March 20, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition) :

I greatly regret that I am entirely opposed to the appointment of a committee to deal with this matter. As I explained to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) on a previous occasion, I am wholly in accord with the idea of increasing the salaries of judges in this country. I have so stated publicly, and I was one of those who constituted a committee to wait upon the government as representing the Canadian Bar Association. I have long taken the view that if we are to command for the public service as judges the best men in the legal profession we must pay them salaries commensurate with the dignity and the responsibility of the position they hold. But I cannot agree with the appointment of a committee to examine witnesses under oath and to send for papers and' persons; I do not believe that this would serve the

purpose intended. The appointment of a committee would be, in my opinion, fraught with the gravest possibilities of disaster to the whole project. Moreover, it is not the method that should be followed in dealing with a matter of this kind. All that is necessary is to amend the Judges Act. All that is essential to accomplish the object which the government has in view is for the minister to bring in the necessary measure-because obviously the opposition cannot introduce a bill involving the payment of moneys from the public exchequer-and I venture to say that most of those who sit on this side will be glad to give it their support. But to appoint a committee at this time is in my opinion not only wrong; it Shifts responsibility and' makes it impossible to deal with the question as it should be dealt with. I cannot think that the calling of witnesses, the bringing of papers, and a general discussion in a select committee of this house would be anything but injurious to the very purpose we hope to accomplish; and I can only say on behalf of myself and of those associated with me-

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