January 12, 1910

LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. A. B. AYLESWORTH (Minister of Justice).

Mr. Speaker, the resolution which the hon. member (Mr. Monk) has moved is for a return giving certain information as to the number of cases standing for judgment before the Superior Court in Montreal. There would be no objection to the laying of any such information in the possession of the government before the House, but the hon. gentleman must be perfectly aware that no information of this nature is possessed by the government. No returns are made by any of the provincial courts to the Department of Justice or to any other department of the Dominion government in regard to the position of the business that may be standing for consider-' ation.

Topic:   JUDICIAL BUSINESS, DISTRICT OF MONTREAL.
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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I was told by the officials there that information of that kind had already been given here, but inasmuch as more instructive data have been cited by me to the House I do not insist upon that part of the motion.

Topic:   JUDICIAL BUSINESS, DISTRICT OF MONTREAL.
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LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. AYLESWORTH.

I can assure my hon. friend that there are no returns made by any of the judges, or by any of the officials of the courts to the Department of Justice, or to any other department of the Dominion government, except certain very general information for statistical purposes which comes, I understand, ordinarily, and regularly, to the Department of Agriculture. Therefore, if this motion were adopted by the House it would be quite impossible to afford, by way of a return or answer, any such information as is asked in any other way than by making a special application to the judges themselves for the information that is desired. I hope, therefore, that my hon. friend will see his way to withdrawing the resolution after it has been discussed, because I have no doubt that discussion and to call public attention to the situation was that which my hon. friend especially desired. Now, the hon. gentleman has addressed himself not only to the position of the judicial business in the superior courts in the city of Montreal but he has also spoken in regard to the circuit court and as the two stand in an entirely different position let me first say what I wish to say 57 J .

with regard to the circuit court. The circuit court is a small debtors' court, a court which corresponds, in a general way, with what in Ontario we call a division court. I have not the slightest doubt that the number of cases entered from month to month and from year to year in the debtors' court is exceedingly large. It could not fail to be so, but that there is in that court any such congestion of work at the present time as calls for additional judicial help, I must be given leave very strongly to doubt because the attorney general of the province, who is charged with full responsibility for the administration of justice within the province, and the provincial government have not proposed to add another to the number of circuit judges in the city of Montreal. Until that step is taken by the province; until the provincial legislature has provided for an additional judge to the Montreal circuit court, there is absolutely nothing that this parliament can do. No matter how much we might wish that there should be extra judicial assistance provided for the circuit court in Montreal we have no power to appoint an additional judge until the provincial legislature has acted, and the circumstance that the provincial legislature has taken no action is I think the best proof that there is no need of action in that regard. Increasing the salaries of the three judges who now constitute that court in Montreal manifestly would not lessen the amount of work these gentlemen have to do, and the only way in which congestion of work, if it exists in that court, is to be relieved is by a further judicial appointment. But, the Superior Court of Montreal or of the province of Quebec stands of course in a different position. The legislature of the province has provided for the appointment of an additional number of judges to that court. As yet this parliament has taken no action in that regard and for the propriety of the course which we have adopted in that respect there is the very best of reason. I think I could convince my hon. friend himself that that reason exists, but as it is six o'clock it would be impossible to finish the discussion and I shall have to reserve what I wish to say until it can be resumed.

On the motion of Mr. Aylesworth the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   JUDICIAL BUSINESS, DISTRICT OF MONTREAL.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

What business will be taken up to-morrow?

Topic:   JUDICIAL BUSINESS, DISTRICT OF MONTREAL.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

We intend to take up some of the Bills and go on with the budget debate.

At six o'clock, the House adjourned.

Thursday, January 13, 1910.

Topic:   JUDICIAL BUSINESS, DISTRICT OF MONTREAL.
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January 12, 1910