November 30, 1951

PC

Winfield Chester Scott McLure

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McLure:

I should like to ask one question about the registrar. At first, when the minister was speaking about him, I thought that he did all the work for the judges. But now I understand that he has a staff under him. What staff are under the registrar in carrying out his duties?

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I am afraid that I cannot at the moment give accurate figures in that regard. I shall be glad to get them and give them to my hon. friend. The registrar has a staff. He needs stenographers and clerical staff because the volume of litigation in these courts is large and a staff is required for that purpose. Then a good deal of the registrar's time is taken up with these judical duties that I was speaking about. The taxing of bills of costs takes up a great deal of time, as does the hearing of these interlocutory motions and the hearing of references. My hon. friend would be under a quite wrong impression if he thought that this gentleman was just a sort of glorified county court clerk with a staff of clerks under him.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Both the hon. member for Queens and the Minister of Justice have addressed themselves to the question of

Exchequer Court Act

whether or not these registrars are persons of some importance or whether they are, in their words, just clerks. I think we should be careful about our use of that word. Sometimes a person who holds the position of clerk is an extremely important person.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

There is one at the end of the table.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

That is exactly the person I am thinking of. In other words, it can be quite an honour to be called a clerk, and I am sure we all feel that way with respect to the Clerk of the House of Commons. The question I wanted to put to the minister is this. What is the relation between the volume of work of the Supreme Court of Canada and that of the Exchequer Court of Canada?

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

As to the actual number of cases handled, the volume would be substantially more in the Exchequer Court of Canada than in the Supreme Court of Canada.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Then does it follow that the work of the registrar of the exchequer court is heavier than that of the registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada?

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I think the accurate answer to that question is that probably it would be, in quantity; but not as to quality or degree of responsibility.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

I notice that we pay the man who does the most work $1,000 less than the man who does the least work.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I did not say that. I said the work was greater in quantity but that the quality of responsibility involved was not necessarily as great. I think my hon. friend would probably agree that, having regard to the fact that one is a trial court and the other one is the highest court of appeal in the land, there is some ground for a distinction in salary between the two.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

But is it not true that in both cases the judicial functions exercised by these registrars are pretty much the same?

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Well-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Carried.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Maclnnis:

I was rather interested in the answer the Minister of Justice gave to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. He said that the work might be the same or a little more in quantity in the exchequer court but might differ in quality. I should like to know what he means by that.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

What I said was the quality or the responsibility involved. The difference is this. To repeat myself, as I am bound to do because I think there is a certain

element of repetition in my hon. friend's question, may I say that the exchequer court, as my hon. friend knows, is the lowest trial court in respect of certain classes of action between the subject and the crown, patent actions and the like.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

That is, it is a court of first instance.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Yes, it is a court of first instance. If a case involves subject matter of that type it is tried before the exchequer court. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of appeal in the whole country. It is the court of last resort. By statute the registrar is given the rank of a deputy minister. The representations we received were to the effect that we should have salaries higher than those which we have authorized, but these are the amounts that have been approved by treasury board. In arriving at them we have tried to make a comparison of the actual work done by these gentlemen -that is, the kind of the actual work done- with the work done by the registrars of other courts, particularly the supreme court of Ontario at Osgoode hall in Toronto.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Maclnnis:

Then am I to understand the situation is that as the supreme court is a higher court than the exchequer court- although both courts are dealing with the matter of justice-regardless of the amount of work done by the registrar of either court, in view of the fact that the registrar of the supreme court is connected with the highest court in the land as a matter of prestige his salary should be higher?

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I would not say that. If my hon. friend will reflect for a moment upon the fact that all the appeals from the ten provinces of Canada come to the Supreme Court of Canada, he will understand better what is involved. Not only appeals from the highest courts of these provinces but appeals from the county courts, if there are any, and also appeals from the Exchequer Court of Canada all come to the Supreme Court of Canada. In that way all of the more difficult and more controversial cases which have not, in the opinion of the counsel involved, been decided properly by the lower courts in the various provinces and in the exchequer court come to the Supreme Court of Canada. And the registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada has a duty in relation to it corresponding to that of the registrars of these lower courts. If my hon. friend went to any one of the provinces he would find the same distinction between the county court clerk and the clerk of the higher court. No person argues that the county court clerk in large cities does not handle more

individual cases, but he does not get as large a salary because the quality of the responsibility which he has in relation to these cases is not considered to be as great as that of the registrar or clerk of the higher court, where usually larger amounts of money and more complicated legal issues are involved.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

Before the resolution carries I should like to get some idea of the number of cases this man would try. The minister says he has the power and the jurisdiction to try cases. Is there any way of forming some sort of estimate as to the average number of cases he would be called upon to try in the course of a year?

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November 30, 1951