Mr. THOMPSON (Yukon) :
I misunderstood my hon. friend.
Mr. THOMPSON (Yukon) :
I misunderstood my hon. friend.
Just one word in regard to the chairman himself. In the early part of his evidence I think he expressed the view that the Act should be left as it is, for a year at least, by which time the classification trouble would he got rid of and the commission would have an opportunity of getting everything in proper order. I do not mean to be unduly critical, but I think it is the fact-and hon. members on the opposite side will agree with me-that leading questions were put constantly throughout that evidence, and that in many cases it was almost impossible for Dr. Roche and some of the witnesses, unless they showed very considerable force of character, to escape giving the answers that they were intended to give.
They were leading questions. I think my hon. friend will know what that means. The few instances that have been given by the Minister of Immigration with regard, we will say, to scientific men and others, do not touch the question at issue to my mind. I am willing to admit for the sake of argument that an astronomer possibly could be selected to better advantage by the head of the department. My point is that the inclusion of the words "or in the public interest" will open the door so wide that the commission will have it in its power to effect a complete change of policy from what was contemplated in the original Civil Service Act. That power ought to be reserved to Parliament. _
I understand that the Minister of Immigration proposes another amendment to the effect that during the recess the deputy ministers and the Civil Service Commission may get together to decide as to what other employees should properly be exempted from the operations of the commission, and report to Parliament. Now, I quite agree with that suggestion-I made it myself-but there is this difference between us: The minister would give the commission power to make those exemptions, in other words, to have an accomplished fact and to report to Parliament. My contention was that they in their wisdom should come to a decision so far as was thought advisable in regard to what changes should be made, but that they should not have the final say, but should come with their recommendations to Parliament, and that then Parliament would deal with those recommendations on their merits. There is the difference. In the one case you transfer the power to the commission, and in the other you retain the power in the hands of Parliament.
I stated the other day, and the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) has dwelt upon it I think with very great effect, that under the Act as it stands to-day with the word "impracticable" the commission has all the powers that should fairly be given to it, if you want to make certain that they will remain within the Act as was intended when it was originally passed.
I just wanted to clear up the point, that this is not a question whether we are in favour of exemptions or not; it is a question entirely as to method. For that reason I do not agree with the amendment that I understand the minister is going to propose, because it does not touch the real, vital principle of the Bill as it is presented. He would ask Parliament merely to pass upon what has already been done; 1 would say that Parliament should retain the doing of it for itself. There is no manner of doubt injny mind, and I do not think there is any doubt in the minds of hon. members opposite, that while it may not be the intention just now of those members or of the commission to reintroduce the exercise of patronage, it at once becomes possible if that phrase is included in clause 38. I cannot understand the attitude of the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) who complains constantly that the commission has already too much power, and then is going to vote in favour of an amendment that will give them infinitely greater power. But I do think the committee should realize absolutely, as I think most of them do, that if the amendment carries, whether or not patronage comes in, it will be made possible within the law.
If the hon. gentleman will allow me a question, .is he under the impression that the commission at the present time appoints labourers and mechanics required by any department?
You know that they do, or that they do not, appoint them?
I am not sure whether they do or not.
I should like to tell the hon. gentleman that the commission do not appoint them.
Mr.' EULER: Very well, what is the argument the hon. gentleman desires to make?
The argument is, that instead of the commission appointing these men, they are appointed by the officers of the department, and those officers are exercising patronage. They simply send in a list of their appointments, and the commission approve of them without any investigation whatever. That is the point I should like to make.
Does the hon. member not know that under the Act as it stands, with the word "practicable" in clause 88, it is quite within the power of the commission to exempt those labourers? In fact, if they do not exempt them they may be remiss in their duty. In some cases, especially on the experimental farms, an ordinary, common-sense working arrangement was carried out which gave very satisfactory results.
Amendment (Mr. Euler) negatived.
I move to amend clause 1 by adding to section 38b as subsection 2 thereof the following words:
(2) An annual report shall be made to Parliament within thirty days from the commencement of each session, by the Civil Service Commission, setting forth the positions excluded under this section in whole or in part from the operation of the Act and the reasons therefor, together with the regulations prescribed and approved for dealing with such positions.
Amendment agreed to, and section as amended agreed to.
I beg to move that the following be added to the Bill as clause 1A thereof:
1A. Section thirty-nine of the said Act, as amended by the said chapter 10, is repealed, and the following section is enacted in lieu thereof:-
39. (1) Immediately after each examination a list of the successful competitors in the case of a competitive examination, and of successful candidates in order of merit in other examinations, shall be made out and published in the Canada Gazette.
(2) The Cavil Service Commission shall prepare and maintain a special list of persons in receipt of pensions by reason of their services in the war, nineteen hundred and fourteen to nineteen hundred and eighteen, who
(i) have from causes attributable to such service lost capacity for physical exertion to an extent which makes them unfit efficiently to pursue the avocations whioh they were pursuing before the war,
(ii) have not been successfully re-established in some other avocation, and
(iii) desire to be placed on such list.
