September 15, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I am no less surprised, indeed I am still more surprised than my hon. friend, to hear the two leading lights of the opposition lay down the doctrine that the judges are responsible to parliament. The judges are removable by an address of parliament. For what cause ? Not for an error of judgment, but simply for malfeasance, for some ease of gross misconduct, and causes of that kind. But a judge is perfectly free on the bench, lie is free to do wrong, because he is responsible only to his conscience, and parliament has no power over him in the character of his judgments. Will my hon. friend apply the same d ctrine to any official of this government, or to any man wffio has the spending of public money ? If an officer of this government spends money, although he spends it conscientiously, in a manner which is not approved of by parliament, parliament can dismiss him at once for making an error in judgment. Would the same doctrine apply to a judge ? Where would be the boasted independence of British judges

if they were answerable to parliament for every decision they gave whether it should he right or wrong. A judge's decision is always held to be right and in so far as they are superior to parliament they have a distinction which is unique. We have a famous example in British history where one of the most eminent members of the British judiciary was taken to task by parliament for malfeasance. Really I cannot understand how my hon. friend, who is a leading lawyer, an excellent lawyer and a professor in Laval should take this position.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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