May 30, 1919

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The discussion opened with a contrast drawn by the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fulton) between the salaries of judges in Quebec and those of judges in other provinces. He pointed out that Superior Court judges in Quebec received $5,000 while county court judges in other provinces received $3,000. There is, however, a difference in jurisdiction, but there is in Quebec really no bench corresponding in jurisdiction and certainly no bench corresponding in salary with the county, or district court bench, as it may be called, of the other provinces. I have not progressed with the subject far enough to say that I have reached any intention at all. The whole subject has to be considered as one-a Dominion wide subject.

Referring to the observations of the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Mowat) as to the opinion of the Bar of Canada, I have received from members of the Bar and from Bar associations, resolutions large in number and influential in signatures, all in favour of a substantial increase to judges. That body of opinion has left no doubt in the mind of the department as to what it considers should be done. I can only add that as yet I have not received any favourable resolutions from Grain Growers' associations or from the Labour Temple.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

May I bring to the attention of the minister a matter which arises out of the discussion this afternoon with regard to increasing judges' salaries? I trust that some of the Quebec judges-1 do not know about judges in the other provinces-will see their way clear towards rendering judgment within say three or four years after a case has been placed before them for decision. This is a matter which ought to engage the attention of the Department of Justice. The delays in the matter of handing down judgments have almost approached a scandal. I confess that

when I see the judgments over which some judges have been spending so much time, I am mystified as to the long delays. Within the last few years there have been made to the bench appointments of several men who probably consider that they have been placed there simply as pensioners, because little is ever done by these gentlemen to see that speedy judgments are handed down. I speak about this matter advisedly, and while probably I am somewhat out of order, I hope that bringing this matter to the attention of the Committee will make some of these judges understand that they are, after all, servants of the public, as other people in the Civil Service are, and that they must do their duty as other employees in the Government service do.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I do not think the position of judges is as lamentable as was stated by some hon. members this afternoon and the other day. A judge, besides receiving a salary while on the bench, can, after a certain number of years, get a retiring allowance. After fifteen years, he can retire on an allowance equal to two-thirds of his salary, and after twenty or twenty-five years, on an allowance equal to his salary. If one looks through the judges' accounts, one will find that there are in this country quite a few retired judges receiving large retiring allowances, some $8,000, some $7,000 and some less. There is a provision in the law that if a judge, through physical disability becomes incapable of discharging the duties of his office he is entitled to receive a liberal allowance, amounting in some cases to two-thirds of his salary and at least to one-half. We must also take into consideration the fact that judges are not liable for income tax, while members of other professions are. Therefore, the Acting Minister of Justice should take these things into consideration when he receives recommendations to increase judges' salaries. The cost of living to-day is so high that everybody is asking for an increase in salary, but there would be no necessity for increasing salaries if the Government took measures to lower the cost of living. Some of the civil servants have been granted an increase in salary; too much, I think. The Government has appointed a commission to re-classify the Service, and should have awaited their report before raising the salaries of the deputy ministers, because if the report finds their salaries too high the Government would find it rather difficult to decrease them. I hope that the Committee which has been appointed to inquire

into the cost of living will bring about a reduction in the cost of living, and if that is the result the salaries which we have paid to the judges since 1905 would then be sufficient, and the country would save the large amount involved in this proposed increase.

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UNION

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Unionist

Mr. TOLMIE:

As a layman representative from British Columbia, I wish to endorse heartily the suggestion that the salaries of the County Court and other judges be adequately increased. When we take into consideration the importance of the position which the judges occupy and the heavy responsibilities that rest on their shoulders, I think it is highly dangerous for us to allow these men to go on living from hand to mouth. I think their salaries should be so increased as to put them on a footing where they could hold their own in a social way.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I have just been reminded that it was in 1905 that substantial increases were made in the salaries of the judges. I was in the House then, but I really forget whether the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada received an increase at that time. I have been informed that they did not. I think it is only fair that the minister should bear these judges in mind when dealing with salary increases.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

I suppose there is no danger of the judges going on strike for an increase.

