November 19, 1909

CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG.

I would ask the Minister of Agriculture whether this Bill would conflict with the measures passed by the local legislatures of any of the provinces ?

Topic:   PROTECTION OF VEGETATION FROM PESTS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

There is no such intention. I said, in the remarks I have just made, that there were laws on this subject in British Columbia and Ontario. I shall be very sorry indeed to have any clash with the working of those Acts. There is no doubt that, under our constitution, there is concurrent jurisdiction between the provinces and the Dominion on these subjects And there is certain work which can be done better under a Dominion law, because that law applies to all the provinces, whereas' each provincial Act covers only the territory of the province by whose legislature it is passed. In the working of this Act. I should be disposed to be very careful not to overlook the operation of any provincial Mr. FISHER.

Act and certainly not to clash with anything in those Acts that tends to the accomplishment of the general object sought. I think that in every province the people will be quite aware of the danger of the spread of pests of this kind from one province to another, which spread can only be dealt with by a federal law. I would say, in answer to the hon. member for Yale Cariboo (Mr. Burrell) that the Bill is ready, and I propose to introduce it to-day on the passage of this resolution. It can then be printed, and I will not proceed with it until members have had an opportunity to examine it, and, if necessary, to communicate with those whom they desire to consult concerning it. At the same time, I would like to have it pushed forward as rapidly as possible consistent with the public interest.

Topic:   PROTECTION OF VEGETATION FROM PESTS.
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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Why not add a clause dealing with foul seeds?

Topic:   PROTECTION OF VEGETATION FROM PESTS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That is another Act altogether, the Seed Control Act.

Resolution reported, read the first and second times and agreed to.

Mr. FISHER moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 20) to prevent the introduction or spreading of insects, pests and diseases destructive to vegetation.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


SUPPLY-EXPENDITURE ON CIVIL GOVERNMENT.

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Hon. W. S.@

FIELDING (Minister of Finance) moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. GEO. E. FOSTER (North Toronto).

Before you leave the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a few remarks on the subject of the civil government expenses, which, I understand, it is proposed to take up to-day. I was talking not long ago with a very intelligent man, who takes as deep and continuous an interest in the public affairs of this country, probably, as any other man in it, and, in looking over some figures of our expenditures, or rather estimates of expenditure as set forth in the main estimates, and contrasting them with the expenditures of previous years, he made the statement that he would not have believed it to be true were it not before him in a most incontrovertible way. That is, he expressed his utter astonishment that expenditures in these lines had gone to the limit to which they have. I believe that this is by no means an isolated case. I believe that the people of this country, for whatever reason, have not any adequate idea, in the first place, of the extraordinary large dimensions to which these expenditures have grown, or in the second place of the extraordinarily rapid rate at which these expen-

ditures have increased. It may be that the members of His Majesty's opposition are at fault for not having put these matters before the people. Certainly, some things are different now from what thew were before. While we were in government and the party on that side were in opposition, every Liberal and Grit paper, large and small, printed repeatedly in large letters, kept constantly before the people, the increasing expenditures of the country, until, by daily repetition, by almost hourly reveiw, the people had it impressed upon them that there was a dangerously large expenditure and a dangerously rapid increase in that expenditure. But that large and influential portion of the press is to-day absolutely, or almost absolutely, silent with regard to the growing expenditure of Canada. There are no more large headlines in these papers, no more reiterated expressions in large figures and bold-faced type warning the people of danger, notwithstanding the rapid increase of expenditure that is taking place. Our own press-I mean by that the press that generally voices the opinion of :he Liberal-Conservative party may have failed in this respect, as we as members of this House may have failed, and that may be a good reason why the country as a whole is not alarmed.

