September 13, 1917

LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

The district of Ottawa is much more important from a legal point of view and in other senses than the district of Three Rivers. Litigation is of considerably more importance. Mr. Justice McDou-gall was unable to take any holiday this summer, as he was constantly engaged in investigations or otherwise. There is really

more work for the two judges in the district of Ottawa than for any two judges of the district of Quebec-perhaps I should not say than any two judges of the district of Montreal. This also applies to the second judge of the district of Ottawa, as his case is somewhat exceptional, and he is not labouring under the same conditions as Mr. -Justice McDougall. Whilst I instance Judge McDougall, I would like to make my words apply to all the judges of the Superior Court in Quebec who have to-day a great amount of work, as the Minister of Justice knows, and who have also the same degree of expense, in view of the increased cost of living, -as the judges o-f the larger cities.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

It may savour of presumption in the opinion- of some members for any one not trained in the legal profession to dare express an opinion in regard to the -salaries of judges. Notwithstanding that, I am going to take the risk. In my opinion-, speaking generally, the judges in this country get more than they -are entitled to now. As to a judge not being -able to take holidays this year, he will be in a position to sympathize with all of us here, as we have not been able to take any this year. The judges have always had the -advantage of very eloquent and able advocates on both sides of this House when- their salaries were being fixed. We have always had a number of very able men of the legal profession in 9 p.m. Parliament, -and I hope always will have them; they are valuable men for the country. But I have always felt that they never lose sight, as lawyers, of the possibility that some day they might occupy positions on the Bench. The judges receive what must seem to the great majority of our people to be munificent salaries, and after -serving for a certain number of years, they may retire on a good fat pension. That is how it strikes the ordinary man. Men in other walks of life have to provide for their old age, but the judge can retire on a pension fixed with the idea of enabling him to maintain the dignity which he maintained when he was on the Bench. There are cases where men who have retired from the Bench after putting in their time have engaged in other work which was even more strenuous than that in which they were engaged when on the Bench. It is all right to say that we must provide for the men who occupy the Bench a salary which will make them independent and above suspicion. How far

has that gone in the opinion of members of this House? Session after session, we have had instances of Royal Commissions, where one judge has been appointed, perhaps in Manitoba, to act on a commission, *and in thfe eyes of one-half the members he is a white-winged angel-everything that is good and pure. Then another is appointed to inquire into his conduct and he becomes a very different kind of man. Time and again we have been told that we must provide salaries for the judges that will place them above suspicion, on a plane by themselves. But we have also heard these men who are supposed to be above suspicion and above partisanship severely criticised by members on one side or the other according to circumstances. I am not a member of the legal profession, but I believe I am voicing the opinion of a great proportion of the people of this country, I think the majority, when I say that the judges are being well enough paid. Talk about them having a lot of work! What right have they to draw a salary if they do not work? Is it the idea that these gentlemen shall be placed upon a pedestal and that the greatest effort of their lives shall be to draw their breath and their salaries?

They are no better than other people to work. They are getting better pay than most people who are trying to make a home for themselves and something to live upon in their old age. Judging by the convictions, and by. the way some of these men fill their positions on the bench, I think many of them should never have been appointed. Fancy a judge sending a boy of fourteen or fifteen years of age to the penitentiary for five or six years, for stealing two or three dollars in money and an old revolver. In my opinion, that judge ought to be sent to the asylum; he is not fit to occupy a place on the bench. The men who occupy positions as judges are, in the majority of cases, fine men, men of exceptional ability. Notwithstanding that, I do not believe that in all cases, nor in the majority of cases, a judge accepts the position purely and solely out of love for his country. I cannot get away from the idea that the judge was thinking somewhat of himself when he accepted the appointment. He looked at the salary, and considered the fact that, after a certain number of years, he might retire and have his old age provided for. There is no objection to that. It is perfectly legitimate to look at it in that way. As a class, considering the work they have to do, I think the judges are better . ,

paid to-day than any class of citizens in the Dominion.

