April 27, 1921

NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

Fortunately or unfortunately, the minister is not troubled with these affairs as was formerly the case. I think I am supported by the opinion of every person who has come from commercial life to undertake the duties of administering the department when I say that there are anomalies of one kind and another. My hon. friend has referred to one of them, but the disposition of the salaries of the officers in the department does not lie absolutely with the minister. The reclassification to which the hon. member for North Cape Breton and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie) has referred provides largely for the salaries of these officials.

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L LIB

Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

Has the firm of Griffen-hagen and Company had anything to do with it?

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

Griffenhagen and Company are not in the employ of the Government. There was a reclassification of positions which has resulted in a large number of alterations in the salaries paid. It is no secret, my hon. friend knows it very well, that the classification has produced results that were scarcely anticipated. For instance, the position of assistant chief engineer to which my hon. friend referred

bears a salary now of $5,400, this official having advanced to the top of the class in which he was placed under the reclassification.

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L LIB

Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

What is his name?

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

Mr. K. M. .Cameron. He is chief superintendent of the dredging branch and is an excellent officer. But the anomaly will be observed when I say that the chief engineer of the department, who is also an excellent officer and is senior to the other gehtleman, appears on the list with a salary of only $5,100.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Why was the

assistant engineer's salary increased this year while the chief engineer's salary was not?

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

I am endeavouring to explain to my hon. friend that under the classification the assistant chief engineer, who is superintendent of dredging, wa3 placed in the class of $4,500 to $5,400 and entitled to an increase of $300 each year, and having had three increases of salary he is at the top of his class.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

What is the

name of the chief engineer?

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

Lafleur.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I do not know why the Government ever accepted this classification. In view of the fact that the minister agrees that there are these anomalies and mistakes, the Government should decide to do away with the classification. I think the minister must realize-and I am not saying this in criticism, but in appeal to him as a business man-that as one of the Cabinet he should try to have this classification straightened out.

I want to refer once more to the Purchasing Commission, and again I am going to appeal to the minister as a business man.

I see there are three purchasing agents- a chief, an assistant and a junior. While I cannot agree with the minister politically, yet I have sufficient confidence in him and in his deputy and their officials, especially those in my own province, to think that they can purchase supplies for their department far better than any Purchasing Commission sitting in Ottawa. It is a waste of money to have a purchasing agent at $4,000, an assistant at $2,580 and a junior at $1,800, and then have these men submit their decisions to a commission in Ottawa which does not know whether a log in South Cape Breton is worth 10 cents or 5 cents a foot. That is wrong, and it is

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REVISED


about time for the minister as a business man to say to his colleagues-who also have purchasing agents in their departments, costing the country anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for each department-that is members of the Purchasing Commission at Ottawa should (be sent back to their farms to raise something for the benefit of the country. There is no necessity to have an assistant and a junior purchasing agent in every department, when as the hon. member for West Quebec said to-day, in the Public Accounts Committee evidence was given that in the Marine Department the minister does not consult the Purchasing Commission. I compliment him for having enough pluck to stand up against the commission, and I think he is absolutely corect in his attitude. The Minister of Public Works and the other members of the Government should decide whether they will do away with their own purchasing staffs or get rid of this incubus which is costing us $80,000 a year.


L LIB

Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

I wish to supplement

the remarks of the hon. member for Lunenburg, which are in agreement with the opinions which I have several times expressed before the committee. At page 79 I notice the chief engineer of the Public Works Department draws a salary of $5,100 per year, and on page 96 it appears that the chief engineer of the Railway Department draws a salary of $8,000 a year, and advance of $2,000 on the previous year. I do not say that the chief engineer of the Railway Department is overpaid, but I think that the chief engineer of the Public Works Department should be at least on an equal footing with him, because his responsibilities are just as important and he should be as well recompensed for the work he performs. I cannot understand why there should be such a difference.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Does the minister want

to pass this item tonight or does he intend to report progress?

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

It will be quite satisfactory if we pass one item.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

You insist on passing

one item?

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

I would like to pass

one item if the committee will agree.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

It is rather late, Mr. Chairman, to start passing any items.

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NAT L

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

Mr. McCURDY:

It is getting late in

the session.

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EDITION. COMMONS

April 27, 1921