June 3, 1921

UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

At 6 o'clock I understood the Minister of Immigration and vice-chairman of the select committee (Mr. Calder) to say that the whole question at issue, in relation to the report of the committee on this Bill was whether the Civil Service Commission were to make all appointments to the public service, or whether some services were to ibe excluded from the operation of the Act. In a sense, that is true, because I think we all agree that, in some circumstances at least, it might be deemed advisable to withdraw certain sections of the public service from the Civil Service Act; but I do not think that is the issue in the section now before the committee for decision. The Bill contains the words "In the public interest," and the member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) has moved that they be struck out. I agree with that amendment. I think that the section as it stands in the Act of 1918, without these words, is sufficient to accomplish the purposes which we all agree upon, namely, that if it is in the public interest, or in the interest of a section of

the public service, to withdraw certain classes from the operation of the Act, the power is now amply set forth in the Act, and there is no need of making any further amendment.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Will the hon. member answer the question which I asked an hon. gentleman very squarely, and which he did not answer? In the case of astronomers and medical research men, would my hon. friend maintain that it was practicable for the Civil Service Commission to make those appointments?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

When the insertion of these words, "in the public interest," was first suggested, I must say I was impressed with the proposal, although I do not like and never did like the use of the words "in the public interest" in any statute for the reason that it is almost impossible to give a definition to the phr'ase, and it is never wise to use these words if they can in any way be avoided, particularly in a statute. But I was satisfied that the words should not be in the statute when the minister spoke this afternoon and made the statement-a very direct statement-which he has just put to me in the form of a question. I say it is practicable for the commission to appoint a person to the astronomical service, or the Health Department for the purpose of carrying on research work, and I think it is in the public interest that the commission should make appointments of that kind.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

There is where we differ.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

Yes, and that goes to show that the words "in the public interest" are capable of such varied interpretation that it is dangerous to employ them in a statute or even in ordinary speech. ,.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka):

What

qualifications have the Civil Service Commission to select eminent scientists capable of conducting research work?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :

Of all appointments to be made to the public service by the Civil Service Commission, none could be more easily made than the appointment of persons to the astronomical service or of scientific men to the Health Department.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

It would be an easy matter and the Civil Service Com-

mission are as competent to do it as is the minister, the deputy minister, or anybody else in the world. What are the facts concerning these particular appointments? In the first place, the qualifications of such men are well known; they can be found only in a person who has pursued scientific studies, and adopted a scientific career as his life's work. Furthermore, in such appointments, the Civil Service Commission always like to confer with the heads of departments, and these appointments are infinitely more easily made than the appointments of stenographers or clerks, because it is difficult to ascertain the qualifications of such persons; they must be taken very largely as a matter of experiment. But the university career, the practical career of a scientific man is an open book to his friends, to the world, and certainly it would be to the commission.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I do not know whether or not the hon. gentleman has read the evidence, but my judgment as to the weight of the evidence that came before us is that in the case of these very special appointments, the men whom you wish to get will never submit themselves to competition. That is the way the evidence struck me.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

Take the

case of appointments to the astronomical service; every man in Canada who has any qualification will apply.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

You will not get the

right man.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN:

The Government service is the only one they can look forward to. Nobody in Canada employs an astronomer, and there would not be more than two or three persons in Canada who would make application for such a position.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

In so far as these very special technical, scientific appointments are concerned, the weight of evidence, is that you will never get the men you really want for those positions to submit themselves to competition.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN:

I did not read the

evidence very carefully. I know an argument of that kind was submitted by Mr. Newcombe, the Deputy Minister of Justice, but I must say I was not impressed with it.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Practically all of them said that.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION
L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte √Čthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

Because the salary is

not high enough.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN:

It depends on the

person in control how the witnesses are examined. Perhaps the views of the commission were not clearly directed to this particular point. If I had been on that committee, and examining any member of the commission, I fancy I could have got from him the opinion that the insertion of the words "in the public interest" in section 38, of the Act, was an unfortunate amendment to propose.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka):

Did the

hon. gentleman ever know of a scientific appointment where applications were made?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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June 3, 1921