March 23, 1914

LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I am not complaining and they are not complaining, but if the judges, at Montreal and Quebec get $7,000 a yeaT, I see no reason why the judges at Three Rivers should not get the same. If you say that this difference in salary is justified by the high cost of living in these two places, I answer that you cannot live more cheaply in Three Rivers than you can in Montreal or Quebec. But, I repeat that the judges of the Superior Court have to .sit in the Court of King's Bench and hear criminal cases, and they have to sit as a court of appeal in Three Rivers to hear appeals from the acts and decisions of the municipal and school bodies, appeals from acts and decisions taken under the charter of the city of Three Rivers and of other municipal .centres throughout the district of Three Rivers. We must not forget that this district is developing very rapidly. You have in that district the city of Three Rivers, which has increased in [population from 13,000 to 18,000; you have the town of Grand Mere, which has a population of 5,000, and which is increasing very rapidly; you have the town of Shawinigan with all its important industries, and you have the new town of La Tuque, which is also developing very rapidly. New industries are going into these towns and cities, and the amount of

litigation at Three Rivers is increasing every day. As a result of this these country judges can never sit down at, night before their fire-places and smoke their pipes. They have a great deal more work to do than the judges in Montreal or in Quebec. These country judges have to expend a good deal more money in order to keep their libraries up than the judges of Montreal or Quebec, who have the advantage of the Bar libraries.

At six o'clock, the committee took recess.

The Committee resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LRMIEUX:

By way of implementing the remarks I made 'before six o'clock, addressed to the hon. the Minister of Justice, and so that I may get from him a complete answer to all the requests made regarding the salaries of the judges, I will read to the House two petitions which I believe are in the hands of my hon. friend the Minister of Justice, but which should be on ' Hansard.' By reading these documents I do not intend to be parochial or provincial. If I state a case for the judges of my own pro%'-inee, I do not intend by so doing to deprive the judges of the other provinces of whatever recourse they may have. I speak whereof I know most. I will read first the petition sent to my hon. friend the Minister of Justice by the judges of the Superior Court for the district of Quebec. The province of Quebec is divided judicially into two large districts, Quebec and Montreal, with subdivisions for smaller districts. The petition is as follows:

Quebec, November, 1913.

To the Honourable Charles J. Doherty,

Minister of Justice of Canada.

The undersigned judges of the Superior Court, of the review district of Quebec, in cooperation with the judges of said court for the balance of the province, respectfully represent : , , ...

That they are constrained, for, among other, the reasons hereinafter given respectfully to call your attention to the indemnity paid to them for their services; they are almost daily reminded by their experiences, that it is quite inadequate to enable them to live in comfort and in accordance with their station in life, without exercising too great economy; they must deny themselves such necessary luxuries as useful and helpful legal and literary publications, and, more important still, they are unable to adequately provide for the future of those who are dependent upon them.

The cost of living, as compared with a few years back, has almost doubled; incomes and salaries which were formerly considered an independence, are now quite insufficient to meet anything but the most ordinary expenses of living. Of course, we recognize this condition is not confined to judges ; it is so also in every walk of life; but judges' salaries have

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Paul-Émile Lamarche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAMAECHE:

I agree with my hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) that something ought to be done for the judges, especially for the judges of the Circuit Court of the district of Montreal. They are in a special class, as my hon. friend has said, being judges of ' the poor man's court.' The roll of that court is always congested; the work the judges have to do, the hours they have to devote to their duties, are certainly great in view of the salary that is given them. I believe that not very long ago a demand was made for an increase in the number of judges of this court from three to six; and you will observe, Mr. Chairman, that a fourth judge has been appointed on that Bench. If the work is to be done by these four judges-and everybody knows there is work for at least six judges-I think that is an additional reason for an increase in salary. I do not know whether the hon. member for Rouville has mentioned any figure. At present these judges are paid a salary of $3,000 a year. In my opinion, these four judges should be paid at least $5,000 a year. They certainly earn such a salary, and nothing less would be adequate for the duties they have to perform. I do not know whether the Minister of Justice is ready to announce what will be the policy of the Government in the matter, but I simply wish to join my hon. friend from Rouville to endorse absolutely the remarks he has made, and tn' ask the minister to take seriously into consideration the petitions that have been forwarded to him.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. ROCH LANCTOT:

