbia did nothing toward bringing this Act into force. Months passed, nothing was heard about the matter. The hon. gentleman says he is informed that this government was informed as long ago as May last that this statute would be brought into effect on the 1st of September then following. The information which the hon. gentleman has, so far as I am aware, is slightly inaccurate. I do not know to what he alludes. So far as I am aware, there has been nothing in the way of an official letter, or a private letter, or of anything in writing, to any member of this government. I do not know what may have passed in the way of conversation between any of my colleagues and any gentleman from British Columbia. I know only of what passed with regard to myself, and that is simply this: That last spring,

I think in April, possibly in May, but somewhere about either the end of April or the early pait of May, the attorney general of British Columbia was in the city of Ottawa on his way to the old country. He called upon me, we discussed this subject; he left me with the statement that this statute would be proclaimed on the following day, that he had made all arrangements for bringing it into force before he left Victoria, and that he was going straight to the telegraph office to send a telegram which would lead to the issue of the proclamation, and that I might look for the Act being brought into force within the next few hours. I thought that it would be so, I expected it would be so. I was here for some few weeks after that date, quite expecting I would hear any morning that this statute had been brought into force. Nothing was said to me about the 1st of September as a date when this Act would be brought into force, I had no idea when it would be done, but that it was going In be done, as I understood, forthwith. And when weeks passed, and months passed, and I heard nothing, and when although not in this country during the summer, I was in reasonably close touch with the progress of Canadian affairs and heard and saw nothing in the newpapers or otherwise of any bringing into force of this statute, I honestly thought that the opinion which I had previously in my own mind, whatever it was worth, namely, that this statute would never be brought into effect, was the correct one. I had the impression, which the event has demonstrated was entirely erroneous, I admit, but I had the impression that instead of going on and constituting a new and independent court of appeal calling for four additional judges,_ practically doubling the number of their judges in the province of British Columbia, a substitute arrangement increasing the number of the present judges of the existing court would be adopted, and that this statute would be either repealed or allowed to become a dead letter. I remained under that impression, no doubt I had no foundation for it, but it simply rested as a matter of my own inference and deduction until I returned to this country some four weeks ago. I was told then, perhaps the first day I was back in the office, certainly within a day or two, that the British Columbia Statute constituting the court of appeal for the province had been proclaimed, and had been brought into effect as from the 1st of September.

Then, my delay at any rate in acting in this matter counts from rlmt time, and I must bear any responsibility that may rest upon me for the circumstance that, since I reached Canada some four weeks ago and up to the present time, I have not made any recommendation .for the appointment of judges to this court or any recommendation that our Dominion statute providing for the salaries of the judges of this court should be brought into effect by proclamation. That, of course, is more or less a formal step which can be taken at any time and which, it seemed to me, there was no necessity should be taken until I was prepared to make my recommendation of the individuals who should constitute the new court. Now, in that respect, X wish to be entirely frank and open with this House as I have been in my communications with the attorney general of British Columbia on the subject. I received a telegram from him some ten days or so after I had returned calling my attention to the fact that under the British Columbia statute the first sitting of the court of appeal would take place on the first Tuesday in the month of November - the second day of November instant. 1 looked at the statute to verify my recollection. I saw that the statement was entirely accurate. But side by side with that provision of the statute, i noticed the provision which the hon. gentleman (Mr. R. L. Borden) has referred to to-day, that the court of appeal, when constituted, could hold a special sitting at any time it pleased. The regular sittings are to be on the first Tuesday of the months as I recollect it-of January, May, September and

