June 21, 1955

PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the official opposition I may say that we have no quarrel with the general principle of the resolution, particularly that part of it which provides for an increase in the salaries of judges of both dominion and provincial courts.

We recognize that the judiciary should be independent, that independence includes financial independence, and that judges should have proper recompense for their work. I do not wish what I have to say now to be taken as modifying the statement I have made to the effect that we are not going to oppose the resolution, but I do wish to voice briefly on behalf of the official opposition certain thoughts we have as to weaknesses in connection with the appointment of judges generally.

We object to the present method under which judges are appointed in this country; perhaps not so much to the method of appointment as to the principles which seem to be followed by the government in making those appointments when, generally speaking, political qualifications appear to come first. I am not saying that is so in every appointment, but I think it is the fact in far too many of them. We believe that is one of the reasons the minister is experiencing difficulty in getting lawyers to accept positions as judges, because he looks only to one political group in this country to provide the main source of judicial appointments.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Mr. Chairman, I am sure my hon. friend does not wish to attribute to me remarks I have not made. I am not aware that I have ever stated I had any difficulty in getting candidates for the bench, because I can assure him that such has not been the case.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I recall definitely one occasion when the minister indicated that he had the greatest difficulty in getting what he regarded

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as satisfactory candidates. That was with reference particularly to the trial court in Ontario. I am not saying the minister has said the appointments he has made are not suitable, because I would not expect him to say that. I do not have Hansard before me, and if it can be shown that what I am saying is not correct I shall be glad to be shown. However, I do recall that on the occasion of the last salary increase remarks were made to the effect that at the previous salary levels the minister was finding it difficult to obtain suitable candidates for appointment to judicial positions.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I do think that when my hon. friend is attempting to impute to me remarks such as those he has just made, he should quote Hansard; and that I am sure he is not able to do.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I think I would be able to do so, and I shall certainly look back over Hansard of the past. But at least the minister will agree with me when I say that in the past it has been stated as a general proposition by himself that one of the difficulties in connection with filling judicial appointments has been that lawyers were reluctant to take the positions at the salaries then prevailing. But I believe one of the reasons for that difficulty, if there is any such difficulty, which the minister has experienced in the past is, in part, because the judiciary is not held in as high regard as it should be in this country, and as it is in other countries. I believe one of the reasons for that situation is the opinion held by and large throughout the country -and it is not confined to members of the official opposition-as to the principles the minister follows in making those appointments.

However, having said that, I repeat that we see in the principle of the resolution, and the bill which will be based upon it, mainly the question of increasing the salaries of judges. Whatever objection we may have as to the principles followed by the minister in the past in the making of appointments, I think perhaps the two propositions can be kept separate. Criticism of the government as to the method of making appointments should be kept separate from the question of whether or not there is justification for an increase in salaries for judicial positions.

But we feel strongly that after the bill based upon this resolution is passed, as I assume it will be, the minister must bear in mind the suggestions and the criticisms we have offered, and which I am now reflecting, when we say that he must not regard the field of suitable candidates for judicial positions as confined primarily to those who are sympathetic to the Liberal party.

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I wish to say also that in my view it is a privilege, amounting almost to a duty, oa the part of the bar as a whole to accept judicial appointments. I am certain I am correct when I say that in the past we have had it suggested to us that it is a tremendous sacrifice for a successful practicing lawyer to accept a judicial appointment, particularly at the salaries which have been prevailing. That argument has been used to justify increases in judges' salaries which from time to time have been placed before parliament for approval.

We cannot sit here and pontificate, saying that lawyers must be content with the honour which flows from judicial position and pay no regard to the financial implications following the acceptance of such judicial position. Nevertheless, while I believe one reason some lawyers have been reluctant to accept appointments as judges lies in the fact that the principles being followed in the appointment of judges are not what they should be and therefore the regard for the judiciary is not what it should be, I do feel that to a certain extent the bar as a whole has been perhaps somewhat lacking in appreciation of what amoWfts to the duty of accepting such appointments which are the highest it is within the competence of this country to bestow.

