June 2, 1913 (12th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. LANCTOT:

It will take ten years
to pay that amount. I am now speaking about the judges. We have in the province of Quebec fifteen judges who are receiving a pension from the Government, and that is costing us $90,500 per annum. The great province of Ontario is only having $15,000 under that head.
I take the case of a judge who resigns his position at the age of 50-for quite a number of men live to the age of 80, and even more-but let us suppose that this judge is going to live until he is 80 years' old. He will be receiving a pension during 30 years. Should his salary be $7,000 a year, that pension will be $4,666 a year. Multiply that 'by 30, and you will have the fabulous sum of $140,000 of pension. Now, add to that compound interest at 7 per cent-because I presume the judges who have resigned, not on account of sickness, but in order to keep their position in financial institutions and big estates-have resigned because they were businessmen, so that that money brings them at least 6 per cent. I therefore conclude that such a judge at the age of 80 years shall have received at least $300,000 from the Government.
I find no words to qualify such an abuse. I will take the case of the Minister of Justice himself, who is drawing in the first place a pension from the Government as a retired judge, a salary as a minister and still another as a member of Parliament. Will not the hon. minister find some means of amending the law in his own case, by abolishing his own pension at least during the time he holds his position as a minister and a member of the House?
I say that if the fanning community was posted on all these matters, they could not tolerate in power a Government under which such abuses are allowed. Farmers are the people who do the greatest amount of work. There is no pension for them and they ask for none.
Why could not a judge on the bench, with a salary of $7,000 a year, provide for his old age by means of an insurance? With such a salary it should be an easy matter for him to take an insurance of $25,000. That is just what we are doing ourselves when we join the mutual benefit societies, such as the Independent Foresters, the Catholic Foresters, and the National Alliance, for instance. Why should they not do like us and buy life annuities?
No; pensions must be paid to these gentlemen. But that is not all. Those who come down from The bench are making places for other favourites. I have been repeatedly told that it was very difficult to get judges nowadays, because lawyers were making a great deal more in their profession. I will

take the case of Mr. Simeon Beaudin, who was a candidate against me in the last election. It was currently said_ in the county that he would not accept a judgship, when he was making $100 a day with his profession. He was a candidate, and I am told that it was the present Premier who forced him to run.
What did happen after the present Government came into power?
Mr. Beaudin was appointed a judge of the Superior Court. He left his $100 per day to become a judge at a salary of $7,000 per annum.
It is said that some lawyers refuse to be appointed judges. I see on the other side of the House, and on this side, for that matter, hon. gentlemen who would be very glad to become judges to-day, and if the hon. Minister of Justice wishes to appoint them he will find enough of them to supersede the whole bench in Montreal and all through the country.
I think the hon. minister should introduce a Bill to amend this law so as to give a pension only to those judges who become incapacitated, even when they have just been appointed to the bench; but I object to the Government paying them a pension which enables them to get rich.
After all it does not cost more to feed a judge than it does to feed a civil servant. Very few are the civil servants who are getting high salaries. The hon. Postmaster General has 900 officers in Montreal only. Very few of them get as -much as $2,000 per annum, and there are quite a number who receive less than $1,000. These young men, like the judges, have their families to support, their children to educate. For them there is no pension varying from $4,000 to $8,000 per annum.
I say, Mr. Chairman, that if the people knew all those particulars, they would severely punish the Government who are perpetuating such a state of things. I am not specially blaming the present Government; I say that both parties are guilty.
It is very well known that it is the lawyers who made the laws. We, farmers, hardly dare to raise our voices here, especially during the first years. The lawyers generally join hands to out for themselves good substantial pensions after they shall have been appointed as judges.
Sir, I do not wish to take up the time of the House any longer, but I enter my protest against this abuse of taking the people's money to pay pensions to men who have absolutely no need of them.
I believe that our duty as legislators should 'be in the first place to increase the pay of the poor employees, of those who are working 300 days during the year, who never have any holidays and who, whenever they lose any time-except through sickness-also lose their salaries.
It is altogether different with a judge who happens to have a slight headache. He immediately applies to the Minister of Justice for a holiday, which enables him to take a six months' trip to Europe, and such an application is seldom refused.
And after that the lawyers in Montreal and elsewhere will say: We have not a sufficient number of judges. That may be true, but there are always two or three travelling in Europe.
I therefore say, Mr. Chairman, that next year, if the hon. Minister of Justice does not bring a remedy to this state of things during the present year, and if he is still at the head of this department, I shall introduce a Bill to amend this ill-omened law and to prevent the paying of pensions to people who have no need whatever of them and are drawing other salaries as in the case of the present Minister of Justice.
(n) For an additional puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Saskatchewan, $6,600 per annum.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   JUDGES ACT AMENDMENT.,
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