The hon. gentleman said that if somebody had to be appointed in a distant locality, how are you going to get the information you required? But it is not with regard to remote parts of the country that the patronage committees are appointed. They are at work right here in the capital, and their work is more apparent and effective to-day in Ottawa than it is in any other place in Canada. To show that the patronage committees nominated excellent men the Minister of Finance gave us some examples, and the only conclusion we can draw from his argument and his illustrations is that the patronage committee is the proper system. But that is not the judgment of the Civil Service Commission, because they say that patronage is radically wrong. My hon. friend says that this is a non-confidence motion and asks why it was moved on the motion to go into Supply. But, on similar occasions, motions of this kind have been accepted and then they become no longer motions of want of confidence. There is nothing to prevent the Minister of Finance from admitting that the principle laid down in that motion is a good one and one the government should accept. There would then be no controversy between us. The next point made by the minister was that there is a Civil Service Bill to be laid before the House in a few days, and therefore there is no necessity of dealing with the question now. Could there possibly be a better time to present all the data to the House, that the House might be in possession of all the facts? The government itself could take all this data into consideration, and even if it were necessary for them to delay their Bill for a few days in order that they might bring the measure into accordance with the best and soundest information afforded them, they could make a much better Bill and one more acceptable to parliament. Surely there could be no more opportune time to discuss this question than just before the introduction of a Civil Service Bill.
Certain facts have directed my attention to the need of civil service reform. As 1 have already said, I speak rather from information than any thing else. I have been in this House for a somewhat lengthened period and have heard of civil service reform over and over again. It is said that the opposition is always in favour of introducing civil service refoi-m and the government is always against it. I do not know whether the government's position on the question is due to the fact that it is a large question and difficult to deal with, or due to the fact that a real reform would wipe out the patronage system on which they depend for keeping in power. Whatever the cause, they do not seem to be in favour of civil service reform.
That the object proposed by this resolution is a good one must be patent to every member of the House ; it would give us a better civil service, one more useful to the country and one more independent of political parties. The establishment of the Civil Service Commission was for the very purpose of setting forth to the country what defects existed in the civil service, and the appointment of such a commission was in effect, a declaration by the government that they desired to remedy these defects. The Civil Service Commission has shown that many reforms are needed, and it is the duty of the government to take advantage of the information fuirhished by the commission. The commissioners say, among other things :
It was the universal feeling amongst the officials who gave evidence before the commissioners that this patronage evil was the curse of the public service.
Subtopic: $139 COMMONS