Mr. Chairman, I regret that the hon. gentleman who just resumed his seat (Mr. Lamarche) should have concurred in the views expressed by the hon. member for Rouville. I must say right away that I am wholly opposed to any increase of salary for the judges, because, to my mind, they are already getting too much for the work performed in the country's behalf.

the Superior Court judges of the district of Montreal are getting just now salaries of $7,000 or $8,000 per annum, and I was not a little surprised at hearing the memorandum of the judges of the district of Quebec which the hon. member for Rouville has just read to the House. When complaints are being voiced as regards the high cost of living on behalf of people who earn $7,000 per annum, it strikes me as something laughable. I admit that in the case of a poor workingman earning from $1.25 to $1.50 per day, the high cost of

living may be made a consideration towards obtaining an increase of his salary, but such considerations cannot be urged in the case of people earning from $7,000 to $8,000 per annum.

As a matter of fact are there not in the province of Quebec retired judges who get more as pensioners of the State than they earned while on the Bench?

That question was never taken up before the Canadian electorate, and I intend during the next recess of Parliament to carry on a campaign against the increase of such salaries throughout the province of Quebec, whatever may be thought of it by hon. gentlemen who belong to the profession. In this connection, I put both political parties exactly on the same plane; hon. gentlemen on either side are always ready to rise in this House and. defend the privileges of the upper set; they remain silent when the rights of the common people are in jeopardy.

We have in the province of Quebec fifteen retired judges; out of that number, three get $8,000 per annum, though they earned only $5,000 while on the bench. That makes $3,000 more per annum than during their term of office, that is to say, they get $3,000 more per annum for doing nothing.

How could it be otherwise, when we have as Minister of Justice a retired judge in person? Of course, it may be that the law makers who provided such increases had their own cases in mind. In 1905, the then Minister of Justice was Mr. Fitzpatrick. The .salary of the Chief Justice was increased to $12,000, and he was on the point of himself going over to the Supreme Court.

I was listening the other day to the hon. Minister of Inland Revenue (Mr. Nantel) when he acknowledged that there were in his department poor people earning from $500 to $600 per annum as temporary clerks, for the past fifteen or twenty years; and he added that he did not see his way to granting them any increase. Besides, he said, if they are not content with that, there are hundreds of people who are ready to take their places.

Do you suppose, Mr. Chairman, that in the event of the judges of the province of Quebec resigning to-morrow, on the ground of insufficient remuneration of their services, it would be found impossible to replace them? I can assure you, Sir, that there are on the other .side of the

House some hon. gentlemen-I "have a certain number of them in front of me who, having deceived their electors at the last elections, would be very glad to slip into those vacancies. It would not take me a half-hour to fill in the gaps.

As for me, and I speak on behalf of the farming community which I represent here, I say that the latter class is unaware of all that is going on; and in this connection I may tell you of an incident which occurred in the course of my last electoral journey. I was addressing a meeting at St. Michael de Napierville, and in conclusion was pointing out the case of the hon. Minister of Justice, who is at one and the same time a pensioner of the State, Minister of Justice and member of Parliament. On these various heads, I told them, he is drawing three salaries. After the meeting some Conservative electors came to me saying: You have not stated the truth; the Minister of Justice can not be a State pensioner. I ascended the hustings once more and told them: Go and inquire from Mr. Patenaude, the local member for Laprairie (a staunch Conservative), and if he does not confirm what I have just stated to you, I undertake to give up my mandate. Those people would not believe me.

Now, I would like to know from the Minister of Justice whether he intends applying on my behalf to the Prime Minister for an opportunity to discuss the Bill I have on the Order paper in reference to the matter we are considering just now?

The contention is that there are not enough judges in Montreal; I know the reason, and I am going to tell you what it is. Our Montreal judges, like those in other parts, often suffer from slight headaches and travel for the benefit of their health. Several of them even cross over to Europe every year. While they are on such trips their salaries are by no means cut down. But take a poor customs officer, if he be sick two days in succession, he must show a doctor's certificate-which costs some money-to draw his salary. What I now state is a fact; many a time I have witnessed such things while I was sitting on the Government side.

