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


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


Well, I notice that he generally makes enough to put him through his course of studies. But the very reverse is the case with the doctor. He has to study for five years to fit himself for his profession; from the day he commences to study he has to incur a coustant outlay ; and it costs him from $1,000 to $2,000 of expenditure, besides five years of his life, to acquire a knowledge of his profession before he can begin to earn a dollar. I am assuming that both the lawyer and the doctor start with the same educational qualification. The lawyer, on the other hand, takes four years to acquire his profession, and during that time, instead of paying out money, he is earning money. Is it a fact that doctors earn more than or as much as

lawyers ? Although it costs them more to acquire their professiou, they really earn less. I say that the standard of salary paid to a judge should not be what a lawyer will earn before he goes on the bench, but it should be what is a fair remuneration for professional men in other lines of life, who are as intelligent as the lawyers, and who have spent as much time and money to acquire their profession. The number of medical men who have a net income of over $4,000 a year is very small, and yet we hear of lawyers who earn $10,000, $12,000, $15,000, $20,000, $25,000; and we are told that you cannot get the best men to go on the bench, unless you give them a salary equivalent to what they earn when practising their profession. Lawyers, in my judgment, are paid more than their services are worth; in other words, we give them power to charge more. Men who start with equal brains to those of the lawyers, who spend as much to acquire knowledge in any of the learned professions, should, after they acquire their profession, bave an earning capacity equal to that of the lawyers ; or else they are paid too little or the lawyers too much. Medical men do not usually complain of what they earn in their profession. It is only the lawyer and the judge who are always complaining because there is no limit to their avarice. I knew a lawyer a few years ago who got for conducting one case a cheque for $10,000. Will any one tell me that he actually earned that much ? I do not think he did ; but because he happened to answer the purpose, and was intelligent enough to enable those for whom he acted to evade the law or to checkmate others who were playing that game of checkers called law with him, he was paid that amount of money. Can you properly say that he earned it ? In my judgment, he did not. I do not think there is a lawyer in Canada to-day who, if he were paid exactly what he is worth, would earn $20,000 or anything like it. How many medical men are earning that much or one-half of it ? There is not one in every thousand who is earning half of it-I mean iu net earnings; and yet in the pursuit of their profession they are obliged to incur much greater expenses than the lawyers. They are also obliged to live a much more exhausting and arduous life; they have to be on duty night and day, without any time to call their own;l while the lawyer can work in reasonable hours, and the rest of the time he can rest or play as he sees fit. I believe doctors usually do for nothing more than the lawyers earn, if they were paid what they are worth. Take professors in the universities, who are very able and intelligent men; what do they earn ? Take ministers of the gospel, who, I think, are paid fairly good salaries; how much do they earn? Take civil engineers, provincial land surveyors, or men in any other line of pro-Mr. SPROULE.
fessional life whom you can fairly compare with lawyers. A railway expert canuot fairly be compared with a lawyer, because he is a man who by nature is adapted for the work, and has given close and assiduous attention to it perhaps for a period of from 20 to 25 years before he reaches the maximum of his earning capacity. But, you say, take men who are managing large financial corporations. Well, their estimated earning powers are about in proportion to the elements of the Jew which they have in their nature-those who have no bowels of compassion, no mercy in their composition, who are prepared to drive everything before them and make everybody comply with their requirements just as they might make a piece of machinery turn round; that is how they* show their great earning powers. It is not because they are humane, kind and sympathetic, or because they give away a lot to the needy, but it is because they are heartless, and show some ability to arrange schemes for getting out of the state for nothing a very large amount of money, or taking it out of the people who are compelled to deal with them by borrowing money or otherwise. If they can arrange a system by which they can take more out of the earnings of the people than they ought to take, they will command very large salaries. This should not be the criterion by which we should estimate what is the proper salary to pay to a judge; but it should be, in my judgment, what men of equal ability can earn in other lines of life, taking into account what it costs them to acquire their profession and how many years they have to spend in acquiring it, and then how much they earn in the pursuit of their profession.

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