May 26, 1908

LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Made by themselves ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISTRIBUTION OF ' HANSARD.'
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Made by themselves.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Do they examine from all over the union?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

From all over the union.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Have they no boards of examiners under them?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir. FOSTER.

Oh, certainly, do you suppose that three men could extend themselves all over the union and cover the work?

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Sir. PATERSON.

They do not themselves get the list.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir. FOSTER.

They get the list because they are the body who manage and control the whole system, who appoint all sub-examiners.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Sir. PATERSON.

Is there a board of examiners for each state ?

Sir. FOSTER

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir. FOSTER.

That is according to the necessities of the case; in some states there is more than one body of examiners and when I say that the commission do it, I say it in a sense that the Minister of Customs collects the revenue. He has to do it through those whom he appoints and for whose actions he is responsible. The examination papers are under the control of the commission in every respect.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

They are prescribed by them.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

They are prescribed by them. Of course, as I said before, they are careful to procure information from every source, to know what a department wants, to know what its various services are, the kind of work it does and what kind of talent is best fitted for it. They consult the heJads and chief officials of departments; they do not simply sit down, draw their salaries and issue mandates, but are a real, live, governing, actively-working board who try to saturate themselves with the service and making every effort to get the best services for the country from the material within the country. I have now explained the register.

The applicant who gets his name upon the register and is so enrolled is eligible for a year, but not for a longer period unless the Civil Service Commission extends the term of eligibility for another year or some other period which they have the power to do. This is to prevent the list becoming crowded with names whose owners have gone into other employment or grown stale by lapse of time. This keeps the list from becoming old and burdened. There is a possibility of making emergency appointments. Suppose that no one is at hand ready for appointment, then the head of the department can make an emergency appointment, but he must immediately notify the board of that appointment and the appointment cannot be for more than three months, unless the board, under certain circumstances, see fit to allow it to go on for another three months. But it is their duty, the moment they are notified of the emergency, to see that the position is filled by the permanent person just as soon Sas they can get a suitable applicant.

Two great reforms have been brought about in the United States by the operation of this system, two great sources of corruption in the civil service and in politics, taking the two conjoined, have been eliminated, first, the levying of political assessments which at one time in the political history of the United States might have been described Sas au open practice universally carried on, and, secondly, the use of the service for political purposes in any way. The Civil Service Commissioners' reports of later years, that of this year particularly, declare that these two evils have

been practically rooted out of the civil service. No person is allowed within a department under the civil service to solicit assessments of any kind and no officer in a department who acquiesces in such a practice will be allowed to go unpunished. (The law in this matter has been for a good many years coming to the point of perfection. It is very difficult to eliminate the use of political influence in the service, by the head of a department using his influence over employees, and in the thousand and one ways in which political use may be made of the civil servant as a partisan. One of the chief difficulties in eliminating this evil was that if a charge of political partisanship was made, it was left to the head of the department, whoever he was, to deal with the charge and it was found that this system was ineffective. Some heads of departments were loyal and true to the principle of the system and they would carry out the law with rigidity and success. Others were still more politicians than they should he and in their hands the law would become almost a dead letter, so there was still a lamentable lack of effectiveness. This evil has been cured by President Roosevelt handing over the investigation of matters of partisanship to the Civil Service Commission itself. That has been the effective step that has put the quietus upon that form of partisanship and of political use of the civil service. The last report of the American Civil Service Commission, 1907, which I have here chronicles that as the final and decisive act which now puts this matter in the hands of the commission and rings the knell of partisanship or political use of the service of the United States. Here when a charge of political partisanship was made, when it was alleged that a civil servant of the Department of the Interior was fooling with politics the political head let it go in one ear and out of the other, at least it was not taken heed to. Now in the United States instead of its being left any longer with the head of the department, the charge is to be investigated by the Civil Service Commission itself and they, having the good of the service at heart, may be relied on to make it effective and uniform.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

What is the meaning of partisanship there ? Does it extend to the vote?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

It even goes this far, by one of the decisions, that if a civil servant carries around the nomination paper of a candidate that is doing political service.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

It does not extend to the vote?

