April 7, 1903

FIRST READING.


Bill (No. 87) to incorporate the Vancouver and Coast Kootenay Railway Company.- Mr. Macpherson.


OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES.

LIB

Louis Napoléon Champagne

Liberal

Mr. L. N. CHAMPAGNE (Wright) moved:

That the second report of the Select Committee appointed to supervise the Official Report of the Debates of this House during the present session, which recommends that Mr. S. A. Mackay be paid at the rate of $4 per day from the 20th May, 1902, to 3rd April, instant, for services rendered as temporary substitute on the staff of the translators of the debates be adopted.

air. HENRI BOTJRASSA (Labelle). (Translation.) Before this motion passes, I think it desirable that the chairman of the committee should give us a few words of explanation. Did this air. aiackay, who has been employed on the translating staff of the Debates ever pass his qualifying examination ? If not, I should like to know the reasons which have induced the committee to depart from the rule which has been so strictly adhered to within the last two or three years, in the case of the translators of our ' Debates.' If air. aiackay did not pass the required examination, why was he given employment in that capacity ?

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LIB
LIB

Louis Napoléon Champagne

Liberal

Mr. CHAMPAGNE.

(Translation.) I think it will be sufficient in order to satisfy my hon. friend, to state to the House the facts of the case, such as they have been brought to the notice of the Debates Committee. The facts will show that the claim put in by Mr. aiackay is a just one. Let me, then briefly review the facts in connection with that claim. At the beginning of last session air. aiackay was engaged as a translator by the committee, at the rate of $4 a day. That appointment was necessitated by the fact that air. Beaulieu, one of the officers of the regular translating staff was incapacitated owing to his poor health, from doing his work. Mr. Beaulieu, as my hon. friend from St. John and Iberville reminds me, was the former chief of the translating staff. As I said, the committee, finding it necessary to employ temporary assistance, sceured air. aiaekay's services and recommended that he be paid at the rate of $4 a day, which was equivalent for the work resulting from the session, to the sum of $1,000 which was the .salary then paid to the officers of the regular staff. Later^ on, and while air. Beaulieu was still unable' to discharge his duties, the position of the other officers of the permanent staff was changed, so far as their salary was concerned. Towards the close of the session of 1902, the House of Commons, acting upon the recommendation of the Select Committee appointed to supervise the official report of the Debates of this House, thought it proper to raise the salary of the officers of the translating staff from $1,000 to $1,500. Up to that time, they had received $1,000 per session ; but the House deemed it desirable to grant them a salary of $1,500 per annum, Instead of $1,000 per session. But it was not within the power of the committee to interfere with Mr. Mac-kay's position so far as the payments for his work was concerned. That gentleman, therefore, continued being employed temporarily on the staff, as the Hansard Committee was in hopes that Mr. Beaulieu would soon recover his health and resume his former occupation. The fact is that Mr. Beaulieu died three months after the close of the session, in the month of August, I think. Mr. Mackay being engaged only temporarily, we did not think it within our power to increase his salary, as the House had deemed it proper to do, upon the recommendation of the committee in the ease of the officers who compose the permanent staff, to whom the House had granted, for the future, a salary of $1,500. When the matter came up before the committee, and after the facts I have just referred to had been stated to them, namely, that Mr. Mackay had been engaged temporarily, they came to the conclusion that he was entitled to ask for the same remuneration as was paid to the other translators. After taking all the facts of the case into consideration, the committee deemed it but fair, and I think the House will agree with them, that Mr. Mac-

kay should be put upon a footing of equality with the rest of the translating staff.

My hon. friend from Labelle was anxious to know whether Mr. Mackay had gone through the test of an examination, thereby calling in doubt the competency of that gentleman. I must say that Mr. Mackay did not pass the examination which has been required within the last few years from all candidates who aspire to an appointment on the regular translating staff. The reason why the committee did not deem it proper to enforce the rule with that rigour the hon. gentleman seems to take exception to, is that Mr. Mackay was only appointed as a temporary substitute on the staff, in order to fill the vacancy created by Mr. Beaulieu's illness. I may further say, for the information of the House, that the committee did by no means depart from the rigour they have brought, within the past three or four years, to the discharge of their duty, in the matter of appointing translators on the regular staff, to fill such vacancies as may occur in that office. As concerns those appointments, there was no change made at all. Now, in the case of Mr. Mackay, his appointment was but a temporary one, the committee did not think it necessary to insist upon his passing such an examination as is required from candidates who aspire to be appointed on the regular staff. As I just remarked, the committee was then in hopes that Mr. Beaulieu would soon recuperate his health, and that explains why a permanent appointment was out of question. Under such circumstances, we deemed it fair and reasonable, seeing that Mr. Mackay had been discharging the same duties and doing the same work as the other translators, to ask the House to grant him a similar salary.

Such are the explanations I wanted to give to the House, and I hope they will prove satisfactory to my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa). At all events, I may say that the members of the Debates Committee, after taking into consideration the facts I have just stated, have, without a dissentient voice, reached the conclusion that it was but fair and reasonable to make this recommendation to the House.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA. (Translation).

I may venture to suggest that, unless I am mistaken, when Mr. Mackay was appointed last year, as temporary substitute on the staff of the translators of the Debates during Mr. Beaulieu's illness, there were other candidates to that position who had passed their examination and had secured a certificate of competency. What I complain of is this, that the committee should have selected a man to fill Mr. Beaulieu's place who had not stood the test of an examination. I would be the last man to cast any blame upon the Hansard Committee for rigidly enforcing that rule, should they enforce* it indiscriminately in every case. X

may add that, whenever the committee stand in need of extra help for the translating staff, they should make their appointments from the ranks of those who have passed their examination, instead of going out of their way to select men whose only recommendation is that they have some pull and political influence at their back.

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LIB

Louis Napoléon Champagne

Liberal

Mr. CHAMPAGNE.

(Translation.) Let my hon. friend allow me to tell him that were the statement he has just made borne out by the actual facts, he would be fully justified in taking exception to such a condition of affairs, but the fact is that Mr. Mackay was engaged temporarily, before the committee had decided that any examinations should be held. In other words, Mr. Mackay was appointed on the translating staff temporarily, previous to the time when the examination was held. The examination only took place three or four weeks after Mr. Mackay had been appointed temporarily on the translating staff.

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Motion agreed to.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE.

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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) moved :

That after the Easter Recess to the end of the session, government Orders have precedence on Wednesdays, immediately after questions to he put by members.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

While there is not a very large list of items on the Public Bills and Orders, still there are some measures of considerable importance and as the government has taken Thursday so recently it is hardly necessary to take Wednesday at so early a date. I would suggest to the. Prime Minister that we should have one or two Wednesdays more, I would prefer two.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

If my hon. friend would agree, I would be willing to give him one Wednesday, and the motion will then read * On and including Wednesday the 22nd inst.'

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I have been considering the matter since I spoke to the hon. gentleman on the subject, and we would prefer to have two Wednesdays more.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Very well. If it be the wish of my hon. friend I will amend the motion so as to read ' On and including Wednesday the 29th inst.'

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Motion agreed to.


BUDGET SPEECH.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding).

Might I be permitted to say, that if nothing arises to make it inconvenient, I would expect the delivery of the budget speech to take place on the Thursday after the Easter recess.

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EASTER RECESS.

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The PRIME MINISTER moved :

That when this House adjourns on Wednesday next, it stand adjourned until Tuesday, the 14th inst.

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April 7, 1903