LEWIS (West Huron) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 60) to amend the Criminal Code respecting injuries to persons due to motor vehicles.
CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT-INJURIES DUE TO MOTOR VEHICLES.
This Bill proposes to deal with a class of offences upon our highways caused by vehicles that were not in common use at the time the Criminal Code was introduced, I refer to automobiles. While I understand that this parliament has no control over the King's highway,
still persons in the rural districts who built the highways for their own use are now very much troubled by automobiles. This Bill proposes to punish drivers of automobiles who are reckless, and who violate the law. It is modelled on the Bill introduced last session in reference to the same matter. I trust that the government, if they do not see fit to allow this Bill to pass, will at least add an amendment to the Criminal Code providing the needed legislation and place on crown officials the duty of finding and prosecuting drivers who break the law. It is true that the owner of an automobile has to keep his vehicle numbered, but when you are tangled up in the ditch with a frightened horse, there is little time given to find the number. I have here an item from the Toronto ' Mail and Empire.' which says that automobiles coming round the corners and dashing through crowds are becoming a menace to people travelling on the streets of Toronto.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.
CIVIL SERVICE SALARIES.
House again in committee to consider the proposed resolution granting an increase of salaries to civil servants.
Horn. SYDNEY FISHER (Minister of Agriculture).
This resolution has been before the committee for some time, and I do not know whether any further discussion is required. A Bill will be introduced founded upon it, but in the meantime I will be glad to answer any questions.
I made an objection to a certain part of this resolution the other day, and asked the minister to look into it:
That all sums of money voted by parliament for the financial year ending on March 31, 1909, and applicable to the payment of salaries or increase of salaries of persons in the inside service shall be applicable to the payment of increases of salary granted under the Act to be founded in this resolution, so far as such sums are not required for the specific purposes for which they were granted; and during the said financial year there may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada such moneys required for the payment of increases of salary hereunder as have not been voted by parliament.
I did not see why it was necessary to have that now when parliament was assembled and it would be quite possible to name the exact amount which is necessary, to bring down an estimate and vote it in the regular way. I pointed out that it is an al-[DOT] together irregular way of arranging for expenditures-to take the whole consolidated revenue and dip into it as is necessary. The whole basis of parliamentary appropriation is a specific request for a specific purpose.
The question is one of convenience in the payments. I do not think there would be any difference at all in the amount which would have to be paid out. This statute, when passed, will define clearly and distinctly what moneys have to be paid out. It would be a mere question of going over the lists of the Civil Service and calculating how much each one would receive and what the aggregate amount would be. It is hoped that this Bill will pass before long and that the payments will then be available for the civil servants. If the procedure of my hon. friend were adopted we would have to have a supplementary item in the estimates, a special item, probaly, put through for that purpose. I would not have any objection to it if there was any particular object to be gained, but I have not seen any object in it. The statute will define what the amount will be in conjunction with the lists which have been presented and which are before the House of all those who are eligible for this increase. I have had statements made up, copies of which I will lay on the table if desired, showing the exact amounts payable to practically every civil servant. Of course my hon. friend might say that with these copies we might at once make up an estimate. But if the Bill passes the money can then be paid over to the Civil Service without any further delay or waiting for a supplementary estimate to be passed. That is the only view I have in regard to the matter. I am not quarrelling at all with my hon. friend's suggestion, but we think that this is the better and the simpler way and the way that would most promptly give that relief to the Civil Service which is the object of the Bill.
Of course, what my hon. friend says, if it has any force in this case, would apply with equal force to every appropriation that is made for every part of the service.
I think so. He says it will be more convenient because you would not have to come to parliament and ask for it. He says at the same time that he has exactly the amounts that are necessary.
As far as I know.