M!r. FOSTER. It allows every man to vote, to express his own opinion, to express it privately. The civil servants have a perfect right to the vote and to the franchise, as I think every civil servant should have, as he is a citizen of the country and

he has a right to his vote; he may have his private opinion and is allowed to express it to his friend or his family or in any other private way, but the moment he goes outside that it is political partisanship and may become a charge and subject for discipline. The last civil service report of the United States, page 13, is my authority for the statement I have just made with reference to the trying power. The considerations I have mentioned led to the amendment of rule 1 on June 15, 1907, when the president put the matter under the control of the commissioner. The amendment provided:

That persons who by the provisions of this resolution are in the competitive classified service, while retaining the right to vote as they please and to express privately their opinions on all critical subjects shall take no active part in any political management or any political campaigns.

With reference to the enlargement of the system a most important change affecting excepted positions was made by executive order November 7, 1908, under which 1,100 deputy collectors of internal revenue were transferred to the competitive class. The report says :

This is an important advance as it has been impossible ,to secure satisfactory results in any part of the service to which any considerable proportion of positions of the important classes are exempted from examination.

This illustrates the power I spoke of, possessed by the President of bringing in portions of the service under the sweep of the Act.

Quoting still from the report:

The United States undertook work in the Philippine Islands a few years ago. Some seven years ago (this report goes on to say), on September 19. 1900, the Philippine commission passed an Act for the establishment and maintenance of an honest and efficient civil service in the Philippine Islands by which provision was made focr filling vacancies^ in most positions in the civil service by examination.

The Filipinos, owing to lack of knowledge of the English language, were not eligible, and this report goes on to say :

It was impossible to get eligible men. It was necessary a/t first to fill almost all the positions by English-speaking_ people. Rut what would happen as the Filipinos at that time had no knowledge of English? They qualified in the Spanish examinations only and got appointed only 'to those positions in which a knowledge of English was not essential. As the years have passed the Filipinos have steadily acquired English and they now take part in English examinations and during the year ending June 30, 1906, 53 per cent of the Filipinos examined took the examinations in English and it was found possible to appoint Filipinos to 80 per cent of the vacancies filled by local appointees. By amendment to the Philippine Civil Service Aot the classi-

[DOT]jl44

fieri service was greatlv extended until it includes almost all positions above the grade of unskilled labourers, except the Philippine con" stabulary. The Philippine Cdvdl Service Act provides that employees of the Philippine assembly selected by it shall be in the unclassified service. One of the first acts of the first assembly was to waive this exception and provide for the appointment of its employees under the Civil Service Buies and Regulations.

This is an indication that the merit system has the support of the people, and the remark that is made upon it Is the great impetus it has given to education in English among the Filipinos ; their desire to participate in the service has given them a trend in an educational way in the acquirement of the English language and the knowledge that appertains thereto. Then In Porto Rico they have applied the civil service regulations in the same way and they have now an effective civil service in that island, a thing which of course was unknown before the people of the United States took possession of it:

The federal services were placed under the Federal Civil Service Act by an Act of Congress of April 12, 1900, and examinations and appointments have since been made in accordance with civil service law, and on March If, 1907. a civil service law was passed by the legislature of Porto Rico and approved by the government to take effect January 1, 1908.

The above quotations from the United States Civil Service Board for 1907, serve as indications to show how widespread is the work which has been done In civil service reform in the United States of Ameriica and its dependencies. There is also another point to be kept in mind with reference to the United States service. The United States service is divided into two classes, one called the classified service and the other the unclassified service. Not all of the service in the United States is under the examination system and the merit by examination system, of which I have been speaking. I wish to briefly give an outline of the service in that regard. First, there is subject to the civil service law' the classified civil service. That takes in all persons employed in the executive civil service of the United States, however they are remunerated, whether they are permanent or temporary, by regular salary or otherwise, first those who are merely employed as labourers or workman, and second those whose appointments are subject to consent or ratification by the Senate. These two classes are exempted from the classified service, but all others are included in it and are subject to examination, except those who come under schedule A who are appointed without examination or upon what is called non-competitive examinations. That is to say, the head nominates them and then they are to be examined by the Civil Service Commission to see whether thev are Mr. FOSTER.

qualified or not. Or, if the head wishes it he can have them undergo a competitive examination and conform to the general rule of the service. Under schedule A you get a pretty large list. For instance, it includes : two private secretaries and confidential clerks which are allowed to each head of a department such as the Navy or the Interior; one confidential clerk and private secretary to each inferior department : one to the head of certain bureaus, and such appointments as attorneys, Chinese and Japanese interpreters, persons receiving not more than $3,500 and doing work in connection with their own private work ; quasi naval and military officers under enlistment, employees of the government in foreign countries in many cases. It is a special and technical class which is embraced in schedule A and these officers are therefore not subject'to examination though they are within the classified service. In the unclassified service is included all appointments by the President which have to be approved by the Senate, and all unskilled manual labourers in Washington and in the field service. But with reference to the unskilled labourers there is ttiis somewhat remarkable feature, and it seems to me to be very praiseworthy : the unskilled labourer in Washington and in the field service does not get in helter-skelter ; whoever comes first and may have the null is not selected. The whole of that unskilled manual labour department is under the head and direction of the Civil Service Commission and certain machinery is provided by which it is all tabulated and registered, and the Civil Service Commission direct and dominate.