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LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I am glad the hon. gentleman from Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) stated that he did not belong to the legal profession, because, if he had said that he did, I would be inclined to think he was talking about something he knew nothing about. It does not follow that, because a judge sends a boy to penitentiary, he is acting unjustly. He may have been right in sending the boy there. I do not know about that. When the hon. gentleman says that judges have nothing to do but draw their breath and their salaries, he had better inquire into the work that they have to do. '

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LIB
LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

The hon. gentleman said the most of them had nothing to do but draw their breath and their salaries.

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LIB
LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I have to accept the hon. gentleman's statement. Hansard will show which of us is right. But the breath and the salary were mentioned. I say that there are no harder worked men in any occupation in life than the judges who sit in the districts wherein I practise, and I am simply asking that they be freated/the same as other judges. The legal profession is not like the noble profession of my hon. friend, where you go and feel a patient's pulse, and then go home and sleep over it. The judge goes home with a ease. He has the fortune of a man, or possibly the life of a man on his mind, and he is working twenty-four 'hours a day, if he is awake during that twenty-four hours. My hon. friend should realize that. A judge has great responsibility. If a judge makes an error, or if he ruins a man, the litigant can go to the superior courts in appeal from the judgment. My hon. friend is looking at it in a different way. He buries his victim six feet under ground. That iis the end of it-heart failure. The hon. gentleman had no right to attack the judges as he has done. Our judiciary is the pride of this country, and no man in this country can deny my statement. I am not invoking a pension for a retired judge for personal reasons; my hon. friend may rest at ease in that respect. .If I ask that the salaries of the judges in Three Rivers he increased it is not for my benefit, .because if they offered me a judgeship on a golden platter I would not accept it. I think if I had'de-sired such a position I could have had it.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

There is no "hear, hear" about it. I am speaking sincerely, and if I were hankering for a position as judge, I would have enough pride not to rise in this Chamber and expose myself to the criticism: " Oh, Bureau, you want to be a judge and that is the reason you want an increase for the judges." I ask this increase as a matter of justice, and no one knows better than the Minister of Justice that in the province of Quebec our judges are harder worked than the judges in any other province, because they have to sit as a Court of Appeal in numerous cases. The judges of the Superior Court have to sit as a Court of Appeal in all municipal appeals, valuation rolls, and in all school troubles. A judge has to act as an arbitrator in all expropriation oases, whether for railway purposes or for transmission lines, or taking the shores of the riv.er and flooding them in the development of water-power, which, in our district, is a very considerable cause of litigation. The St. Maurice is nothing but a cascade, and every day these cases are coming before the court. With the development of industries, many personal injury cases arise and come before our judges. They are more numerous by tenfold than they were five years ago, and yet the judge gets the 'same salary, while everybody is getting, an increase because they say it costs more to live, which is a fact. It does not please my hon. friend from Frontenac to see a judge sit on the bench and assume the responsibility of deciding on questions involving men's lives and fortunes, because the judges do not cry patriotism and loyalty; because they have their work at heart, and perform it-and not all lip-work, as is the case with some' men I know-he says they do not deserve to be adequately paid for their labour. I take exception to that, and I say that the hon. member had no right to say the things he has said to-night regarding the men whom I consider the hardest-worked. men in the district where I live.

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LIB
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON (Laval) (translation):

And young judges too.

Mr. -LAlNIOTOT (translation): And young judges too, -as my hon friend from Laval -aptly remarks.. Those judges, having be-co-me disabled, -claim pensions, I have taken the trouble, ,M-r. Chairman, of calculating the amount already paid and probably payable by this country to the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty). This gentleman, because he has occupied a -seat on, the judicial Bench in Montreal for fifteen years, will probably cost the country $400,000. .

