May 17, 1916

CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I might be permitted to say a few words on this. It is true that Mr. Sherwood was recommended to me and to the Government for the position. Mr. Sherwood is represented to the committee as being a young man; one would believe that he was a young man of about 15 or 16 years of age.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Mr. Sherwood is a married man with a family living in Ottawa, and the recommendations which I received on his behalf could not have been better. I asked for some information from the Clerk of the House as to the appointment, and it is true that in his letter of the

14th February the Clerk of the House advised me that Mr. Sherwood would have to get a certificate from the Civil Service Commission. That point was mentioned by the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff); but in that letter from the Clerk of the House there is also another point which the hon. gentleman omitted to mention. Here is what the Clerk of the House said:

If Mr. Sherwood is to be appointed under the Civil Service Act there is no way that I know of by which he can omit obtaining the Civil Service certificate of qualification for the grade referred.

The only other method is the one suggested by him in his letter, viz., a direct legislative Act naming him in the appropriation Bill for the office and fixing his grade and salary after its insertion in the Estimates. This is a matter solely ih the jurisdiction of the Government.

This course has been followed in a great many cases not only this session but in other sessions, and it is the course which I have adopted on this occasion. Mr. Sherwood has had a very good certificate given him by his chief, Mr. Colwell, who has described him as a very good man and perfectly qualified. At the opening of the present session, when Mr. Colwell was ill, Mr. Sherwood was in charge of the office and everything went well. Mr. Sherwood has been attending to his duties during the session, and he is doing well; he could not do better, according to his chief, and he desires appointment to the office.

Would it be possible for Mr. Sherwood, who is attending to his duties here morning, afternoon and night, to prepare for the Civil Service examination? I submit that consideration to the House, and I think that every hon. gentleman who wants to be fair will admit that it would not be easy for Mt. Sherwood to prepare for an examination. The Speaker is responsible for the good ladministration of this department. Here is a man who is perfectly qualified. His functions are very, very important, as can be judged by the letter of Mr. Colwell, which was read this afternoon. If there is anything wrong in connection with the work ot this office any member can come to this House and place the blame upon the Speaker. I ask the House if I was not well advised in asking the Government to put this amount in the Supplementary Estimates?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

Why was the grade

changed from subdivision B of the second division, to subdivision A of the second division?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Because it is a very important position; and I think that this is

a matter that can be decided by the members of this House just as well as by the Civil Service Commission. I think that, for a married man who has a family, the salary of $1,600 a year, especially in these hard times, is a very reasonable salary for any position.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

When this legislation

has passed he will be a permanent officer, and will have to come here every day.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

We have had no answer to the question why, when the Clerk of the House stated that the only position to which Mt. Sherwood could be appointed was subdivision B of the second division, and when Mr. Speaker had that request transmitted to the 'Government, the classification was changed by somebody from subdivision B to subdivision A. The result is that, whereas if Mr. Sherwood had been appointed to subdivision B, his salary could not rise above $1,600 without his passing later on an examination and qualifying for the higher division, his classification has been changed in these Estimates from subdivision B to subdivision A, so that he begins immediately at $1,600 and his salary will increase automatically up to $2,100. That has not been explained to the committee and I think it ought to be. It appears from the statement of the Clerk of the House that Mr. Sherwood is being appointed to a class in which there is no vacancy, a class which is already filled; and is being appointed to a higher position than Mr. Speaker apparently recommended he should be appointed to. I do not think this -is a mere trivial matter, as the Minister of Finance has said, because there is a principle involved. The principle is whether we should have any regard whatever to the Civil Service Act or whether whenever anybody who has some influential friends is desirous of an appointment to a position under the Government, it will only be necessary for him to go to those who have influence and his name will be put in the Estimates and he will be appointed, irrespective of the requirements of the statute. It does seem to me that, to take a young man who is unable to pass the Civil Service examinations neOessary to qualify him for the discharge of the duties of a routine clerk, and put him at once in this high division, starting at a salary of $1,600, in a higher class than that which many employees of the Government who have been

for years in the Civil Service have been able to attain, is excedingly unfair. We know that there are hundreds of clerks working all the year round, not merely during the four months that Parliament is in session, who are receiving less than $900 per year; men who are better qualified than Mr. Sherwood, but who cannot rise above the $900 because they have not been able to pass the qualifying examination. It is very discouraging to, them that a young man, not able to fulfil the requirements of the Civil Service Act, should be pitchforked into a higher position at a salary $700 more than they are able to attain, and with the certainty that his salary will increase ahtomatically until it reaches $2,100. That is very discouraging to the hundreds of employees in the Civil Service who have passed examinations and who cannot rise beyond $900 a year without passing further examination and being recommended by their chiefs for promotion. I do not think my bon. friend the Minister of Public Works ought to threaten dire vengeance upon employees of the Civil Service simply because there is some little criticism of the attempt which the Government is making to override the Civil Service Act. This young man has simply been employed as a temporary clerk, and has not been able to pass the Civil Service examination; yet he is to receive immediately a salary of $1,600 a year for four months work, because, say what you like, that is all he will have to do. He is employed for fouT months in the year, and during the rest of the time he will be able to attend to the ordinary mercantile business he is carrying on, in Ottawa. He will be receiving a salary about equal, considering the time he is employed during the year, to that which a deputy minister receives. The salary of a deputy minister, as provided by the Civil 'Service Act, is only $5,000 a year; and he has to work the whole year round and to carry very great responsibilities. Yet this young man, as I have said, who has been only a short time in the service, for this short period of from three months to four months, about one-iquaTter of the time that a deputy minister has to work, is to receive a salary practically equal to that which a deputy minister receives. I do not think it is at all encouraging to the Civil Se'rvice. I cannot see why my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) has approved of this. That hon. gentleman, during this session, made