In practice it so works out that the whole matter is practically under the Civil Service Commission thi'ough its appointment upon the employment board, and the head of the department takes little interest in it. All applicants for employment are examined and inquired into as to their physical and mental qualification-they have to undergo a medical examination ; as to their character and habits-their record is thoroughly searched ; as to the experience they have had and which is shown by vouchers which they get; and of course the age-limit restriction has to be taken into account. On the information thus got these men are rated, mid ail who rate over 70 per cent are put upon the labour register; and when labourers are wanted in this field or the other field, application is made to the civil service board, wbo at once send the men who they think, from that examination, will be best fitted for the work. In that way incompetent people are weeded out from the great unskilled labour department which I have spoken of. and it is put upon a basis where character, good habits, ability and record comes to be a determining factor. To show the progress that has taken place, I take two years. In 1903 there were 271,000 in tlie executive civil service, and of

those 135,485 were appointed after competitive examinations. In 1907 there were

337.000 in the whole service, and of those

197.000 held tlieir position by competitive examinations. Making up the other 140,000 employees are 6,314 postmasters of first, second and third clashes, and 53,345 postmasters of the fourth class ; that is, nearly

60.000 postmasters who do not come under the examination system.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

How many postmasters altogether ?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

assessment, subscription or contribution, and no person shall enter, or remain in any said office, building or room, or send or direct any letter or other notice thereto, for the purpose of giving notice of, demanding, or collecting a political assessment, subscription or contribution, nor shall any person therein give notice of, demand, collect or receive, any such assessment, subscription or contribution. Any person who shall be guilty of violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

Section 29-Official influence-Whoever, while holding any public office, or in nomination for, or while seeking a -nomination or appointment for, any public office, shall use or promise to use, whether directly or indirectly, any official authority or influence (whether then possessed or -merely anticipated) in -the way of conferring upon any person, or in order to secure or aid any person in securing any office or public employment or -public contract or any nomination, confirmation, promotion, or increase in salary, upon a consideration or condition that the vote or political influence or action of the last named person or any other, shall be given or used .in behalf of any candidate, officer or party, or upon any other corrupt condition or consideration, shall be deemed guilty of bribery or an attempt at bribery -as the case may he. And whoever, being a public officer or having or claiming to have, authority or influence for or affecting the nomination, public employment, confirmation, promotion, removal, increase or decrease of salary or position of any -public officer shall use or promise or threaten to use any such authority or influence, directly or indirectly, in order to coerce or persuade -the vote or political action of any citizen or the removal, discharge or promotion of any officer or public employee, or upon any other corrupt consideration shall also be guilty of bribery or of -an attempt at -bribery, as the case may he. Every person found guilty of such bribery or of an attempt to commit the same as aforesaid, shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than three thousand dollars, or to be imprisoned not less than ten days nor more than two years, or to both said fine and imprisonment in -the discretion of the court. The phrase ' public officer ' shall be held to include all public officials in this state, whether paid directly or indirectly from the -public treasury of the state, or by fees'or otherwise, and the phrase ' public employee' shall be held to include every person not being an officer who is paid from said treasury of the state.

These are two pretty drastic and far reaching provisions, meant to bring about a certain result and it would seem as though they would be effective for that purpose.