I stated that a judge, even in the event of a six months' absence in Europe, draws his full salary. But that is not the whole story; should he be called upon to act as chairman of a commission of enquiry, or

to fill some other office apart from his judicial functions, he draws $50 per diem besides his salary as a judge which continues to run.

That is the kind of justice which is meted out to us farmers and workingmen.

I say that the time is near when we will show our resentment of such grievances.

Quite recently, in this House, when we urged cutting off the duties on agricultural implements, the objection was raised that we would no longer have sufficient revenue to meet tire expenditure incident on Civil government. To that I answer: Let us begin with the judges,, let us cut off, to begin with, the pension of the Minister of Justice-whom I see just now occupying a seat opposite. That pension amounts to $4,666.66. Mr. Chairman, that sum is surely equal to the net revenue of forty-six farmers in my constituency?

Let us now compare the pensions paid to judges in Ontario and in Quebec. Fifteen judges in Quebec are the recipients of nearly $100,000. In Ontario, one judge gets $7,000, two get $2,500 and one gets $.3,000. The comparison is greatly in favour of Ontario. I may add that the Ontario judges remain on the Bench until 83 years of age. Indeed, there are judges in that province who might have asked to be retired eight years ago, and who have not done so yet.

In conclusion, I shall once more inquire from the Government whether an opportunity will be given me to discuss in this House the Bill which I referred to a moment ago? Should the Government stand aloof in this connection, I shall undertake to myself go through the province of Quebec and discuss the question against any lawyer appealing to the electorate.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

I wish to bring to the attention of the committee something that has been very strongly impressed upon the minds of the people not only of Canada but of all civilized countries. I refer to the desirability of doing away with courts of appeal. According to the principles of British law-civil, canon, and all the other branches of law-people are presumed to know the law; in fact one of the maxims of the law is that ignorance of the law excuses no one. Strange to say, however, when it comes to the bench the surmise is that as the judges may not know the law, wre had better provide a higher court. I say, follow out the principle that they are presumed to know the law, and let the

10.38

matter stop at that. If you want to do the poorer people of this country a favour, cut off these needless appeals. Where a matter of principle is concerned, let the public counsel, at the public expense, carry the case to a higher court for the general good of the community or of the nation, but the idea is wrong that the people, who themselves are presumed, by a very pleasant fiction, to know the law, should wade through a sea of technicalities and expense to a court of last resort when there is no scientific way of deciding the matter at the end or any other time. The whole thing is a matter of opinion from first to last. There are no axioms, there are not even postulates of law; there are simply experiences which have been put together, which form a certain sort of history and which we are supposed to profit by, but largely they are problematical and unsettled. We may study ancient law, modern law, international law, the law of evidence, the law of real property, and so on-and what is it ? It is nothing more or less than a sort of eruption of a great volcano; it is all confusion-the lava is running all over the community; it is hardening and becoming ossified. We call it the principle of law in some cases; in others we do not know what it is. This incongruity should be done away with. It is all a toss-up at any time. Tbss your copper into the air; if it falls head up, do not go to law; if it falls tail up, do-and you are just as likely to come out right in that way as in any other way; in fact, you are more likely than if you go on with an appeal. So that if you come to investigate the matter and look into the whole system of appeal, and its foundation, you will find that it is absolutely incongruous, inconsistent and illogical to the last degree; there is absolutely no sense in it. It is being perpetuated by the fact that the people do not know what else to do. Therefore, in default of somebody with a louder voice and more influence to make these things known, I have the hardihood to do so on this occasion. The day is coming when it must be done. I have already seen the influence of these things; I have already seen in more than one part of the British Empire that a tendency to cut off sources of appeal, divisional courts and things of that sort, is manifesting itself. Put good men on the Bench-I do not say that good men are not there now-put the best you have, pay them high salaries if you have to; it is the cheapest thing in the long run, but lessen appeals. Have men on the Bench who are like Privy Councillors in

