May 17, 1932

LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, I wish to state that I entirely agree with the views expressed a short while ago by the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe). Judges have been placed in a special class, they have been deprived of numerous privileges that the humblest citizen of this country enjoys. To-day the

government wish to levy a special tax on them. It is absolutely unjust and I think that the comments of the hon. member for Quebec East are quite to the point.

May I add a few words to the remarks made by the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) to justify this measure. He stated that the need for additional revenue had necessitated this action. I wonder whether he is levying this special tax on the judges to enable him to meet the $2,000 increase which he granted to himself and his colleagues last year. To think that, in a crisis, when the revenues of Canada are not adequate to meeting the expenditures for administration, members of the government thought fit to vote themselves a salary increase of $2,000, and that, to-day, they state in the house that further revenue is required and a special tax of 10 per cent must be levied on judges to meet expenditure. If the government are sincere I would suggest to them to add to clause 9A of Bill 92, the names of the ministers of the crown, on whom an additional tax of 10 per cent would thus be levied on their salaries, as on that of the judges.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA (Translation):

Hear, hear. I entirely agree with the last remark of my hon. friend from Beauharnois (Mr. Raymond). As a matter of fact, when, last summer, at the end of the session, the ministers voted themselves a salary increase, I was the only one to protest. Not one Liberal rose to protest.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

I was not in the house.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA (Translation):

Was it because they had only shortly dropped out of power, or because they expected soon to be in power again; however, the fact is that my weak voice was the only one to protest against this increase.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Mr. RAYMOND (Translation):

The government chose a moment when no Liberal member was in the house.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA (Translation):

Pardon

me, there were quite a number of them. The hon. member was absent, but others were here.

As to the tax levied on judges, let us be fair. One may calmly comment on judges' salaries, however, for the same reason which the hon. member for Beauharnois has just pointed out, under present circumstances, I contend that it is neither fair to the judges, nor to the army and navy officers, nor to any class whatsoever of the community, to

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state that, in the present crisis, they should be exempt from shouldering their share of the public burden. If we wish to guard against the feelings of public hatred and distrust spreading against the leading classes, it behooves us not to advertise in our legislation and budget that we exempted certain classes on account of the position they occupy.

One hears: Judges are deprived of the right to exercise their franchise. Is it to penalize them that they are so deprived? Quite the contrary, it is to more clearly bring out the importance of the duties they discharge and shield them from the criticism of public opinion, it is to place them, so to speak, on a higher plane than the masses. It is not a punishment but an acknowledgment of the importance of their duties and the impartiality they are expected to show towards everybody.

Judges, at times, are called upon to decide on political cases. Take for instance the Controverted Elections Act, by which parliament desists from its inherent and constitutional right to decide upon legislative functions. It has transferred to the courts the exclusive right of passing judgment on all controverted election matters or the obtaining of a parliamentary mandate by corrupt or other underhand means. Why was this done? So as to make it clear that the intention was to defer to an absolutely unbiased mind, the duty of carrying out a legislative mandate.

And in order to enable judges to discharge impartially this all important duty, which, to some extent, is linked with the parliamentary mandate, they were removed from the seat of political strife. That is why they do not exercise their right to the franchise. I think it would be a mistake to look upon this loss, by which judges are disfranchised, as belittling their office. Quite the contrary it is an acknowledgment-how shall I express it-it is a recognition of the importance of their office, it is a mark of respect extended to them. However, to conclude from this that, in a country-Whether one likes it or not-in a democratic country a particular class of public servants-I use the word in its broadest sense-a particular class of public servants- whether they be lieutenant-governoi's, who are after all officials appointed by the Dominion government, or judges designated to their post by the Dominion government to carry out duties which are assigned to them by pai'liament, or again whether they are army or navy officers, who are so delegated by parliament to maintain peace or defend their country, why, I wonder, under the present circumstances, should we exempt them

from contributing their quota to the public exchequer? Again do I say that the hon. member for Beauharnois was perfectly justified in stating that it was highly improper on the part of the ministers of the crown to grant themselves a salary increase, and it was a very improper thing for parliament to unanimously endorse this increase. But the fact of having blundered last year in this connection, is not a reason to blunder to-day and proclaim to the country, when thousands of needy people are unable to find food for their everyday subsistence, that a certain class of people who happen to be wearing a three-cornered hat, or sit on the bench will be exempted or that another class of people who parade the streets with decorations on their breast, or again others who are travelling on ships either on the Atlantic or the Pacific, paid by the government to idle away the time, must be exempted from carrying their share of the burden. No, the time has come when all classes must shoulder their share of the burden.