If I am correctly informed, I understand that in Great Britain it is almost an unwritten law that barristers offered appointment to the higher courts should accept such appointments, even although they involve considerable financial sacrifice. If, then, the increased salaries now being proposed will minimize the financial sacrifice which would follow from the acceptance of judicial office, then I think it is proper for us to suggest that the bar here would do well to adopt an attitude somewhat similar to that prevailing in the United Kingdom.

However, subject to these few comments, we are going to defer any further criticism or attacks upon the government on the method they follow in making appointments and the restrictions they impose upon the qualifications of candidates, at least until second reading of the bill, and probably until the minister's estimates are reached.

I realize it might be politically attractive to offer criticism at this time of the increase in judicial salaries. There are a number of obvious remarks that come to mind that might be made, because there are many in the country who also desire increases in the remuneration or the payments they receive from the government. It would be easy to say, well, why do you single out judges? Mr. Chairman, we rest our approach to this resolution on the basis I previously stated. The

principle of this legislation is that there should be an increase in the salaries of judges. It may be that there should be increases in other payments as well, but it seems to me that is a separate question. We are therefore going to resist what might be, as I say, an attractive political temptation and confine our discussion of this resolution exclusively to that principle.

We believe there is justification for an increase in the level of salaries; we believe it is sound political philosophy as well as in accordance with good Conservative philosophy to agree that those who assume high office should be paid what the position demands, and then that we should demand the government appoint only the best to that office.

There is only one other comment I should like to make. It is to some extent a side issue. We are given to understand from time to time that in considering the problem of increasing judges' salaries there confronts the department the additional difficulty that judges in different parts of the country holding comparable appointments are called upon to do greatly differing quantities of work. I am not going to single out any one province as against another, but anyone who has any acquaintance with our system of justice and the administration of justice in this country will know what I mean. It is an accident of population if you like, but there are some judges who, by the very nature of the locale of their appointments, are called upon to do a great deal more work than judges in other localities although all judges in comparable positions, so far as this parliament is concerned, are in receipt of the same remuneration.

I understand that in some provinces some of the county court judges particularly are in receipt of additional remuneration paid by the provinces for what is called surrogate work-in my province it would be called probate work-although in British Columbia that system does not prevail. That again increases the inequality between the amount of work done on the one hand by judges holding the same appointment and the remuneration they receive on the other.

Then again in some provinces, indeed I would say in most provinces, it is becoming a practice, which we on this side of the house regard as disturbing, to appoint judges to commissions, boards of inquiry and other similar posts, which all too often are concerned with matters which have political implications.

We regard it as the duty of a judge to be

on the bench. That is what he is appointed

for. Many provinces are now coming before parliament with requests for increases in the number of judges in their courts. I suggest it is not consistent or logical that on the one hand there should be those quite numerous requests for increases in the number of judges in the courts within the provinces while at the same time there is an increasing tendency to appoint judges to royal commissions, boards of inquiry or labour arbitration. We regard that tendency as particularly objectionable and open to question when it involves the appointment of a judge to head a commission or board where the subject matter of the inquiry itself has a political or semipolitical implication.

Those problems, the disparity in the amount of work being done by judges in different localities and the question of the appointment of judges to these boards of inquiry, commissions, labour arbitrations or quasi-labour courts are, I realize, in large measure matters of provincial responsibility, although it has been the practice here, and I think to a disturbing extent, for the dominion government also to appoint judges as royal commissioners even on commissions dealing with matters having political implications

Therefore this government is not free from criticism in that regard. But by and large, this is a matter where provincial administrations are concerned. Nevertheless, these problems confront us, and most certainly confront the department, in dealing with the over-all question of increasing the salaries of judges.