The -CHAIRMAN (Mr. Rainville) (translation) : I would point o-ut to -the hon. member that the Committee is n-ow invited to discuss -an item -concerning -some increases in the salaries of th-e employees of the Justice Department. I would ask him

to limit his remarks, as much as possible, to the special item of the estimates now *under discussion.

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LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT (translation):

I do not exactly know, Mir. 'Chairman, which item the Committee is now discussing, tout what I do know, is that the imember-s who have preceded me did speak about the judges of the land, and I do not see why I should not also be permitted to speak upon that subject, on behalf of the electors whom I represent. I think I am entitled to make some comparisons, -and if -certain hon. members of this House -ask that the salaries of the judges be increased, I believe it is m:y duty to institute -comparisons, and that is why I -quote the example of the hon. Minister of Justice (M-r. Doherty), a thing which I have, indeed, already done in this House.

I therefore say that the judges who are now receiving a remuneration of -$5,000; it is snot only that -sum of $5,000 which is their salary, 'because they expe-ct to draw, moreover, a pension, fifteen or twenty-five years later. A jndige whos-e salary is $5,000, fifteen ' years if he becomes, fifteen years later, 'afflicted with some infirmity, -disabling him from the due execution of his office, he gets tons superannuation on a retiring allowance of the two-thirds of his salary-even if he is not disabled, as says - the hon. fn-ember for Portneuf (Mr. Del-isle)-tout, if he occupies -a seat twenty-five years on the judicial 'Ben-ch, he is entitled to retire on -full salary; so that, -should he live twenty-five years more, his -annual judicial -salary will not have been $5,000 -but, actually, $10,000. -Now, I want to tell this House that the judges are the only privileged ones. In ev-ery country in the world, nobody receives a pension or 'an (annuity, unless he has previously paid some money in order to get such 'a pension, the judges are the only ones who do not p-ay one cent and who draw -a pension after fifteen or twenty-fiVe years.

I am wondering wherefore thi-s discrimination. Is it because there has -always been in thi-s House -so many lawyers, on either side, to pass such measures almost unseen, in order to reciprocate later? In fact it is generally admitted that judges don't die quick enough, and' if they don't wish to withdraw from the Bench, their wishes 'are even -anticipated; some -are forced to retire before Parliament is dissolved. I even predict th-at, before this- Parliament ceases to exist in order to go before the -country, some judges now on th-e. Bench will be interviewed -and spoken to as follows : "Please, do resign, we have members whom it will [The Chairman (Mr. Rainville.)]

b-e impossible to re-elect in their counties, and we -would like to put them on the Bench.'' That is the policy of governments, Conservative or Liberal, -and th-at is why -such a system must necessarily disappear.

I h-ave already had the honour -to introduce into this House a Bill to the effect that no pension be granted to ia judge, unless he has occupied a seat on the judicial Bench for twenty-five years- or he be -an -invalid; but n-ot -an -invalid to ib-ec-ome -a member of this House, a senator or -a minister.

I say that, in -a future Parliament, such -a state of affairs -must 'be remedied-; that a Bill must be introduced to wipe out these bad law-s, and I hope w-e shall then have another Minister of Justice, who will listen to our ico-mplainte and will n-ot hesitate to introduce such -a Bill in -order to -put a stop to this money riot.

Is it -not -absurd! indeed, to -see a Minister of Justice drawing $5,000 -as a minister, $2,500 as ta member -and -a pension of -almost $5,000? Would that be tolerated in any -country? I do not believe -it; not even in China o-r Japan. It is- only here, in Canada, that -such -things can be seen.

I declare it -again, even to-night, that if God spares me, -and should I sit here in the next Parliament, I will once more introduce a Bill in order to take -away their pensions from those who do not -deserve them; I believe that, instead of taxing the poor pe-ople for war purposes, these pensions should be (suppressed, for the object of the A-ct was to superannuate only disabled judges or those having served for twenty-five years.

