Temporary employees. Other items are: salaries joint industrial councils, $326.62; salary director of coal operations, $6,285; salary arrears under reclassification, $8,052.97, or a total for the last fiscal year of $228,139.34. That was as of March 31, one year ago to-day. Again, may I say to my hon. friend that last year the records indicate that the temporary employees in the Labour Department were paid from these sources: contingencies, 56; employment offices, 56; joint councils, 2. This indicates there were 114 temporary employees at one time or another, but there were only about 42 when I took charge of the department.
In order that there will be no misunderstanding, let me say there is no provision being made in these civil government estimates for thirty of the employees I found in the Labour Department when I took office.
the fact upon which my motion rests. They are provided for in your main estimates of this year. I would say to my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) that the figure of 114 temporary employees given by the minister has no relation whatever, to the extent of forty-two, to the estimates under consideration now. The balance of them, and seventy odd employees, are provided for in item 272 to be found at page 52 of the Estimates. So we must not allow the idea to permeate the minds of hon. gentlemen that the number of temporary employees is being reduced from 114 to 12-that would not be correct at all.
I hesitate to ask a question for fear of eliciting another speech from the Minister of Labour. We have spent a great deal of time with these estimates and we have not made much progress. I would like to get information on a couple of points from the minister if he can answer me briefly. I understand that under the Civil Service Act the minister has no power to discharge any official but he can abolish an office. Am I correct in that understanding?
My hon. friend corrects me to the extent of saying that I could do so under an Order in Council, but no hon. member would expect me to abolish an office that was necessary and one in which there was work to be done.
I should think that perhaps you might dispense with unnecessary employees by degrees. For example if there were three clerks in an office it might be possible for you to get along with two. My next question is: To What extent have these estimates been increased by statutory increases to the clerks in the department?