May 10, 1911

CON
LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

He would set the

papers. I think it is his intention that the papers be examined by the commission. But it will he an examination peculiar to the position.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I recognize the justice of doing something for these men, and am not raising the slightest objection to this provision as it applies to them. But, if the service has been loaded up with a number of young men who were started at a much higher figure than their predecessors in the service, and who have obtained the $1,200 in a short time, and if this provision gives them a raise at once without their having had more experience-and probably with no more than commqn qualifications-it seems to me there is danger that either you are doing less than justice to your older employees, or more than justice to the new ones. If it would apply only to a few it would not be so bad; but if it applies to many, it might be an abuse which we should not favour. That is why. I asked the minister as to the number who could take advantage of this arrangement.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Of course, some of those to whom this would apply have not been so long in the service as others have been. But look at it in this way. Would the hon. member (Mr. Sproule) consider that $1,200 was as much as a man engaged in clerical work is entitled to after years of service and experience? If their services are worth more than $1,200, no abuse could arise even if, after examination, they were given by degrees advances to $1,600. Would the hon. gentleman think that $1,200 is all that a clerk is worth, especially in large places where "the work requires quickness, correctness and other important qualities?

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

How many years would it take for an officer having $1,200 to reach the maximum of $1,600?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Can the minister give us an idea of the number in the outside service who might take advantage of this, and who have been there only three years, together with the salaries they are receiving at the present time?

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

I could give it with reference , to the salaries. They are at the maximum, and that is the reason for introducing this clause.

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CON
LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

It is $1,200. But I could not give the exact number of clerks who would come under this provision. It would apply pretty generally to those who have been there for the length of time stated. They would not get the whole advance at once; $1,600 would be the maximum, and they would reach it by degrees. Many, especialy in Montreal and Toronto, have remained at $1,200 for some years, and we could not do anything for them though we felt they deserved higher remuneration.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

The rule that applies to the inside service of increases of $50 or $100 according to classification does not apply to the outside service. It is left to the department to recommend by order in council the advances to these officers. Their fitness is ascertained by reports of collectors and inspectors, and by the work of the clerks as it comes before the department. I am asking this year two or three hundred thousand extra, but when this is divided among 2,000 of all ranks from the Atlantic to the Pacific it means that vve are able to give only about $50, or, in some cases $100, and to some of the higher officers may be $200. You will observe that in this new classification we are raising the maximum of the examining and preventive officers whose duties are not chiefly clerical. The deputy thinks that men doing the work they do should reach a larger maximum, and that a thousand dollars should be the maximum. If there were any very deserving officers capable of going higher, we would ask them to

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pass an examination, in which they might pass out of that class into the class of clerks where they might go to $1,200.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR.

Does this affect the ordinary collector of customs, or the examiners of ports of entries such as Port Erie?

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Yes, it would affect them all. The collectors used to run from $300 to $4,000, a very wide range; now they will go from $300 to $4,500. A year or two ago an Act was passed by which we were permitted to raise the maximum of collectors to $4,500, to meet the case of two or three collectors at the largest ports, such as Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg. The collector at Fort Erie gets, I think, about $1,800. We might find it necessary to give him a little increase. In the hon. gentleman's town the revenue has increased, and I said to the deputy that I thought we were hardly compensating the collector there for his work. Cases of that kind have been taken into consideration. We are asking for $300,000 or $400,000 more, but when it is scattered over so large a number we cannot give a large increase.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOE.

I appreciate very much the remarks of the Minister of Customs with regard to the increase in the salary of the collector in my own town-I was going to mention him particularly. He is an old and efficient officer, and the collections at that port have increased to such an enormous extent that his salary is not at- all in proportion to the revenue. I hope the minister will take his case into consideration. He is a careful officer, and has not been properly paid at all. I think his salary now is about $850 a year. He has to keep a family, and when we consider the increased cost of living, that salary is not nearly enough. Fort Erie is not in my constituency, but I want to say the same with reference to the suDoram-ates at Fort Erie, some of whom I understand, are getting .a salary of $700 a year. On this salary they are expected to keep up a family, and to maintain a certain respectability. As a member of this House,

