September 16, 1919

L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Air. LEMIEUX:

One of the advantages

of including the Court of Sessions of the province of Quebec-possibly the chief advantage-would be to secure a fairer distribution of the work. My hon. friend, who was a judge in Montreal for many years, knows that the Circuit Court judges there are overwhelmed with judicial work. If the jurisdiction in such cases were extended to the judges of the Court of Sessions, the work in connection with naturalization applications would be more fairly distributed.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Before these amendments were made the Circuit Court had jurisdiction in such matters; to-day it is the Superior Court. But, so far as the province of Quebec is concerned-that is, outside of Montreal, where we have Circuit Court judges-the Circuit Court and Superior Court judges are the same. I can see one advantage to be gained by making this change. I have been begging the Minister of Justice to increase the salaries of our

judges in rural districts, who are overloaded with work. The judges of the Superior Court of the province of Quebec, who, except in Montreal, are also judges of the Circuit Court, go outside of districts wherein their particular courts are located and sit in the Court of Review.

If an applicant comes there to be examined and to secure a certificate from the judge, he always finds the judge of the Sessions de la Paix in his office every morning, year in and year out. This hasi the advantage of having a man always at his post to take the case and consider it and give a certificate. As the hon. member for Maison-neuve (Mr. Lemieux) says, it relieves the other judges who are overworked. It is a court of record.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The matter deserves

consideration. For instance, are we going to have a situation in which every man who wants to be naturalized will have to present himself before a court sitting as a criminal court? There seems to be something incongruous about giving this matter, which is in no way analogous to a criminal matter-

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Air. DOHERTY:

I do not know what it may be in the rural districts, but according to my experience in the district of Montreal, the court of sessions has been a court exercising exclusively criminal jurisdiction. It would be a very unfortunate thing that every man who wants naturalization should have to appear before the bar of a criminal court.

Mr. BUREAU': It is the same in the circuit courts down in 'the rural districts. The criminal judges sit-

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Air. DOHERTY:

They sit and hold the

court of King's Bench, of course, but the office of their court is a civil court; the clerk of their court is a clerk of the civil court; the whole matter is handled by a court of civil jurisdiction. I do not think that the quantity of work that is entailed can be very excessive. As to finding a man always at his post, if I am not mistaken, the procedure is- not one under which an applicant presents himself there one day and says: Now I want to be heard about my naturalization.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

He has to file an application; then notice has to be hung up, and no doubt a day is fixed when a judge of the

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I quite agree with my hon. friend that we should not, for the pleasure of adding the name of the province of Quebec, alter the Bill. My only point was that I thought that, speaking for the district of Montreal, the judges of the Superior Court and Circuit Court are so busy that proper distribution of the work should be made. My hon. friend may imagine what it means for a judge in Montreal during the term, sitting in a case of importance, to have to adjourn that case or to postpone the hearing of witnesses in order to look after this purely ministerial work. If my hon. friend finds something in my suggestion, I would ask him to think of it, because they have all the officers of the Crown at the Court of Sessions of the Peace, and with the small fee given, I am quite sure that they would see that those cases are channelled towards the sessions of the Peace, thus relieving the judges of the Superior 'Court in Montreal who are already overtaxed.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

In Montreal, the judges of the Superior Court are not, I understand, troubled with these applications, which are made to the Circuit Court. There was a time when I used to hear a great deal of complaint about the overwork of the Circuit Court, but-I do not know whether the salve that was applied, which was not in the direction of taking away jurisdiction, but rather in that of conferring remuneration, had anything to do with the matter or not,-I have not, for quite some time, heard any complaint or .suggestion that the judges of the Circuit Court are at present overworked, and they have carried on that work as I have said, from time immemorial. I shall, however, be very glad to make inquiry into the situation.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Montreal is a special place; it is the only district in the province where there are circuit judges.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTF:

I do not think it can be said that in our rural districts generally the judges of the Superior Court who also hold the Circuit Court are overburdened with work. I understand that the work in the district which the hon. gentleman has in mind has very much increased of recent years, but taking the average rural district where the judge of the Superior Court holds the Circuit Court, I think we would all agree that they can hardly be described as being overworked.

There is also to be considered

5 p.m. the fact that I am not sure that in most of the rural districts you will find a court answering to the name of Court of Sessions. That is doubtful, although I do not want to speak positively. Most of that work is done by stipendiary magistrates. Before we proceed to make the change, the conditions should be looked into, and I will make inquiries.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Since the Minister of

Justice (Mr. Doherty) has spoken about the district I have in mind, I am going to name it. I have in mind the district of Three Rivers. My hon. friend laughs. He knows that the district of Three Rivers is just undergoing a period of development unique in the Dominion of Canada, and it is the place where applications for naturalization are being made every day by Americans and Norwegians, who are manufacturing pulp and paper. We are getting more applications for naturalization in that district than in any other district that I know of just now, with the exception, perhaps, of the West, into which farmers are flocking. We have a Court of General Sessions of the Peace which has time to look into the applications, pass upon them and issue certificates. Since the minister is going to take this question into consideration, I make a special plea for Three Rivers on that ground, and I think my plea ought to be granted.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I will certainly look into it, and I want to make it clear that my laughing did not imply any reflection on Three Rivers, but was because my hon. friend thought it necessary to tell me what district he had in mind. I understand, with the devotion to his duties which characterizes him, he always has Three Rivers in mind.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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Section agreed to. [DOT] On section 2-to be construed with Dominion By-Elections Act.


L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

This clause reads:

shall be deemed to have come into force and operation on the 7 th day of July, 1919.

Have applications been made and received since?

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

We are dating it back

to the date at which the main Act was assented to, because I understand that in many of the counties of Ontario clerks of the peace have been receiving applications, not knowing of the change in the law. This is notably the case in the- city of Ottawa.

Topic:   NATURALIZATION ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT.
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Section agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


QUESTIONS.


(Questions answered orally are indicated by asterisks).


September 16, 1919