September 13, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Roch Lanctôt


Mr. LANCTOT (translation):

I do not exactly know, Mir. 'Chairman, which item the Committee is now discussing, tout what I do know, is that the imember-s who have preceded me did speak about the judges of the land, and I do not see why I should not also be permitted to speak upon that subject, on behalf of the electors whom I represent. I think I am entitled to make some comparisons, -and if -certain hon. members of this House -ask that the salaries of the judges be increased, I believe it is m:y duty to institute -comparisons, and that is why I -quote the example of the hon. Minister of Justice (M-r. Doherty), a thing which I have, indeed, already done in this House.
I therefore say that the judges who are now receiving a remuneration of -$5,000; it is snot only that -sum of $5,000 which is their salary, 'because they expe-ct to draw, moreover, a pension, fifteen or twenty-five years later. A jndige whos-e salary is $5,000, fifteen ' years if he becomes, fifteen years later, 'afflicted with some infirmity, -disabling him from the due execution of his office, he gets tons superannuation on a retiring allowance of the two-thirds of his salary-even if he is not disabled, as says - the hon. fn-ember for Portneuf (Mr. Del-isle)-tout, if he occupies -a seat twenty-five years on the judicial 'Ben-ch, he is entitled to retire on -full salary; so that, -should he live twenty-five years more, his -annual judicial -salary will not have been $5,000 -but, actually, $10,000. -Now, I want to tell this House that the judges are the only privileged ones. In ev-ery country in the world, nobody receives a pension or 'an (annuity, unless he has previously paid some money in order to get such 'a pension, the judges are the only ones who do not p-ay one cent and who draw -a pension after fifteen or twenty-fiVe years.
I am wondering wherefore thi-s discrimination. Is it because there has -always been in thi-s House -so many lawyers, on either side, to pass such measures almost unseen, in order to reciprocate later? In fact it is generally admitted that judges don't die quick enough, and' if they don't wish to withdraw from the Bench, their wishes 'are even -anticipated; some -are forced to retire before Parliament is dissolved. I even predict th-at, before this- Parliament ceases to exist in order to go before the -country, some judges now on th-e. Bench will be interviewed -and spoken to as follows : "Please, do resign, we have members whom it will [The Chairman (Mr. Rainville.)]
b-e impossible to re-elect in their counties, and we -would like to put them on the Bench.'' That is the policy of governments, Conservative or Liberal, -and th-at is why -such a system must necessarily disappear.
I h-ave already had the honour -to introduce into this House a Bill to the effect that no pension be granted to ia judge, unless he has occupied a seat on the judicial Bench for twenty-five years- or he be -an -invalid; but n-ot -an -invalid to ib-ec-ome -a member of this House, a senator or -a minister.
I say that, in -a future Parliament, such -a state of affairs -must 'be remedied-; that a Bill must be introduced to wipe out these bad law-s, and I hope w-e shall then have another Minister of Justice, who will listen to our ico-mplainte and will n-ot hesitate to introduce such -a Bill in -order to -put a stop to this money riot.
Is it -not -absurd! indeed, to -see a Minister of Justice drawing $5,000 -as a minister, $2,500 as ta member -and -a pension of -almost $5,000? Would that be tolerated in any -country? I do not believe -it; not even in China o-r Japan. It is- only here, in Canada, that -such -things can be seen.
I declare it -again, even to-night, that if God spares me, -and should I sit here in the next Parliament, I will once more introduce a Bill in order to take -away their pensions from those who do not -deserve them; I believe that, instead of taxing the poor pe-ople for war purposes, these pensions should be (suppressed, for the object of the A-ct was to superannuate only disabled judges or those having served for twenty-five years.
Why, Mr. Chairman, -p-ay -a pension to this gentleman? Would it not he better to p-ay that -amount to ia charitable fund, the Patriotic Fund, for instance, or else -employ it towards our war expenses? I declare it to he -an -abuse -of power, and I w-amt to register -as strongly as I -can my protest -against -such -a state of -affairs.
Hon. Mr. 'BTJKjEAU (translation): It is evident my hon. friend has not taken my observations in the same sense I had,stated them. He pretends to speak on behalf of his electors who -are almo-st -all of them farmers. It is also in the name of the farmers I am protesting, (since the judges of rural districts .are not treated as fairly -as those of the cities of Montreal and Quebec. I repeat it, my only objeot was to do justice to the agricultural das-s .and th-at, bygranting the judges of the rural districts a sufficient salary to -afford them the means -of having a library, a thing they absolutely

need for -the judicious exercise of their functions. I do not think imy demand either exaggerated or unfair since, in my opinion, at least, the judges of the rural districts deserve quite .as much as the judges of large cities, such .as Montreal or Quebec. If the objection made until now to my proposition, that of the high cost of living in the cities, was. formerly a juist one, it has certainly ceased to he to-day, for I have personally realized that it costs more to live in Three Rivers than in Montreal or Quebec. I therefore see no reason for my hon. friend from Laprairie-Napie-rville to be scandalized; my demand is based upon the principle that the position and remuneration of judges appointed to administer justice in country districts should be such .as to render full and .ample justice to the agricultural .class.

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