England. They do not take a year and a day to decide a case; they hear you in a few minutes; they decide promptly whether there is anything in your case, and they render judgment the next day. But, lessen the number of them. We know that the tendency is that the more profound you look the less you know and the longer you take to know it. I know this is a most momentous question; I know it may seem ridiculous to launch it in this way, but I am doing so in all seriousness. From the very earliest time when there were courts of law-in the Egyptian days, in the Grecian days and in the Roman days-we find this same thing cropping up: the necessity of repressing a multiplication of appeals because,. as I say-and this is the reason-you cannot arrive at any scientific solution of the question if you keep on appealing it till the crack of doom.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. BOULAY:

In the first place, I wish to ask a question of the hon. Minister of Justice. When a judge goes out to sit in his district, are his travelling expenses paid by the Government or by himself?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

When he goes out to hold the court within the territory which is assigned to him, his travelling expenses are not paid by the Government. But should the Government send him outside his territorial jurisdiction, then he is recouped of his travelling expenses from public chest.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

The-minister's answer does not supply exactly the information which I am in need of. My query is this: there is a judge appointed for the county of Ri-mousi. He resides in Quebec. Now, what I would like to find out is whether, in the event of his coming from Quebec to Ri-mouski to hold the court, his travelling expenses are paid to him by the Government.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

As regards the question of the judges' residence, that is a point which is settled by the Provincial Act, and I do not exactly remember just now how Rimouski stands in that respect.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

We sometimes hear it said that there is nothing new under the sun, and to-day we are witnessing the same old story of lawyers agreeing and acting as a unit when the proposal is made to increase the salaries of the judges. I am in almost every respect at one with the hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville (Mr. Lanctot) in the views he expressed.

I listened carefully to the remarks uttered on either side of the House in respect to the judges' salarie_s. It may be that in certain particular instances these gentlemen are underpaid, but in most cases judges receive not less than $20 per diem. As stated by the hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville, almost every year judges take holidays, and though there are no data to be found in public documents regarding the matter, it does not appear that the least particle of the judges' salaries is deducted.

The hon. gentleman from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) referred to the high cost of living. When a man gets a salary of $5,000 per annum, the increased cost of living can only be a trifling consideration in his case. But as regards a poor labourer, who is obliged to pay the same rent and support a numerous family, the case is altogether different; however, there is no talk of increasing his salary. When a man is appointed judge, he has in most cases reached an age when his children are brought up for the most part. So he has only himself and his wife to look after, which is quite a different proposition. On what grounds is an increase sought on behalf of the judges? No solid ground, to my mind, beyond the notion that the farming community, the industrial and business classes, the labouring classes generally should be plucked for the benefit of others. It is time a stop should be put to that kind of thing. Have we heard many lawyers in the course of this debate come to the rescue of the farmers and fight that proposal to increase the judges' salaries?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON:

Will the hon. gentleman allow me to ask him a question? Is he in favour of increasing the members's sessional indemnity?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

It would certainly be fairer to increase the sessional indemnity of members than the salaries of judges. I am thinking of those members who exert themselves; as for the others, I have nothing to say. vVe certainly should earn more, for v,e work 365 days in the year and sometimes during nights. We are obliged to go through expensive electoral campaigns, while our friends the judges, who draw big salaries, about twice the amount of our indemnity, sit only about 150 days in the year, when it is possible to lay hands on them, which is not always an easy matter.

As for us in the county of Rimouski, we have a judge who resides in Quebec. I have already called the attention of the Minister of Justice to the fact; litigants complain of such a state of things. That judge only comes to Rimouski for the sittings of the court, which are far between, and very often we are obliged to do without him. Recourse must be had to the district magistrate, the judge being absent.

As the representative of the county of Rimouski, I agree with all my constituents in condemning any proposal for an increase of the judges' salaries.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

Mr. Chairman, I was not here this afternoon, but I have been informed that some hon. members advocated an increase in the salaries of County Court judges. I shall not speak for the other provinces. I understand that in the Maritime provinces the districts are larger and there are fewer County Court judges in proportion to the population than in Ontario.

