April 5, 1921

UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I should like to repeat one thing I said before, something which I do not appear to have succeeded in having penetrate into the minds of some of my hearers. I did point out that this legislation does not create exemption from taxation; that was created by legislation of the past which applied to the salary of the Chief Justice and, at that time, of all judges. The legislation of last year withdrew that exemption upon the ground that the conditions were being changed to the advantage of the judges concerned.

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L LIB

Lucien Cannon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Are the salaries of judges at present taxable not only as regards the increase but on the old salary?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The taxation applies to the old salary.

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L LIB
UNION
L LIB
UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The proposal is to treat the Chief Justice exactly in the same way as any judge whose salary was not increased-that is all that we are doing. Under the law that withdrew the exemption from every man whose salary was increased this one gentleman found himself liable although he got no actual increase. This legislation is not to create a new exemption, it is to correct the error that withdrew the exemption.

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UNION

Thomas Mitchell March Tweedie

Unionist

Mr. TWEEDIE:

The hon. member for Toronto (Mr. Hocken) suggested a question which I think has not yet been answered. The Chief Justice of Canada acts in a dual capacity,Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Deputy Governor General of Canada. Under the old statute he receives a salary of $10,000 a year as Chief Justice and for acting as Deputy Governor fee gets $5,000 a year. It is virtually a matter of contract between the Government and the Chief Justice that his salary of $10,000 shall not be liable to taxation, but would the exemption apply to the salary of $5,000 paid him as Deputy Governor General?

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

As a layman I have some reluctance to discuss legal matters. However, the House is at one on this question apparently, and that is that there is no desire on the part of anybody to penalize the Chief Justice; it is only a question as to the method by which we may overcome this difficulty. Evidently the law of last year created the difficulty, and 1 think the simplest and easiest way of overcoming it is to grant an increase in salary. We are confronted with the difficulty that we cannot make any increase in the Estimates submitted to us by the Government-in fact in view of some past rulings of the Chair I am doubtful whether we can even discuss an increase in the expenditures. If, however, it is desirable to make up the sum to the amount of taxation that the Chief Justice is subject to, why not add $2,000, or $3,000, or $4,000 to his salary and let it go at that, and not have the impression go abroad that we are letting somebody escape from having to pay taxes? It is the easiest way to overcome the difficulty, and to my mind

would best meet the situation as far as members on this side are concerned.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

First with reference to the question of the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. Tweedie). I have not the statutes before me, and I am not in a position to say positively whether the $5,000 paid to the Chief Justice as Deputy Governor was or was not liable to taxation. I recognize that the point ought to be looked into because it is not the desire to make his position better-the intention is to make it just what it was.

With regard to the other suggestion that we should meet this situation by an increase in salary rather than by the method proposed, I think it certainly is deserving of consideration. There is, however, this to bear in mind from the point of view of the charge on the country-that if you increase the salary it will apply to every future Chief Justice, whereas this provision would be of application only to the present incumbent of the office. If I might make a suggestion it is this: the necessity of passing a resolution before introducing this Bill is mainly, if not entirely, due to the clause which has not been questioned- that is the clause providing the additional salary for an additional judge in Saskatchewan. Now the suggestion I was going to make to the Committee is this: the passing of this resolution does not mean the enactment of the measure, it only makes it possible to introduce the Bill. The whole matter will have to come before the House when the Bill comes up for consideration, and my suggestion therefore would be that if the Committee pass the resolution we will consider between now and then the suggestion that has been made and be in a position later on to determine which is the more desirable course to take.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

As long as we are not adopting the principle involved, and the Government is willing to consider the point raised, I do not see why we should! not pass this resolution.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The Committee will be at perfect liberty to deal with the matter at a later stage.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

As stated by the Minister of Justice the case is this-that by an error in legislation last year we did penalize the Chief Justice and that was not the desire of Parliament. As stated by the right hon. gentleman this legislation, or something equivalent to it, is necessary to keep faith with the Chief Justice. Accept-

ing it in that spirit I desire to support the resolution, because I do not imagine that you can accomplish the same purpose in any other way without as much, or more, money being involved. But the discussion will be useful I think in the consideration of certain general principles to which I would like to make brief reference.

In the first place, I entirely agree with all that has been said regarding the desirability of giving our judges good salaries.

I have supported every proposition that ever came before this House to advance the salaries of the judges; and if in the judgment of the Department of Justice and the Government of the day it would appear necessary, at any time, because of high reasons of State, to advance these salaries -not all of them-to a fair degree, in all probability I would support the proposition;

I would not object to any generous and liberal stipend that is given if it is given as a straight salary. Then there should be no exemption. In this period of unrest when people are so unreasonably pressed it is an ugly thing to find some poor struggling business man paying a tax on $2,000 and discovering that a man receiving $15,000 is exempt; it is a bad state of affairs and it should not happen. Let us give the judges-and for that matter all other officials-decent salaries, but let them stand before the law and the country as citizens and pay their income tax the same as anybody else.

