June 28, 1920

UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I made the same statement the other clay, but I desire to repeat and emphasize it now in view of what my hon. friend '(Mr. Currie) has said in that regard.

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L LIB
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

What is the advantage of surrendering over to this body the authority of the Governor in Council? I must confess that I am not enamoured of the principle of handing over such an authority to commissioners. Suppose anything of an extraordinary character occurred; suppose something went amiss with the commission and it got into trouble; suppose it found itself in such difficulties as would render effective action on its part impossible; ithe people of the country would undoubtedly demand that the Government should step in and disregard the commission. I certainly think that the Government should retain control in this matter and that the principle of responsible government should be adhered to.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

If I might say a word or two further, with the permission of the House, I would point out to my hon. friend (Sir Sam Hughes) that the Board of Railway Commissioners exercise at the present time powers of an exceedingly wide and comprehensive nature with regard to the whole question of transportation in Canada. These matters are dealt with by the board independently of any suggestion or action on the part of the Government. There is, however, reserved in the statute which I have mentioned an appeal to the Governor in Council from any judgment or decision of the board. During the course of my experience, extending over nine years, I do not recall an instance in which we have reversed the decision of the Board of Railway Commissioners. We may sometimes have sent back the case for further consideration on the part of the board. These questions have usually arisen in respect of administrative n atters as to which the board was equipped with an organization such as was not possessed by the Government, an organization of experts upon whose advice the board would naturally depend. And, therefore, we always took the ground that unless some very clear case was submitted to us, unless it was perfectly

obvious that the board had overlooked some consideration, or unless the board had omitted to give a hearing to persons who were interested, we ought not to attempt to substitute our judgment for the judgment of the board. I think that principle has worked very well in practice. Parliament was willing sixteen years ago to confer these very wide powers upon the Board of Railway Commissioners, subject to the appeal that I have mentioned, and there seems to be good reason why we should not bring the Governor in Council into the matter at all, hut simply - leave the statute to its operation; and in that case the Governor in Council will possess the same authority by way of appeal that, it already possesses in respect of the powers which were committed to the hoard in the Act as it was first approved by Parliament.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I understood the

Prime Minister to say that the right of appeal had been removed.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

No, the right of appeal exists in the statute at present. 1 have explained that in very few cases, if any, was the power of the Government ever exercised by reversing the judgments or decision of the board. At the moment I cannot recall any such case. I said, further, that the House would be safe in committing these powers to the board with the same reservation of the right to appeal to the Governor in Council as that which now exists.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve):

In ordinary circumstances I

would ceitainly agree with my hon. friend from Victoria and Haliburton (Sir Sain Hughes). No one likes to surrender to any outside commissioner the authority that resides in the Government but at the present time, in view of the emergency which exists and which might become more serious as time goes on, I think it is only a proper course to take to see that an independent commission-which after all has given satisfaction to the Canadian people at large since its inception-should be empowered to deal with this situation. I am not afraid that the Government will suffer from any lack of coal during the m xt few months if we have a general elect on. I think the Government will have an ample supply of heat in case of an appeal to the people, but I want to keep the home fires burning in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

When shall this Bill be,

read the second time?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Now, if hon.

gentlemen have no objection.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Proceed.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Then, Mr. Speaker, I move that the Bill be read the second time.

Motion agTeed to, Bill 'read the second time, and the House went into Committee thereon, Mr. Boivin in the Chair.

On clause 1-Powers of Board of Railway Commissioners with respect to coal and other fuel supplies.

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Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I saw a draft of the Bill, which said, " with the consent of the Governor in Council". Is that the only change now?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

That is the cully change.

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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

What provision is there in this amendment or in the general Act for the full enforcement of the decrees of the Board of Railway Commissioners? As a matter of fact, is there in the Act, as it now exists, power in the commission to inforce the decrees and to see that they are carried out?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The power conferred upon the Board of Railway Commissioners by this Bill are, in my judgment, of so wide and comprehensive a character, that regulations or orders made by the board will have the force of law.

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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

I have heard it stated in this House before that cases have arisen which showed that the board lacked any real power of enforcing its decrees. I have frequently pointed out .in this House .that, .although from time to time we legis.-late in this direction and appoint commissions of this character, we do not make the legislation sufficiently strong to ensure the enforcement of the regulations which those commissions may make. In the United States, in all important measures of this kind, they provide not only that a commission shall have the power to do so and so but that it shall be the duty of the Attorney General of the United States-and 1 think the same ought to be the case in this country-to enforce the Act. All the powers of the board itself ought to be clearly defined so that there would be no

mistake as to its authority to enforce its decrees and orders.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I shall take into consideration the suggestion of my hon. friend and get in touch with the chairman of the board to ascertain whether, in his judgment-he is. conversant with the whole matter-any additional provision should be inserted. If it should be deemed necessary that provision could possibly be inserted during its passage through the Senate.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.

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INCREASE IN JUDGES' SALARIES.


Rt. Hon. CHARLES DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) moved that the House go into committee on the following proposed resolution: Resolved that it is expedient to amend the Judges Act, chapter 138 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1906, and to provide:- 1. That paragraph (a) of section 2 be amended to provide that "judge" as applied to a Superior Court included the Chief Justice and the President, and as applied to County Courts includes a junior judge. 2. That the salaries of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada shall be increased to the following amounts :- Per annum. "(a) The Chief Justice of Canada $15,000 "(b) Five puisne judges, each. . 12,000 3. That the salaries of the judges of the Exchequer Court of Canada shall be increased to the following amounts:- Per annum. "(a) The President of the Exchequer Court of Canada.. .. $10,000 "(b) One puisne judge 9,000' and that there be only one puisne judge of the said Court. 4. That the salaries of the judges of the Supreme Court of Ontario shall be increased to the following amounts:- , Per annum. "(a) The Chief Justice of Ontario $10,000 "(b) Four Justices of Appeal, each 9,000 "(c) The Chief Justice of the Exchequer 10,000 "(d) The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 210,000 "(e)" Twelve judges of the High Court Division, each.. .. 9,000 and that upon a vacancy occurring in the office of the Chief Justice of the Exchequer Division or in the office of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas the salary of such Chief Justice shall cease and the number of salaries for the judges of the High Court shall be increased to thirteen, and after both of the said offices have become vacant, the salaries of the judges of the High Court Division shall be as follows:-* Per annum. "(c) The Chief Justice of the High Court $10,000 "(d) Thirteen judges of the High Court Division, each.. .. 9,000


June 28, 1920