I would not oppose an increase in salaries to the County Court judges in Ontario if the number of County Court judges were reason- * abie; but before I would support an increase I would ask that the number should be decreased. We could dispense with at least a dozen County Court judges in Ontario. Some districts which have two judges, a senior and a junior, could do with only one. Many years ago districts which had 40,000 population were entitled to two judges. That was increased to 80,000 population. But there are quite a few exceptions to the general rule. A district having within it a city was entitled to a second judge, and there were districts, large in area, which were also made exceptions to the general law and were granted two judges. At that time the transportation facilities were not so good as they are to-day. Then too, litigation has decreased. I do not know how it is in other districts, but in my district litigation has very much decreased within the last few years. The province of Ontario could dispense with quite a few County Court judges; that is, the Legislature could amend the law and do away with a number of junior judgeships. Until this is done I would oppose any increases in

9 p.m. the salaries of County Court judges in Ontario.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

Mr. Chairman, it appears to me that such a question can toe discussed without appealing to class prejudices. Those who are called upon to fill judgeships have spent several years studying a profession which requires a wide range of knowledge. Why not pay them in proportion to their merits?

As regards the pensions of judges, I know what are the views of the Minister of Justice on that point; he has previously stated them, and he is capable of defending himself without any assistance on my part.

Now, to-day exception is taken to the discrepancies in the judges' salaries, and I think rightly so. Why should $3,000 only be paid to Circuit court judges? I contend that they. do as much work, if not more, than the judges of the Superior court in Montreal, and certainly more than the judges in country districts. I aver that the Superior court judges in the country districts have duties of a three-fold nature to perform: in the first place, as judges of the Superior court, then as judges sitting in the court of Queen's Bench, and lastly as judges of the Circuit court. And they have other duties besides to perform.

I understand that the difficulty in the way of increasing the salaries of the four judges of the Circuit court in Montreal, is that they are assimilated to County court judges in the Province of Ontario. That is comparing day and night. The organization of our courts in Quebec is altogether different. Our Circuit court in Montreal is also different from Circuit courts in country districts. The hon. minister is aware that in Montreal those judges decide from twenty to thirty cases per annum, and that they sit every day, except during the long summer recess.

When the hon. member for Rimouski stated a moment ago that the judges work only 150 days in the year, he was speaking, I regret to say, of something he is entirely ignorant of. I invite him, in the course of June next, if the session is over, or in September, to enter the Circuit court and witness the work which is being done there. Even during vacations, there is always a judge in chambers for any business that may be urgent. .

On my responsibility as a memiber I have no hesitation in stating that the salary of the Circuit court judges is ridiculously inadequate, considering the cost of living in Montreal to-day and the standard, however humble it may he, they are expected to live up to. Considering the duties which devolve upon them, the meagre allowance granted does not enable them to do things properly.

When I see hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars voted every year toward building armouries, it seems to me the expenditure for military purposes might be cut down in a measure and the expenditure for the administration of justice proportionately increased; in that way would those grievous discrepancies be done away with.

As I stated a moment ago, there is no comparison to be made between the two provinces; their systems of judicature dif-

fering entirely one from the other. The appointment of judges, as well as their salaries are matters falling wholly within the powers of the Dominion Government, and such salaries should be sufficient to uphold the dignity of the positions; that is why I entreat the minister not to proceed on a basis of comparisons.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Louis Audet Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (St. James):

It was not my intention to take part in this debate, but as I am fully aware of the unfairness of the treatment dealt out to the Circuit court judges in Montreal, I think it is incumbent on me to say a word or so.

There is no appeal from the findings of those judges; so it will be seen that their responsibility is very great indeed. Nevertheless, all they get is $3,000 per annum, while judges in country districts get $5,000. Circuit court judges in Montreal are not entitled to a pension, while other judges are so entitled.

The city of Montreal pays to its clerk and assistant clerks salaries of over $3,000 per annum. The deputy prothonotaries of the Superior courts are paid a salary equal to that of those judges. Evidently that is unfair.

I may be.allowed to enquire from the hon. Minister of Justice why those judges are not paid as much as the others? Why are they singled out?