The great convention of 1893 made a unanimous proclamation that they viewed with alarm the large and growing expenditures of the country, and the rapidly increasing debt of the country. To-day the people do not seem to be alarmed. That condition is not prevalent in the country, it seems, and my view of it is that the people, in a time of comparative prosperity and of large dealings, have had their minds more upon their own business than upon the business transacted under the administration of the Dominion government, and consequently have not taken time to inform themselves with respect to this matter. Well, I think it is the part of His Majesty's opposition in this House, partly, outside the House more than in it, and of the press which is favourable to our view of the question, to see to it that these expenditures are brought before the people, that they are understood by the people, and then, if the people absolutely desire that that shall be the rule, why the people are the arbiters in the final decision of the question. And so I am going to take up this matter of civil government expenditures, and just for a moment place two or three facts before the House in the hope that they will get to the country, that they may form an impression, and that at least the minds of the people shall be directed to what is going on so that they may form their own conclusions whether they consider it to be proper expenditure or not.

When these gentlemen sitting opposite were in opposition, there was nothing about

which they thundered and volleyed with more persistence and vehemence than the increase and quantity of the expenditures upon the different services of the country. If there was one subject more than another to which they paid especial attention, it was the item of civil government expenditures. They talked about the number of people that filled the corridors and were placed in the offices in the city of Ottawa; they talked about the extravagant salaries that were paid; they talked about the useless men and women that were employed, and they made it a strong point that if they came into power they would reduce this civil government expenditure, they would root out the useless officers, and they would put in just a sufficient number to carry on the work, and that they would effect notable economies.

Now what has happened? In 1883-4, civil government cost this country $1,084,417; thirteen years afterwards, in 1895-6, when the Liberal-Conservative government went out of power, civil government cost this country $1,396,628, an increase of $312,211, or a little over thirty per cent; thirteen years afterwards, in 1907-8, civil government cost this country $2,088,416, an increase of $691,788, or a little over fifty per cent. In 1908-9, civil government cost $3,283,265; in 1909-10, it cost, according to the estimates, $4,537,074; in 1910-11, civil government costs according to the estimates, $4,703,707.

Now I say it is absolutely startling that on this hill, and surrounding it, for civil government alone, nearly $5,000,000 is taken #out of the taxpayer's contribution that he has to lay before the government each year for the expenditures of this country. No man can convince me that it is necessary that $5,000,000, or anything near it, should be spent in order to get a fair and effective service in the offices and departments here in Ottawa. It is absolutely unthinkable that such is 'necessary, or that such ought to be the case.

Now, I want to be absolutely fair. In 1908-9 there were seven months in 'which the civil government estimates bulked larger, because a number of those that had been employed and paid out of contingencies in the different departments were brought into the civil service, and after September 1, 1908, went then into the civil government list. That makes it somewhat larger. But I purposely took the year before that, when no such translation had taken place, and showed that at that time there had been the large increase up to $2,088,416, while from 1908-9 when the Civil Service Act was in force throughout the whole year, the increase is a startling one. In 1908-9. $3,283,000; in 1909-10, under the same conditions, $4,538,000; in 1910-11, under the same conditions, $4,703,407, an

increase in this last year of pretty nearly $160,000.

Now that is a statement which I think ought to make even ministers thoughtful; it ought to make, every good citizen who believes in economical administration thoughtful. But when you take into consideration with that the increase of the expenditures in every other department, brought up last year to $127,000,000, whereas in 1896 it was about $41,000,000, those things all put together, I think, ought to give pause to the business people of this country, and to every good citizen, and at least ought to set him thinking.

Here, is a list of civil government expenditures as provided for in the estimates for 1910-11:

CIVIL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES. Estimates for 1910-1911

$ $

Gov. Gen's. Seety 14 20,000 40,600Privy Council 20 35,137 7,400Justice 53 103,498 11,000Militia 98 127,000 10,000Sect'y State 34 56,412 9.000Printing and Stationery 70 86,648 7.300Interior 722 876,886 47,000Indians 75 111,825 12,550N. W. M. Police n 18,425 900Auditor General. 79 103,200 5,000Finance 92 113,500 12,000Customs 182 244,975 10,500Inland Revenue 69 100.912 8,000Agriculture 274 359,175 13,500Marine and Fisheries.. 175 250,150 30,000Railways and Canals.. 89 130,187 15,000Public Works 243 358,537 15,500Mines 103 174,689 Post Office 505 546,260 64,800Trade and Commerce.. 34 44,887 21,500Labour 23 32,300 12,000Supt. Insurance 15 18,750 11,300All of which is, of course , supported by the insurance companies. $ $