The next point I wish to make is this: I do not want any judge to be getting any pay by way of "side shows." I do not think the Chief Justice of Canada should get one penny for any extra duty discharged by him outside of the office of Chief Justice. I do not think he should be paid for acting as Deputy Governor General; it is part of his duties as Chief Justice of Canada. Pay him a decent salary as Chief Justice, and then see that he performs all the duties of his office. I do not think he should get a separate allowance in any shape or form, neither do I think that judges should get allowances for serving on commissions. The essence of the whole thing lies in giving a judge a liberal or generous salary and seeing that he gets it straight and square; do not pay him extra for doing something else. I do not believe either in dual services or dual salaries. Whatever the Chief Justice of Canada receives he should receive by virtue of his position as Chief Justice. The salary he gets as Chief Justice should be sufficient, and he should

not be paid any more for any other purpose whatever, from the treasury of Canada.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think I can say I am in hearty agreement with the hon. member (Mr. Fielding). The reason he gives for the introduction of this legislation has been, in the few words which he employed, as well put as it could be. Rightly or wrongly Parliament has historically adopted this principle-that when a judge's salary is fixed that salary shall not be reduced, shall not be subject to the will of Parliament whether exerciseable by way of reduction of salary or by way of the imposition of a tax. It may be questioned whether Parliament was wise in going so far as that. I know that this Parliament merely followed the example of the British Parliament, and I think the legislatures of United States as well, in that regard. It was thought that the desirability of placing the judges in a position where they could in no way be influenced in their conduct by a desire to appease Parliament or Government or anybody else was worth paying this price for, and that there should be taken from Parliament even the right by practice, if not by statute, to reduce their salaries at any time in the future, whether by actual deduction or by tax. I know it can be argued with some force that in going to that extent we may have gone too far. It may be argued that judges would not be subject to influence in any degree by taking their chances with the rest of the country; if the necessity for taxation came, even though it should mean a reduction in their remuneration, they would take their chances in that regard. But, any way, this much must be admitted, that whether the argument against any deduction under any circumstances is strong enough or not, it could not be contended for one moment that you should apply one rule to one judge or class of judges, and another rule to another judge or class of judges. The Chief Justice of Canada is entitled to stand in just as good a position in that regard as any other judge in the country.

Now, as a matter of fact when the Chief Justice came to his position he was entitled at law to a remuneration of $15,000. Consequently if we are going to adhere to the principle at all, we must see that that is not deducted from in any way whatsoever. We failed in this a year ago because it was not observed that the form of the statute was such, that the remuneration which he had a right to expect when he

took office was not secured to him. Having failed to do that then, whether the principle is right or wrong-and I think I speak the word of this House when I say that, though something can be said against it, on the whole the weight of argument is in favour of it-whether the principle is right or wrong, it must be adhered to in respect of the Chief Justice of Canada if we are to adhere to it at all. To adhere to it we must pass this legislation.

Only one possible argument that I can see should be taken into account in further consideration of this matter, and that is the argument advanced by the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Hocken) and supported by the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. Tweedie), that possibly under the law and the practice as it stood when the Chief Justice took office he had no right to expect that there would be no deduction for income tax in respect of the $5,000. If so, then we would still adhere to every principle that we have ever adhered to, if we made an exception in respect of that $5,000. Consequently I think that is a matter for further inquiry, but, except as regards that, it does seem to me that there is no sound argument against passing the Bill, and if we fail to pass it we shall be failing in our obligation to the Chief Justice of Canada.

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UNION
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is of course another question. My understanding is that it is.

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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

If so, why should not the deputy's salary be exempt when he is acting in the Governor General's place?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is another matter altogether. But the hon. gentleman, I am afraid, has missed the argument as I have sought to present it,-this seems to be a subject that it is impossible to state clearly; I studied the method of presentation as carefully as I could, and I have done my best to make it plain to all. The point is this. We have adopted in this Parliament, as in the British Parliament, the practice of securing to our judges the whole amount they had a right to expect would be secured to them when they took office. We departed from that practice in the case of the Chief Justice, in that we did not observe that the form of the statute imposed an extra deduction upon him. Having departed from that practice, we seek now to make it right. We want to make it right, but we do not want to go

one dollar further; and if we are going further in respect of the $5,000 the Act should be amended. That is the intention of the Government.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

I would like to ascertain from the Minister of Justice why it is that when the salaries of all the other judges were increased no provision was made for increasing the salary of the Chief Justice of Canada?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I hope that light maj shine in the darkness and that this time the darkness may comprehend. What was done was this. The salary, designated as salary, of the Chief Justice of Canada was $10,000. The salary so designated was made $15,000. But the Chief Justice, in addition to the salary of $10,000 so provided in the Judges' Act was in receipt of $5,000 a year for duties performed as Deputy Governor General. The wording of the statute last year in terms increased his salary as Chief Justice from $10,000 to $15,000, but went on to provide that that $15,000 should cover all the services rendered by him as Deputy Governor. So that while the statute with one hand, addressing the gentleman as Chief Justice, handed him a five-thousand-dollar increase, with the other hand, addressing him as Deputy Governor, it took $5,000 away from him. And so as to the amount he received he was landed just where he was.

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April 5, 1921