April 17, 1918

L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. BUREAU (Three Rivers):

Before the motion carries I wish to tell the Prime Minister that I do not exactly agree with the principle of multiplying departments and handling salaries as has been laid down by the Government. Two or three new ministries have been created, leaving aside various commissions that have been appointed, some to work in conjunction, some under the control of, and others apparently absolutely independent of any department of the Government. We understand that the Department of the Secretary of State for External Affairs is created for a purpose. It is created for all time, but I hope that the existing conditions which make it a necessity, or if not a necessity, at least an expediency, to multiply the number of departments will not exist forever. Another new department has (been created by the subdivision of the Department of the Interior, which already had a slice taken out of it when the Mines Department was cut off and placed within the Secretary of State's Department.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

It was formerly under the Inland Revenue Department.

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L LIB
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Yes.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Then I was mistaken and I accept my hon. friend's correction. But, after it was taken away from the Inland Revenue Department, the fact that it is being merged with the Customs Department would not be a sufficient reason at the present time, because, before the Inland Revenue Department was merged with the Customs, this branch of the Inland Revenue had been taken away and put under the Secretary of State, if I am correct in my facts. I read the other day a statement made in the British House of Commons on the eve of the Christmas adjournment, wherein the ex-Prime Minister, Mr, Asquith, commenting on the situation in replying to a review that had been made by Mr. Lloyd George, said that there was one great

danger in the multiplicity of departments, that this policy tended to over-centralization. I believe we have had an example of that tendency here; we have had more than an example, we have seen it in operation. With the multiplicity of departments, the heads of departments attempt to take authority from the Governor in Council in matters which ought to be submitted to it, and to put themselves in the place of the Governor in Council, constituting themselves judges of final resort or sole arbitrators in cases which heretofore had to go before the Governor in Council. This over-centralization is gradually taking away from the representatives of the people the privileges which it is their duty to exercise in this: House. As a matter of principle, on the score of expediency there may be justification for the creation of these departments. I do not know but that one of them could be dispensed with. Referring to the Department of Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment, I believe that the best authority to deal with any matter concerning soldiers is the Department of Militia. Since we have taken away from the Minister of Agriculture the control of food, and given it to a commission under his direction, which, however, I understand, reports to him still, I do not see why it would not be as well to have a commission directly under the supervision of the Minister of Militia and Defence to

deal with these military matters-I mean the Minister of Militia in Canada, not the minister for the British Isles, nor the minister for France, if there is one; there may foe, I do not know. For these reasons, Mt. Speaker, I want to put myself on Tecord .as being against overcentralization, the multiplicity of departments, the assumption of the rights and privileges of Parliament, even of the Imperial Parliament, by the passing of certain Orders in Council, which I hope it will be my privilege to'discuss further ini this House.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE (Kamouraska):

Mt. Speaker, I wish to endorse what my hon. friend from Three Rivera (Mr. Bureau) has said with regard to the principle involved in the creation of so many new departments. But there are two other principles' in this Bill to which I also object. One of these is the selection of new ministers, and the payment of salaries to members of Parliament, without submitting these members to re-election, It is the constitutional theory that any man who is selected as a new adviser of His Majesty must have his choice ratified by the people, through the

electors of the (particular constituency *which he represents in this House. I think that is a sound principle, and I do not 6ee why there should be a deviation from this safeguard and guarantee of popular representation and of the sovereignty of the people. This is being done as a war measure, but I do not see how the fact that a minister is to be exempted from having his selection ratified toy his electors is a step which conduces to the winning of the war. Another principle to which I object is that contained in section 2 of the Bill, which provides not only that new departments are created toy Parliament, but gives to the Prime Minister authority to appoint new ministers without any department having been provided for'by Parliament. The Prime Minister on his own authority will have the right to select one or more ministers not exceeding three, and to pay salaries to these ministers. Of course, this will be done by Order in Council, but the point is that it will not be provided for by Parliament. Parliament must remain supreme in a matter of this kind. Departments must be created by Parliament; the business which will be transacted by these departments must be. provided for by. Parliament, and surely we should not deprive ourselves of our rights in that respect and appoint the Prime Minister as the real dictator of the country. The Executive must not be the masters of Parliament but must remain its servants. I think there is a very bad principle involved in section 2 tof the Bill, and for these reasons I object to the second reading.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I would like to say just a few words chiefly in reply to my hon. friend (Mr. E. Lapointe). I would call his attention to the fact that the Secretary of State for External Affairs was appointed on the 12th day of October, 1917, and he since has been elected to this Parliament. The Minister of Immigration and Colonization was appointed on the 12th day of October, and he since has been elected to Parliament. The Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment is a member of the Senate, and, unlike the unfortunate mortals who are members of this House, he does not require election.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Might I be allowed a [DOT]question?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Two.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

We are not taking particular exception to the present ministers. But supposing the Prime Minister desires to appoint another one? That is one of our reasons for objecting.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

We will get through with the present budget and then come to the other matter in a moment. The Parliamentary Secretary of the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment was previously the Parliamentary Secretary of the Department of Militia and Defence. He simply changed from one position to the other. My -hon. friend is aware that under the provisions of the Act respecting the Independence of Parliament, and the Act relating to the salaries of ministers, if a minister resigns in one department and within thirty days accepts office in another, it is not necessary in that case for him to be re-elected. That is as to the present. Now, as to the future. It does provide, in Section 2, that:

