April 2, 1909

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 121) for the relief of John Grant Ridout.-Mr. Guthrie. Bill (No. 120) respecting the Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Rapid Railway Company.-Mr. Clarke, Essex. Bill (No. 122) to incorporate the Cabano Railway Company.-Mr. Gauvreau.


POST OFFICE ACT AMENDMENT.

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Postmaster General).

I beg to move that on Tuesday next the House go into Committee of the Whole on the following resolution, which His Excellency the Governor General recommends to our consideration:-

Resolved, that it is expedient to amend the 1'ost Office Act and the Civil Service Act and to provide as follows:-

That in the outside division of the Post Office Department the salaries of messengers, porters, letter-carriers, mail transfer agents or box collectors shall, in grade A be at the rate of $1.75 per day, in grade B at the rate of $2 per day, in grade C at the rate of $2.25 per day, in grade D at the rate of $2.50 per day, in grade E at the rate of $2.75 per day; that the salaries of the fourth-class clerks shall, on appointment, be $500 with annual increases of $100 up to $700; and that if the salary of an stamper and sorter or fourth-class clerk is at present less than $500, it shall forthwith be increased to that minimum.

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Motion agreed to.


MANITOBA BOUNDARIES.

CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GLEN CAMPBELL.

I beg to give notice to the right hon. the First Minister

that on the earliest opportunity I shall take up the Manitoba boundaries question.

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SUPPLY-THE CASSELS COMMISSION.


House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Mr. Fielding, that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Supply, and the amendment of Mr. Doherty thereto.


CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ABTHUE MEIGHEN (Portage La Prairie).

When the House adjourned last night, Mr. Speaker, I had just concluded some references to a debate that took place in this House in 1891, and had quoted from the remarks of one of the supporters of the right hon. gentleman. I had shown that the Liberal party then subscribed to the doctrine that the sins of any one department were attributable to the entire government, that is to say that the Cabinet and the members of the Cabinet collectively were jointly and individually responsible for the delinquencies in the administration of each and every department. I wish to commend that view to the members of the government to-day and to ask the Minister of Marine and the Prime Minister if that doctrine has any application in this instance, and if, when the Minister of Marine asks that he should not be held responsible personally for the faults of his predecessor in office, he will not admit that, as a member of the Cabinet during the time his predecessor was in office, he and the other members of that Cabinet were equally responsible for the appalling abuses of the patronage system, which existed under their direction and control. What is the answer of the government to the charges made? The right hon. the Prime Minister, during the last election, replied that no member of his administration had been charged with any crime. The right hon. gentleman appears to have been converted to a new doctrine since the days of 1891. Now, it appears, he considers himself entirely irresponsible and his colleagues as well, until someone rises in the House and charges that any member of the government has been guilty of theft or some other crime. Let me remind the Prime Minister and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that there are other crimes against public policy besides that of theft. There are other errors of public administration which call for public condemnation besides the taking of money directly from the public coffers or winking at its being taken. If members of the government have been in office during years in succession and have failed to detect theft, if they have failed to exercise that supervision, that organizing, disciplinary and directing power which good government demands, that is a crime against the constitution deserving the condemnation of this House. The only reason that I can see which can be ae-

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CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAMPBELL.

proceed far enough to involve themselves. Considering these restrictions and limitations, it is really little short of marvellous the effect that has been produced by Judge Cassels' investigation and report. Why, here at the eleventh hour, right on the eve of this debate, the Minister of Marine goes through his department, and he reads out a few, not of the black sheep but of the black lambs, and he dismisses them from office; surely something has been accomplished by that. I read in the papers only yesterday that also, on the very eve of this debate, also on this, the eleventh hour, the Minister of Public Works sends a circular throughout the country and warns all those in the employ of his department that they must hereafter not pay excessive prices to tradesmen, that they must hereafter not accept any bribe or any loan or other favour from contractors. Surely these results are worth having. Surely it is worth while to bring these gentlemen to a state of consciousness as to their high duties to the people they represent. Surely these results are worth the whole cost of the investigation, and many times over. That investigation has furthermore accomplished the great result of bringing other members of the Cabinet to a fuller sense of their responsibility, and it has awakened throughout the country a sense of the duty of the people to hold members of the government to their responsibility. Surely these results call for a continuation of the good work. Surely the members of the government and the Prime Minister will respond to the appeal of Mr. Justice Cassels, and enter upon a course that will further enlighten public opinion and bring public opinion to a true sense of its responsibility, and ministers to a true sense of their own responsibility.