Why, Mr. Chairman, -p-ay -a pension to this gentleman? Would it not he better to p-ay that -amount to ia charitable fund, the Patriotic Fund, for instance, or else -employ it towards our war expenses? I declare it to he -an -abuse -of power, and I w-amt to register -as strongly as I -can my protest -against -such -a state of -affairs.

Hon. Mr. 'BTJKjEAU (translation): It is evident my hon. friend has not taken my observations in the same sense I had,stated them. He pretends to speak on behalf of his electors who -are almo-st -all of them farmers. It is also in the name of the farmers I am protesting, (since the judges of rural districts .are not treated as fairly -as those of the cities of Montreal and Quebec. I repeat it, my only objeot was to do justice to the agricultural das-s .and th-at, bygranting the judges of the rural districts a sufficient salary to -afford them the means -of having a library, a thing they absolutely

need for -the judicious exercise of their functions. I do not think imy demand either exaggerated or unfair since, in my opinion, at least, the judges of the rural districts deserve quite .as much as the judges of large cities, such .as Montreal or Quebec. If the objection made until now to my proposition, that of the high cost of living in the cities, was. formerly a juist one, it has certainly ceased to he to-day, for I have personally realized that it costs more to live in Three Rivers than in Montreal or Quebec. I therefore see no reason for my hon. friend from Laprairie-Napie-rville to be scandalized; my demand is based upon the principle that the position and remuneration of judges appointed to administer justice in country districts should be such .as to render full and .ample justice to the agricultural .class.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I am pleased to see that Mr. J. A. Renaud, K.C., is being given equitable treatment. He has had a long career at the bar He was a lawyer of eminence in the district of Joliette, where he had a large practice. I know that in the Department of Justice he is doing splendidly.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Is this vote

in regard to Mr. H. B. S. Lane a special vote, not in accordance with the Act?

' Mr. DOHERTY: The case of Mr. Lane is inserted by name because this is not an increase in the ordinary sense of the Civil Service Act. Mr. Lane has been in the department for thirty-eight years. He is the chief accountant in the penitentiaries branch. (He is at present receiving a salary of $2,600. The increase is to make it $2,800. T'he length of his service appears by what I have just said, and the efficiency of that service is borne testimony to in the highest terms by all of those who have been over him during this very long period of faithful service. Under those circumstances, it was thought justifiable to recommend that he should have this increase of $200 per annum.

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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

I am glad the Minister of Justice had given credit for length of service. I think I know Mr Lane, and I have no dou'bt what the minister said about tbe length and value of his services is quite correct. I would like to see the same increase granted to such an old employee as the present warden of the St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary. I do not know exactly how many years he has been in the service in that institution, hut I [DOT]would not be surprised if he had been there for thirty or thirty-five years. His salary is only $2,800. I understand he has some living accommodation. If Mr. Lane deserves an increase on account of length of service, this gentleman also deserves an increase.

I am delighted to see that some of the officers in the Department of Justice are getting an increase; I think they well deserve it. If the minister will permit me to refer to a conversation I had with him some time ago, I should like to remind him of the claims of the penitentiary guards for a higher isalary. I see that the officers of the penitentiaries with salaries of $1,000 or less are to get a bonus of $100. That is -a step in the right direction, but it is not much to the penitentiary guards at St. Vincent de Paul, for instance, who receive only $800 a year. An officer of that institution with a salary of $1,200 a year told me the other day that after exercising all possible economy, his living expenses for the month amounted to $8 or $10 more than hie salary. As the law stands, I know these men cannot be granted a statutory increase, but the law should have been amended. As the minister is granting a bonus, however, I would strongly Urge that it be increased from $100 to $200. I think every man employed in our penitentiaries should receive $1,000 at least. I have no political end to serve in making this suggestion; I make it simply because of the high cost of living, and the difficulty that the guards at the penitentiaries have in making both ends meet. They have to be on duty from six in the morning to six at night, and are forbidden, and their wives as well, to engage in any other occupation which would bring them in money. How can a man live on $800 when the necessaries of life are so dear? I had to pay $10 for a ton of coal for my country residence the other day. That may not be much to me, but it is a big item for a poor man, and other household expenses have increased accordingly. It costs the guards more to live at St. Vincent de Paul than in the city of Montreal, because, working from six in the morning till six at night, they cannot get in to market. I am delighted to see these two legal officers at Ottawa getting their increases, but ;it seems to me that it is always the higher-salaried officials who get an increase. It is the poorer paid men who should be looked after. Speaking of old employees, might I refer to the hospital overseer, who is well known to the Minister of Justice. This man, who has a very large family, is not receiving the salary a certified clerk in a drug store in Montreal would get, and he is getting no increase at all. I would urge

