March 28, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)



In answer to the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) I may say that the Court of Ap* peal of Saskatchewan now consists of four judges, one chief justice and three puisne judges. As to the necessity of adding to the number of judges we find it in the legislation which was passed by the province of Saskatchewan. As it was said, and rightly said by the right hon. gentleman, the courts primarily are created by the provinces under section 92 of the British North America Act. The judges are appointed by the federal authorities. It has been the rule, I understand, in the Department of Justice, to always supplement the legislation which was adopted by the provincial government. Sometimes it would take six months and sometimes it would take three or four years, but always the appointments which were asked by the local governments were made by the federal government. In this case a statute was passed at the last session of the legislature of Saskatchewan adding another judge to the Court of Appeal for that province. We have received the statute, and we propose the present bill to carry out the purpose of that legislation. The right hon. gentleman says that we should make sure that there is real necessity for the increase in the number of judges. I am not certain that we should go that far, unless we are of opinion that the provinces are negligent in the administration of justice. Unless we have good ground to suspect their motives in legislating as they do, I do not see that we should insist on a special report on such questions. At any rate, in this case we have that statute. It was sent to our department, and we ask the House now to supplement that statute. If my right hon. friend desires further information that I do not possess now, and insists on an adjournment of the consideration of this resolution, I would be
willing to try to give him all the information he desires.

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