May 17, 1916


The House in Committee of Supply, Mr. Rhodes in the Chair. Civil Government-House of Commons-to appoint M. Crossley Sherwood to second division, subdivision A, as assistant clerk of Orders and Records of the House of Commons, $1,600.


LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I am glad the Minister

of Finance and the Minister of Trade and Commerce are in their seats, because when I point out the facts of this case, I think they will see that it is only reasonable that this item should be withdrawn. What are the facts? Mr. Sherwood may be a very worthy young man; I do not happen to know him. He has been a sessional clerk for the last two years, and the late Speaker, Hon. Dr. Sproule, said that if he wanted to get into the service of one of the departments he would have to pass the usual examination. Mr. Sherwood has not passed that examination, and is therefore ineligible for this position. Some time ago I asked for the correspondence to be brought down in connection with this matter, and I find that on the 17th of January, 1916, the Clerk of the House wrote to the Civil Service Commission asking to have Mr. Sherwood appointed. This was done at the request of His Honour the Speaker. That letter was answered by the Civil Service, Commission on January 26, as follows:

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON
LIB
CON
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

No. Look up the telephone directory and you will find the name there-H. Crossley Sherwood, photographic supplies. It is this young man's own business. Now, why should he be put in at double the regular salary when he has not even passed the examination? The only reason I can see for it-and I judge from what I know of how appointments are made-is that my hon. friend the member for Ottawa desires to force this through. And why? Because this young man's father is secretary of the Conservative Association in the city of Ottawa. That secretaryship is an honourable position, and I have no possible objection to any man holding it; but I do not think that the Minister of Finance, who has been preaching economy to us during this session, should allow anything like this to take place at a time when we should be practising economy. Surely

the members on the Treasury benches did not understand the position when they put this item in the Estimates. This is a small matter, If you dike: it means the paying of $1,600 a year instead of $800 a year. But it means also the pitchforking of a man into a position over the heads of others who have been in the service for many years. If there is one thing more than another that is affecting the Civil Service and making trouble and dissatisfaction, it is such acts as this. The young man writes a letter to the Speaker, and you would think he was the Government by the way he points out how his appointment should be made. He shows that he cannot be appointed under section 21, and goes on to say that the way that is here proposed is the only way in which he can be appointed.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

That provides for the appointment of experts.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

salary, even though he had not passed an examination. I think that no more glaring case ever occurred. Then the Clerk of the House, in accordance with the letter from the Speaker, wrote to the Minister of Finance as follows:

Dear Sir Thomas:

X am directed by His Honour the Speaker to communicate with you as to his wishes in the matter of an assistant clerk in the Orders and Records Office of the House of Commons.

He desires to appoint Mr. H. C. Sherwood of Ottawa to that office at a salary of $1,600 per annum, and he desires to have this done by direct appointment in the Appropriation Act. The grade of the office is B of the second division.

All these appointments, I understand, have to be recommended by a certain board. The Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, the Speaker of the House, and Sir George Perley were the members of the last board. You will find in the Civil Service list of 1915, page 273, the following: " Vacancy, 2-B, assistant clerk in Votes and Proceedings office." The board recommended that this position he filled, and I understand that as there was no vacancy in the staff of the House of Commons in subdivision A of the second division it was not competent for this House to put a clerk in subdivision A without a resolution or Order in Council. In order to do this, as I have said, it would be necessary to pass a resolution or Order in Council. In the face of these facts, simply because the young man in question has some political pull, everything is overridden, dissatisfaction is caused throughout the Civil Service and the country is out $800 a year that it should not he out, especially under the present conditions and in view of the economy urged by the Minister of Finance. I think that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade and Commerce, in view of the facts that I have stated, ought to see that this item is withdrawn. I depend a little more on the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Finance than upon some of their colleagues in a matter of this kind. One thing I cannot understand is how the change came to be made from subdivision B to subdivision A. I point out further to the Minister of Finance that as we are going to prorogue to-morrow there will be six or eight months during which this clerk will have absolutely nothing to do. Under these circumstances, in the interests of the Civil Service and of the country generally, I ask that this item be withdrawn.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

In answer to my 'hon. friend, who seems very much disturbed about the item now before the committee, at this late hour in the session it is not my purpose to discuss the treatment meted out by the present Government to its employees in the city of Ottawa and elsewhere. I can only say in a most respectful manner that the statement of my hon. friend regarding this case simply adds insult to injury so far as it concerned the 'treatment that we have extended to employees of thg late Administration. The hon. gentleman has dwelt at some length upon Mr. Sherwood securing a salary of $1,600 a year in the position which he is now filling. The position is a very important one, requiring special knowledge of the work. We have had the services of Mr. 'Sherwood temporarily in this office for four years, and he has performed his duties with entire satisfaction to those associated with him in the office, and, I think, to the House. As to the assertion of my hon. friend respecting political pull, Mr. Sherwood did not require to rest his case upon that consideration, because he was so eminently qualified to fill the position that the Speaker was justified in making the recommendation to the Minister of Finance that this amount be placed in the Estimates. The best justification that I can give t'he committee for the action of the 'Speaker in making the Recommendation that he did is a letter written by Mr. Colwell, who is head of the branch, and who has had Mr. Sherwood associated with him during the past four years. It was as I understand it, on this strong recommendation of Mr. Colwell that the Speaker made the recommendations which we are now considering.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I have not seen the papers brought down; but I have here a letter from Mr. Charles S. Colwell.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
?

Mr ROGERS:

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

That is from his superior?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

That is the gentleman

who was at that time the head of the department, who has since been temporarily dismissed; and so far as I am concerned I sincerely hope that he will be permanently dismissed.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

No, it was for writing

the speech delivered by my hon. friend from Assiniboia CMr. Turriff).

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

May 17, 1916