The commission shall obtain as full particulars of each person on such list, including particulars of his age, education, physical and mental condition, resources and responsibilities, as it is possible to obtain from all available records.
In all examinations fosr entrance .into the Civil Service the persons named on such list who are found to possess the necessary qualifications shall be placed in the order of merit on the list of successful candidates above all other candidates.
(3) In all examinations for entrance into the Civil Service all persons other than those mentioned in subsection two of this section who have been on>
active service overseas on the military forces or who have served on the high seas in a sea-going ship of war in the naval forces of His Majesty or of any of the Allies of His Majesty during the war, nineteen hundred and fourteen to nineteen hundred and eighteen, who have left such service with an honourable record or who have been honourably discharged, or when any persons who have served as aforesaid have died owing to such service the widows of such persons, and who in either case obtain sufficient marks to pass such examinations, shall, irrespective of the marks they have .obtained, be placed in the order of merit on the list of successful candidates next after any candidates who are on the special list mentioned in subsection two of this 'section and above all other candidates.
(4) The provisions of any statute or regulation prescribing the age limit and physical requirements with respect to any appointment in the Civil Service shall not apply to any persons with the military or naval service mentioned in subsection two or three of this section.
I do not wish to object
to this provision, but I wish to point out that under section 4 of the Act it is provided that the regulations prescribing the age limit and physical requirements with respect to any appointment to the Civil Service "shall not apply to any persons in the military or naval service mentioned in subsections 2 or 3 of this section." For the present I do not think this matters very much, but in ten, fifteen or twenty years, when our returned soldiers have become somewhat older, if this provision stands our service will be clogged up with returned soldiers who are past the age limit for appointment and whose qualifications may not be as high as the qualifications of the ordinary civilian. A returned soldier fifty or sixty years of age, provided he is able to pass the entrance test, will be placed in the order of merit higher up than the ordinary young man who wishes to enter the Civil Service. If we intend to form old soldiers' homes it would be better for its to provide the money for that purpose than to place these men in the Civil Service. It will be bad for the country and bad for the soldiers themselves to have them understand that as soon as they get old
enough they will be placed in the Civil Service for life provided they can pass the examination. I presume the fact that they do not need to have the physical requirements to be appointed means that, even if they have passed the age limit and no longer have the physical requirements, if they are in the service, they cannot be put out. I presume that would be a natural corollary, so that we should be in this position, that is twenty-five or thirty-five years from now the Civil Service will be chuck-full of old soldiers who will not be in a position to work, or to give the country the service which it has a right to expect.
The proposed amendment as regards subsections 1 and 4 simply re-enacts! what is already on the statute book, without the change of a letter or a syllable, so that the objection raised by the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) deals solely with a provision in the law which was passed by this Parliament some three years ago. It is not one of the questions which we considered this year, and is simply re-enacted from the statutes of 1918. The only change made in subsection 3 is one which extends the right of preference beyond members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to those who served on the high seas in a sea-going ship of war in the naval forces of His Majesty. That amendment was made on the representation and suggestion of certain of those men who, on applying for this preference to the Civil Service Commission, were advised that, on the wording of the Act as it stood, that preference could not be extended to them. On their petition and on representations of the Department of Naval Service, the committee decided that that amendment should be made. The chief and real amendment is found in subsection 2, where there has been made a still further preference in aid of disabled men. Disabled men now not merely have the preference extended to all returned men, but they are put in a separate class by themselves. If they have the qualifications and can pass the necessary examination, their names go to the head of the list in advance even of their comrades who are sound and fit.
Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :
having passed an examination of any kind?
No, they have to pass the examination just as the fit men do, and they must have the necessary qualifications.
As regards this amendment, I would say that I am not against
protecting the returned soldiers in the country. The country and Parliament should make provision for them, and I think their services have been well recognized by this Parliament. But if we go on filling positions in the Civil Service of Canada in this manner, within two years we shall find that we shall have a military Civil Service. I think we should limit the preference which is given to returned soldiers on many occasions when they are not qualified, because to give them the preference in that case would have a tendency to make the Civil Service inefficient, as it is in some instances. I object to the amendment.
As regards the point just referred to by my hon. friend (Mr. Ethier), it has been made abundantly clear that returned soldiers must pass the Civil Service examinations just the same as those who are not returned soldiers. Having proven their qualification by passing the Civil Service examination, why should they not be put in the Civil Service, and what is it against the Civil Service if every man in the Civil Service is a returned soldier who has proved himself to be qualified? I cannot understand the viewpoint of those who object and say: "We will reach a time when possibly all our civil servants will be men who have served overseas." Supposing we do, is there anything wrong in that? Is there any danger to the country in that? They have to pass a test examination. Having done so, they should have the preference. We should not play fast and loose in this matter. If we are going to give this preference, we should do so.
I wish to direct this question more particularly to the hon. member for London (Mr. Cronyn). Reference was made to those who served in the military or naval forces. I may not have caught all that was read, but I did not catch that men who served in the air forces were included. Am I right in supposing that they were not included, and if not, why should they nos be included along with those who served in the military and naval forces?