the minister to take this case into his consideration.

Taere is another matter. The minister may have found out from his inspectors that there is a great temptation on the part of the guards to engage in some trading amongst the convicts in liquor, tobacco, drugs and things of that sort, because, as f have said, they are forbidden to engage in any occupation outside of their own work, and the salaries they receive are so small. The other day some of the guards came up to me and made certain representations, and I advised them to quit the service. But they said that they had been in the service ten, twenty or thirty years, and must stick to it now, and regulate their mode of living according to their salaries. I remember when I came to this House in 1908 the guards were receiving only $500 a year, but I succeeded in getting that raised to $800. But I am not satisfied with that. I think $1,000 is not a bit too much for any of these employees, if you want to get good, reliable men. I am sure the Minister of Justice knows that he has had to dismiss several guards for trading with the convicts in order to make a little extra to support their families. Now there should be no necessity for that. The most dangerous element of our population is kept at these institutions, and the men to look after them should be above suspicion, and of first-class character. These men are doing work that is just as important to the welfare of the State as the work that is being done by the soldier at the front, and it is a dangerous occupation too. Not very long ago a deputy *warden in the West had his throat,cut by one of the convicts, and there is still fresli in the memory of many of us the mutiny at St. Vincent de Paul, in which Dr. Laviolette proved himself a hero. The lives of the guards are always in danger. I would again urge upon the minister to increase the bonus from $100 to $200, rather than increase the salaries of men who get $25 a day for making an investigation-

1 will not mention any names at the moment.

Administration of Justice, Exchequer Court of Canada-To provide for the publication of the Exchequer Court reports by contract, $2,000.

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LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Has the increase been caused by the general increase in the cost of printing, paper, binding, and so on, or is it on account of the greater number of cases reported?

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

It is the introduction of a new system in the making of those

reports. It arises out of the following circumstances. The present Mr. Justice Au-dette, assistant judge of the Exchequer Court, was, previous to his appointment, registrar of the court, and at that time Mr. Morse was the reporter. When Mr. Justice Audette was appointed to his present position, Mr. Morse was appointed to the position of registrar, and it was then believed it would be possible for him to combine the official performance of the two duties of reporter and registrar. However, the work of the court has very considerably increased, and in recent months it has been found that it is not possible, consistently with the proper performance of Mr. Morse's duties as registrar, that he should attend to the reporting of the cases. Members of the profession will understand the importance of promptitude in the turning out of these reports. As a result of existing conditions, the reports are actually six months behind. In taking up the question of what would be the most economipal method of providing for a proper system of reporting, it was found that we could make this arrangement with the publisher, under which, for $2,000 a year, he would undertake the full work of the reporting.

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

By contract. We make a contract with the publisher to see to the proper reporting. The undertaking on his part is that the numbers shall be out within thirty days after receipt of the manuscript. I may say this is being done now as an experiment. We are asking for the vote for this year to put it to the test whether this will prove a more satisfactory method of having it done, as we anticipate, rather than the method of appointing a salaried official as reporter.

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LIB

September 13, 1917