-one or more otlher Ministers, not exceeding three, Members of the King's Privy Council for Canada who may be named by the Governor in Council, may be paid such salaries or other remuneration as Parliament may from time to time provide, and they shall not, by reason of anything contained in the Acts mentioned in subsection two of section one of this Aot or in any other statute or law, or by reason of being paid or receiving the said salaries or remuneration so provided by Parliament, be ineligible as Members of the House of Commons, or disqualified to sit or vote therein. [DOT]

It is provided that this section shall continue in operation only during the present war and for one year thereafter. It is purely a temporary provision, designed, as I explained when I made a further motion in Committee not long ago, to cover the case of the present Acting Minister of Finance (Hon. A. K. Maclean), who is ViceChairman, virtually Chairman, of the Committee on Reconstruction and Development, end who in that position has imposed upon him duties just as arduous and important as those imposed on any minister of the Crown. Senator Robertson is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labour Conditions, and, in addition, is Chairman of the Canada Registration Board, which is undertaking the task of accomplishing a registration of all the men and women of Canada above the age of sixteen. In the capacity of Chairman of the Subcommittee on Latoour Conditions, Senator Robertson has already given value to the country ten thousand times greater than any salary that is involved, by his indefatigable efforts in bringing about agreements between employers and employed in very important industries. Of course, the arduous duties imposed upon him as Chairman of the Canada Registration Board will last only a few months. So the purpose of this legislation is plain enough. We have not any leisured

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the second time, and the House went- into Committee on the Bill, Mr. Boivin in the Chair. On section 1, subsection 1-salaries:


L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Do I understand that it is Senator Robertson's duty to act in labour matters which affect returned soldiers?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

No, he is chairman of a sub-committee on labour. The Order in Council appointing him as such and defining the duties of the position has, I 'think, been laid on the Table. Senator Robertson has been associated -with labour organizations all his life, and has had a great deal of experience in composing disputes that have arisen from time to time between employers and employed. Before lie was a member of the Senate and long before he was a member of the Government he rendered very valuable service- about two years ago, I t'hink-in settling a very difficult and important dispute between the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and its employees in western Canada. Not very long after that, in the autumn, he was appointed a member of the Senate, and when the new Government was formed in October last he was made a member of it, as specially representing labour organizations. Later a sub-committee of the: Reconstruction and Development Committee was formed, upon which it was intended to place men who would be in close touch with labour, men connected with labour organizations, in order that the Government, and especially the Department of Labour, might be in closer touch with organized labour throughout the country. Senator Robertson's work has been in connection with that committee and is carried on in perfect harmony and in the closest consultation with the Minister of Labour.

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L LIB
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

No, none whatever.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I do not understand what the powers and duties of Senator Robertson are. This afternoon we gave the Minister of Labour carte blanche to do anything to improve conditions of labour, to make inquiry into them, to^revent and to settle strikes, to try to bring employer and employee together whenever occasion required. If Senator Robertson has the same duties, this would appear to be another case of duplication. Of course, I do not say that there is anything wrong in it. Not knowing the extent of the duties of Senator Robertson, or the exact work of the particular board of which he is going to be the head, I do not want to be understood as criticising his ability, qualifications or capacity. I am simply discussing the principle of this double authority. The Prime Minister says that there will be no overlapping, but there must be a perfect union of mentality and aspirations on the part of the two. Ministers of Labour if they are going to act in absolutely the same field, come into contact with each other every day and at the same time not have any, I shall not say friction-this is no time for friction-'but overlapping of authority in the scope of their duties and rights under these Acts.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I can assure

my hon. friend there is no overlapping. For example, one purpose, out of a great many that might- be suggested, would be this: The Minister of Labour might, in

respect of the last section of the Bill that was passed here to-day, refer to the committee which is studying labour problems

and the relations generally between employers and employees, the question as t-o whether he should intervene, under the power of that section, in relation to some particular labour disturbance.

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?

Mr GANNON:

In subsection* 1 is mentioned the Secretary of State for External Affairs. What are the exact duties of this minister? Canada is a colony and all our international or diplomatic affairs must be transacted through the Imperial Government. .Have we a new standing or a new arrangement with the Imperial Government whereby we can deal with such matters directly?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I might refer

my hon. friend, if he desires full information on the subject, to his leader who some years ago established that department by a statute which is available to any person who may desire to read it. It was established long before 1911. The Department of External Affairs is concerned with all matters of (communication fwith the Government of the United Kingdom or with the Governments of other countries. It deals also with communications with thei other Dominions. I suppose that, during the past three years, seven or eight thousand telegrams have annually passed through that department in respect of external affairs of one kind or another. Everything that relates to the external affairs of Canada passes through that 9 p.m. department. It gathers up, for example, from all the other departments any matters on which they are required to report, to express their opinion, to make a recommendation, and which have relation to the external affairs of this country. The appointment of consuls in this country which is subject to tire approval of the Governor in Council, communications with the British Embassy at Washington-all these are dealt with in that department. Under ordinary conditions the work is not, of course, so great as it is at the present time. During the past three and a half years it has been onerous and exceedingly comprehensive.

Subsection 1 agreed to'.

On section 1, subsection 3-ministers not ineligible to be members or sit in House of Commons:

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April 17, 1918