May 12, 1914

CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McCURDY:

My remark was entirely commendatory of the action of the hon. member.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

I know. Especially in

the district of Cape Breton island, our county court judge does an amount of work that is worthy of double the salary that is paid him.

I need not repeat what 'has been said by the hon. member for North Cape Breton, but our county court judge is busy from Monday morning at nine o'clock until Saturday afternoon at three. He tries practically all criminal cases, with the exception of those of a more serious character; he assumes the duties of master of the Supreme Court at chambers; he hears all interlocutory applications that are made in the various stages of cases sent up to the Supreme Court for trial-my hon. friend the minister of Justice will know what that means in a district where there is a considerable amount of litigation. He is the taxing master and he has the jurisdiction to try civil cases of a very important nature. I mention his case not because I hold a brief for him, but because I know something of his duties, and I believe that he does more work than any other county court judge in the province, excepting, perhaps the judge at Halifax. I cannot understand why this or any other Government should pay a man in that position only |3,000 a year, an absolutely inadequate sum. Many of our tradesmen and smaller merchants, who have not had to go to the expense of acquiring technical knowledge, make more money than that in a year. The judges are absolutely unable to live up to the standard demanded by the dignity of their office on the salaries which they receive.

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LIB
LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

If it were not for the fact that I would probably be dealing in personalities, I could point out to my hon. friend very many cases where judges have resigned and taken up the practice of their profession simply because they could in that way earn double the amount which they received as judges.

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LIB
LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

I believe that if the hon. Minister of Justice would devote to the practice of his profession the careful attention which he gave to his duties as judge

of the Supreme Court, he would make double the amount of money which he received as a judge. But we have to have judges, and in my humble opinion the minister is going to have some difficulty in getting the very best men to act as judges of the Supreme Court if the salaries are to be left as they are at present.

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CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

Does the hon. gentleman really think that in this the twentieth century the whole trend of civilization and culture has been such that now everything is measured in dollars and cents?

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

The hon. gentleman is ahead of his time; he is living in the twenty-eight, not in the twentieth century. He is one of those men who can see the commerce of this country being carried on by flying machines; he is living in the twenty-fourth century at least. But, no matter in what century we are living, to my mind the question is: are the judges of our courts to be paid adequate salaries? The hon. Minister of Justice is taking a forward step in this matter, but I do not think he is taking a step that will commend itself to the country at large. It is all very well to increase the salaries of some particular judges from $5,000 to $7,000 and from $3,000 to $5,000, but I think the Minister of Justice and his department should go thoroughly into the whole question and come to the conclusion that an increase should be given to every judge in Canada, whether he be j udge of the smaller or of the Superior and Supreme Courts. If the minister will see fit to bring down legislation to that end, I believe it would have the hearty support of every gentleman in this House.

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CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

I desire to congratulate the minister upon his attempt to make a forward step along the lines of economy in dealing with the question of the judges of our courts. As I understand the idea of the minister, he is going to enlarge the territorial jurisdiction of the county court judges and let them do work in adjoining or neighbouring counties. In that way, by a slight increase in their salaries, he will obviate the necessity of the appointment of a higher salaried judge in the county to which the judge in question is sent. I think that is commendable and should meet with the approval of this House, especially in an age when it is sometimes considered proper to attack men who sit on the Bench of the country. I pay tribute to the thoughtfulness of the minister in providing a little more work and a little more pay for some