It seems to me therefore appropriate at this time to suggest that the Minister of Justice might consider calling the attorneys general of the provinces into conference with him to discuss ways and means whereby the burdens of judges of equivalent status, let us say the judges of the supreme courts and the judges of the county courts of the various provinces, might be equalized. This government cannot do it alone because of the features I have mentioned; but it would be desirable to have the whole matter investigated and made the subject of discussion among the minister and the provincial attorneys general.

Subject to these comments, we of the official opposition, viewing this resolution as involving mainly the principle of an increase in judges' salaries, and feeling as we do that justification for that increase exists and that the administrative details which will follow from the other part of the resolution are such as we can support, intend to support the resolution.

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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

Will the hon. member permit a question? It is a strange field for me to intervene in. In view of his remarks about the political affiliation of lawyers who are made judges, does he recall as a British Columbian that the last British Columbia lawyer to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada was not only a Tory but treasurer of the Tory party in British Columbia?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

The minister is quite wrong in at least part of the remark he has just made. I do not think it is desirable to single out individuals in discussions of this nature in the house. I content myself with simply saying to the minister that he is wrong in one part of the remark he has just made; but I would also remind him that in my remarks I admitted that not all appointments made recently have been from members of the Liberal party. That does not change the fact that the vast majority still are, and that in general the attitude of this government is that one of the primary qualifications for judicial appointment shall be political.

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LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. Croll:

May I ask the hon. gentleman a question? In view of the hon. member's inability to answer completely the question of the minister, does he know that out of the last three appointments to the supreme court of Ontario, two were card-carrying Conservatives?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

The hon. member has questioned my accuracy. I am rather inclined to agree that he may have a point, because when the hon. gentleman was appointed there was a Tory party in British Columbia but since that time it has been absorbed by the Social Credit party. To that extent perhaps I am wrong.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

No, the minister was just wrong. As usual.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Chairman, despite the controversy which has developed during the last few minutes I think it is correct to say

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that all of us in this house feel that it is important to democracy that the judges of our courts be held in the highest possible regard. We feel likewise that because of the importance of their position they should enjoy a reasonable measure of independence and security. However, I must say that we in this group dislike the way in which a price tag is put on high regard.

Others have indicated already that the judges of our courts enjoy advantages other than their salaries, and I shall have something to say in a moment about those salaries. They also have at least one other financial advantage, but I would point out that there is something real and worth while to an individual in the prestige of being a judge of any of the courts of this country. I do not hobnob with judges every day, but I do know a few of them personally. It is my experience that they are most happy individuals. They are men who are in the fortunate position, as for that matter are most members of parliament, of having their vocation and avocation one and the same thing. Most judges really enjoy their work. It is what they have been trained for and it coincides with their interests. If I may go a bit further, I know of some who have gone from this house to the bench, and who have admitted to me that they enjoy the life immensely. I suggest that these things should be taken into consideration, but I am ready to admit that I would not suggest that because of the prestige and the honour and the pleasure our judges enjoy they should be asked to work for nothing. Everyone knows that no such request is being made.

Although the Minister of Justice indicated the amount of the increase to be proposed in the bill; although the hon. member for Kamloops in the first part of his first speech, before he got provoked, indicated that he would support the increase, neither of these hon. gentlemen bothered to put on the record the salaries which judges are now receiving. I know they will both tell me that it is unnecessary to do that as it is a matter of record, that all anyone needs to do is turn up the book of estimates and find out what are those salaries, but before we agree to a proposal that these salaries be increased by $2,500 a year should we not ask what salaries these gentlemen are now receiving?

According to the estimates, and of course this is based on the statutes, the salaries paid to justices of the Supreme Court of Canada are $25,000 a year for the chief justice and $20,000 a year for each of the puisne justices. There is an obvious pun that could be made on the word "puisne" but I will let it

go at that. In the case of the Exchequer Court of Canada the salary of the president of the court is $16,000 a year, while the salaries of the puisne or associate justices are $14,400 a year.