As to the aim of this measure, I entirely approve what the government has stated or rather what it is doing to-day. It is possible that they are doing so to cover their retreat, that they are presenting it under the guise of income tax, instead of doing what would have been the right thing, namely: reduce the salaries of judges and officers like those of other civil servants. However, there is an old English proverb which applies to all public administrations: "Let them down easy." The moment they perform a worthy act I have no fault to find whether they slip out by the side door instead of coming through the front door. The fact that the result attained is the same, that all classes of the community contribute to the public fund, to the liabilities of the state, gives us sufficient ground to approve them and, for my part, I do it heartily.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

I do

not deem it necessary to repeat the arguments put forth by the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) in support of the bill under consideration. Moreover, we have just had the approval of the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) who stated that he would support this measure.

I think it only fair to reply to the statements of the hon. members for Beauharnois and Labelle, when they say: It was very improper, when, last year, the ministers of the crown voted themselves a salary increase.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Translation):

The ministers' salary increase cannot be discussed, because the question has no reference to the

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present debate. I might allow the hon. Minister of Marine to reply to the remarks of the hon. members for Beauharnois and Labelle, however, I do not wish to allow a discussion contrary to the rules.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, the question came up because it was contended that the ministers of the crown should be taxed to-day on this $2,000. I think that the hon. members did not actually understand the measure adopted last year. If the two hon. members who preceded me in this debate had taken the trouble to examine the public accounts in order to ascertain the expenditure in connection with ministers' motor cars, under the Liberal regime, they would have found that instead of a sum of $2,000 per year, each minister had expended, up to the time the Conservative party assumed power, $3,000, $4,000 and even $5,000 per year for salaries of chauffeurs, gasoline, repairs, purchase of motor cars, etc., etc.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA (Translation):

That depended on the ministers.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

This

measure was adopted, last year, with the view of economizing, and nothing else. Instead of making an outlay between $80,000 and $100,000 per year for motor cars in the service of ministers of the crown, we fixed an amount of about $40,000 per year, or to be more exact of $38,000 which means a saving of about 75 to 100 per cent. That is all that was done. I think that hon. members should allow their leader, the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) to do the criticizing, for when the measure, was adopted-

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA (Translation):

He is not

my leader. [DOT]

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

-if my memory serves me right, the hon. leader of the opposition was present in the house, and no opposition was registered, because everybody seemed to understand that the government was cutting down expenditure by introducing this measure.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, I closely followed the remarks made by the hon. Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau). I am rather amazed that he did not reply to certain comments made by the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), with reference to people who slip on a gown and sit on the bench. It is perhaps somewhat a disrespectful way of speaking of the judges of Quebec and Canada. I can well understand

[The Chairman.]

that the hon. member for Labelle was somewhat carried away by his own eloquence, however, I think, if we wish the people to treat with due respect our judges, they must not be treated disrespectfully by the Canadian parliament. That is why I am astonished that the hon. Minister of Marine did not in this respect reply to the comments made by the hon. member for Labelle, since he rose to speak immediately after him.

In my humble opinion it was wrong to exclude in the first place the judges from the act as regards salary deduction. In a previous debate, I expressed the view that judges themselves would suggest to the government this reduction in order to help the budget during the present crisis, and we feel quite certain that no judge protested either to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) or to the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes), in that connection.

