I am very glad of that promise of improvement, but I do not want the House to get the impression-at least, it will not be my fault if it does-that any minister does not absolutely control the number of officers in his department; that is to say, unless he fails to get the approval of Council, he can reduce the number to any extent he deems advisable, and the responsibility is his; he cannot shift it on to anybody else.
I am not seeking to evade responsibility for control of the department. I quite understand, even from my short tenure of office, that one has the authority to carry on with a lesser number of civil servants than he may find in his department; but I think my hon. friend will agree with me that it is advisable to be well-informed and to go slowly before starting to make changes. I have said that I think the department is very well organized; I still think so; but perhaps after mature consideration I may find places where more economy may ba exercised.
friend is quite right in connection with the classification. There is no doubt that former temporary emloyees have been
drafted into the service, and very properly so, under the rules of the Civil Service Commission. For example, there is an apparent saving under the heading of Clerical Assistance from $40,000 to $25,000. That saving, as it is taken up, accounts in part for the increase in my hon. friend's vote, because those temporaries are made permanent and therefore added to the list. I am quite well aware of that. But take travelling expenses and sundries; that cannot be blamed on the Civil Service Commission. There is an increase of 30 percent. Why that increase?
I admit that personally I have not interfered with the services of any one of the departments over which I have control. I think it will be generally agreed that with eight hundred or nine hundred employees, while one is trying to get acquainted with them, there is not very much time to examine very closely as to where certain services might be dispensed with. This again is accounted for by a change. Travelling expenses and sundries, $32,000, shows an increase of $10,000 over 1921-22. It is estimated that $22,000 will be required to meet expenses of the permanent Inside Service officials at Ottawa who may be travelling on Government business, and an amount of $10,000 will be necessary to cover the expenditure connected with telegrams, postage, subscriptions to newspapers, express charges, cab hire, washing towels, and for other small items relating to the Inside Service of the department at Ottawa. The amount estimated for 1921-22 for travelling expenses was $12,000, but, on account of additions to the permanent Inside staff through blanketing-in Orders in Council or Section 79 of the Dominion Lands Act, it will be necessary to increase the item in order to meet the requirements of this service. The expenditure from 1st April, 1921, to 31st December, 1921, was $17,036.78. I am advised that the $10,000 is very largely charged from other services and is drawn by the very same civil servants who may be travelling. Those expenses will now be all taken out of this particular vote. There is therefore no real increase in this vote, it being in the nature of a transfer.
I notice at the foot of page 78, dealing with senior file clerks, that the number is increased from twelve to twenty-nine. I thought at first that possibly some junior grades were moved up, but looking at the top of page 79 I find that even this year there are twenty-three, or a reduction of only two on the number last year. That would mean seven less in the junior grades, but there is an increase of seventeen in the senior grades. There is one other item on page 79, clerk stenographers, increased from 96 to 111, while the juniors have been reduced by ten. It may be that' these two items together make up 30 per cent or 40 per cent of the entire increase in the department, and that the Civil Service Commission is responsible, although it would hardly seem to me to be so on a cursory inspection. On the other hand, it may be that the pruning knife which was applied to most of the departments by the late government-and which, very naturally, was very much resented- having been dropped, the economies which resulted are now being made up for by a constant expansion. I do not know whether the hon. minister can answer the question off hand. I do not ask to hold up the passing of the vote because of that, but I should like to know, and possibly the House might be interested too, in his explanation before all the Estimates are passed.
A large proportion of the $10,000 item, practically all of it I am informed, is taken from the vote for other purposes in the interests of which these men were travelling. They are now grouped together, have become civil servants and can no longer procure money from that vote; therefore you find the item of $12,000 added to the travelling expenses for the purpose of covering those items. In answer to the hon. member for St. John, I thought I made it very clear that there is no increase, except to the extent of the eight who joined the service and were transferred from the Conservation Commission staff to that of the Department of the Interior. On the other hand, the items as changed simply represent, so far as my information goes, the changes made by the Civil Service Commission with respect to classification, and that I take it is fixed. I have not attempted
to interfere with it, assuming that the Civil Service Commission have control.
For the encouragement of the minister and to inspire in him hopes for the future, I want to say this: it is difficult in a large department such as the Interior to avoid increases, particularly in the face of the statutory increases of civil servants. This year I find that his increases amount to approximately $108,000. In the year of which I was reminded by the hon. member for George Etienne Cartier (Mr. Jacobs), when I was Minister of the Interior-and I know the previous reductions were the same-notwithstanding the obstacles, notwithstanding that the work of the department very considerably expanded, we took care of all statutory increases and of all the actual work and effected an actual reduction of $6,200.
What is the explanation of the increased amount asked for printing and stationery? Members of the
House are literally flooded with stationery and printed matter from nearly every department; it seems to me that a good deal of it could be lopped off. It looks like a case where we should have a decrease rather than an increase, particularly in times like these.
Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil) : The
money is needed to pay for books of various descriptions,-index books; land patent record books, etc., file backs, special paper for patents, printed forms, purchase of typewriters and stationery required for the general use of the Inside Service at Ottawa. There are 250 typewriters constantly in use in the Inside Service, the cost of repairs and supplies in connection with which amount to a very large figure each year. The expenditure under the head of printing and stationery during the past three years has been as follows: fiscal year 1919-20, $58,603.64; 1920-21, $70,367,.16; 1921-22, $77,000. The amount estimated for 1922-23 is $13,000 more than the
amount of the estimated expenditure for 1921-22, but as strict economy is being practised it is thought that $58,000 will be sufficient to cover this service.
But still, why the increase? We were using typewriteri before. Prices are going down; paper is a good deal cheaper than it was. I may say that in order to effect a saving, the Department of the Secretary of State went through the old war departments and got hold of all available typewriters, and the departments were asked not to purchase any new ones. Is my hon. friend putting this large increase into the purchase of typewriters?
the question about printing and stationery which the minister has just answered. We find ourselves at a loss in criticising any of these Estimates, because as soon as we speak about them we find that everything is covered by the reclassification. This reclassification is like charity; it covers a - multitude of sins. Of what avail are our criticisms of these Estimates if every time we ask, why these increases, there is a tendency to hide behind the Civil Service Commission or the reclassification; and because of that we cannot go into the details. I realize that the heads of these departments are new men and cannot be expected to be familiar with all the details. At the same time, they are responsible for their departments, and we want to impress upon them that the country expects of them anci will demand of them, classification or no classification, a reduction of these Estimates commensurate with the reduction in the cost of living and the price of supplies, due regard being had also to the country's diminishing income.