If the minister has the amounts that are necessary, or, if he has not them and can get them, certainly the basis of parliamentary appropriation is plainly contravened if he receives a general power to take out of the consolidated fund the gross amount that is necessary What I think is objectionable is that there should be any break from what is the acknowledged system and basis unless there is necessity for it. There was a necessity last year because you could not tell what
the increases were. We asked in parliament what amount this would be and the answer was : You cannot tell. Then,
parliament was proroguing and unless such a convenience as that were allowed at that time you would have to wait for another session of parliament. That was a good reason for it, but if parliament has been going right on last year we would not have submitted to that mode of procedure ; we would have asked the government to bring down specific amounts and have them voted. I do hope that the minister will not allow the plea of convenience to influence him in asking the House to depart from what has heretofore been the b3sis of parliamentary appropriation. He is doing it while parliament is in session and in a position to vote whatever is required.
If it is only a matter of convenience why do you not make your statute extend to the whole Civil Service instead of asking us to vote money from year to year to pay their salaries ? It would be more convenient to vote it by statute and not discuss it at all. But, that is not the wisdom of parliament; the wisdom of parliament is to have the money voted from year to year. While we annually vote a portion of the salaries another portion is paid by authority of statute. I do not think it a good principal. I think it is a very bad one. We do pay the judge's salaries by statute, but that is a different thing entirely. Judges are appointed for life and they get a certain specific sum, but we have never allowed the same principle to prevail in relation to votes by parliament for the Civil Service as. far as I know. It is a departure from what has been the established custom and I think the minister is not justified in asking the House to assent to it.
I appreciate fully the difference between this Bill and the Bill of last session and I also appreciate what the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) has said, that we ought not to depart from the usual practice of voting specific sums for a specific purpose unless there is very good reason for it. 1 am not set by any means against the proposition of my hon. friend. I only wish to discuss it a little and see whether we can work it out properly and satisfactorily. Would my hon. friend consider that we would have to specify all these several items or only take one lump sum to serve the purpose for the whole Civil Service ? I suppose, to follow the general practice, we would have to state that so much was needed for the Department of Agriculture, so much for the Department of Customs and so on. If that line is adopted I think it would be quite unnecessary to go into the details of each individual salary although in our ordinary civil government estimates we come very Mr. FOSTER.
close to that. It hardly seems to me that it will be at all necessary. The general principle of the addition to the pay of the service is laid down definitely and clearly in the statute and it cannot be departed from. The only question that arises is whe-there there will be 25, or 50 or 100 men who shall get $150, whether there will be 200 or 300 who shall get $100, whether so many others shall get $50 and so on. _ I would like, before coming to a conclusion, to go into that a little and see whither it is going to land us. At the same time I recognize the justice and force of what_ the hon. gentleman says with regard to this Bill as being different from the situation of the last Bill.
I think the minister sees the whole difficulty. If you make it a mere matter of the Act and allow the minister to go into the consolidated revenue fund you put it outside of all criticism by parliament. It is true that we adopt the principle of giving a flat increase, but that does not mean that the House is, therefore, giving up all its right to criticise where the money goes or to object _ if in a certain particular instance it thinks the whole $150 should not go to a certain individual. There is a scale under which some will get $150, there are other cases in which $150 will not be got, and in some cases no increase will be got. This is a matter that the House ought to have under its own purview and should be able to criticise. A statement should be submitted to the House for each department showing what the department is getting under this resolution. While nine-tenths of the cases will not call for any criticism, there are instances-I could name some-where we might wish to suggest that a less amount than $150 should be given.
I do not wish to cavil at what my hon. friend has said, generally it is quite correct; but if this statute is passed the estimate based upon it would be very much of the nature of a statutory estimate and the House could hardly refuse it. Of course, the Bill says that payments may be made on the report of the deputy minister, and it may be that some individuals are of such a character that the deputy minister would not feel justified in recommending this increase. The only way of carrying out my hon. friend's suggestion would be to have an estimate based on the reports of the deputy minister, and if the deputy minister had reported that so and so was entitled to this increase, I do not think that under the statute he could well refuse it.
I should be sorry to have to vote a lump sum and then have it said that it shall be expended on the judgment * of the deputy minister without any chance
for a member of parliament to criticise that judgment. In discussing the Bill I will be prepared to mention some cases in which the payments should not be made.