September 24, 1903

CON
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I think the hon. gentleman's resolution proposed to put men on the permanent list by Act of parliament. No man is put on thepermanent list by Act of parliament. The Act of parliament provides the machinery, and then it is for the

government of the day to act. But there

is no precedent for a whole class of officers being transferred by Act of parliament to the permanent list It must be that they can be appointed and removed by the Governor in Council as other civil servants are, with the exception of the judiciary. Suppose I had one of these officers in the Post Office Department, and I desired to have him appointed to a clerkship, it would be necessary first to create that additional clerkship under the Act, and then parliament would have to vote the money for his salary. These two things being done, it would be open to the Governor in Council to transfer that officer from the temporary to the permanent class. It does happen that there are men in the service performing responsible duties, and some of them an receipt of large salaries, and yet they are temporary in the eye of the law. I received a memorial from a number of gentlemen in the Interior Department asking to be transferred to the permanent list. To do that, each case would have to be considered to a certain extent in the same way as if it were a case of promotion, and if the Minister of the Interior happened to be in Canada at the time, perhaps he would have seen his way to ask for additional clerks, and make it possible to appoint these gentleman. as 1 have said because some classes either on the inside or the outside service are not dealt with it does not follow that their ' cases will not in due time come up. Last year, for example, parliament was good enough to pass a measure on my advice increasing the salaries of certain classes in the outside service in my own department. Speaking from memory, the classes (affected were composed of messengers, porters and packers, men in my department who make up parcels of supplies, &c., to be sent to different postmasters throughout the country and to do similar work. I found these men with a maximum salary of $500 and last year parliament passed a Bill increasing that maximum to $600. I felt then and I feel now, that in making increases the most urgent cases are those of the people who receive the lower salaries. By this measure the class of messengers, packers and porters, to which I have referred, will be in receipt of a maximum salary of $700 as against $500 when we took office, an increase of 20 per cent. That increase, I know, receives the hearty approval of hon. members on both sides of the House. With reference to the class of temporary technical officers to whom reference has been made, I suppose that if the various ministers could direct their attention to the whole matter and go through a regular course of house cleaning and say which of these should be transferred to the permanent list they could be appointed in the regular way by the creation of additional clerkships. That is a suggestion that has my entire sympathy and if the Bill does not increase the salaries of these men in every department in which they could be increased Sir WILLIAM MIJLOCK.

it is not because we do not wish to have them increased. The fact is, without wishing to make any point about it, but to be perfectly frank, that there is some truth in the statement that formerly, before the change of government, the civil service had been the subject of criticism and talk, and I think parliament did a rather unwise thing in abolishing the third-class clerkships in the inside service. That class went up to $1,000 and represented a very large proportion of the civil service and it is there that you have to be even more considerate than with the higher classes. A certain amount of public opinion was developed against the civil service which was referred to even in campaigns as we have all seen, and many people in criticising the service alluded perhaps unkindly to the civil service. From my few years in government I can say, speaking with reference to the officers of my department-and I now speak of it as of them as I would speak of employees in private life, and as I would wish to be spoken of-I say there is in my department without any question as good, efficient and loyal a staff as any country could desire and many of the employees in that department are men who are I consider wasting their lives in the public service, because the prizes in the public service are not such as should command the ability and fidelity possessed by many of these men, and I think that the civil service of Canada generally is not properly remunerated. It has been suggested that the increases should be permitted automatically and that the civil servants should get their increases as a matter or right. This has never been the unvarying practice ; the practice has always been that the increase is voted by parliament as apportioned by the government. After we took office, for a time, these increases were suspended and that was no doubt prompted by the feeling created in the public mind and in our own mind that the service required overhauling and we could not then permit increase to occur automatically as now, when we are more familiar with the service practically do, for we feel now that this automatic increase can be made without any injustice to the service and to the country.

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CON

James Gilmour

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GILMOUR.

