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


Seymour Eugene Gourley

Conservative (1867-1942)


We have an admirable constitution, and upon a true construction of its different sections there is perfect harmony in it. Now, I want to make reference to another matter. The other day, the Minister of Justice said, that there were two classes who had not the confidence of the public, and these were the judges and the lawyers. If that were mere badinage of the Minister of Justice, I would not object,
' but if he were serious I refuse to be bound by such a statement. In the county in which I live the lawyers of both sides of politics are the men who dominate and control public opinion, and make it and unmake it. They have absolutely the confidence of the people, and the people send them as their representatives to parliament. When the people want men of brains, and men of experience, they select lawyers, and
they trust their affairs to honest lawyers. I am bound to say that in this House the lawyers claim the confidence of the people of Canada in a larger degree than do the members of any other profession. There are infinitely more lawyers in this House than there are members of any other occupation. I respect the laymen, and I must say that they have the good grace on all occasions, in matters of difficulty, to seek the advice of some sound lawyers. I can say for the members of the Bar in my portion of the country, that they occupy the highest standing in the community. There is nothing on earth that pleases me more than to get overhauled by these intelligent laymen. Such criticism helps us. I look upon their criticism in the same way as I look upon the conduct of an indulgent and kindly wife who criticises her husband ; not that she does not respect him, but she thinks an unreasonable animal needs a little advice. These laymen think that an unreasonable animal like a lawyer perhaps, needs a little reasonable advice, and so I do not object to it. I have no doubt that these gentlemen have the deepest respect for a good, honest, well-trained lawyer, who is the safest adviser they can have under any circumstances.

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