of the county court judges. My own idea, being fairly well acquainted with the conditions in Ontario, is that there is gross inequality of pay, having Tegard to the labour performed. Leaving out altogether the rather unique and sensible idea to which the hon. member for West Peterborough has given utterance, I claim that many judges throughout the province of Ontario are doing three times as much work as they are paid for doing. There are a great many judges in Ontario who do not earn the money they are getting; yet no one could ask them to take less, because they have always to be on duty and to perform the services from day to day which a judicial officer must perform. In the county that I have the honour to represent the judge of the county court is a very estimable gentleman, formerly a member of this House, who is held in the highest esteem by the litigating public. He is a very busy man, as the county is a great litigating county; we call it the fighting county. I am quite certain that I could pick out throughout the province of Ontario six county court judges who together do less work than the judge of the county court in the county of Perth. That being the case, the principle that the minister is endeavouring to establish by this Bill might be fairly established to-day in respect of the county court judges in the province of Ontario. While I admit that as the province of Ontario is growing rapidly in industrial life, the work of the judges will increase very rapidly and the day may come when these men of whom I speak may have more than enough to do, still I believe that it would be worth the minister's while extending the principle not only to Quebec but to the province of Ontario as well.

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LIB
CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

I cannot speak of the conditions in Nova Scotia, but I heard the hon. member for South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) eloquently speaking for the Superior Court judges a moment ago. So far as Ontario is concerned, I have heard no complaint about their salaries, but there is complaint at times from the public that while this Parliament has enacted a law which compels the retirement of county court judges at seventy-five years, it is entirely left open so that a judge of the Superior Court may stay on the bench until he is 175 years old, if he lives that long. I do (not think the discrimination is a fair one. I believe that the county court judge throughout Ontario and within the whole Dominion jurisdiction is in every 228

respect as estimable a man and as worthy of the consideration of Governments as any Supreme Court or Superior Court judge, and I, for one, feel that since the law has been applied, and I think in many eases well applied, that a judge having reached the age of 75 is forced to retire from the county court judgeship, his brother on the Superior Court bench, who has enjoyed more than double the salary all his life, sho'uld be put in the same position. While I will have to make exceptions, owing to the fact of men of 75, such as Chancellor Boyd in Ontario, retaining all their faculties in splendid shape so that they are able apparently to do their work as well as at any time, so that it would be a distinct loss to the bench if they were forcibly retired; there are to-day in Ontario some complaints at the non-retirement of Superior Court judges who have reached the age at which a county court judge would be forcibly retired. I congratulate the minister on his advance towards economy on this line and the application of the sensible plan of giving the county court judges a little more work and adding to their pay.

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LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. W. M. MARTIN:

I cannot say that I agree altogether with the remarks of the hon. member for North Perth (Mr. Morphy). It seems to me that the question of economy should not arise in connection with the salaries of judges. If the Government are going to practise economy, cutting down or keeping low, the salaries of judges would seem to me to be a very poor place to begin it. It would be better for the Government to begin in the Militia Department an'd cut down the construction of drill-halls, or perhaps in the Public Works Department, where the expenditure has been going up by leaps and bounds in the last three or four years.

There seems to be a general agreement between members on both sides that the salaries of district or county court judges in Saskatchewan should be somewhat increased. If that is true in Nova Scotia or in parts Oif Ontario or in Quebec, it is equally true in the western parts of Canada and particularly so in Saskatchewan, not only on account of the fact that the judges in that province are all working from morning until night, as there are not sufficient County Court judges in the province, but also because living is much more expensive in that part of the country than in any other part of Canada. In an ordin-

ary county town, in Ontario a man occupying the position of county court judge can live on much less than he could in a similar town in Saskatchewan. I attended a banquet given by the Bar Association of Saskatchewan to the Minister of Justice last fall. The minister was in particularly good humour on that occasion after he had been banqueted and treated to the best that the prairies produce. I understood from his remarks, and the impression was general not only in Regina but in Moosejaw, that he was going to do something

9 p.m. to increase the salaries of county court judges in Saskatchewan. I know that the minister's answer will be that he must deal with the whole of Canada; but the conditions are somewhat different in the West as it costs more to live and the judges there actually do more work than county court judges in Ontario. I hope the minister will devise some scheme by which he can be of some assistance to the judges of the county court in Saskatchewan. The minister is going to appoint four more District Court judges in that province. He will have trouble in getting proper men for those positions at $3,000. He shakes his head. I venture to say that a great many of the applications he has had for the position are from men not fitted to occupy the position of county court judge. I know that he cannot get properly qualified men for these positions at a salary of $3,000. Unless the salaries are made adequate to the position the minister will not be able to get the best men to occupy the positions of District Court judges in the western provinces, and I hope that some means will be found to give these men more salary than they are offered at the present time.