Will the members of the outside service, in the inland revenue and customs departments throughout the country receive the same treatment as these servants for whom you are providing under this resolution ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

If my hon. friend will turn to the resolution he will find by the schedule that this resolution deals with the Customs and Inland Revenue Departments and the schedule respecting the Customs and Inland Revenue Departments has I think application entirely to the outside service. Last year there was legislation affecting the outside service in the Post Office Department and this year a spe-

cial Bill dealing with the outside service of the Post Office Department was passed. The present Bill deals with the outside service of the Customs and Inland Revenue Departments, and I trust that, by degrees we will be able to put our outside service on a proper footing and afford proper relief no matter what government is in power. I am satisfied that the country will believe we are moving in the right direction, and I think I may now appeal, coming down to details, for the adoption of this clause.

Mr. ItEID (Grenville). I do not wish to detain the House any longer, but the hon. minister did not quite understand the point I was trying to make.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

About the technical officers ?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

Yes. The hon. minister has explained that satisfactorily, the only thing I regret is that he could not see his way clear to including that class in the increases.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

It would have to be by increasing the number of classes.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

It can be done as he suggests. The only thing that I would ask of the Liberal representative from Ottawa is to use his influence to obtain all that is possible.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I think I owe an apology to the hon. gentleman from Ottawa who gives the government his confidence. It is quite correct-and I am not saying this for the purpose of making any capital or robbing any one of capital ; we are glad in legislation of this kind to have the concurrence of all classes of representatives-but it has been said that any member representing Ottawa and supporting the government is naturally the intermediary through whom the civil service seek to reach the government and the House- that my hon. friend (Mr. Belcourt) in the discharge of his duty, and he could not have done less, brought this matter to the attention of the government and to my attention as a member of the government. My sympathies, went out first of all towards the lower paid grades and for this reason, although I had taken pretty ample notes, yet I had not been as impressed in regard to the agreements on behalf of the higher classes as perhaps I should have been. But the cases that made the greatest impression on me were the classes I have spoken of, the temporary writers and clerks, messengers, packers, etc., men who came in at $400 with an annual increase of $30 per year until $600 was reached, and there they stopped. There is a class that begins at $300-sorters, messengers and porters-and who went up to $500. There is a very large number of those. In my department they are particularly strong. I dare say these various classes number up to the best part of a hundred. I felt I was really reaching most of the cases in dealing with these classes, and therefore in the first Bill I gave particular attention to them by establishing a third class, with a maximum pay of $700. There was provision in the first Bill, as there is in the present, for all that class being transferred from the status of temporary clerks and writers and so on, to third class. There was provision in the first Bill for the temporary class and writers- I do not know that it went as far as the packers-but there is in this Bill, and all of that class eligible for transfer may be transferred. I felt it my duty to half apologize to my hon. friend when I introduced the first Bill, because I knew I had not gone as far as he desired. I rather innocently explained that I had not gone as far as he diesired. I could not make that announcement privately, and it was my duty, in justice to him, to make it to the House on account of the especial responsibility which devolves on him as the representative of the city supporting the government. This is just how this second resolution came in, if you want a confession. As soon as my Bill was introduced, my hon. friend remonstrated with me. He said that I was not a strong enough supporter of his measure, and he appealed to the Premier. He took the memorial of the civil service, which had been prepared some time before-I am not quarrelling with him about it-but he passed by me and presented it to the Premier. I happened to be away at the time, and when I came back I received an intimation from the Premier that the measure was to be introduced in its present shape. I am extremely glad that my hon. friend on the other side has furthered my effort by presenting his resolution. Neither party need try to make political capital out of this matter. Both this side and the opposition owe a duty to the civil service. Let us do our duty fairly to a deserving class, and not try to win favours except on our merits. If I tried to point out shortcomings of the previous government I might succeed, but what good would come of all that ? If you pass the resolution I shall leave it in committee until to-morrow, in case any hon. gentleman desires to make any further remarks.