The hon. Minister of Justice has read the petition asking that their salaries be increased. I think lawyers should unite and make every effort toward obtaining that such salaries be increased. I cannot agree with my hon. friend from Laprairie-Napier-yiHe, and I believe the salaries of these judges should be increased. The Montreal recorders earn from $5,000 to $6,000 per annum. We have three or four of them who are in the same position as those retired judges who, after a period of fifteen years, retire, settle down in the country or take to travelling in Europe. But such is not the case of the Circuit court judges.

Why -are those judges dealt with in that way, differently from others? I trust the hon. Minister of Justice will give us some fair and satisfactory explanation of the matter.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

If I am to do justice to the observations of all the distinguished members who have spoken on this subject, it will be admitted that it i-s a fairly large task, even for a Minister of Justice. I may answer the very pointed question of my hon. friend from iSt. James, Montreal (Mr. Lapointe), at the outset. He has asked me

why it was that these four judges were singled out to get this smaller salary. I may say to him that they were singled out to get this smaller salary by the Government which he supported at the time they singled them out, and that is the reason why he has to appeal to me to remedy this grave injustice.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

My hon. friend asked

me why they were singled. out. There is only one reason. They were singled out by the Government of the day, who fixed that reason. Why , that was done at the outset, I am not in a position to say.

I do not want to treat this subject from a partisan point of view. I quite realize that the whole question is above that, as my hon. friend from Wright (Mr. Devlin) said this afternoon. It would be rather difficult for me to take up seriatim the observations of the different gentlemen who have spoken. With a great deal that has been said I may say that I am in very hearty sympathy. With a great deal of what was said by my hon. friend from Nicolet (Mr. Lamarche) and by my hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) I am in very hearty sympathy. I am heartily in accord with my hon. friend from Rouville in his expression of welcome on the return of the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley). We are all glad to see him back with us in such evidently perfect health. I shall endeavour to deal with the observations made by different gentlemen as I proceed. I wish to say a few general words on the increase in judges' salaries. I note what the hon. member for Laval (Mr. Wilson) says in regard to inequalities in isalaries. I cannot undertake to give the reason why these inequalities were created. They date, I think, from even before the previous Administration, and I have nothing more to say than that I inheiited them. There are some things that are sufficient reasons for inequality. For instance, it might perhaps fairly be contended that inequality of work should represent inequality of salary. I think, too, that some consideration has to be given to the important work entrusted to one class of judges as compared with the relatively unimportant work entrusted to another. In the general business world the man who has large responsibilities is usually paid more than the man whose responsibilities are 123

smaller, and there may be also the question of relative expenses of living in different places, though I am free' to confess after listening to the discussion of this afternoon that I have pretty nearly come to the conclusion that it costs more to live anywhere than it does to live anywhere else. That seems to be the situation, as I gathered it from the different opinions expressed this afternoon. These are some considerations that may have influenced those who established the inequality of salary. There is also the consideration pointed out by my hon. friend from Prescott (Mr. Proulx) that in some circumstances it may be reasonably contended that in some provinces there are more judges of certain classes than are required. It is quite true that it is the absolute right of provinces to decide how many judges they shall have, but it is also not only the right but the duty of the Government of the Dominion to determine how much these judges shall be paid, and this Government, whether in the past or the present, is not perhaps to be too much blamed if, finding that it has to provide for a larger number of judges than is necessary, it considers that having to spread its pay over this large surface, it must be spread perhaps a little thinner than it otherwise would be. All these things come into play and have to be considered, and the position of any government called upon to deal with the question of judges' salaries is in every way complicated by the fact that the government that does the appointing and the paying has nothing to say about the organization of the courts, the number of judges, or how their work shall be distributed. So that while we have to arrive at a system of determining salaries, we have no control over the circumstances in which different classes of judges are placed; and that situation necessarily makes it more difficult for us to deal with the judges as a whole than it would be if we were in a position to regulate the organization of the courts, to fix the duties of respective judges and then be in a position to adjust the salaries in view of the arrangements that this Government might make. When I speak of this Government, I speak of the Government of Canada in general. All these things make it not easy to deal fairly and justly with the whole question of the adjustment of judges' salaries. Furthermore, we have to consider the question of the additional burden imposed upon the country by an increase of salaries granted to a large number of judges. Speaking in a general way, I thoroughly sympathize with