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LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT:

Mr. Chairman, before

this resolution is put, I wish to once more state my views as to its purport. The hon. minister stated that the Judges-' Act should be amended. I must say, in the first place, that I am greatly pleased at the rapid spread of the views I expounded in the course of this session concerning the proposed increase in the Judges' salaries. Despite the lateness of the season, the seed which I have put in the soil is making good progress, if I am to judge by the statements forthcoming from the hon. member (Mr. Fowler) before recess, and I have reason to believe that before long it- will yield a magnificent crop.

I have several times addressed the House in this connection, and I must -say once more that I cannot agree with the views expressed by my hon, friend from South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll); and neither can I agree with -the views expressed by another of my colleagues, who has just taken his seat (Mr. Martin of Regina) when he stated, as the previous gentleman had also stated, that the judges- were being paid starvation wages. Starvation wages, you say, with $7,000 for the Superior court judges and $3,000 for the County court judges of Ontario and the other provinces?

If such be the case, I wonder how many people we will lose in this country within a year or two, when those who are drawing such salaries aTe bound to disappear from the face of the earth on account of the increased cost of living. I wonder how many people there will be left in the country following on such a disaster. Is it not a fact that we have, in this country, a large number of people, earning less than, five-, six, seven hundred dollars, one thousand or twelve hundred dollars, while burdened with families to bring up and children to educate? However, not a single lawyer in this House has as yet risen from his seat to urge on the Government the desirability of increasing the wages of these people who are threatened with starvation. Not a single legal gentleman on either side of the House has done. so.

That question of the judges' salaries is entirely a novel one for the electorate, and I say that the people are ignorant of what is going on in this connection. But the people will -be informed of the facts, and I for one, have quite made up my mind to take up the subject whenever an occasion offers.

Most lawyers are willing to accept these judgeships at $7,000 or $8,000 per annum, realizing that in so doing, they are providing for their old age a pension, after fifteen or twenty years' service, without ever contributing to the fund. Is there in any part of the country people who draw superannuation without beforehand contributing to the fund off the-ir salary cheque? Only the judges enjoy that privilege.

As stated by my hon. friend from Queens and Albert, at the time of recess, many legal gentlemen who are promoted to the Bench never, while practising at the Bar, had the chance of drawing a monthly cheque of between $416 and $580, such as they receive from the Government. Far from it, I may say that to my knowledge, many lawyers who were eking out a mere living in Montreal, or elsewhere, were most happy to ac-

cept positions in the Civil Service, because they [DOT]could not make both ends meet out of their professional fees; and now we are told that the judges should be paid larger salaries. I say that is preposterous.

What example are you professional men setting for the people? I say that in taking such a stand you are abetting the other classes of .society against you; you are making yourself an object of envy to them, because you are keeping everything for yourselves and leaving nothing for others'. But the time is near when a stop will have to be put to it.

I have already spoken to the same effect on several occasions, but I wish to-day to make an exception in favour of the judges of the Montreal Circuit Court. I am in favour of increasing the salaries of those judges, the senior of whom has heretofore drawn only $3,600 per annum, while his colleagues drew $3,000. I say that those judges are not sufficiently paid for the work they are doing, and1 besides they have no right to a pension.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

After twenty-five years.

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LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT:

Well, that is wrong. I

am against granting any pension to them. If both parties in this House are agreed as to the desirability of paying larger salaries to the judges, why not pay them while they are doing the work? There is no reason for that pension. It is . to that the people object.

Why is that pension granted to the Superior Court judges, instead of a larger salary? Why? Simply in order to enable the party in power to appoint as judges those who are unwilling to face public opinion, and that, by pensioning the retiring judges, so as to make room for others. The hon. Minister of Justice is posted in this connection. Possibly he will deny it, but 1 challenge him to come and discuss, that question on the hustings in the province of Quebec, and I am satisfied that he will not defend before the people the stand he is now taking.

