May 17, 1916

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The hon. gentleman is wrong. If he will take the Estimates under the late Government, he will find that wherever there is a ease-and it was very exceptional-when the terms of the Civil Service Act were not complied with, the words "notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act" "were inserted.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I have no doubt that by reason of a certain predilection or bias that he has in favour of the late Administration, file hon. gentleman is confi-

dent in bis present view. But I want to tell him he is wrong. Appointments were made continually by means of the Estimates where the provisions of the Civil Service Act-for some good reason, no doubt -could not be complied with. There is no doubt about it; it has been done repeatedly.

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LIB
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Well, I think we shall have to agree to disagree, because I know I am absolutely right. Now, my hon. friend from Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) states that instead of $800 a year a salary of $1,600 a year has been fixed, and calls attention to the fact that the Clerk of the House -stated that the grade of the position is B of the second division. Now, my hon. friend will observe that in the same paragraph of the letter in which that statement appears, the Clerk stated that the Speaker desires to appoint Mr. Sherwood to this office at a sal-aty of $1,600, and desires to have this done by direct appointment under the Appropriation Act. The Clerk of the House made a mistake as to the grade, because the subdivision of the second division which carries a salary of $1,600 is A *and not B. The Estimate, as it- is now before the committee, is correct-it refers to second division, subdivision A.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If Mr. Sherwood had

been appointed in subdivision B he could have had a salary of $1,600. But, placing him in subdivision A of the second division means that his salary increased automatically to $2,100.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

The Minister of Finance has not dealt with my point at all. I suppose the reason is that he could not blame the same -fault on the late Government.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

What was the

hon. gentleman's point?

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

It was that over 200 so-called experts have been -appointed under section 21 of the Act, since 1911. You see by the facts of the appointments that many of the men appointed under section 21, as "experts," were unable to get in legally, because they were too old.

They could not pass their examinations; they were over age. In these cases section 21' was resorted to in violation of the law, because that section was intended to apply only to cases in which experts were required by the Government. In those cases exam-

MAY 17, 191fi

inations were dispensed witli because the men to be appointed were eminent professors, eminent engineers, or persons well qualified to do the work required by the Government.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

There may be

great experts and there may be lesser experts, but whether the man in question be a greater expert or a lesser expert he cannot be appointed unless he gets a certificate from the Civil Service Commission that as regards that office he is to be looked upon as an expert.

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LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The Civil Service Board has to give a certificate that as regards the office in question he has expert qualifications which enable him to be appointed.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

It may be that the board is subservient to the Government; I do not know about that.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I would not say that. I think that the Civil Service Board has been, on the whole, a fair board; I do not think it is prejudiced in favour of the Government. As a matter of fact, if I have one complaint more frequently put to me than another it is that the Civil Service Board is rather against the Government than in favour of it.

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LIB
LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

That is not a

bad attitude.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I remember when the

Civil Service Act was passed in 1908 that my hon. friend gave very valuable assistance. After due deliberation he agreed that 35 years of age should be the maximum age of persons appointed to positions in the Inside Service. But if he examines the appointments made by his Administration he will find that in scores of cases section 21 has been resorted to in order to get men into the service who are much over 35 years of age. I think the fixing of that maximum age was a good provision, because if men were appointed over that age they would be pensioned later and these pensions would increase the cost of the service. I do not mention this for any political purpose or in order unnecessarily

to condemn the Government. I simply want my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce to look into it and if that abuse is going on to use his influence to prevent its recurrence during the coming year.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It is a fact that from

the very outset of the operations of the Civil Service Act those having charge of appointments in the House of Commons staff have objected to recognizing it. The ground was taken, if I remember correctly, that while the Act was all right for the rest of the staff, they did not care to have it applied to the staff of the House of Commons. I think Mr. Sherwood is a good man; anything that I have entrusted to his care has been well performed. The situation is this: the Speaker of the House of Commons has recommended Mr. Sherwood in violation of the Civil Service Act. Had the Civil Service Act been complied with, some other appointment would have been made-we may as well face the facts. However, Parliament approves of this course and the Speaker is upheld. I hope that sometime when I have a recommendation to make, Parliament will be soft-hearted as it has been in the present instance, and approve of some appointments that I may suggest in violation of the Civil Service Act.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

It will all depend on its merits.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It will depend more

largely, I think, on the man who makes the recommendation. Speaking of the Civil Service Commission, last year the acting Minister of Railways lead off in lambasting not only the law but the men who were enforcing it. I think that other members of the Government iiave become infected with the same microbe. The Minister of Trade and Commerce will remember the scene in the House of Commons and what took place before and after. As a matter of fact, some members of the Government did not like the Civil Service Commission, and for that reason they did not intend to obey the law. They ought to have the courage to repeal the law if they do not intend to obey it or even approximately to obey it. The Act does impose some hardships. This case is but a mild one compared with one that I could mention. When I was minister I could not get a messenger because he could not pass the Civil Service examination. He was a trustworthy young man; I think he could have done long division, although 1 am not so sure about short division. Any-

way he would have made a good messenger, but the Civil Service Commission absolutely declined to grant a certificate, and I went no further. There is another case. A young man who had not quite reached the age required of those presenting themselves for examination had enlisted and he wanted to write on his Civil Service examination before going into camp. He did not want his certificate until he became of proper age. The Civil Service Commission, however, would not let him write. Legally, of course, they were right, because the law says that an applicant must have reached the age of eighteen years. It struck me that this was a hardship, particularly as conditions exist now that never existed before. If the young man had been going on a pleasure trip or had been going into business, I could easily see the absolute necessity of complying with the law. But he has enlisted, and because he lacks a few months or weeks of the age required, he was not allowed to write. I am not sure that the Act should not be amended or made a little flexible under exceptional conditions such as that.

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May 17, 1916