I see that this gentleman, John S. Ewart, who was representing the bar of Manitoba, makes special reference to this very commission, and draws attention to what, if continued, must assuredly result in a loose state of affairs.
.Mr. McCREARY. I say that John S. Ewart did not represent the bar of Manitoba in that statement. The hon. gentleman has no authority to say so.
If I may be permitted to read the address, I think it applies with great force to the present case. Mr. Ewart says :
My Lord, supplementing .the welcome already given to your Lordship in Chambers, may I be permitted now, as- for the first time you appear in court, to extend to your Lordship, on behalf of the bar, their congratulations upon your elevation to the bench of this province ? '
Your Lordship will recognize that an attempt to supply the place rendered vacant by the elevation of Chief Justice Killam to the Supreme Court of Canada is a task of no ordinary difficulty, and I can place no higher or more truthful estimate upon the value of your services as a Manitoban judge, and at the same time better express my hope for your Lordship's success, than to say that I could wish that you should be in all things, save one, such as he was. Justice Killam possesses in a very rare degree, the qualifications and equipment of an excellent judge, and it Is with the very greatest of personal regret that I see coming to an .end the frequent recurrences of the pleasure Which I enjoyed in arguing cases before him ; and yiet, my Lord, I would not have you accept employment and emolument outside that attached to your office.
I am firmly convinced that the recent governmental practice of giving jobs to judges is subversive of the usefulness of the bench. It is destructive of the popular belief in its impartiality and its integrity.
My Lord, courts of justice stand between society and anarchy. Their strength lies in the security which they give to property and rights and In the satisfaction felt by the people in their administration of justice. It is the duty, therefore, of every good citizen, and, perhaps, especially the duty of members of the bar, to endeavour to maintain the .existence of such conditions as will protect the bench from tlxe approach .of influences which are injurious to It.
My Lord, who can congratulate with equanimity or patience the present position of the judicial office in Ontario ? I do not believe that it is well for the bench that It should be shielded from all criticism, but I do think such criticism is a misfortune, and that the habit of mind which seeks explanation for decisions in personal bias of the judges is one of the most deplorable mental attitudes which can take possession of society.
*My Lord, the result of the Gainey investigation, if Mr. Stratton was to he acquitted, was easily foreseen, namely, that two of the very best and purest minded of the Ontario judges are believed by probably scores of thousands of .people to have been influenced by circumstances not found in the evidence. Those who know these judges, as I know them, have no such thought, or, if the language of the judgment is calculated for a moment to rouse the idea we can easily put it aside. But we must not wonder that the general public, and particularly strong Conservatives, are not so generous, and that these judges have been attacked and condemned not only in the press, but in the legislature and upon public platforms. To a lover of his profession this is, I say, inauspicious and disquieting.
In Dawson city, at the present moment, a judge, who, till yesterday, was a strong political partisan, is inquiring into matters in controversy between the political parties. And can we be surprised that his rulings are being telegraphed to the opposition at Ottawa to be
there discussed and denounced ? While Mr. Justice Britton's regular salary runs at the usual rate, he is presented by his political friends with the finest holiday trip that the continent can afford and a bonus of ?2,000. His judicial usefulness in .every case of political complexion is for ever gone. Henceforward every decision adverse to the Conservative party will evoke memories of the Treadgold commission.
My Lord, the habit of attributing decisions to improper influences is easily acquired, and had already become so familiar that an attack upon Mr. Justice Maclemnan (as righteous a judge as ever sat upon a bench), because of his action in some interlocutory application, pasBes almost unnoticed. Mr. Justice Killatn, too, has been traduced in unmeasured language by the press, and little more heed is given to the incident than if he were a politician. Process for contempt has lately become almost impossible, for the reason, unfortunately, that too many people would be involved.