The hon. Minister of Justice, stated that, by means of this resolution, he expected to effect a saving of $12,000 per annum by getting those three judges to sit in Montreal. The minister has thus adopted the right course; I may congratulate him right here, for those $12,000 will put us in a position to continue paying that pension to him for some time to come. But that pension will have to be dispensed with some day, and I beg of him to speak in my behalf to the right hon. Prime Minister, so that the 2281

House may be afforded an opportunity of discussing the Bill which I introduced at the opening of the session. The Government should not entertain any fears since they have the majority in this House.

I am not speaking for myself alone. True, I am not a lawyer, but what I say is in the interest of those poor people who work hard and strain every nerve to earn a few hundred dollars, and I am. waging war on the magnates who would gobble everything and leave nothing to others.

I see that the few hon. gentlemen who have taken part in this debate belong to the legal profession. I think they expect to be promoted to the Bench one of these days. Among them, there are some men of mature years, and others much younger. For instance, my hon. friend from Sourh Cape Breton is young; he is a good lawyer and he will be made a judge before long. My hon. friend from Queens, P.E.I., is anxious that the judges' salaries should be increased; I surmise that he will be made a judge pretty soon; his stand on the question would seem to indicate it. I must say in conclusion that I am strongly opposed tc any increase of the salaries of suen judges as are drawing just now $8,000, $7,000, or even $5,000, and I say that the country is at one with me on that point.

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CON

William John Macdonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD:

I was very much disappointed with the fact that the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) had not succeeded in dealing with this question of the judges' salaries in a comprehensive way, as he assured us last year he would do in the interval. I cannot follow my hon. friend from North Perth (Mr. Morphy) in the congratulations which he has given to the minister wherein he says that some economy has been practised as a result of this resolution. I have always been under the impression that the constitution of the courts, the statement as to the number of judges that should exist, and all the provisions in that particular, rest entirely in the hands of the provincial legislatures, and all that is necessary for the Minister of Justice to do is to provide for the appointment of judges and fix their salaries. The minister, in dealing with this case, has devoted his energy entirely to one province of the Dominion. I need not repeat the arguments that have been made by the two hon. members from Cape Breton as to the necessity for a prompt ana early consideration of the conditions which exist in the province from which i come; but I apprehend that in other prov-

inces of the Dominion the question is quite as acute as it is in the province of Quebec or in the province of Nova Scotia. I think that the gentlemen who are on the bench were led to believe last year by the minister that this whole question of the revision of salaries would- have been considered between sessions and would have been dealt with this year. I have not heard any explanation from my hon. friend the minister as to why, in (dealing with this question, he has limited his efforts to one province. One does not need to repeat the arguments which have been made on behalf of the Opposition. On the other hand, we have had some suggestions as to the lack of any necessity for moving, but I am sure that the practice which has always characterized the payment of the judiciary in the empire, the custom that has been set for us in the Parliament of the mother country, where salaries which would almost be regarded here as princely accompany the filling of the judicial office, has marked a condition of affairs which I think might well be continued in this country. When we recall the fact that the life, the liberty and possibly everything there is in the world belonging to the individual may be destroyed or completely nullified as the result of the decisions of the men who have been appointed by the state to sit in judgment in regard to the particular issues involved, we will at once realize that we have a condition in which nothing but the most unswerving integrity and the highest degree of independence should characterize the occupant of the bench who has these questions to determine. Anything that would detract from that superb independence which is absolutely essential to the proper administration of the law and the maintenance of those high standards of legal jurisprudence on which the very best interests of our country depend would be the greatest possible menace to the state. These considerations which, I have no doubt, have been put by hon. gentlemen who have spoken before me, must have appealed to the minister, and I only desire to again express my regret that in dealing with this question he has only touched the fringe of it and not attempted to deal with it on those broad lines which we anticipated last year he would have done.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

