March 28, 1924


Section agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON


Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice) moved that the House go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution : That it is expedient to amend the act to amend the Judges Act, chapter fifty-six of the statutes of 1920, section seven, to provide that the salary of the judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon Territory be increased from seven thousand to nine thousand dollars per annum, but the increase of salary so granted shall not entitle the judge to any increase in the annuity which may be granted him on retirement in excess of six thousand dollars. Motion agreed to and the House went into committee, Mr. Gordon in the chair.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Would the minister explain how it is that every resolution we ever have about salaries, or almost any other subject, means an increase in expenditure? I remember strong pressure for years back-

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Especially for judges.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Especially for judges?

I do not know but that that is correct;- and deputy ministers too, especially for those who have pretty good salaries. I do not want to be taking that stand merely arbitrarily on every case, but is it not a fact that the judge of the Yukon district has been drawing $10,000, in reality, as compared with another judge?-that is to say $5,000 denominated salary, and $5,000 as living expenses which, of course, the ordinary judge does not have. Possibly that $5,000 was increased to $7,000, it

Judges' Act-Yukon

must have been, according to this resolution, so that this judge has been drawing $7,000 of late years as salary and $5,000 living expenses. Well, in all conscience, is not that enough?

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

There is a living allowance for the judge in the Yukon of $5,000 as my right hon. friend says, and we are going to see that he does not receive that full allowance when he receives this increase. He is getting an increase that puts him on the same level as all the other judges of superior jurisdiction in Canada. He is the only one, out of all the judges of the land, in the High Courts, who does not receive a salary of $9,000. This is just for the purpose of placing him in a position of equality with the others. He has the same standing, he must possess the same qualifications, and he must be there to do the work. Hereafter, instead of receiving $5,000 living allowance he will be paid only $3,000 and will be given the status of the other judges.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

After that I withdraw my objection.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I believe in one way it

is just as indefensible as it was before. Is he really not getting $3,000 more than any other judge? He certainly has not the heaviest jurisdiction.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Well, he was receiving

$5,000 of a living allowance on account of living in the Yukon. After this resolution is passed he will receive only $3,000, and there will be a saving to the country in that respect.

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CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

He will not get any more

in future than he has been getting?

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LIB
CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

Then what is the sense

of making the change?

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CON

George Black

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLACK (Yukon):

I should like to

make the situation clearer to the committee. By the revised statutes of Canada, chapter 138, the salary of the judge of the Yukon territory was fixed at $5,000 a year. By the same act the salaries of the Superior Court judges of Quebec and of the High Court of Justice of Ontario were fixed at $7,000 a year; and those of the judges of the Supreme Courts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and of the Court of the King's Bench of Manitoba, at $6,000 a year. By section 192 of the act it is provided that the judges of any of the above courts, after serving fifteen years, might be retired on an annuity equal to twothirds of their salary at that time. In the case of the judges of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec the amount would be $4,666. The judges of the other provinces would receive $4,000, and the judges of the Yukon territory would be entitled to receive $3,333. By chapter 59 of the Statutes of Canada, 1919, the salaries of the judges of the classes mentioned in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, were increased to $7,000. There was no corresponding increase for the judge in the Territorial Court of the Yukon. By chapter 56 of the Statutes of Canada, 1920, the salaries of the judges of the classes I have named-New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and including the judges of the High Court division in Ontario and judges of the Supreme Court in Quebec-were all increased to $9,000. The salaries of the judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon was increased to $7,000. By section 20 of chapter 138 of the Revised Statutes, 1906, it is provided that if one has continued in office as judge of one or more of the said courts for thirty years or upwards he may resign, and the government may grant him an annuity equal to his salary for life. By chapter 56, 1920, under which act the salaries of the judges of the provinces were increased to $9,000, and the salary of the judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon was increased to $7,000, it is provided by section 13 that the increases of salary granted by that act shall not entitle any judge to any increase in the annuity which may be granted to such judge under the provisions of section 20 to which I have referred, and the effect of this is that the judges of the province, if retiring after thirty years' service, retire at $7,000 per year, while without this resolution now before the House the judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon would retire at $5,000, and with this resolution he would retire at $6,000 a year. This resolution is doing him partial justice, but I say that it does not put him on an equal footing with judges of his rank throughout Canada. I therefore move that the word "six" be struck out of the resolution and that the word "seven" be substituted therefor; so that when the judge in the Yukon has served thirty years he may be retired on the same terms as his brother judges. After serving thirty years there is no reason why he should not be put on the same footing as the others. It may have been extravagant to increase the salaries of the judges all over Canada as was done in 1919 and 1920, but if you are going to do it, be consistent

