March 31, 1919

SEED GRAIN.

L LIB

Mr. TOBIN:

Laurier Liberal

1. What quantity of seed grain was purchased by the Department of Agriculture or by the

1918: Wheat, $2.39; oats $1.03; barley,

$1.81; corn, $3.26; peas, $4.60; beans, $7.39.

6. Yes, the sum of $28,808.46 on these *transactions.

7. No.

8. No.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SEED GRAIN.
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QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.

L LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Antigonish and Guysbor-ough):

How many Civil Servants were in the employ of the Government of Canada on January 1, 1917, January 1, 1918, and January 1, 1919, respectively?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
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L LIB

Edmund William Tobin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. TOBIN:

How many persons were employed in the entire Civil Service of Canada on the first day of October, 1911?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
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UNDISCUSSED AND UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS.

L LIB

Edmund William Tobin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. TOBIN:

For a copy of all letters, telegrams and other correspondence between the Honourable N. W. Rowell, President of the Privy Council, and Commissioner R. H. Pringle, K.C., in any way relating to the Pulp and Paper Inquiry conducted by the said commissioner.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   UNDISCUSSED AND UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS.
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L LIB

Joseph Ovide Brouillard

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BROUILLARD:

For a copy of all letters, telegrams and other correspondence between the Militia Department and Aetna Chemical Company of Canada, Limited, concerning a contract for explosives.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   UNDISCUSSED AND UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS.
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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND STARCH MANUFACTURERS.

L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. READ (Prince) moved:

For a copy of all letters, telegrams, correspondence and other documents, exchanged between the Starch Manufacturers of Prince Edward Island and the Finance Department, or any other department of the Government, in 1911, in reference to the then proposed reciprocity agreement between Canada and the United States.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND STARCH MANUFACTURERS.
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UNION

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Unionist

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I have no knowledge of the correspondence referred to in this motion, but if there are on file any letters not of a private nature, they will be brought down. The order may therefore go

through as far as the Government is concerned.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND STARCH MANUFACTURERS.
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Motion agreed to.


CIVIL SERVICE POSITIONS.


MOTION BY MR. MeCURDY THAT WOUNDED SOLDIERS BE GIVEN PREFERENCE. Mr. F. B. MeCURDY (Colchester) moved: That, in the opinion of this House, the Civil Service Act should be amended so that, while having full regard to efficiency, a preference in appointments to the public service shall be afforded to imemlbers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who have become casualties in a theatre of war. He said: All hon. members know that from 1914 to 1917, while appeals were being pressed on the manhood of Canada to voluntarily enlist in the military forces, undertakings both direct and implied were given from every recruiting platform to those who were being urged to join. Intending recruits were assured that, come good, come ill, Canada would see that after the war every reasonable consideration would at all times be afforded to those who responded to the call. I confidently state that these commitments were made with the practically unanimous consent of all Canada. And furthermore, were a similar world condition to confront Canada to-morrow, and should it become necessary to raise a large army by voluntary enlistment, I have no doubt that similar undertakings would again unhesitatingly be given. The Government has not been at all idle in preparing to honour the country's obligations. It has created a good deal of machinery designed to facilitate the return of the soldier to civil life. It has provided medical and instructional services, established an elaborate pensioning system, and is now engaged in the establishment of a Soldiers' Land Settlement organization. But much remains to be done, and it must be particularly remembered that the best results can be assured only when all agencies dealing with the problem are fully or-ordinated and harmonized. For the purpose at which this resolution is aimed, the practice of the Civil Service Commission must undoubtedly be in concord with the policy of the Government. Quite recently I was requested to make inquiry of the Civil Service Commission regarding the appointment of an officer in the public service in Nova Scotia. In response to notices sent out by the Commission two applications had been lodged. Both were from discharged soldiers, one having got as far as England and from there returned to Canada for discharge, while the other, who had been wounded in France, had incurred a permanent partial disability of his left hand. Somewhat to my surprise I learned that, in practice, both these classes of returned soldiers were regarded by the Commissioners as possessing equal claims to appointment so far as their service records were concerned. That, the Commissioners advised, was the interpretation placed on the Civil Service Act. While we all appreciate the admirable spirit that impelled those who did not get further than England-as it did others- to enlist, it is undoubtedly in the public mind that those active service men who have sacrificed and suffered most best deserve preferment at the Government's hands. I am advised that in view of the decision of the Civil Service Commissioners, any alteration or rectification in cases such as I have referred to can be effected only by amendment to the Civil Service Act. I will not give any opinion as to whether or not the Civil Service Commission are correctly interpreting the Civil Service Act, or whether or not they are following the policy of the Government in this matter. If they are facilitating a Government policy, then I am bound to say that in my opinion the Government has not correctly interpreted the opinion of hon. members of this House. Indeed, if the Civil Service Act really bore the interpretation that the Commission has placed upon it I feel that the Government would have been supported by this House in altering by Order in Council under the W'ar Measures Act this detail in order that the most deserving class should be fully protected. However, what is past is gone, and I am advised that it will largely meet the present situation if hon. members will support the resolution proposed. To them I confidently appeal. In urging the particular claims of those who have become casualties, I do not for a moment wish to prejudice the rights,- already acknowledged by statute,-of any other one who has been on active service. I am satisfied that the purpose can be accomplished without creating any injustice anywhere. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would ask: Is it not eminently .fitting that, efficiency granted, the public service of Canada should, to as great an extent as possible be carried on by those who have already served their country in a vastly more difficult and sterner field of activity? And, asa matter of course, those who in the discharge of their military duties had incurred physical disabilities would, I take it, be



as gladly supported for preference by the public generally, as they are by their equally gallant but more fortunate unwounded comrades.


UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. W. F. COCKSHUTT (Brantford):

Would there be any objection to extending the resolution to include Canadians who have served in the British Expeditionary Force and in the Air Service?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CIVIL SERVICE POSITIONS.
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UNION

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Unionist

Mr. McCURDY:

I see no objection.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CIVIL SERVICE POSITIONS.
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UNION

Daniel Lee Redman

Unionist

Mr. DANIEL LEE REDMAN (Calgarj East):

As I said some time ago, the main problem underlying the demobolization of our returned soldiers is that of employment. This is a duty which the people of Canada must seriously consider, if we are to avoid any difficulties with our returned men. The Government must also regard it as a duty which they owe these men, because they were instrumental in sending them overseas. When the State undertakes the disposition of certain classes of its citizens in various fields of activity, and, as in this case, send men to war, they must assume responsibility for the care of those who return with disabilities that handicap or prejudice them in the occupations which they formerly followed.

I think, further, that it is perfectly reasonable to say that returned soldiers should go into the Civil Service. Ordinarily, we do not recommend our friends to go into the Civil Service, but men who have been overseas for the last three or four years, who have suffered somewhat in their mental capacity because of their experiences and the shocks which they have received, or who have suffered physical disabilities, require that sense of security and steadiness which can be obtained in the Civil Service, perhaps, to a greater extent than any other line of activity in Canada. The Government, as the hon. member who has just spoken has stated, has given promises in that regard and I feel that the Government will take exactly the same view of this matter that they took when they made those promises.

I have no fault to find with the administration of the Civil Service Commission, but I do say that the Civil Service Act is not as well suited as it might be to the purpose of giving to returned men employment in the Civil Service. That Act was passed last year. I think I am correct in saying that every hon. member of this House is anxious that all returned soldiers who desire to enter the Civil Service, having regard to the efficiency of the service, should be given that opportunity. I think

the House will be willing to consider how the Act passed last year has fulfilled the desire of the House and the country in regard to the employment in the Civil Service of returned soldiers. Previous to the passing of this Act, and under the old patronage system, every member gave the positions coming under his control to returned men. Under the old system the member was amenable to the pressure of public opinion and he was directly responsible to the returned soldiers and to the people in his own community. Did that system still obtain, returned soldiers would to-day have practically all the positions in the Civil Service which become vacant. But, under the Civil Service Act, that element of responsibility on the member of Parliament has been eliminated.

We might look for a moment to see what the results have been under the Civil Service Act since that Act has been in force. We find by the figures which have been issued by the Civil Service Commission itself, that the following appointments have been made since the Act came into force:-

Permanent 1,672

Temporary ! [ 1C570

Total 16,242

Of that 16,242 appointments made in one year 1,834 were returned soldiers. I must say in fairness to the commissioners that a large number of these appointments were stenographers which is a class of employment in which the soldier does not as a rule compete. However, I think that these figures in themselves are a fair indication of the truth of what I say. I do not believe that the returned soldiers are getting a sufficient number of positions in the Government service under the Civil Service Act which Parliament passed last year. The first point in the Act which I think might well be amended is this. It is provided by paragraph (a) of section 39 of the Civil Service Act that soldiers who have obtained sufficient marks in examination to pass shall be placed on the list at the head of all other candidates.

While it is true that many civilians are being appointed to positions in the Civil Service, the Commission have been doing what they could to provide soldiers with the necessary qualifications with positions.. But, especially in the West advertisements come out only a day or so ahead of the time that a man must send in his return in order that it may be received within the prescribed limit of time. We have coming back to Canada some 500,000 men and I do not think I will be going too far when I ask

this House to put it up to the Civil Service Commission to confine the appointment of male employees to returned soldiers. If that were put up to them they would know exactly where they stood, and they could send out the notices as to vacancies earlier. They might use the machinery of the Soldiers Civil Re-Establishment department, act through their labour representative in each district and get in touch with the returned soldier who might be available so that when a position is open a soldier will be ready for it. We might amend this Act for one year; or, we might amend it from year to year so that the condition would not extend for a longer time than was necessary, but for one year at least we might provide that none but returned soldiers should be allowed to compete in an examination where male employees are required. That is the first proposition I would make. Perhaps some honourable members may think that in proposing that I am going too far, but even if they take that viewpoint I would say to them that such a position would be much easier to maintain than the present position, which is certainly not going far enough.