I want to point out to the minister that we are finding fault with the increases granted to certain judges in

[ Mr. Macdonald. ]

Quebec who, while it is true they are not county court judges, yet, from the information which we all have, we know are practically performing the same service as county court judges in the other provinces. I do not think the minister should go behind any such technicality as that. He may claim that there are particular circuit judges who are doing a large amount of work, but I venture the assertion that they are doing no greater amount of work than many of the county court judges are in the Maritime provinces. Take the county court judge of Sydney, the county court judge of Halifax, the county court judge of St. John, or the county court judges of many of the rural districts and compare the amount of work they do with the work that these judges do in Quebec, and the comparison, I venture to say, will be very favourable to the county court judges of the Maritime provinces. You have also to take into consideration the fact that in the Maritime provinces there are often three and four counties joined together in one circuit. I am afraid the minister does not appreciate the condition of affairs. The statement was made by one hon. member this evening that large demands were made upon their time. It is not so much the demands that are made upon the time of the county court judges, but it is the fact that, owing to the high position they occupy, they cannot do anything else and they are simply compelled to live upon their $3,000 a year or resign their position. They are prohibited from taking part in any other of the activities of life. The county court judge occupies, so to speak, just as high a position as the Lord 'Chief Justice of England does; that is, he is not in a position to engage in business, he cannot increase his salary by any outside transactions, he cannot even be a director in a joint stock company, and he has to live up to a standard just the same as a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada or the Lord Chief Justice of England. My hon. friend may say that they have no difficulty in getting men to take these positions. That may be true, but my hon. friend will find that he has a lot of difficulty in getting the right class of men to take these positions. I am speaking from the standpoint of the Maritime provinces practically altogether. The hon. member for South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) gave some little account of the way it worked out in Nova Scotia. It is very much the same in New Brunswick. Our Supreme Court in

New Brunswick is divided into two sections, the appellant division consisting of three judges, a chief justice and two puisne judges. Then there is the King's Bench division, which consists of a chief justice and three others. The two chief justices receive $7,000 a year and the others $6,000. The county court judges require just as much knowledge of the law and they must be just as able lawyers as are the judge of the King's Bench division, because exactly the same class of cases is brought within their purview. Under our arrangement civil matters up to $400 in contract and $200 in tort are decided by the county court judges. Beyond that the cases go to the King's Bench. The same amount of legal acumen is required in deciding a case involving an amount of $399 as that which is required in a case involving $400. My hon. friend does not seem to appreciate the fact that as far as the Maritime provinces county court judges are concerned they are exactly on a par with the King's Bench judges, except that they receive half the salary. I think the minister must be alive to the fact that this is an unfair basis. This is a position that these gentlemen ought not to be asked to sustain, and I trust that at an early period my hon. friend will be able to do something to remove this anomaly. Since this discussion commenced this evening I have been casting my eye over the Estimates in every department of the Government in Ottawa, and n you look at these Estimates you will find from one to eight or nine officials outside of the deputy ministers who are receiving salaries greater than those of the county court judges I have nothing to say against these gentlemen; they are doing the work assigned to them, but they are only clerks. I do not think the Minister of Justice can consider for a moment that a chief clerk in a department at Ottawa has anything like the responsibilitty devloving upon him as has a county court judge in the Maritime provinces; the two cases are not comparable.

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LIB
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

No doubt they are not

satisfied, but I am only mentioning them as a matter of comparison. In this very building to-night there are eleven or twelve gentlemen, not including the Clerk of the House, the Clerk of the Senate, the Sergeant-at-Arms and important officials of that kind, who are mere clerks and who are

receiving a greater salary than the county court judges in the Maritime provinces. I am not going to say anything about the Militia Department; I had something to say about that last week, but if the Minister of Justice would look at the salaries of the officials of the Militia Department he would be ashamed.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I would find a good example there.

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May 12, 1914