May 10, 1911

LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

My deputy has a memorandum prepared of some hundreds of increases taking the Dominion altogether. I have not that under my hand at the present time, and I do not know that it would be advisable to read it publicly in the House.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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IND
LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

No, but if the salaries of these officers are $800 or thereabouts, I do not know whether there would be much of an increase to them. It may seem that this is small enough to pay men, but the highest they can go up to in the service is $1,000. There are a great many who are receiving $700 and $800. If they were getting an increase it would probably be about $50. An increase can only be given as the money is appropriated; there is no automatic increase as in the inside service. A great many men have been in the service for years and years, and perhaps, until within the last two years, have not received any increase at all. I have in my mind one efficient officer who is now holding a high position, but who was for eighteen years precisely at the same salary of $1,000. He is receiving a higher salary now. But the increases are not rapid. I sometimes wonder at the pressure there is from capable men to enter the Civil Service, and young men at that, because it does seem to me that there are far better opportunities for men with their abilities in other w-alks of life than in the Civil Service. There are so' few prizes in the Civil Service. It has this advantage, that it is permanent, it is a respectable position, the hours are not very long, and that has its attraction foT certain people, but to the energetic young man my personal advice would be to try and see if he cannot do better somewhere else. One of the great difficulties in advancing the salaries of these officers is that if a vacancy takes place in one qf the offices drawing a salary of $700 or $800 you will get over a dczen applicants for. it all eager to get the position. You know that in your own business, things are kind of regulated by the law of supply and demand, and in a public office, as a trustee of the people, you have to be guided somewhat by tbe same principle. It is the very multiplicity of the applications to get into the public service that makes it difficult. When they get in it is not an unusual thing for them to ask for an advance.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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CON
LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

I will not say that in every case, but it is so.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Before this carries I would like to observe that I appreciate very much some of the considerations that the minister has brought forward, but I would like to say to him that there has been a good deal of complaint, and I might almost add scandal, in connection with the treatment of some of the men in the Halifax custom office. These men, who are men of very great capacity and of very long service, have been overlooked. According to statements in the press, for which I do not vouch, but which the minister can put right if they are not correct, these men have been overlooked for a great many years, while men who have entered the service within the past ten or twelve years have received salaries that are much more adequate in relation to the amount of work done than the salaries of the men to whom I allude. I can give the minister some illustrations of this, as I have them here right under my hand. I can give him the case of men who entered the service within seven or eight years, and who have salaries as high as men who have been thirty years in the service, and I venture to say that he could not get a report from the collector of customs at Halifax which would indicate that there is any good reason for that discrimination. It has been stated in the public press of Halifax that three of these men, who have been a long time in the service, were recommended for an increase by the collector of customs of Halifax, Mr. Mitchell, a very capable man, who was appointed by this government, and that the recommendation of Mr. Mitchell in that regard was entirely overlooked. This is said to be due to the fact that the gentleman who represented the county between 1904 and 1908 put in a very strong objection and protest to the increases being granted. I do not know whether that statement is correct or not, but I do say that, if the minister permitted' the recommendation of the collector of customs at- Halifax to that end to be overlooked upon such a protest or objection, I do not think he was doing his duty. I know Mr. Mitchell very well; he was a strong Liberal before he was appointed to the position which he now holds, a very strong and a very active Liberal, and I do not think that any one in Halifax objected to his appointment. I congratulated him myself upon his appointment, and I think he has discharged the duties of the office there with a great deal of efficiency. If these recommendations were made for increases of salary they ought not to have been passed over for any such reason as has been stated in the public press.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Yes, if that was the. reason. I am not asserting that it was the reason.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Of course, our officers do not feel bound to take the recommendations of collectors in all cases, but they are bound to give them due consideration. You can understand that the collectors quite naturally would like to see all the officers advanced, and, therefore, we are not able to meet their views in all cases. But if there is any case overlooked without good reason, I would be pleased if the hon. gentleman would give the name.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I will give the names at once. The first one is Mr. W. A. Garrison. I had no communication from Mr. Garrison, directly or indirectly, and all I know about his case I gather from the public press. He is surveyor of the port of Halifax; he has been acting collector during the illness of Mr. Harrington, the predecessor of Mr. Mitchell; he is a man of ability, and of long experience, and I have not heard that there ever has been any complaint against him; he entered the service forty-one years ago as tidewaiter, became clerk in the long room, and was promoted to the vacant surveyorship about twenty years ago. When this newspaper article was written two years ago, his salary was $1,500, and I think it remains at that still.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The man who

fills the same position in Quebec gjkrts $2,000; in St. John, $1,700; in Ottawa, $1,650, and in Vancouver, $2,000, while Mr. Garrison, with forty-one years service, and with the ability to act as collector, receives only $1,500. Another officer mentioned in the^Halifax ' Herald ' of 21st June, 1909, is Mr. J. O'Brien. I have had no communication from him, and I know nothing of his case except what is to be found in this newspaper article. He has had forty years service, he has been chief clerk for twenty years, his present salary is $1,200, and he has had no increase since 1893. In an interview I had with the minister, at which was present the Commissioner of Customs and two other officers of the department, I mentioned the case of Mr. John R. Power, and I would remind the minister tfiat the salary of Mr. Power, after thirty years service, is only $950, although there are several men performing similar duties, having not more than six or seven years' service, who receive higher salaries. I am not complaining of the salaries given these men of recent appointment; I do not say that any one of them is receiving more than he should; I would not be surprised to learn that some of them are receiving less

than what might properly be paid to them; but I do say that the apparent discrimination between these gentlemen and Mr. Power ought not to continue, and that some recognition should be given to long and faithful service.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

Your comparisons are between officers in other ports, and not the officers in Halifax.

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax.) In the other cases, but not in this case. I am saying that these men have been overlooked in salary increases for a great many years; I am calling the attention of the minister to the statement that these men have been recommended over and over again, for an increase of salary by the present collector, Mr. Mitchell, and that in no case has an increase been granted to anv one of them. I hope the minister will take these individual cases into consideration.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

I do not say anything against Mr. Garrison, but he is an aged man now, and there does exist this discrepancy between the same officers at different ports, and St. John and Halifax watch each other very closely when comparisons are made. We have found, in order to get good men, that i't is necessary to start them at a higher salary than was the case in years gone by. In the earlier years of jmy administering the department, as a rule we started a new officer at a lower rate than had been attained after years of service by the officers he was replacing, but lately we have had to give higher salaries.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I do not think the minister's explanation is borne out by the facts, because I can give him the names of men who have been appointed six or seven years ago at salaries of $600, and who are now receiving as high as $1,100.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

There are quite a list of them.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I do not wish to mention the names of these gentlemen in public, because I am taking no exception at all to the salaries paid them, but I will send the minister a private memorandum.

Topic:   SCHEDULE 'B,' CUSTOMS.
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LIB

May 10, 1911