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Consulting Engineer. ..@

2 7,300 700Lxternal Affairs 9 14,875 3,500

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Consulting Engineer. ..@

8 12,950

C. S. Comm 10 18,675 13,500

Depts. Generally 54,000

Totals at Ottawa 2,909 3,966,757 436,950High Comm's. Office 6 11,350 21,280Grand totals 2,915 3,978,107 458,230In all Add Ministers and Governors

267,066

Grand total $4,703,403

and I do not wish to add anything in the way of comment except to make a plain presentment of this one single branch of government expenditure. Take into account the necessary increase owing to increased business, take into account, if you like, the increased salaries which came into vogue in 1908, take into account the progress of the country and when you have done all that there still is a mighty big margin of, I believe, absolutely unnecessary and wasteful expenditure which is taking place under the shadow of this parliament on the hill at Ottawa in the departments. There is a way by which thii may be tested. I challenge the government to test it. They have appointed their own Civil Service Commission, men of their own choosing; there is authority in the Civil Service Act to authorize the Civil Service Commission to make an inquiry into the different departments and report as to whether they are sufficiently manned, or over-manned and whether the services rendered are equal to the salaries that are paid. This then can be tested. Let the ministry avail themselves of the power which they have in the Act and at least give to the people in the country, even though it be through officers appointed by themselves and consequently supposed to be favourable to themselves, a little chance to know whether or not they are paying too much for the work which goes- on on the hill at Ottawa.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance).

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) ever need accuse himself of any lack of duty in the matter of calling attention to the increase in the expenditures of this government. I want to do him the justice, if it be justice, to say that in every session when he has been amongst us he has discharged that duty. The only difference that I can recall is that in previous sessions my hon. friend has deferred his arraignment until the close of the session while this time he has been good enough to give it to us at the beginning, which perhaps will make for the expediting of public business and I have no fault to find with him on that score. My hon. friend, while referring particularly to the civil service has generalized with regard to the increased expenditure of the country. I would only remind him that some changes have come over the condition of the country during the period to which he has referred. He refers to the expenditure on the civil service in 1883 and then he points out what the increase had been down to 1895. He says that it had been some thirty per cent. Then he compares it with the very large increase of recent years. Well, we cannot very well challenge the accuracy of my hon. friend's figures, but it appears to me that

I do nr, think that needs any comment Me. FOSTER,

there are some other things which he ought fairly to have introduced into the discussion.

Now, the business of the country may be measured in various ways. The revenue of the country is one measure, and increased revenue means increased cost of collection. Increased revenue is usually followed by increased expenditure and increased expenditure involves increased cost of management in every department of the government. Had my hon. friend looked at it from that point of view he would be obliged to tell us that in the year ending the 30th June, 1883, the revenue of the country was thirty-five and three-quarter millions, that in the year ending the 30th June, 1905, the revenue had actually fallen short and the country was making no progress. It was a period of comparative stagnation, and so for the year ending the 30th June, 1895, the revenue was less that $34,000,000 and the highest revenue of any of the years my hon. friend cited was about $38,000,000. If my hon. friend is going to make comparison as between two periods, one period showing stagnation all along the line, a period when . the Northwest territories were not being filled as they are to-day, a period when little or no growth was taking place in Canada, then my hon. friend should have told us of these conditions and compared them with the prosperous conditions of the country when the revenue has grown to more than $96,000,000. My hon. friend (Mr. Fisher) reminds me that according to the hon. gentleman's own statement his government increased the expenditure of the civil service more than 30 per cent at a time when the country was- in a condition of stagnation. While it is true that we have increased the expenditure we have increased it only to meet the expansion of the business of the country. I am quite sure that upon careful examination it will be found that the expenditure has only kept pace with the growing needs of Canada. Then, turning from the civil service the hon. gentleman made reference to the general expenditure, I would remind him that while he and hon. gentlemen opposite are ready to condemn the increased expenditure generally, yet when you come to deal with matters of detail, with very rare exceptions the cry of gentlemen opposite is not for less expenditure but for more. They are very human on that side of the House. Some hon. gentleman who sits on the Speaker's left, goes home to his constituents and he discovers that in this growing time the post office accommodation in his town is insufficient, and he comes back to this House and he is quite as ready as any Liberal to say it is time that a new' post office should be built.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