When you come to the superior courts of the provinces, the courts of queen's bench, the trial division, courts of appeal and so on, the same salaries obtain as apply in the case of the Exchequer Court of Canada, namely $16,000 a year for each of the chief justices and $14,400 a year for each of the associate or puisne justices.

I say quite clearly on behalf of this group, and despite the way the hon. member for Kamloops tried to brush aside any opposition to these increases as yielding to a certain kind of temptation, that we feel in the light of conditions and salary levels generally, in the light of wage levels, not to mention what this government has not yet done for some deserving groups of our community, that the present salaries are high enough and this further increase is not needed at this time. The lawyers of the house-and their attendance is quite good just now-

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?

An hon. Member:

It always is.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

-of course have a particular interest in this question. They will remind me that 1 have not given the salaries of all judges, and that is quite right. There is one other group of judges whose salaries are paid out of the federal treasury, namely judges of the county courts. In their case the salary is $8,000 a year. I deliberately drew the line, making a break between the two groups, because we are prepared to admit that for judges of the county courts, and I understand that many of them are heavily loaded with work, there may well be a case for an increase. In fact it has been represented to me on previous occasions when there have been increases on a percentage basis that it was most unfair to give the same percentage across the board, which resulted in quite a substantial increase for judges in the upper salary brackets but a very small increase for the county court judges.

However that is no excuse for the government going the other way, which it seems to me is now being done. It would seem that the government looked at the position of the county court judges and decided they needed an increase in the amount suggested by the minister, and then decided to give that same amount of increase to all the rest of them whether they needed it or not.

I repeat that we feel that people who are now enjoying annual salaries of $14,400, $16,000, $20,000 or $25,000 do not need an

increase, not even in the name of independence for the judiciary, not even in the name of high regard for the judges of our courts.

I said earlier there was one other financial advantage that our judges have which I feel should be mentioned at this time, and I refer to their pension arrangements. Everyone in this house knows how strongly we support the idea of pensions so that people in all walks of life may have security in their old age. We do not wish to see judges or their widows excluded from that general principle; indeed we believe they should be included, but I would point out that whereas most pensions that people earn in this country are on a contributory basis, these pensions are completely non-contributory. In addition, the privilege of election which is accorded to a judge so that he can apply his pension part for himself and part for his wife, is likewise on a non-contributory, non-actuarial, arbitrary basis. I am not asking on the one hand that there be no increase in salaries and on the other hand that anything be done to minimize these pension privileges. Rather what I am asking is that the monetary value -and it is quite substantial-of these pension advantages be taken into consideration in the total picture as to the remuneration of our judges.

On that basis, so far as this whole salary question is concerned, we think-and I say it quite openly-there is a case for an adjustment in the salary of the county court judges. Equally we feel there is no case for an increase in the salaries of those who commence at $14,400 and go on up to $25,000 a year. That is the reason, Mr. Chairman, I said "on division" when the motion was put for the Speaker to leave the chair for the house to go into committee of the whole on this resolution.

We feel that more study should be given to this matter. Indeed, study should be given to the whole question of the position of the judges of this country. I am not going to get into the quarrel that my hon. friend from Kamloops got into with our friends across the way about this matter of political appointments, but I suggest it is a subject that should be investigated. In fact I feel the whole question of the appointment of judges in Canada should be investigated. Inquiries should be made into their tenure of office. There are differences, as the lawyers know, as to the length of term, as to the age of retirement and so on.

I agree with the hon. member for Kamloops that there should be an inquiry into the extracurricular activities of the judges. I am not at the moment saying whether they should or 50433-3214

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should not take on royal commissions, conciliation boards and the other jobs they do.

I must say it is my view that many of these bodies have been well served by the ability these judges have brought to those boards; but the fact that this matter has been questioned so often seems to me to warrant thorough study of the whole question.