November of each year; but special sittings at either Vancouver or Victoria may be held at any time. Accordingly, it was manifest that if there was no court in . existence on the second of November, 1909, but if the court was brought into existence by the Dominion proclamation and by the appointment of judges at any day thereafter prior to :he next regular sitting of the court, the new court could go to work immediately upon the judges being sworn in, if it saw fit to do so. I wrote at once to the Attorney General of British Columbia pointing this out, as I regretted any embarrassment that the delay of even one day would cause in what, I suppose, may be called public business-in the private business of the litigants to be accurate. I am sorry that should be the case. Delay in any litigation is always an injury to the suitor, and, indirectly, to every interest connected with it. But I was not ready to make the recommendations of the individuals which it was my duty as Minister of Justice to make to His Excellency in Council, and I stated to the Attorney General of British Columbia with complete frankness, exactly the position I was_ in in the matter. It is not, I think, desirable that such things as the personnel of a court should be made-at any rate beforehand-a matter of public discussion. It is not, in that view, desirable that I should go into the same particularity on this occasion that I did in writing a letter-which, while not a private letter, was more or less of a confidential character-to the attorney general of the province; and I will simply say this with regard to the contents of my letter to him; I pointed out that my own view was that it would make for the increased confidence of the public of the province in the new court of appeal if it were not to be composed altogether of new men without previous judicial experience; that it would be in the best interest of the administration of justice in the province that some of the members of the new court of appeal should be men who already had had judicial experience in the province, and that if that course were taken, while the new court of appeal would be constituted, there would be a breaking up of the present or existing court for the trial of causes, and that, unless appointments were contemporaneously made to the vacancies which promotion would cause, there would be vacancies on the bench for the trial of causes, a greater embarrassment to the business of litigants by the inability to carry on all the assizes or sitttings for trial which might be appointed to be held during the time when the positions of judgeships might be vacant. I have not had any answer to my communication. I do not know whether my idea's in the matter commended themselves to the attorney gen-Mr. AYLESWORTH.

eral or not. I have no doubt he has many other things to think of at the present moment than such details as I am referring to, and I have no astonishment to express that I have not received an answer. But in the absence of an answer I adhere entirely to the view I expressed in that letter, that it would be an inconvenient thing to make appointments to the court of appeal until I was in a position to make my recommendations for all the appointments that were to be made, and that it was in the true interest of the general public, and, in the interest of the administration of justice in the province, that no appointment at all should be made until I was ready to make all the appointments. And I am not yet ready to do so. 1 could name one man; 1 could name more than one man; for that matter I could name many more than the number of judges to be appointed-who are men, I think, fully qualified and eminently fit for the position. But the appointment of judges to any court, especially to a superior court, and more especially to a court of appeal for a province, is a matter about which, I think, any one charged with the responsibility of making the recommendations or selections ought to go reasonably slow. And the head and front of my offending in this matter is that I have now delayed some four weeks in the consideration of what course should be taken as to these appointments and that I am proposing to delay still a little longer. But I trust that before the end of the present month these appointments will be made and the court of appeal for British Columbia enabled to start upon its work'. In the meantime, the situation is that which 1 have described. And, if the province of British Columbia and those in charge of the administration of its affairs can. wait, patiently with this statute on their books for a period of two years and four months before they choose to bring it into force, I think the delay between a court of appeal sitting on the 2nd of November and possibly of the second day of December is not one for which this government or the Department of Justice can properly be held in any way to blame.

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CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MARTIN BURRELL (Yale-Cariboo).

I do not intend to detain the House for more than a moment or two in the discussion of a subject which is so largely legal in its bearing as the one now before the Chair. It is with some diffidence that any layman must rise in this House to touch upon matters that affect directly the legal profession, for on this floor one has the felicity of finding lawyers in front of him. lawyers behind him, lawyers to right and to left of him ready to volley and thunder. Tt is, however, of some advantage occasionally to get members of my own profession, that is the farmers, as, after all, not only

are they allied to the basic industry of the country, but 1 do believe that in some of these legal matters the assistance of the farming fraternity would tend at least towards simplicity, efficiency and the necessary cheapening of the processes of law. I think, therefore, that the House should not have in its membership too great a quantum of lawyers, and it is perhaps well that a farmer and not a lawyer should come to this House frorp North Essex.