Now sir, what reason can be found, what reason within the realm of common sense can be adduced, by any hon. gentleman against such further investigation? No reason has been adduced. There is not a man in this House who will rise and put on his thinking cap and assert that a single reason has been advanced by hon. gentlemen opposite. It is no reason to say that because the Minister of Marine has continued the Conservative policy of deepening the St. Lawrence, has continued the policy of improving the waterways of this country in other parts, therefore the good work that has been done in this department should not be extended to other departments. Surely it was a travesty upon the name of reason itself for the Minister of Marine and Fisheries to advance such a hideous argument to the people of this country, and it is no less a travesty on reason, but rather a reflection on the intelligence of this House, that the argument advanced by him should have been Mr. MEIGHEN.

the one argument reiterated by his subservient followers throughout the course of this debate. I stand here and I say that throughout the course of this debate not a single member of the government side of the House has come really to the kernel of the point at all, and shown that actual good would not be accomplished by extending the good work that has been begun, but was stopped so soon.

Now the question, I say, is whether the good wmrk that has been accomplished so far does not warrant a continuation of the investigation. The Minister of Marine has referred to the success of his party in the last election. Another speaker has referred to the slogan of the Liberal party in the last election, that he thought was largely responsible for the government being returned to power, and that was the slogan repeated throughout the press and on the platform, ' Let Laurier finish his work. Now the First Minister, speaking on various platforms throughout Ontario, as reported by his organ the Toronto ' Globe, promised the people that if they would return him to office he would finish his work; he promised that he would find out who the black sheep among his followers were and weed them out of the party. Now, Sir, the First Minister, in order to give a proof of his good faith in that regard, started right at the city of Ottawa and he weeded out Mr. Eraser, who was then candidate for election in this city. Further than that he has not gone; further than that, I want to state and I want to charge, that he has done nothing whatever toward finding out the black sheep amongst his followers, much less weeding them out. He has weeded out a few of the little lambs of his flock, but so far as his political followers are concerned, no step has been taken, visible at all events, that could be considered even a pretext of investigating who are the black sheep amongst them. Now this resolution calls upon the government to go on and fulfil the' pledge they made to the country in this regard, to allow the good work to go on, and to let Laurier finish his work. If they do this all is well. We are satisfied with the results accomplished, though we deplore the nature of those results; but we are satisfied that they are more than commensurate with the equipment allowed Judge Cassels. But if this resolution is rejected by the government then they will give the people of this country every opportunity to find fault with them again for breaking a very important pledge made in the last campaign. This is my final appeal to them: Let this resolution go

through. If a further investigation is held, no harm will be done; but if they refuse a further investigation, they will be remiss in their duty to the people of this country.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Lunenburg).

The observations which I intend to address to

the House this afternoon will differ somewhat from the remarks made by speakers who have preceded me, and will perhaps treat more in detail some of the features of the report presented to parliament by the Civil Service Commission, as well as by the Cassels Commission. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Meighen) has ventured to criticise me for having questioned some of the findings of Mr. Justice Cassels, and it was intimated by one of the speakers last night that I was bound to accept the report of Mr. Justice Cassels simply because he was an appointee of the administration which I support. Well, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to submit to such an opinion being forced upon me. I surely do not consider Mr. Justice Cassels or the Civil Service Commission infallible or immune from error and I am sure that neither Mr. Justice Cassels nor the Civil Service Commission would expect me to do so. I think both reports are open to criticism, that each made mistakes, but still it does not necessarily follow that I wish to impeach the motives of either. The report of the Civil Service Commission and the report of Mr. Justice Cassels have gone a considerable distance in weakening my belief in the wisdom of appointing commissions.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN.

And the reasons perhaps which I have in my mind are not the reasons which hon. gentlemen opposite have in their minds. The report of the Civil Service Commission contained many manifest errors. They allowed themselves, through their carelessness, to reach improper conclusions. They made references, for instance, to the Department of Militia and Defence, without the slightest pretence to a knowledge of the facts which they were discussing. They made findings against the Department of Marine and Fisheries without having made the least effort to acquaint themselves with the facts, and, in many respects the findings of that commission are, to my mind, the findings of three fussy gentlemen who were anxious to report something of a sensational character and were not very anxious whether or not they were in a position to justify their findings. There is another feature of the findings and the procedure of the Cassels commission to which I wish to refer and that is, that in many cases witnesses who were not officials of the department and who appeared before Mr. Justice Cassels were denied counsel, and I submit that in many, many instances witnesses were done a grave injustice. I always did have considerable sympathy with my hon. friend for North Toronto 'Mr. Foster) for 120

being refused counsel on the occasion of the insurance investigation and I would have believed that an injustice had been done him were it not for the fact that at the conclusion of that investigation he publicly himself declared that he had been properly treated by the commission. I think, Mr. Speaker, the Cassels inquiry was certainly

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Of course, my hon. friend means that I am to take that last assertion in a somewhat Pickwickian sense? Otherwise I may say that I did nothing of the kind.

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LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I say I did nothing of the kind, and I think my hon. friend will have to retract it.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN.

I do not wish to misrepresent the position of my hon. friend, but, speaking from memory, I thought that during the discussion of that inquiry in this House a statement made by the hon. gentleman expressing his thankfulness to the commission and counsel, Mr. Shepley, was read. I may be mistaken in that, but it is not of very much importance. Now, I say that the inquiry

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Do I understand that my hon. friend accepts my word on that?

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April 2, 1909