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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

It seems to me that the reason for this application for an increase in salary is sound, because recompense or pay is given for the purpose of allowing the recipient to maintain the struggle for existence. That being the case, it logically follows that when the struggle for existence becomes more intense the pay should increase, and that applies to every branch of industry, to the workingman and the professional man. If this is not done, we must have unrest even among the judges; if the unrest becomes acute it becomes a riot; if it becomes more acute still and the struggle more intense, it becomes a revolution. We must surely expect to observe the common logic of facts. If pay, therefore, is a reasonable recompense the pay must be increased as the struggle for existence becomes more intense.

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UNION

John Archibald Campbell

Unionist

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I understand that on

several occasions the Acting Minister of Justice has had drawn to his attention the case of the King's Bench judges in the province of Manitoba, who, I am informed,

are not getting the same salaries as the judges in other provinces doing the same class of work. I understand that the minister is considering their case, and I should like to ask whether action will be taken by the Government to put these judges on the same basis as judges in other provinces doing the same work.

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L LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No action has as yet

been taken, but in the general consideration their case will have a place in the front rank.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I observe that the minister from Nova Scotia (Mr. A. K. Maclean) and the Acting Minister of Justice are sitting together, and I would point out that there is a vacancy in the judiciary of district No. 6 in the province of Nova Scotia, the County Court judge having died a good many months ago. This is a large district with a good deal of work and the judge from Pictou, I think, has had to be recalled to this district. As this appointment must be made, I think the sooner it is made the better.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is one of about seven appointments that are waiting.

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Section agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time, and passed.


INTERPRETATION ACT AMENDMENT.


Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Acting Minister of Justice) moved that the amendment made by the Senate to Bill No. 81, to amend the Interpretation Act, be concurred in. He said: The Senate merely provides that the term " Superior Court '' when used with reference to British Columbia means the Court of Appeal and also the Supreme Court of that province. That point was not covered in the original Bill. Otherwise, the Bill is as before. Motion agreed to, and amendment concurred in.


SUPPLY.


The House in Committee of Supply, Mr. Boivin in the Chair. Civil Government-Department of Agriculture-salaries, including Dairy and Cold Storage Commissioner at $5,000, Seed Commissioner at $5,000, Director of Experimental Farms at $4,000, Live Stock Commissioner at $3,600, and Dominion Entomologist at $3,600, $465,737.50.


L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Can the minister give

the Committee any sort of horoscope as to

the future development of agriculture in this country, especially as regards a greater interest in farming and a desire for increased production? Does he find on the part of the people a tendency to stay on the farms or are they drifting away?

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Agriculture)

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Minister of Agriculture) :

I have never been any good at casting horoscopes, and I do not care to venture into that field now. The question raised by the hon. leader of the Opposition is, of course, an important one, but I cannot give, with any degree of accuracy, the number of people that have left the farms in Canada during the past year, or the number of those who have taken up farming. At present there is some difficulty in certain parts of Canada in securing an adequate supply of farm labour. This, I think, is due perhaps to the natural unrest that has ensued from the trying experiences through which the country has passed during the last four years. Generally speaking, agriculturaTconditions throughout Canada are good at the present time. A brief survey of agricultural results for the past year shows that in the Western Provinces the crop has suffered from drought and frost. However, with the abundant optimism characteristic of the Prairie Provinces, the farmers have settled down to work, and according to the most reliable information I have been able to obtain, there has been planted this year a larger acreage in cereals than was the case even last year, and I am very happy to say that the crops in Western Canada this spring have been planted in better condition than for several years past. We had an abundance of moisture practically all over the Prairie Provinces, and the prospects at the time of seeding and immediately after were excellent. Of course, our final crop returns will depend almost entirely on weather conditions during June and July. There is not such a fortunate condition of affairs in Ontario. There has been a great deal of rain in this province, and there have been difficulties in getting seeding completed, so that on the whole the situation is somewhat backward. However, it is not too much to hope that we may have good returns from Ontario and Quebec. Conditions in the Maritime Provinces are very good as far as we can gather.

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May 30, 1919