I have this morning arranged a circuit commencing in May for the trial of actions in Toronto, Quebec, Charlottetown, St. John and Sydney. In September I must go to Winnipeg, and as far west as Victoria in order to try cases that may be ready for trial. It is obvious that while I am absent all procedure of an interlocutory nature must stand over, much to the annoyance and delay of suitors. I understand that the Minister of Justice proposes an amendment to the statute which will confer upon the registrar of the court authority to deal with chamber applications. This Act, if it becomes law, will help matters. A large number of cases to be tried are actions arising out of the expropriation of land by the government. The registrar of the court, Mr. Audette, has been registrar ever since the reorganization of the court in 1887. In the past few years he has, as referee, been performing judicial duties of a very important character, notably, in the matter of the winding up of the Quebec Southern Railway, and of the Baie des Chaleurs Railway; and it is only necessary to read his voluminous reports to appreciate his work. His work has, I think, been appreciated by the profession.
From his long experienoe in the court, Mr. Audette has acquired a very thorough knowledge of both law and practice. In cases of expropriation of land and numerous other forms of action against the Crown, especially in the province of Quebec, he is probably better qualified than I am, to sit in judgment. It would seem to me the best solution of the whole situation, having regard to the present business of the court and its increasing business, would be to appoint Mr. Audette deputy judge with all the powers I possess, If thought advisable, there could be an appeal in the usual way from his judgment to myself if the suitors so desired instead of going direct to the Supreme Court.
I would not make the suggestions contained in this letter had I not been asked to do so by yourself, but having given the subject a good deal of anxious consideration, and having a great desire to maintain the reputation of the court which under the presidency of the late judge it has obtained, I venture to put my views before you without, however, desiring to do more than make suggestions.
Believe me, dear Sir Wilfrid, Yours faithfully,
Subtopic: CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.