Three ways of inquiring into this matter occurred to me. One I suggest with some hesitation, because it may be thrown back at us that we have opposed royal commissions on occasions. Let it be said that every suggestion for a royal commission has to be considered on its merits. Sometimes a royal commission is a way of getting rid of a question; sometimes it is a way of having the type of examination that is required.

My hon. friend wants to know if a judge should be put at the head of such a royal commission. I think I might name prospective judges instead, in other words a few lawyers who have hopes. But there are other kinds of people who might well serve on such a commission. If that seems too unwieldy a way of dealing with the matter, it could be dealt with by reference to a parliamentary committee. A third suggestion is the one the hon. member for Kamloops made a while ago, namely that there might be a conference convened by the Minister of Justice to which he would invite the attorneys general of all the provinces.

If such a conference were called, obviously in this country as it is now constituted politically it would be a non-political gathering, or a gathering of all shades of political opinion and then some. I would suggest that if such a conference were held it should go not only into the question raised by the member for Kamloops, but into all these questions. But it is our view that such inquiries should be made before the house is asked to vote on these salary increases.

I would not stress that point quite so strongly if the bill was just one to adjust the salaries of the judges of the county courts, but this gives an across the board increase right up to the man who is drawing $25,000 a year plus a non-contributory pension for life, with provision for a widow's pension to continue if he dies first. It is really asking parliament to do something it ought not to do without further study.

I have tried to measure my words carefully because I do not want to detract in any way from the remarks with which I started, when I said that we feel our judges should be held in the highest possible regard. I think if there were a royal commission or a parliamentary committee or a conference of the Minister of Justice with the attorneys

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general of the provinces to go into these matters; if we could work out ways of appointing judges that would be less subject to criticism than is now the case; if we could solve the question as to extracurricular work on the part of the judges; if we could assess the varying amounts of work the judges have to do, these things would contribute to the very thing we all want, namely the highest possible regard for the judges of this land.

I was interested in the comment of the Minister of Justice today, when he said quite clearly that he had no trouble in getting candidates for the bench. The hon. member for Kamloops is not sure that is what he said before. The record is there and it may be searched, and we can find out what was said before. I have no doubt it will be found and put on the record. But the minister certainly admitted today he was having no trouble in getting candidates for the bench. I am informed that the word "suitable" should be put in there. The minister said he was having no trouble in getting suitable candidates for the bench.

Suitable or otherwise, the fact is that he has no trouble in getting candidates for the bench. I confess I was surprised at the minister's statement today, because I had understood that in the past one of the reasons advocated for increasing judges' salaries, not only advocated here in this house but advocated in the press, was that this was necessary to get the calibre of people we want to have serving us on the bench. We have the statement from the minister today, if I may paraphrase what he said, that there is no dearth of candidates for these important positions.

In view of the fact that the salaries that are under review, except those of the county court judges, range from $14,400 a year to $25,000 a year, plus a non-contributory pension with some real advantages, we do not think further increases are necessary at this time. I do not labour the point, but I make it, that it is six years since the $40 figure was set for the old age pension. We have pleaded for that allowance to our senior citizens to be increased, because of our regard for what Canadians deserve. That appeal has been turned down, and so long as that situation continues we do not think salaries of this kind need to be increased.

I close by insisting again that no one interpret my remarks as indicating anything but the highest regard for the judges of this land. I have had occasion to follow closely the work of some of them, and I know some of them personally for whom I have the highest regard, but I think we should not

1

put a price tag on that sort of thing. I believe we can increase the regard in which they are held if the government will agree to our suggestion that there be an inquiry in one of the three ways I mentioned into the whole business of the way judges are appointed, their tenure of office, the work they do, their extracurricular activities, their salaries and so on. If we do these things I think we can increase the regard held for our judges in this country and, in my view, this should be done before any motion is made that their salaries be increased.