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LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

While apportioning the responsibility, I want to remind the bon. member for Leeds and Grenville that the gentlemen to whom he is extending his solicitude just now-and I share that solicitude with him-have also had my attention. I appealed to the government to have these men made permanent, but I would remind the hon. gentleman that there are men who have been employed temporarily in the public service, not a few years, but a great many years. I know a gentleman who has been employed as draughtsman in the Interior

Department for thirty-five years. When the hon. gentleman's friends were in office, why did he not bring these cases to their notice? Why did not the previous governments, which had been employing these people for a quarter of a century, deal with their cases ? The memorial to which the hon. the Postmaster General has referred is signed by forty or fifty gentlemen employed in the Interior Department, nine-tenths of whom were in the department a great many years previous to 1896. When apportioning the responsibility, it is only fair to remind my hon. friend of these facts.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

The government I was supporting was only in power four years previous to the change, and during that time the civil service received their annual increase according to statute. True, that government never brought in a Bill such as has been brought down now, or that class of civil servants would have received my support as well as the others. I know employees who have been In the service fifteen, twenty and thirty years, and yet who are only temporary employees, and that is the class which is honestly entitled to an annual increase as well as other men working right opposite them, who have received appointments as first or second-class clerks. If I had been in the same position as the hon. member, if I had brought down a Bill

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LIB
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

Before this resolution passes I want to remind the Postmaster General of a delegation of employees who waited on him in the early part of the session.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

The hon. gentleman is referring to the postmasters. If he will let that stand until my supplementary estimates come up, there will be an opportunity to discuss it.

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CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

There is another question brought to my attention by the junior member for Ottawa (Mr. Birkett). I refer to the recent appointments. A number of appointments have been made practically by Act of parliament, as we see in the estimates the words ' notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act to the contrary.' In several cases men have been promoted over the heads of other men. We brought that matter to the attention of the government. Well, such men will receive this increase, which the men below them will not receive. That is something this government should not sanction. Now, the minister remarked that the civil service was looked upon rather unfavourably in years past. I am isure the party on this side is not responsible, because when we were in power, the reason the civil service was so unfavourably looked upon in the country was the attacks Mr BELCOTJRT.

made upon them by the Liberal party during the campaigns.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

We will admit everything, only get on with the Bill.

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CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

Another point-the hon. gentleman said we went in for overhauling the civil service. I want to tell him that it was well overhauled in our country, when they dismissed 150 Conservatives whose names I put on ' Hansard.' So I think we can leave it with the two gentlemen who have spoken, and the civil service will be quite able to decide who is worthy their support and consideration. They will also be able to decide as to the conduct of the government. And I hope the minister will keep in view the point I have mentioned. It is bad enough to have a number of these men, as the estimates will show, pushed over the heads of men older in the service, but now a number of these men will get $100 extra by this Act.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I wish to say a few words on this subject, and there is no more appropriate time than now. In the first place, I desire to say a word as to the speech of the hon. senior member for Ottawa (Mr. Belcourt). If that hon. gentleman had really desired to do justice to the civil service he would have welcomed assistance from any source instead of abusing the hon. junior member for Ottawa (Mr. Birkett) for trying to get the increase of salary the hon. senior member said he was trying to secure. From the very beginning the hon. senior member has tried to belittle and discredit what was done by his colleague in support of the very object which the hon. member (Mr. Belcourt) said he had in view. I do not think the service will give him much credit. In the course of his remarks he said that the Conservative party had been in power for eighteen years and had done nothing for the civil service. Is that true ? Does he forget the first Civil Service Act which put the civil service upon a non-political basis ? That was passed by the Conservative party in 1882. Before that, the service was a rather heterogeneous class employed largely on political lines. It provided that, certain examinations should be passed, so that, whether a man belonged to one party or the other on .passing the examination he was eligible for the civil service. In my own riding I had a prominent Reformer appointed entirely upon his merits, because he was recommended as a graduate of Toronto University, and capable of taking the position that was vacant, [DOT]and because the man whom I had had in view was reported to me as not suitable. I took this man, who was a Reformer and whose family were Reformers, and got him appointed. There was no question as to which party he belonged to, but simply as to his qualifications ; and he proved that he had the qualifications for the position and therefore got it. By this Civil Service

Act the service was put upon a business and non-political basis. The principle of promotion according to ability and qualification was established. And, in addition to that they were given statutory increases, if they were faithful and efficient officers and were recommended by the deputy head. In face of these facts I am surprised at his saying the Conservatives were eighteen years in power and did nothing for the civil service.

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LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

Does the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) refer to the Act of 1882 V

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CON

September 24, 1903