April 2, 1909

LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

The part that you have read, too.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

These poor commissioners seem _ to be most unfortunate. They were appointed by the government, they bring in reports to which my hon. friend (Mr. A. K. Maclean) takes exception, as he did take exception this afternoon, and it appears that in this particular instance they have also made a ^ mistake. Weil, I am not concerned with the concluding part of the paragraph, as it has been corrected. I may say to the Minister of Militia that I was not aware that the first part of the paragraph had been in any way corrected.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I took a good deal of trouble to do it last year and I think it stands as I stated it last year.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

In what way?

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

That they had made a mistake.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

No, that is not the point. Perhaps the hon. gentleman will look at it again.

There is no means by which they could appreciate whether the amounts payable for sub-target guns or for Boss rifles are proper and just.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Oh, well, I cannot supply brains.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I have no doubt that the intimation will be conveyed to them that my hon. friend will not undertake to supply them with brains and, if they were such commissioners in that regard as they, have been described it may be deemed necessary to supply them from some other source.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Thank you,

I have no doubt my hon. friend can supply them.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Well, I would not like to go into comparisons on that subject.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I quite agree with my hon. friend.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

As long as we are both agreed on one subject at least, perhaps we will proceed to discuss some other portion of the remarks of my right hon. friend.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Quite so. We both seem to agree that the commission require brains.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Well, I am not here to-night, Mr. Speaker, to argue the point with my hon. friend, that he and his colleagues saw fit to appoint a commission which was destitute of brains.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Order, order.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I at once admit my responsibility and express my regret.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L BORDEN.

Well, I think that not only the hon. gentleman but his colleagues as well have every reason to express regret at the appointment of that commission. As we once more agree we will return to the remarks of the right hon. gentleman. Let us consider for a moment the answer of the Prime Minister to certain remarks of my hon. friend from North Toronto. He said that there was an absolute rule of British parliamentary government that no investigation into administrative affairs should ever be undertaken by parliament or by any commission appointed by the executive. Why, Mr. Speaker, the whole history of British parliamentary government is full of illustrations of exactly the contrary doctrine. As to an inquiry for the purpose of regulating the interior workings of a department, matters for which the executive alone is responsible and responsible to parliament, there may be some force in what the right

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

judieed as to suppose that the people of this country "will believe that men operating in other departments of this government, supplying different departments of this government, have been carrying on certain iniquitous practices in one department and have absolutely refrained from these practices in other departments? Will public opinion be satisfied by any statement of my right lion, friend, eminent as he is and experienced in public life, to that effect? I say no, a thousand times no. So far as party advantage is concerned,

I would welcome the voting down of this motion by the right hon. gentleman and his colleagues; but for the future decency of public life in this country, to remove suspicion that is already too prevalent, to cleanse the departments if they need cleansing, I still hope that my right hon. friend will change his mind in that regard, that he will remodel this resolution, if necessary, and give to the people of this country that investigation into the affairs of the various departments of this government which ought to be given, in view of what has been disclosed in recent years.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. EMMANUEL B. DEVLIN (Wright).

Mr. Speaker, I wish to offer to the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) my congratulations upon the moderate way in which he has placed his case before the House. I am sorry that I cannot agree with the conclusions to which he came, and that I shall not be able to support his amendment which he has placed before the House. The amendment is to the effect that the commission of 1907, in the course of their investigations into the conditions of the Civil Service, made extended inquiry into the working of one branch only of all the departments in Ottawa, and criticised other departments, and it ends up by calling for a competent business commission to make an investigation into the working of all the great spending departments of the government. Now, Mr. Speaker, if the amendment had stated that where any specific charges are made against any particular department of this government an investigation should take place, I would have been very glad to have supported the amendment. If the amendment had said that the investigation should be held by a judicial commission, I would have supported it. I think the hon. member for St. Anne will agree with me that in matters calling for the examination of evidence-in matters of this kind, where witnesses must be examined and cross-examined by counsel, where legal technicalities may constantly arise-the only possible way of holding an honest and a wise investigation is to have it conducted before a judge. He will also agree with me, I think, that human nature after all is human nature, and that it would be hard to find a commission composed to say of three Mr. E. L. BOEDEN.

men, who would not be somewhat influenced by party feeling and party prejudice and perhaps by party passion; whereas his own experience upon the bench would teach him that the moment a man is called to the high, honourable and dignified position of a judge in this country, he leaves his political affinities at the door, and goes on the bench sworn to do his duty by his God and by his country.

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we heard a very eloquent speech delivered by our .very sensitive friend the hon. member for North Toronto (Hon. G. E. Foster). An abler debater than he is I hardly think exists in this country; an abler reasoner hardly exists in this country; but a man with a poorer memory I have not yet met. My hon. friend entertained us this afternoon with a ghost of the middle ages. Would you believe, Mr. Speaker, that by chance I happened upon a certified cojiy of a report of a Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 21st of October, 1891; and i'f the ghost of my hon. friend's middle ages had appeared before me, I would not have been more astounded than I was to find that in 1891, when hon. gentlemen who sit upon this side were in opposition, charging the then hon. Minister of Finance, the present hon. member for North Toronto, and his colleagues with inefficient public servants, the hon. member for North Toronto, as Minister .of Finance, stood up in the House and with his colleagues offered to the then opposition -what do you think? A competent business commission, composed of business men? No, Mr. Speaker, 'Scripture notwithstanding,' the hon. member for North Toronto stood up and said: ' If my conduct as an officer in the administration of this _ country's affairs is to be questioned by this parliament, if the conduct o'f my colleagues is to be questioned I, the Minister of Finance, will be the one to investigate it; if I am.to be charged with any offence, or if the Civil Service is to be charged with any offence, I, the one charged, will examine into my conduct, and I will render the verdict which the country as a jury must accept.' This modern apostle of political reform was not satisfied with putting his name alone upon tliat committee, but be joined with it the names of two other gentlemen-not business men, Sir, but two of his colleagues; and I flnci-and I am very glad that that ghost of the middle ages is not here-that the two other names, accompanying the name of George E. Foster, were those of John IlaS' gart and E. Dewdney, then ministers, who were to conduct the examination. This is a most interesting document; it is not ancient history, but it applies perfectly to the case. I do not think the hon. member for North Toronto will deny its contents. It reads thus:

The committee of the Privy Council, appointed to investigate and report upon the

cases of irregularity in the civil service as developed in the Public Accounts Committee, and to further report upon any similar cases in the public service, beg leave to present the following as their findings and recommendations in respect thereof.

And first as regards the Department of the Interior, your committee find from a careful perusal of the evidence and documents hereto attached:-

1. That the Civil Service Act of 1868 prohibited the payment, for extra services, of any sums of money to permanent clerks other than their regular salaries.

2. That from a period dating at least as far back as 1875 a practice began to grow up in the department under which occasional payments for extra work were made to permanent clerks in violation of this clause of the Civil Service Act.

3. That during the years 1882-1889 inclusive-

When our hon. friends opposite, then in power, were growing holder,

this occasional practice became frequent, and under it several permanent clerks received extra payments, either in the name of outsiders or fictitious persons

you would hardly believe it,

or through temporaty clerks, for work performed wholly or partly by themselves.

I shall not trouble the House by reading the whole of this report, hut will go to the sixth clause:

That the whole sum, thus irregularly paid to permanent officials for extra work, amounted, as far as can be ascertained, to $9,017 from the year 1875 to date.

Will the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) tell me if that amount of $9,017 of the people's money which he, as Finance Minister, was supposed to have control of, was ever refunded to the government of this country?

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April 2, 1909