Judges' Act-Yukon

and do it for the whole of Canada. I say that the government should not consider granting a judge an annuity of two-thirds of his salary and accepting his resignation now. I do not think there should be any thought of that on the part of the government. I do not know that the judge has it in mind, but, if he has, the government should not stand for it. I am happy to say the judge is in excellent health, and a comparatively young man. The time has not come for his retirement. The judge is there, and the court is necessary for the territory. The community is an isolated one, far removed from any of the provinces. Valuable interests, valuable property and civil rights are involved in actions. It is necessary to have a judge of Supreme Court jurisdiction to preside at the criminal court. The idea that judges might be sent on circuit from British Columbia to take the place of the Yukon judge has been mooted. This would not be practicable nor economical, and it would be most disastrous to the people before the court. I would like to point out that should the government accept the judge's resignation now his retiring allowance would be $6,000, in addition to which it would be necessary to appoint and pay another judge, and there is no reason to suppose it would cost less than the cost at present, which is $12,000 per annum, and instead of costing the country $12,000 it would be costing $18,000 a year to retire the judge and appoint another. In fact it would be costing $23,000 a year because we have now one judge who has been retired for a good many years on a pension of $5,000 a year. There is no need for such increased expenditure. Our present judge is quite competent physically and mentally to discharge the duties of his office, and I for one hope he will be spared for many years, and hope the government will continue him in office.

I say this judge should be entitled to retire at the same amount as the judges of his rank throughout Canada, which is $7,000. The amendment to the resolution will not at this time cost the country a cent more than the resolution as it stands. And in fact the resolution as it stands does not at this time entail any extra expense to the country; it only provides for dealing fairly with the judge when the time comes for his retirement.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I am glad my hon.

friend has come to my rescue in regard to the mild charge of extravagance laid by my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen). The hon. member says that

apparently I am not doing justice to the Yukon Territory by the bill which is before the committee; but I think we are doing full justice to the judge there. Under the Statutes of 1920, to which my hon. friend referred, all the judges who would avail themselves of the increase by the statute would lose the benefit of section 20 which gives them the right to retire after a certain number of years with their full pension. Section 20 of the Judges' Act is repealed, so far as the judges who have accepted the increase given by the Statutes of 1920 are concerned. I think the same principle can be applied today, and the judge of the Yukon Territory whose salary is $9,000 according to the increase which is provided for by the present bill, should not benefit by section 20 of the act, and should be entitled only to two-thirds of his salary when he is superannuated. I really believe that by this bill we are placing the judge of the Yukon in exactly the same position as the other judges whose salaries were increased in 1920.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The question is on the amendment. The amendment proposed by the hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Black) provides for an increase in the impost, and in my opinion is out of order.

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CON

George Black

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLACK (Yukon):

I do not want to discuss the point of order at any length. I note the way the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) put it, but my intention is not to come to his rescue against any fair criticism that may be offered to this resolution. I merely wish to put the facts fairly before the committee, and let the House understand that in this resolution the only object as far as I can see is to do justice to the judge of the Yukon. And I submit that while the resolution goes part way it does not go far enough. If the amendment is ruled out of order, it has the same fate as any other resolution which is out of order.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I declare the resolution moved by the hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Black) out of order.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Lapointe thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 25, to amend the Judges' Act.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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AGRICULTURE


The House in Committee of Supply, Mr. Gordon in the chair. Supply-Agriculture Agriculture-experimental farms, $1,400,000.


March 28, 1924