When we come to Canada-for I think w'e have been long enough in this excursion outside-what can we say for the civil service during the last decade or score of years ? I am discussing this subject absolutely free from partisanship of any kind, with the sole desire of putting my view of the case before the House and the country. I try to weigh my words and use my ex-Mr. FOSTER.

perience and what knowledge I have, and I think I am not to be found fault with if I say that, in so far as Canada is concerned within the last twenty or twenty-five years, we have not made any considerable progress. If we would be fair to ourselves, we would admit that in these later years we have retrograded instead of progressed. We would admit that to-day the foundation of the civil service itself and the structure built upon that foundation, does not occupy as good a position as it has in past years, for in an advancing and growing country not to be making progress is. I think tantamont to retrograding. I do not think there is such a thing as standing still with reference to this matter; there must be progress or there will be retrogression. If I were to say then that the civil service itself is not as strong as it was fifteen years ago, that the morals of the civil service is not as high as it was then, that its efficiency is not so great as it was at that period, I believe I would be saying what my own experience, observation and information absolutely warrant me in saying.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Have you thought that out fully ?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Yes, I have bestowed a good deal of thought ou the subject and am quite willing to stand by my words. But I will take another authority, the Civil Service Commissioners, who will probably go even further than I in this respect. And remember that the chairman of that commission is a man probably as well versed, not only in the theory but the practice of the civil service in Great Britain and this country, as any one you could find.

Now, what are some of the reasons why the civil service, instead of making progress, has, if anything, retrograded ? I am expressing my own opinion, I am not binding anybody, when I say that one step towards that retrogression was the abolition of the superannuation system by the present government shortly after they came into office. Taken up in some way, whether in an odd moment and for political purposes, or whether by people who had studied it and come to a conclusion which they thought was right and acquiesced in by men who in their hearts knew it was not right but gave way, when the party came into power it found itself pledged to abolish the superannuation system, and it abolished that system. There was another step, and that was the abolition of the yearly increase of all deserving civil servants who had the recommendation of the deputy head of the department. The very moment this latter was abolished, the civil servant had nothing substantial, firm, to hold to. Do his work as faithfully as he might, still he knew that he received no increase as of right. And what else did he

know ? He knew that if he were to get anything he must rely upon pull, he must get his member or somebody who had influence to secure advantage for him in some way. That is a blunt way of stating it, but that is really what took place. It is true that this rule was entirely reversed within a year or so; but the lesson had been taught. The civil servant had been told : It is not your right, it is not even a prescriptive right for you to receive this increase ; if you get it, you will get it at the will and pleasure of your minister. Now, that had the inevitable effect of throwing the civil service off its true line, the line of thinking what was due to the country, and of setting it to work at making influence, getting members, candidates and others to use their influence in favour of those who could win their support. And so, very great harm was done to the civil service in that way.

! With reference to the superannuation system, I appeal to my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier)-I do not know whether he has time to give to that or not that the superannuation system is not something extra, not a piling of something else upon that which is already sufficient; the superannuation system, if it is well considered, is part and parcel of the remuneration of the civil servant. It should be made an addition to the yearly wage for two reasons : one to induce the continuity in the civil service which is the greatest element of its efficiency, and the other, to make the man feel that after hedging himself out from all the live currents of business life come when he has fifty or sixty years of age and is no longer able to breast these currents in a new business, he shall have something at least to look forward to during the time of his old age. Now, that united with the yearly or monthly wage makes what gives you the best possible for the service of your country. To cut away that support, in my opinion, is to cut away one of the foundation pillars of a good service. But, having that or something which would produce the same result, you make a good beginning in the establishment of the best civil service system. Now, I put another point: It is absolute wastefulness to do away with the superannuation system-and I ask the particular attention of my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to this. The superannuation system is not to be judged alone by the dollars spent on it. Here is another way to judge it : Suppose you allow your civil servant only the yearly wage-that is, you abolish the superannuation system : Within a very few years you pay more than you would pay if you had not abolished it. And why ? Because in every department of this government and in every corridor of these buildings, you have

men whom you cannot turn out on the street, yet who cannot do the work of the department. There they are, and you must put on extra men who would do the work that these older men do not do. We alt have a little human nature, and when an old employee who has been in our charge for years has come to the time when he cannot earn the money that is paid to him, we do not, in fact, turn him out in the street. And so, we have a wasteful system, a costly expenditure. And, whatever we do with reference to the civil service,

I hope we shall not fail to have as part of our plan a superannuation system or some contrivance for the same purpose. It may be widened a little-as the civil service authorities in Great Britain are this very day discussing-to provide that when a man dies after having paid all his life into the civil service, his family shall not be left with nothing ; or, even when a man goes out of the service, battered and worn, and dies after receiving his superannuation allowance for a year or two, his family may still have some consideration. There ought to be inventiveness enough, ability enough, in this parliament to devise a scheme which will be economical, but in the end fair to-, these great interests and calculated to put our civil service upon a better basis than it is on to-day.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Will my hon, friend allow me to ask him as a matter of information : Is there a superannuation system in the civil service of the United States ?

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May 26, 1908