They cannot get it though.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

They get it in many cases. Never wras there a time in the history of this parliament when the opposition were so well treated in the matter of public expenditures as they are to-day. Why, Sir, it is a matter of notoriety that in the days when the Conservatives were in power the counties wdiich did not return supporters to them could get little or nothing. We know that by our experiences in the eastern provinces. But, in the estimates now on the table of the House it will be found that .constituencies that do not support the government are treated most generously and liberally, and that the needs of the public are considered without reference to the question of politics at all. There is only one way to consider the question of the expenditures of civil government and that is to take each department on its own merits. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) speaks of the enormous increase that has been made to the staff of the Interior Department. We grant there has been an increase there but we say that it measures the expansion of Canada in the northwest. Would the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) compare the cost of managing the Interior Department to-day, with its abundant revenue, with the tremendous immigration coming into the country; would he compare it for one moment with the Department of the Interior in the days of stagnation when the Conservatives were in power? If he looks at it in that light I am sure that his sense of fairness will compel him to admit that there is just cause for the very large increase in the public expenditure in re-lato-n to the civil service. I do not know the details respecting every department of government ; but I am not prepared to say that the hon. gentleman can find of no instance where a department is over-manned. There are many departments in which you have old officials, men who have served the country rvell in their day and generation, but who to-day are not able to do very much work. We. from a sense of fairness and in appreciation of the services rendered by these old employees retain them in the service when we are not able to get as much work out of them as we would out of younger men. Probably my hon. friend could find that here and there he could economize by getting rid of those old and faithful servants, but I think the hon. gentleman himself v7ould rather bear the responsibility of some enlargement of the expenditure in this respect than treat these old officials in a harsh way. There is another thought, and that is that the hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House are generally disposed to increase the expenditure on the civil service rather than to reduce it, because wp frequently

2X9

have had complaints from them that the public officials are not sufficiently paid, and I know of no proposal to increase the salaries of civil servants at Ottawa that was not warmly advocated by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) or by those who sit near him. It is rather too late to arraign the government for this large expenditure on the civil service, unless we are prepared to take due account of the tremendous change that has come over Canada; of the enormously increased public business, of the great increase in our revenue, and the thousand and one things which devolve upon the government to-day and which did not devolve upon the government of some few years since. When the people take into consideration not merely the increased expenditure but the increased business and the increased prosperity of Canada, the conclusion I believe will he reached by them that we have been simply keeping pace with the growth of the country.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EXPENDITURE ON CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
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Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee of Supply. Department of Agriculture-Salaries (including George F. O'Halloran) $6,000, $359,175.


CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Does this include payment for those who will be engaged in the census ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

It includes an additional vote for the extra labour entailed in Ottawa in the coming year. I will possibly have to get an amendment of the Civil Service Act to enable me to employ extra help of a temporary character in the city of Ottawa. The extra work on the census -will not commence in the city of Ottawa until well on in the coming fiscal year. This, of course, does not include any work done outside the city of Ottawa. Under the present Civil Service Act I cannot employ temporary clerks for work of that kind for more than a few months in the year. When the staff comes to be formed for the compilation of the census, it may be requisite to employ a number of extra clerks in the city of Ottawa for one or two years. To enable me to do this, there will have to be an amendment made to the Civil Service Act or to the Census Act.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I notice that there is provided for here an additional clerk in the first division, subdivision A.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

In the organization of the department I find that I shall have to have certain work in the department, which is increasing very materially, done under an officer who will have responsibilities and duties which will justify his being placed in that position.

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November 19, 1909