remarks with regard to subsidies which aroused very warm approval throughout the country; but I am very much afraid that, in respect of patronage as in respect of many other matters, my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce reserves his eloquent remarks and his strong arguments for the ears of the private members of this House and for the ears of the public, instead of for the benefit of his colleagues in Council, because we find that continually the Government is bringing down to this House measures of which, if we are to judge the Minister of Trade and Commerce from the speeches he makes here, he cannot be expected to approve. I should like to hear whether the Minister of Trade and Commerce approves of this departure from the terms of the Civil Service Act, approves of this yielding .to the demands of those having influence with the Government, and approves of the making of this appointment in defiance of the provisions of the Civil Service Act. It is surely a step towards yielding to those pernicious views with regard to patronage which are of the very worst description.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I wish to call, attention to an answer which I received in this House during this session in regard to the frequent overriding of the Civil Service Act. It strikes me as an extraordinary circumstance.

The hon. gentleman will remember that when the Act was passed in 1908 it was drawn to the attention of the House that there would be cases in which experts were required for the service of the Government -eminent engineers, for example, coming from outside of Canada and entering the Government's service for a time. It was clear that it would not be practicable to submit such men to .examination. Clause 21 was put in the Act to enable the Government, by going through a certain process, to have men of that class appointed. I asked the question during the present session, how many men had been appointed in the different departments of the Government under section 21 since this Administration came into power, and the answer I received was that these appointments numbered 220. That is an alarming number. Of course, 220 experts were not appointed. A large number of appointments were made of men who were more than thirty-five years of age and could not be appointed under the terms of the Civil Service Act. But dozens and scores of these people were appointed in violation of the

Act, by calling them " experts." I would ask the Minister of Finance to look into this matter. If we are to have a Civil Service Act that is to be of any use it will not do to ignore its provisions in this way.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

If the hon. gentleman would like to know to what extent the Civil Service Act has been ignored, I would recommend him to look over the Estimates under the late Liberal Administration from 1908, when the Civil Service Act came into force, until 1911, when this Government assumed office. He will find cases on all fours with this case-[DOT]

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I have not had an opportunity of looking into the matter carefully, but I would call attention, for instance, to item 319 of the Supplementary Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1909. I find the following:

To provide for the appointment of F. X. Saucier to a second-class clerkship at $1,200, from 21st July, 1908.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

In the House of Commons. Why was it necessary to name Mr. Saucier? I do not know Mr. Saucier; I assume that he was a man qualified for the position. But the right hon. leader of the Opposition-I am sorry he is not in his place at the moment-was doing wrong in this matter according to the views of his supporters. Here is a case of an appointment made under authority of the Estimates, just as in the case of Mr. Sherwood who is named in this Estimate. Then I would call the attention to the Supplementary Estimates for the fiscal year ending 31st March, 1911.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

If Mr. Saucier had not passed the examination, the item would have read " Notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act."

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Not at all. Let the hon. gentleman look at the Estimate now under consideration. He will not find there the words " Notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act." That is implied.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I think the hon. gentleman will find that the late Administration, upon the advice of the Minister of Justice of that day, inserted these words. If they

did not appear, it was assumed that the party 'had passed the examination.'

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

The Minister oi Justice, I have no doubt, advised it, but they did not carry it out. The Government named officials whom they desired to have appointed-no doubt for good and sufficient reasons-who were not able to take the Civil Service examinations. The Supplementary Estimates for the fiscal year ending 31st March, 1911, contains this estimate :

To provide for Miss Kate M. Fraser in third division, subdivision B, $500.

Why permit a special item referring to Kate? Why not name the position to which Kate was to be appointed instead of naming Kate in the Estimates? Then there is another item No. 399:

To provide for the appointment of the following officers, now in the Outside Service in Victoria, B.C., to the Inside Service at Ottawa at the following salaries; from April 1, 1910:

W. B. McLaughlin, second division, subdivision A $2,000

H. G. Dalby, third division, subdivision A. 1,000

Why was it necessary to name these gentlemen? It would not have been necessary at all unless the Civil Service Act stood in the way of their being given appointments which they are given by this estimate.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The Civil Service Act distinctly'' provides for bringing in officials from the outside service.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

If the Civil Service Act is complied with. But in this case the Civil Service Act was not complied with, .and that is the reason it was necessary to name them in the Estimates.

I am not finding fault with the naming of these officers in the Estimates. What I say is that what was done in these cases is what is done in this present- case, and what has been done in scores of cases since the Civil Service Act came into effect.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink

May 17, 1916