Under section 15 of the Civil Service Act it is provided that the Civil Service Commission may appoint to positions requiring technical or professional knowledge without examination. That refers to positions requiring the knowledge of some profession or some other kind of technical knowledge. The Commission themselves, I must say, have gone as far as they could under that provision. They are not appointing without competitive examination all the people requiring technical or professional knowledge but they are as far as possible holding competitive examinations under that section. But there are under that clause, positions which are being filled without any examination and when no examination is held no preference is given returned soldiers. The Stead case, which was discussed in the House a few days ago, came under section 15 of the Act. While a competitive examination is required for all the lower positions in the service, and while it is in this class that preference is given to soldiers, in dealing with technical or professional positions no preference whatever is given to soldiers and we have the Stead case as an illustration of this. In addition to that, in the city of Calgary, we had some time ago, a civilian young man appointed to the position of assistant receiver general. There is no question in the world that a soldier could have been obtained properly qualified and trained to

fill that position. Nothing to my mind creates such a feeling of distrust or sense of unfairness among soldiers as to see a young civilian appointed to a position which a soldier could have filled. Usually that feeling is not manifested on the part of the particular soldier who wanted the position but on the part of other soldiers who have returned and who feel that it is the duty of the Government to provide for those who are not quite so well able to fight their own battles as those who have not suffered the shock of war. If there is any one thing that causes a feeling of distrust on the part of the soldiers, it is the appointment-in violation of the promises which this Government and this Parliament have made-of a civilian to a position which a soldier could have filled.

There is no preference whatever given to the dependents of soldiers. We should not throw the preference open to all relatives of soldiers but there is one class of soldiers' dependents who are well defined, a class who are in effect wards of the State, and that is the class who are obtaining pensions. By paying them pensions we admit that their male relatives, on whom they ar.e dependent for support, have either been killed or have received such injuries in the war that these dependents have been deprived of their means of support.

I think that this Act should contain a clause that those soldiers' dependents who are receiving a pension should be put in the same class as soldiers in competitive examinations and have the same preference as they have. In the case of soldiers there really is no age limit because any one who has been admitted into the army lias to undergo a medical examination and is pronounced quite fit and able to carry on, but as to dependents there would have to be an age limit.

Another point that has created a great deal of difficulty is that of promotion. Section 45 of the Act provides that :

Vacancies shall be filled, as far as consistent with the best interests of the Civil Service, by promotion.

Now we must all admit that promotions within the Civil Service should be a very tower of strength to it-that is to say, the hope of promotion should inspire the civil servant with ambition, and with the desire to do better work. But the soldiers' viewpoint is this: Under the present Civil Service Act practically every higher position in the Civil Service is being filled by promotion, and when we explain that to the soldiers they say. "When we went away, these positions used to be filled on the

recommendation of the local member; you tell us that you are going to give all vacant positions to soldiers; and yet you ask us to consider a scheme whereby you argue us out of these appointments, and the only positions we can get to-day in the Civil Service are the very lowest ones, and not all of those." In Calgary a famous case came up famous as far as I was concerned because even yet, although it happened a year and a quarter ago, protests against that appointment have not ceased. That was an appointment made to the Banff Park superintendency, which was made clearly in accordance with the Civil Service Act. Previously that position had been filled on the recommendation'of the member for the constituency, as I think practically all other appointments in the Outside Service were made. To-day, however, those appointments are made by promotion, and my view is that it would only be fair to the soldiers to say that hereafter these appointments should be given to them, and not only that but they should be eligible for those positions which are now regarded as promotions under the Act. Of course that could only go on for a year or two until the soldiers are absorbed into civil life, and my idea in urging this is that in the meantime the soldiers shall not suffer.

At the present time there are two classes of casualties in the country going to make up the total of two hundred thousand in our Army. The first class consists of those men who were wounded but that recovered to such an extent that their ability to carry on their ordinary work is by no means impaired. The second class consists of those whose wounds have been such as to unfit them in varying degrees to carry on their previous occupation. I feel, as the hon. member who proceeded me felt, that even over other spldiers the preference should be given to these casualties. That class can be very easily defined: they are the class to whom we pay pensions and an exact limit can be placed upon them. Not only should we give them a preference over other soldiers, but I think we should go even further. We should, if necessary, provide positions for these disabled men, not by making new positions, but by granting power to the Civil Service Commission to dismiss, if necessary, young men who had been appointed to the Civil iServiee since 1914, when war broke out. Let me make my position clear: I think that the Civil Service Commission should have the right to use their best discretion and select for dismissal, as likely to do the least harm, the young

unmarried man, who was appointed while the war was in progress, and replace him by a soldier who has been so disabled that he is unable to carry on his previous avocation. That is, perhaps, a drastic proposition to make, but I believe it to be the duty of this Government towards these men who^ have been disabled in the country's service. I believe the Government can do that without any great amount of unfairness to any individual who was so appointed, and without violating any principle.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CIVIL SERVICE POSITIONS.
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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES (Victoria):

Will the hon. member kindly define what he means by a "casualty"?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CIVIL SERVICE POSITIONS.
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March 31, 1919