June 4, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)

LIB

George William Kyte

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

I regret very much that the Minister of Justice has not been able to take up the question of the readjustment of salaries of county court judges in the province of Nova Scotia. This matter has been brought to his attention on several occasions by hon. members representing that province, and while from time to time legislation has been introduced which has resulted in increasing the salaries of judges elsewhere-although I may say that no general- increase has been given-it is to be regretted that the minister has been unable to give some attention to this matter. We have in Nova Scotia a state of affairs that is very different from that which exists in Ontario. I observe that in this resolution there is a provision for the salary of $3,000 per annum for a junior county court judge in that province. I understand that in that province county court judges are in the enjoyment of certain perquisites which flow from other offices which they are permitted to hold. That is not the case in Nova Scotia, where a county court judge is limited entirely to the salary which he receives on his appointment. From time to time demands have been made from all classes of the Civil Service of this country for increases of salaries to meet the increased cost of living that has prevailed throughout this country for some years. I might say truthfully that the county court judge is about the only one enjoying a salary as low as $3,000 whose needs in that respect have not received some attention. The Minister of Finance proposes,

in the course of a few days, to introduce legislation in this House for the purpose of increasing, substantially, I hope, the salaries of certain civil servants who belong to the Inside Service. It is also proposed by the Minister of Finance to provide in the Supplementary Estimates for an increase of salary to certain civil servants who are attached to the Outside Service. I can not understand why judges of the county court in Nova Scotia, whose salaries are by no means in keeping with the cost of living in that province, are not to receive some consideration. They are all gentlemen who, when they accepted their appointments, abandoned legal practices very much more remunerative than the salaries which they now receive. I speak more particularly of the county court judge who ipsido.'- in the city of Sydney and who is the judge for the district comprised by the counties of Richmond, Cape Breton and Victoria. He has a very extensive criminal jurisdiction. In the city of. Sydney his time is taken up almost every day in the year in hearing matters that do not properly fall to the adjudication of a county court judge elsewhere in the Dominion. We have no resident Supreme Court judge in the Island of Cape Breton, and the consequence has been to enlarge the jurisdiction of the county court judge as Master of the Supreme Court, so that his time is at least half taken up in adjudicating matters that in other sections of Dominion are dealt with by Supreme Court judges. I do not wish to make a special plea for the gentleman who discharges so efficiently and satisfactorily the duty of county court judge in the city of Sydney; my argument is equally applicable to' all the other county court judges in the province of Nova Scotia. The Minister of Justice has always been good enough, when this matter has been called to his attention, to give us an assurance that it would be considered by him and that he hoped to 'be able to submit a comprehensive scheme to deal with all those judges who are suffering from the same grievance as are the judges of Nova Scotia. I again remind the Minister of Justice that judges of the county courts of my province are in a vastly different position from that of county court judges in Ontario, and I cannot quite understand why the minister is unable to deal with the situation in Nova Scotia, because he has been unajble to formulate a comprehensive scheme to deal with county court judges in Ontario. The latter enjoy special perquisites from other offices they are authorized 1255
to hold, and, therefore, their position is not such an appealing one as that of the Nova Scotia 'County Court judges.
Mr. MAROIL; How will this legislation affect superior court judges in Quefbec? A large number of judges who seem to have been appointed for outside judicial districts reside in the city of Quebec or in the city of Montreal.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   JUDGES ACT AMENDMENT.
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