June 29, 1920

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Yes. I move that subclause (2) of clause 12 be amended by Striking out after the word "judge" in the first line thereof the words "of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Exchequer Court of

Canada, or of any Provincial Superior Court."

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Amendment agreed to. Clause as amended agreed to. On clause 1,3-increases of salary not to affect annuities equal to a full salary under section 20, and said section not to apply to judges hereafter appointed.


?

Mr. GROT HERS@

There is a provision

that the retiring allowance of a County Court judge shall be determined by length of 'Service. This 'Section, las I understand it, provides that that would not apply to the addition of 81,000 granted the other day.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I think I explained that with the additions we have made to this, County Court judges to-day are entitled, if they have served twenty-five years, to retire on two-thirds of their salary. As regards County Court judges, the only men who can retire on full salary are, not men who voluntarily retire, but men who, under a provision of the law introduced 3 p.m. some six or seven years ago, are compulsorily retired when they reach the age of seventy-five years. That enactment, whether Parliament was wise in enacting it or not, was not an enactment in the interests of the judges; it was looked upon as an enactment in the public interest to ensure the disappearance of men who, it was assumed as a general rule-of course, we all recognize there are exceptions-had reached the limit of their usefulness, and when you compulsorily retire a man, it seemed to Parliament at that time that it would be right to give him his full salary. It must be borne in mind m regard to that class of men whom we presume to be unfitted for the performance of their duties, that the number of years they are likely to live is not very great. But outside of that, I think there is a provision that a County Court judge having served thirty years, may retire on full pay. There is no provision, excepting that provision of compulsory retirement, that says that a County Court judge, irrespective of length of service, may retire on either his full pay or a pension. Of course, where a man breaks down through illness and infirmity and is incapable of performing his duties, in such a case he gets two-thirds of h-is salary.

Mr. CROTHE'RS: I have no doubt the

minister has looked into this matter and that what he says is correct. I have not

so understood the matter for years, but I have not had time to look it up myself. I understood the practice for some years has been that if a County Court judge reached the age of seventy-five years, he was compulsorily retired, and regardless of the length of time he has served, whether it was five years or ten years or twenty-five years, he would be entitled to full pay. For instance, if a man was appointed a County Court judge ten years ago at the age of sixty-five, under the law as it was then, he would he entitled on reaching seventy-five years of age to his full salary for the rest of his life. The retiring allowance was to depend upon the salary he was receiving at the time he retired. That amounted to an agreement with the man. Now you hold that the additional amount he receives in his salary shall not be taken into account Tn calculating his retiring allowance. That strikes me as a breach of faith with the man who accepted the office.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Clause 13, line 20, says:

And the provisions of the said section 20 shall not apply to any judge appointed after the passing of this Act.

This Bill contains only 13 clauses and there is evidently something wrong.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The hon. member will see that the first section of the Bill begins by referring to paragraphs so-and-so of section 2 of the Judges Act, Revised Statutes of 1906, etc. That is the Act that is referred to all through this Bill as "the said Act." There seems to be a difference of opinion with regard to the application of this last clause, which provides that the increases of salaries granted by this Bill shall not entitle any judge to any increase in the annuity which may be granted to him under section 20 of the Judges' Act. There is a difference of opinion as to whether this should apply to County Court judges or not. I understand that the hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Best) suggests that it should, and the hon. member for West Elgin (Mr. Crothers) is of opinion that there is an element of injustice in so doing. I do not think that argument quite applies when we are giving an increase of salary and making this provision a condition of the increase. However, I am in the hands of the committee as to whether it is necessary, in view of the very limited number of cases in which County Court judges are entitled to retire with full pay, to make this applicable to 'both classes. It is fair to

bear in mind that in all these cases the men are very old and the amount they will have to live on for the rest of their lives 'will be but $5,000, the amount that they have become accustomed to spend. It will cost us very little because it will be for a very few years. These considerations led the Government, in considering the matter, not to include them in the section. As I say, however, I am in the hands of the committee if the committee thinks it will he better to apply the same rule to both classes of judges.

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L LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT:

I have a couple of amendments which I desire to move. I move, seconded by Mr. Proulx, that there be added to the Bill as section 14, 'Subsection 1, the following:

If any person receiving a pension under the said Act becomes entitled to any salary in respect of any public office under His Majesty, in respect of His Government of Canada, such salary shall be reduced by the amount of such pension.

I might just as well move the other one.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

One at a time.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Is this amendment intended to be retroactive, or does my hon. friend propose that it shall apply in the future?

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L LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT:

I think it might be better to make it applicable to future cases. I would not care to make it retroactive; we have had enough retroactive things for a while. I cannot, of course, help what has been done in the past, but I think a provision such as this is desirable for the future.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I remember that in 1905 when pensions were granted ex-ministers there was a provision in the Act that the pension of an ex-minister would be reduced by the amount of any salary he might receive from an office under the Government. It is only fair that this provision should apply to judges who, in receipt of a pension, accept a salaried office from the Dominion Government.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

If the amendment is made to apply to any present case it would seem to have a personal colour and I would very much regret anything of that kind. I would be willing to support it if it applied to the future, because the principle laid down is absolutely .sound. I should like to see my hon. friend revise the amendment to take out of it the personal colour. The argument is a sound one and the amend-2814

ment should carry, subject to that qualification.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I might say, on behalf of the Government, that I am prepared to accept the suggestion of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's.

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L LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT:

I am perfectly willing to accept the suggestion.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I am prepared to make it apply only to cases in the future.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I am not going to say that I am opposed to the suggestion of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding), which has been acquiesced in by the Prime Minister, but I should like to hear both of these gentlemen give reasons for the acceptance of the suggestion which came from hon. gentlemen opposite. I cannot quite see the reason for reducing the salary of a minister of the Crown who is serving in that capacity by reason of the fact that in some former occupation which he pursued he earned under the law a pension. I am open to conviction, but T should like to hear both hon. gentlemen give reasons in support of their contention.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I made no mention of

ministers of the Crown but I think we must clearly see that the whole purpose of a pension chargeable upon the public treasury in the case of any man who has occupied a permanent position is that he shall receive that pension after the time when, by reason of advancing years, physical or mental infirmity, he is no longer able to discharge his duties. If under no other circumstances a pension is, as should be, granted to him, and if he is afterwards called upon to discharge some public duty surely it is not reasonable that he should take both the pension and the salary too. It seems to me that is a very simple proposition. The theory of a pension is that no man should receive a pension if he is able to discharge his duties. If he is not able to discharge his duties he may fairly claim a pension, but if he is not able to discharge his duties in one office he is presumably not able to discharge them in another. I am sorry that my hon. friend has made allusion to any specific instance because l had no idea of making any particular reference but I think the principle laid down that no man has a right to both salary and pension is absolutely sound.

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UNION

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Unionist

Mr. LALOR:

Would that apply to the indemnity of a member of Parliament as well?

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

An indemnity is not

a salary?

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

I fail to see

that the argument presented by the hon. member (Mr. Fielding) is absolutely sound. I unfortunately mentioned the ease of a minister of the Crown receiving a pension from the State. Suppose a person is receiving a pension of $500 a year and he comes to the capital of his country to perform a public duty in the capacity of a minister of the Crown. The salary which he will receive hereafter is $10,000 a year and I assume that is intended as a recompense for the service which he is rendering to his country. I think that $10,000 is little enough. I would have preferred that it should have been more in the present instance but it does seem anomalous to reduce that minister's salary by $500 by reason of the fact that he is drawing a pension from the State for some service rendered in the past.

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June 29, 1920