My Lord, now that you are Mr. Justice Perdue, you will be approached by the railway companies, and will be offered free transportation over their lines of railway. It is my belief that you will refuse all such degrading offers. If it be asked whether I think that government jobs and railway .posses influence judges, I reply that human nature is weak ; that motive and mental influence work subtly, and their operations are much more easily discerned by onlookers than by the me affected ; that such things usually do produce a frame of mind favourable to the donors, and that I myself, with all my innate and trained respect (reverence, I would almost say), for the bench, cannot sometimes restrain the thought that elevation to the bench is not equivalent to inoculation against the feelings of gratitude for past favours or pleasing anticipation of those to come.
My Lord, it is a .fact of some sinister significance that the political parties, the governments and their oppositions, have in these latter days become the most frequent of litigants and that the practice which I am venturing to condemn has grown up and expanded synchronously with the development of that condition. My Lord, I see no justification for the employment of judges in matters outside their office, and not covered by their salaries in the assertion that it is the governments of the day that are the employers and the paymasters. The ' government of the day ' is but an euphemistic alternative for the name of some particular politician, representing some political party. If employment is accepted from Mr. Sifton and Mr. Roblin, why not from Mr. Borden and Mr. Greenway ? If from the government of the day, whose members are deeply interested In much litigation, why not from . the Canadian Pacific Railway, or the Hudson's Bay Company ? Would it be .sufficient reply .to such employment to say that the judges were too pure and too little human to be affected by such engagements and if, my Lord, judges may accept free transportation from the railway companies and be unaffected, why may they not also accept a cask of wine from Mr. Galt, a bale of silk from Mr. Stobart, or a bag of flour from the Ogilvie Milling Company ?
My Lord, I hesitated long before deciding to say publicly what I h:we now addressed to your Lordship, and I have awaited for its utterance some public opportunity which might possibly attract to my words that notice which my private position would not of itself insure. I am 347
persuaded, too, that by the judges my words, although probably thought unnecessary or even ill-judged, will he accepted as the true belief of one of whom, I can assure them, by no means stands alone in the apprehension with which he contemplates the present popular attitude towards the judiciary of this country.
1 want to supplement what I have quoted by saying that Mr. Ewart, I understand, is a nephew of the late Hon. Oliver Mowat. He is a respectable member of the legal profession and represented the bar when he made these observations to the judge who took his scat for the first time. In view of that fact, is it improper that we should bring io the attention of the government matters which are creating so much dissatisfaction and suspicion in the public minds, and which aie tending to destroy the influence of the judiciary and the respect in which our judges are held.
It is not easy to satisfy hon. gentlemen opposite. Here is my hon. friend condemning us for having appointed a judge to make an inquiry iuto this Yukon matter, and the hon. gentleman on that side, who spoke just before him, was asking us to extend the powers of that judge.
I trust that a long suffering public opinion will force on members of this House the necessity of changing the rule, so that hon. members will not be able to waste our time to such an extent by reading long quotations from newspapers. In my humble opinion, and I think in the opinion of the majority of this House, it is high time that we should revise our rules of debate and prevent this habit of quoting from all kinds of newspapers long articles to the detriment of public business. My hon. friend who has brought this question up would not, for a moment, take the responsibility of saying that he places any dependence on the men whom he quoted
M. MONK. Certainly, I would. I place the utmost dependence.
to these men, and, if I had, perhaps I would not use it. But I am sure my hon. friend would be laughed at if he were to go to the city of Dawson and say that the parties he has quoted should be taken seriously with regard to this or any other matter.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WOnivS. But I wish to point out that, week after week and month after month, the time of the House has been taken up in discussing newspaper reports; and hour after hour and day after day the government has been abused on the strength of these newspaper reports for not holding an investigation. A departmental investigation, we were told, was no good; the truth could not be brought out through the efforts of departmental officers, but we must have judges. Week after week and month after month we sat here day and night and listened to demands for a judicial investigation by the very men who now say it was improper to appoint judges to hold the investigation.