The question raised bv the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) has, I think, been well raised. It is felt by everybody in British Columbia, be he litigant or non-litigant, that: we have suffered very much from the law's delay. It is hard enough, Heaven knows, for the average individual to get into the clutches of the law, and it is very much harder for him to be eating out his soul with anxiety while a decision is pending. Our position is very much harder at the present moment when we have absolutely and literally no court of appeal existing in the whole province and have not had since the first of September when this proclamation came into force. I do not wish to dilate on the remarks of the Minister of Justice (Hon. A. B. Aylesworth) as to the delay on the part of the province in proclaiming this matter, but we have heard it stated, and I have every reason to believe that it is true, that due notice was given to the Minister of Justice here as long ago as la3t May, that it was the intention of the province to proclaim this Act on September 1, or at the end of August and, ipso facto, therefore, there would be absolutely no way in which a man in British Columbia could appeal because there would be no court of appeal until judges were anpointed by the Dominion government. The Minister of Justice (Hon. A. B. Aylesworth) has, it is true, expressed his wish not_ to see judicial matters mixed up in politics, and yet he took on himself, I think rather illogically, rather unnecessarily and perhaps in'a somewhat undignified way. to state that this Act, was not proclaimed by the government of the province of British Columbia because it was hoped that aftei the election of 1908, the government of Canada might be of a different political complexion. If that is so, and if the Minister of Justice, taking that lofty idea, thought he could attack a province for delay on account of political reasons, it was evidently and abundantly clear that he should have taken particular pains to keep himself clear of the criticism which _ he might incur by leaving a whole province void of a court of appeal when some of the gentlemen who may be on that court are now taking part in an election campaign against the present provincial government. The Minister of Justice (Mr. A. B. Aylesworth) has stated that he very much regrets the delay, that he has not been ready

to decide on the personnel of the court and he does not wish to discuss that question in the House. That is a sentiment in which we would probably all agree, but I would point out to him that the personnel of the bench has been very freely discussed all through the province of British Columbia by Liberal newspapers, and name after name has been bandied about in those newspapers as the names of gentlemen who are to fill positions on this court of appeal. So far has it gone that some time ago despatches were published in the chief Liberal newspapers announcing that the appointment would shortly be made of the late leader of the Liberal opposition in British Columbia, a gentleman who has the unfailing respect of all people in British Columbia, Liberals and Conservatives, and that gentleman and his friends seem to have attached such full credence to that report that he retired from the leadership of the Liberal party in British Columbia and, to his credit, is not taking any part in the campaign now in progress. I do not know that this can be said of several other gentlemen whose names have been mentioned. The Minister of Justice (Hon. A. B. Aylesworth) says that these matters should be kept entirely free from party political influences Unfortunately it does not always come with the best grace from the Minister of Justice, when we have had in the past in British Columbia the spectacle of judges shortly before an election, before their resignations had been accepted, taking part in party politics, and then stepping down from the bench into the party arena. In 1907 we had an extraordinary spectacle when a gentleman who had been in party politics in British Columbia and who had been rewarded by being appointed to the important position of governor of the Yu kon-I refer, of course, to Mr. W. W. B. Mclnnes, a very energetic and strong champion of the Liberal cause-went up to the Yukon, and behold Mr. Henderson stepped down from his position on the bench, went into party politics, was defeated in 1907. and was rewarded by being appointed to Mr. Mclnnes' place as governor of the Yukon while the Dominion government compensated Mr. Mclnnes by putting him on the bench. When we have such an extraordinary shuffle as that, well may the Minister of Justice (Mr. A. It. Aylesworth) say that the judiciary ought to be above party politics. I would like to re-emphasize the fact that at this time every man in British Columbia is in this position that if he wants to appeal a case, he cannot appeal it simply because we have no such thing as a court of appeal in British Columbia, and have not had since September 1. The Minister of Justice (Mr. A. B. Aylesworth) concluded his remarks by saying that he knew of a great many gentlemen who would make very excellent judges. Possibly he does, possibly we all do, but he says although ha

knows of many qualified for the position, he intends to go a little slowly, to wait a little longer, and he added significantly that he would probably make the appointments before the end of the month. It is an extraordinary coincidence that the British Columbia elections are to take place on November 25. There is no doubt in my mind that when these elections are decided it will be far easier for the Minister of Justice to give the awards. It leads to the suspicion that in some cases it may be a party decision and that these gentlemen will decide it according to the political merits of the case, but not judicially. I think we are justified in coming to some such conclusion as that. It is unfortunate that whatever delays may have occurred, even assuming that there was delay in proclaiming the Act on the part of the provincial government, in view of the fact that the Minister of Justice has taken this high stand, he did not immediately put a court of appeals into effect by proclaiming it and by appointing judges before the heat of an election campaign and so relieved himself and his party from any criticism of this kind.'

