April 5, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


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



I very much regret that notwithstanding my effort to speak both loudly and clearly, I should have conveyed to the hon. member the impression that this resolution proposes to do something which it does not propose to do and something with which it has nothing to do. In certain provinces, owing to the fact that the law did not fix the places at which the judges should reside, the judges found themselves free to choose their own places of residence. Under the existing legislation, which had in view the provinces in which the places of residence were fixed by law, provision was made for travelling allowances when a judge attended court elsewhere than at his actual or legally fixed residence. Our attention was called to the faft that in certain of these provinces where there was not a legally fixed residence the judge selected his residence and charged travelling allowance when he travelled from that selected residence to the chief cities where the sittings of the court were held. We did not and we do not think it is right that there should be a travelling allowance under. these circumstances. If a judge in the exercise of his own free will chooses to reside elsewhere than at the principal city where his work is, we think he should not have travelling allowances-and the purpose of this measure is to provide accordingly- except, of course, in cases where by law he is compelled to reside in some place

other than the chief centre where the sittings of the court are regularly held.
Now, with regard to the Chief Justice, this is not a provision to introduce a system under which the salary of the Chief Justice shall be exempt from income tax. Wisely or unwisely, the legislators of the past provided that the salaries of the judges should be exempt from taxation. That was the law under which the present Chief Justice and all judges prior to the legislation of recent years were appointed; they were to have a certain salary and they were to be exempt from taxation. Now, it is one of the fundamental principles of the British constitution that the independence of the judges must be made as certain as possible, and it has been universally recognized that in order to accomplish that, their remuneration should not be subject to reduction at the pleasure of the Government or of Parliament. The salaries of all judges other than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court were increased last year and it was considered right as a condition of that increase to remove the exemption and to subject their salaries to taxation. But the reason for removing the exemption did not exist in the case of the Chief Justice because his remuneration remained the same as before, only that previously it was divided into two sums, one of $10,000, his salary as Chief Justice, and one of $5,000, his salary or remuneration as Deputy Governor General. That $5,000 was not in the nature of an allowance to pay expenses.

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