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SC

George William McLeod

Social Credit

Mr. McLeod:

At the outset, Mr. Chairman, I would say that we in this group have no political axe to grind, and I am not going to become involved in any of the side issues in connection with appointments and the various ramifications of that issue. However, as we see it, this is a resolution preceding a bill which will deal with two distinct and separate matters; first, increasing the salaries and second, increasing the number of judges in British Columbia by one additional judge for the court of appeal and one for the supreme court, and also one for the territorial court of the Northwest Territories.

So far as British Columbia is concerned I believe these judges are badly needed. Increasing population and great acceleration in industrial development are naturally reasons for more cases being referred to the courts for clarification and decision. At present I understand there is often considerable delay in having matters settled owing to the shortage of judges. We therefore support that part of the recommendation wholeheartedly. I am sure the same arguments will apply equally to the Northwest Territories.

At the same time we are told that in order to have these appointments, we are going to have to agree to an increase in salaries. It is just another of these package deals this government is throwing at us in increasing numbers, wherein you must take the whole thing or nothing. At this point-and that is my reason for speaking at this point-I would suggest, having regard to the gist of this resolution, that when the legislation is brought before the house it should come forward possibly in two bills, one dealing with the appointments and one with the salaries.

So far as the present salary range is concerned, going as it does from $8,000 to $25,000, I do not think there is any great quarrel. I believe the salaries compare favourably with the salaries paid to other people who have just as good qualifications and who are giving of their time and their skill in the public service of Canada. I think ample proof of that statement is to be found in the remark made by the minister a few moments ago,

to the effect that he never had any trouble in finding candidates to fill these positions.

Under the circumstances, Mr. Chairman, we just want to place ourselves on record as being opposed to an increase in the salaries of judges at the present time, but we are much in favour of the extra appointments being made.

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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thatcher:

I shall detain the committee for only a moment or two, Mr. Chairman. I wish to comment on this resolution which proposes to raise judges' salaries. Frankly I cannot agree with the opposition of either the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre or the hon. member for Okanagan-Revelstoke. I know there are many people in the House of Commons and throughout the country who feel that judges' salaries today are adequate, and that they compare favourably with the amount of money that is earned by men in the industrial and business fields throughout Canada.

However, I cannot subscribe to such a theory. It seems to me that the basic problem parliament must face in examining this legislation is the manner in which the nation can obtain the best possible judges. The minister says he has no dearth of candidates. That may be true, but I believe he is not always able to get the best man for each particular appointment. I recall a case in Ontario not very long ago. I refer to the case of Mr. John J. Robinette, Q.C. If my memory serves me, he was appointed to the Ontario supreme court.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

The court of appeal.

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IND

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

Independent

Mr. Thatcher:

He accepted the appointment initially, but after further careful consideration was obliged to cancel his acceptance. When he realized how much money he would lose by accepting the position he felt that in justice to his family and to himself he could not fill the vacancy. I think other cases could be mentioned similar to that of Mr. Robinette. These gentlemen may want to serve as judges. They may feel it is their duty to serve as judges. But if they are going to suffer severe financial loss by accepting a judgeship, they simply must decline the honour.

I think parliament should remember that once a man is appointed a judge he cannot have any business sideline as can men in other fields of endeavour. He cannot have other occupations. I would remind the committee, moreover, that the life of a judge is not entirely a pleasant one. If he is a county judge he is obliged to travel around a good deal, living in hotels. Sometimes, because of his status, he is deprived of the friendship and fellowship of people who

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otherwise might be more intimate with him. Judges who enter the field of labour relations often make bad friends and endure severe criticism in doing that necessary work.

It has been said in the House of Commons that judges' salaries compare favourably with salaries in other fields of endeavour. I do not think that is true. I am convinced that most lawyers today can make considerably more in private practice than they can make by becoming a judge, particularly an $8,000 a year county judge. I am also convinced that men in commerce, industry or business, if they are worth their salt, can make far more than $8,0PC a year. Surely justice is just as important as life insurance. Surely justice is just as important as a small business. If that is the case, I do not see why judges should not be paid accordingly.