A number of civil servants draw a pension while receiving a salary or fees for work performed in another position; I have no comments to make as to that. On the other hand, how does it happen that the pension to which a lieutenant-governor is entitled is not paid to him? This is what one might call "discrimination." It is not likely that under the circumstances, the lieutenant-governor in question, for whom I have the greatest regard, would take any step whatsoever to have his pension paid to him, however a pension is simply a continuation of one's salary. If the judges do not receive a higher salary, it is, no doubt, because when they retire from the bench, they are entitled, to a pension which permits them to end their days in peace and tranquility. This pension forms a sequel to their salary and the country owes it to them. It seems to me that if there has been shown some discrimination between civil servants and certain judges the right hon. Prime Minister and his cabinet will not let pass the first opportunity to rectify this misunderstanding, the wrong or injustice which may have been done.

The hon. Minister of Marine stated that we had not understood the real aim of the indemnity intituled "Allowance in lieu of automobiles." This is not very flattering for his colleagues of the house who have not, according to him, sufficient brain development to comprehend the legislation which is submitted to them. My learned colleague, I admit, is my senior at the bar, he has a great deal of experience as I stated-

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

I beg the hon. member's pardon. I think that he has not quite followed my argument;

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perhaps I have not clearly expressed myself. I stated that the two hon members who had found fault with the measure did not seem to grasp the object the government had in view. I did not state that the house had not understood the measure since they had adopted it.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

I wish to

thank the hon. minister for his explanation. He first stated that the hon. members for Laibelle and Beauharnois had not grasped the purport, of the measure and further that I had not followed his argument. Then, we are all in the same class. He stated that it was legislation aiming at cutting down expenditure, I rather think that it is a measure of petty savings. That is not a distinction so very subtle that it may not be understood except by superior minds; it will appeal even to the uneducated. And this is why: Last year, at a time when the crisis was being felt and when the then Minister of Labour (Senator Robertson) had stated that there were 540,000 unemployed in the country, and at a time when the revenues of the country were decreasing owing to our imports having materially decreased, at a time also when our trade was threatened, the government advocated economy, we shall practise it ourselves and the first step we shall take to carry out this program will be to have a yearly amount of $2,000 voted to each minister of the crown to replace the cost of an automobile.

You are, sir, no doubt aware that each minister is entitled to a certain amount which is known as contingencies-

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Translation):

I drew the attention of the hon. Minister of Marine, a short while ago to the fact that ministers' salary increases should not be made the subject of a debate; one may perhaps discuss this question by making comparisons but not from the viewpoint of the measure itself.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Joseph Oscar Lefebre Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. BOULANGER (Translation):

I am also a poor man.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

Will my hon. friend, the distinguished member for Belle-chasse (Mr. Boulanger), who is also a poor man, have to sacrifice $400 for the benefit of the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve)? I do not contend that the hon. Postmaster General or the hon. Minister of Marine are too wealthy, quite the contrary; I simply wish to bring out the facts. Where is the member who is going to contribute $400 as an additional grant to our international traveller the hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre)? Where is the member who wishes to sacrifice $400 of his indemnity to make a gift to the Solicitor General or any other minister? Perhaps, also, the government will withhold $400 from the indemnity of my hon. friend, the former Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), of my hon. friend, the member for L'lslet (Mr. Fafard), of my hon. friend, the member for Kamouraska (Mr. Bouchard), or again of my hon. friend, the member for Hull (Mr. Fournier), or of my hon. friend the member for St. Hyacinthe-Rouville (Mr. Fontaine), and hand it over to these ministers?

There are among our fellow citizens well known business men. To whom will my hon. friend the member for Cartier (Mr. Jacobs) have to hand over his $400 or rather for whom will he be despoiled of his $400? For what minister? Most likely for the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan) who represents a county where there are numerous Israelites. Then my hon. friend from the county of Cartier will have to pay $400 to a gentleman who represents a county where many of his com-

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patriots reside. I spy my hon. friend from British Columbia, the member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) whose wealth is on a par with ours, to whom will go his $400. Probably to the hon. minister without a portfolio (Sir George Perley) who is also one of our international travellers.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   SPECIAL TAX ON INCOMES OP JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AIR AND POLICE FORCES
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May 17, 1932