the idea that the judges should be adequately paid. 'I quite agree with the hon. member for West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) that we ought to try to get the best men, and to pay them adequately. When you come to apply that principle one has to take into consideration the different things I have mentioned, and that makes it not e%sy to arrive at a satisfactory adjustment oi salaries. There are particular cases that do very especially press upon one when one goes into an examination of the positions of these different judges, and I think the case of the judges of the Circuit Court in Montreal-a case, in a very special way, deserving of consideration. We have to avoid, of course, the possible suggestion of favouritism as between different localities. I certainly would like, in dealing with the question, to keep myself quite above that. I think that, without any regard to any possible feeling of that kind, theie is no mistake in saying that the case of these judges is one that presents itself to the mind as calling at least as strongly as any other for action. Upon the question generally of an increase of judges' salaries, as I said to the hon. member for Wright (Mr. Devlin) this afternoon, I am not at the moment prepared to make an announcement. I may permit myself to say this much, in regard to certain provinces, that they could give us very great assistance in the direction of providing more adequate salaries for the judges generally if they would give some thought, and above all take some action, in the direction of reducing the number of judges. My hon. friend from Prescott (Mr. Proulx) has pointed out that, in his judgment, the number of County Court judges in the province of Ontario is greater than there is need for. I think that possibly the same observation could be made in regard to the judges of the Superior Court in the province of Quebec. If there were a better distribution, a smaller number could do the work that is done. If that be true, and if legislation looking to bringing about that result could be enacted-which legislation could only be enacted by the province-'it would be a great help in the direction of providing larger salaries for the judges. In regard to the remarks of the hon. members who have spoken in a sense adverse to an increase in these salaries, I shall 'be pleased to consider what they have said and give it the weight to which it is entitled.

The hon. member for Laprairie-Napier-ville (Mr. Lanctot) made some observations upon the subject of judges' pensions which did not seem to me to be very germane to the question which we are consider-

ing. He also made some observations of a somewhat personal nature in regard to myself. As far as the latter are concerned, I think I can afford to let them pass. I have never done anything more than take what this country, in the most, express terms, agreed to give me if I did a certain thing.

I did that thing. The country through its law said to me that it would give me a certain recompense if I did a certain thing.

I carried out my contract, and it is made a subject of reproach to me that, having . done so, I have received that which the country, through its law-a law enacted before I was born-agreed to give me. It is made a reproach to me that I have carried out my contract and the country has carried out its contract. With regard to the suggestion that there was any question of my being too ill to continue after I had fulfilled t/he terms that my contract called for, I think that my presence in this House for the last few years makes it quite evident that I could make no pretensions to illness.

I have difficulty in speaking with seriousness of this matter, which gives rise to such indignation on the part of the hon. member, and I think I may leave it right there.

I have only to say, in regard to what my hon. friend from Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) said with reference to the amount of work done there, that I will look into the statistics and see how far he is correct in his impression that the judges of that district are called upon to do a larger amount of work than the judges in some other districts.

I would be very much surprised to find that one of the two judges at Three Rivers has more to do than a judge occupying a similar position in the district of Montreal.

I have a word to say with reference to what was said by the hon. member for Richmond (Mr. Kyte) and the hon. member for Sydney (Mr. McKenzie) in regard to the allowance made for travelling expenses of the County Court judges. I understand that what the hon. member for North Sydney was pointing out was that, in his judgment, there was some injustice done to the County Court judges in so far as their travelling expenses were concerned inasmuch as no allowances were granted to them when they went to try municipal or provincial election cases. Am I right in that?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

In regard to my hon.

friend from Richmond, I understand that the particular complaint that he asked a

remedy for was that in his province County Court judges going from their place of residence to some other place within the same county are not given anything for travelling allowance. If the hon. members fur North Sydney and Richmond would be good enough to send me a memorandum of the section of the law under which they contend that these things happened, which, upon their face look to be unfair, I shall be glad to look into the matter with a view to bringing about some remedy.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink

March 23, 1914