In my opinion, if this parliament refuses to bring the salaries of judges up to a reasonable level they simply are not going to get the kind of men they need. It is possible that the situation may arise in the future where the lawyers coming before the judges will know more than the judges themselves. I repeat that today the remuneration being paid to our judges is not adequate for the work they have to do. Despite the fact that our population has grown rapidly, we have not many more judges than we had 20 years ago.

Today I heard the statement made that sometimes judges are appointed for political reasons. Certainly there is a danger in such appointments. Yet I have seen several judges who were political appointees and who have become exceptionally good judges. We have one in our own city of Moose Jaw. A former member of parliament for Yorkton, when he retired, became a judge in Moose Jaw. I along with many others was dubious about the appointment. Yet Judge George McPhee, after having spent 10 years in our city, is probably one of the most popular citizens in the area. Ex-members of parliament seem to have a tolerance and an understanding of human nature, which is a valuable factor in judging people. I know that if I were obliged to go before a judge I would rather appear before an ex-member of parliament than anyone else. I therefore say that all is not wrong with our present system of appointing judges.

I want to say again, Mr. Chairman, that I support the principle of this bill. If we are to have the kind of judges we want, we are going to have to pay them better salaries. We shall have to pay them salaries which are more comparable with those being paid in the fields of business and industry.

Canada Elections Act

Topic:   JUDGES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO INCREASE SALARIES, PROVIDE FOR JUDGE IN NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, ETC.
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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Casileden:

I should like to say a few words just briefly, Mr. Chairman. I think it is generally recognized that the administration of justice is the cornerstone of the democratic system. Because of that fact it is most important that those in charge of the administration of justice be independent. In the second place, they should have the respect of the rank and file of the people in the community as a whole. It is important also that they be financially independent so there will be no possibility of financial considerations entering into any decision made by a judge.

Another point mentioned is that judges should be politically independent. I join with those who have said that the judges with whom they have come in contact are in most cases men who are doing a good job of administering justice and who have the respect of the community. If there are occasions when people suspect that other considerations enter into the decision of a judge, then it is a sign of weakness in the judiciary and the condition should be wiped out.

The idea of appointing to the bench legal lights who have been active in political life is perhaps not a good one. I think the government would do well to avoid making such appointments, rather than err by making them. Sometimes we find that lawyers are active in politics. In the course of my life I have run across a number of them, and have been in conflict with them in the political field. I have had rather severe conflicts with members of the bar in that field. If I ever have to appear before them as members of the bench I hope their prejudices will have changed somewhat.

I believe that in a general way we can support the policy of the government. The proposed legislation provides for increases in salaries all along the line. I endorse what has been said by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. With the high cost of living, for which the government must take the blame, it is no doubt difficult for judges to maintain their independence on a salary of $8,000 a year in view of the work they must do, the expenses they must meet and the life they must live. But I agree also with the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre when he says that judges now receiving $25,000 a year do not require any more money in order to be financially independent.

We are thoroughly in support of the increase for those on the $8,000 level. The people I have the honour to represent are largely engaged in agriculture. Last year their net income declined approximately 70 per cent, and they will not be earning even $8,000. Speaking for them, I say that if

appointments as judges to administer justice are to be handed out to certain people as plums on the basis of political activity, it will not be for the good of the bench. The attitude of people is important. The quality of justice has to be such that the people believe those appointed to the bench are fair. In that regard I believe that unnecessary expenditure in the higher brackets will be criticized, though I doubt if there will be much criticism of an increase for county court judges.

Topic:   JUDGES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO INCREASE SALARIES, PROVIDE FOR JUDGE IN NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, ETC.
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall the resolution carry?

Topic:   JUDGES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO INCREASE SALARIES, PROVIDE FOR JUDGE IN NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, ETC.
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June 21, 1955