I would be glad to see such officers as 1 speak of receive an increase in salary. They are just as deserving, and in many cases more so, than the higher officers and collectors of ports. I would like to see the minister take into consideration such officers as I have mentioned, in view of the increased cost of living. Their salary has not been increased in the same proportion as the salaries of officers in almost every other capacity.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I would have been much better pleased if the minister had come ' Mr. PATERSON.

to a decision to place these outside men under the Civil Service Act, and under stable conditions. The minister has left himself a three years' limit. Now for four or five years, if I understand his procedure aright, he has been appointing men at better salaries than usual; properly so, because the cost of living has increased, and he has recognized the necessity, in order to get good men, ot giving them at least something to live upon, and probably also he has felt the reasonableness of it. But we have in the outside service, as the minister knows well, a large number of old servants, who were appointed a great many years ago, who have not had increases, but who have to maintain their families, ana carry on the expenses of a home. Now, it is harder on such a man than it would be on a young man. A young man is more hopeful, and his resiliency is greater, he is better able to come back again after feeling depressed. But an old servant who has reached a more advanced period of life, who is still at a small salary, with no hope of promotion-that is the class of men to whom I want to call the minister's attention particularly. Whilst I would rather see the three year limit maintained, because I think that enables the minister to make those provisions for all the younger men who were lately appointed at large salaries, we must rememoer that tne minister is a party man, and is at the call of the party to a large extent, and he is bound to listen to patronage claims. I think he has human nature enough in him to 'listen to them. But there will be great injustice done if, when parliament grants these possible increases, the minister does not set himself to work to ameliorate the condition of these old servants at small salaries. I want to make a plea to the minister for that class of men. If I talked for an hour I could not make the plea any stronger than I am making it.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Even under this three year limit, before they can get into this other class, in all the branches of the service that the hon. gentleman alluded to we have the power now either to grant an increase or not, according to circumstances. Length of service is one of the circumstances that should not be overlooked, and efficiency is another, and a good deal depends upon corresponding salaries in other ports. Collectors examine closely wnat changes are made, and what is paid collectors working beside them at other ports. Consequently we have to establish a kina of rough rule, which, however, cannot be a rule, because one collector might have just as much work to do, though his revenue might not show so large as that of

another. Perhaps there may be a large amount of shipping, and much work in entering and clearing vessels at a certain port. But we are trying to advance them all. As I said before, parliament has been very kind to us. I think in the last three or four years parliament has given us over half a million dollars, some of which has gone to establish new ports, but most of it has gone in salaries. When you consider that we have to provide for a .numerous staff from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we have to ask for large sums, which sometimes have appeared to me a little startling. But the House recognizes the fact that the salaries ought to be higher than they were a few years ago, and I think I can say honestly that I have done something in that direction. I suppose I have the feelings that actuate others and that reasons may be shown, perhaps, other than those of sufficiency, or efficiency, or duties, but I do try, as far as I can, and I think my officers try as far as they can, in the distribution ot tnese moneys, to act rairiy. l think I can honestly say that the fact as to what the political complexion of an officer may have been in days gone by does not count against him, and it ought not to.

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CON
LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

If a vacancy occurs and a suitable persons to fill it is recommended to me, if that person happened to be of the Liberal faith, he would not be rejected therefor. I am speaking with reference to-new appointments. But men who have been in the service, no matter when they came in or what they may have been before, if they are doing their duty faithfully and well and it is possible to give a general increase, there will be full consideration given to their cases on their merits. That is the way we try to do. Of course, we cannot satisfy everybody. Some officers think that they are worth more, perhaps, than my chief officers or inspectors report, and we are not able to satisfy them. But, I think, as a rule, the service is pretty well satisfied that they have been fairly dealt with. Their only complaint would be that those in the service are not paid as they should be, and really, if you take the whole customs service and divide it up, putting the low and high salaries together, you will find that tlie average salary is considerably under a thousand dollars. I think it is only about $800, and that will not be considered extravagant payment for them.

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CON
LIB
IND

Joseph Russell

Independent

Mr. RUSSELL.

I would like to ask the minister if there is any general increase to be

granted to the clerks and landing waiters? These are officers who are receiving what I would consider to be small pay-about $700 or $800 a year. Are they to get an increase in their pay this year?

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May 10, 1911