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Mr. W. S.@

MIDDLEBBO (North Grey) Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice (Mr. A. B. Aylesworth) gives as a reason why the Act was not brought into force promptly that he believed the provinc'al government did not intend to bring the Act into force until after the elections in October, 1908.

I scarcely think that is the kind of reason the Minister of Justice should give to this House, but if that were so then, on October 28 last, the Minister of Justice (Mr. A. B. A.vies worth) knew that all ideas of that kind had been dissipated and the only reason for delay would be that he would think the British Columbia legislature would not bring the Act into force until after the following general election. It has been urged that because the British Columbia legislature remained inactive for a period of two years and four months there was therefore no great urgency for bringing the Act into force and appointing the judges. But the point that we desire to make, and practically the only point, is that the Minister of Justice knew, or he should have known-I have no doubt that he did know-that the minute the British Columbia Act came into force it abolished all machinery for appeals in that province. The Attorney General of the province of British Columbia away back last May desired the Minister of Justice to know that the British Columbia Act was going into force because he knew that just so soon as that Act was brought into force, if there were no judges immediately appointed, the whole machinery of the appellate court of British Columbia would be completely clogged. It is no justification for the Minister of Justice to say that at' Mr. BURRELL.

the time that the Act came into force he was awav in Europe. There should be some person in his department who could at once bring into force the Act providing for the salaries of the judges. The fact that the Act was passed two and a half years ago is all the more reason why this government should be prepared now to appoint the judges. They recognized the existence of the British Columbia Act when they passed the Act in 1908 and they must have believed that the Act providing for the creation of the court was going to be brought into force. They passed that Act fixing the salaries of the judges of the particular court in question and they must have come to the conclusion that the Act constituting the court was going to be brought into force. The Minister of Justice says to-day on the floor of this House that he has more applicants for these positions in British Columbia, competent and willing to fill the positions, than the four or five positions to be filled. That being the case I ask him why he does not appoint the judges forthwith. This is not the first time that a question of this kind has been brought before the Houise, because, in January, 1907, a similar charge was brought against the Minister because of his failure to fill a position on the bench in Nova Scotia. On that occasion what was the answer of the Minister of Justice? His answer was: I do not believe that any inconvenience is being suffered by litigants in Nova Scotia because of there being only six judges instead of seven. He said: I do not believe the absence of one judge is an impediment to the administration of justice in Nova Scotia; if I did I would immediately appoint another judge. But, in this case in British Columbia we have not a single judge appointed and the whole machinery of justice, as far as the appellate court in British Columbia is concerned, is completely clogged. The answer would be that there being no judge in British Columbia who could carry on the appellate court work, there should be an immediate appointment. In what position will some of these litigants be placed? It is true that the court is constituted, but it is an inanimate thing until the judges are appointed. If a litigant desires to apply to the court of appeal for leave to appeal, there are no judges to hear the appeal and these appeals have, in many cases, to be made within a limited time. A criminal may be lying in jail waiting for leave to appeal to the court and he remains in jail because the government have failed to appoint these judges. For these reasons I say that there has been no sufficient reason shown whv these judges should not have been appointed. It is, as my hon. friend from Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell) says, a curious coincidence that these appointments are not going to be made until after the provincial general elections. Is the Minister of Jus-

tice going to make up his mind within the next ten or fifteen days? Has he not all the material and all the information now upon which he is going to make these appointments, or is he going hereafter to British Columbia for information to enable him to select the men whom he is going to appoint immediately after the next provincial election?

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LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. AYLESWORTH.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a correction of a statement that I understand the non. gentleman has attributed to me. I understand that he attributed to me the statement that I had more applicants for these positions than there are positions to be filled. I said nothing of the kind and I beg to assure the hon. members of this House that there is not an applicant for one of these positions that I would think of recommending.

Topic:   ADJOURNMENT-JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

Perhaps I did not make it clear, but what the hon. gentleman did say, I think, was that he could name more good men suitable for these positions than there were positions to fill.

Topic:   ADJOURNMENT-JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.
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Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at four o'clock p.m.



Monday, November 15, 1909.


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November 12, 1909