March 31, 1922

LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

I have here a list of the forty-two temporary clerks in the Department of Labour when I assumed charge of that office, most of whom, indeed, I think all of them except one, are still there. I will read the list:

No. Position and Date of Salary

Appointment. per annum

1 Clerk-Stenographer, March 9, 1921... $ 960

1 Clerk-Stenographer, April 20, 1920 . .. 600

1 Clerk-Stenographer, October 15, 1920. 600

1 Clerk-Stenographer, August 25, 1920.. 600

1 'Clerk-Stenographer, August 11, 1920.. 600

1 Clerk-Stenographer, October 6, 1920... 600

1 Office boy, February 13, 1920 300

1 Statistical Clerk, April 27, 1921 960

1 Statistical Clerk, May 21, 1921 960

1 Statistical Clerk, January 12, 1921.... 960

1 Office Appliance Operator, Gr. 2, February 16, 1921 840

1 Office Appliance Operator, Gr. 2, June

8, 1920 840

1 Office Appliance Operator, May 11, 1920 840

1 Junior Statistical Clerk, June 25, 1921 600

1 Clerk-Stenographer (Winnipeg), October 17, 1921 960

1 Clerk-Stenographer (Winnipeg), December 9, 1920 900

1 Clerk-Stenographer (Winnipeg), November 1, 1920 990

No. Position and Date of Salary

Appointment per annum

1 Clerk-Stenographer (Ottawa), March

4, 1921 960

1 Statistical Clerk (Ottawa), April 28,

1920 1,320

1 Statistical Clerk, May 19, 1920 600

1 Statistical Clerk, April 17, 1920 600

1 Clerk Typist, November 24, 1921... 600

1 Clerk-Stenographer, November 16, 1921 960

1 Clerk-Stenographer, December 5, 1921 600

1 'Senior Clerk-IBookkeeper, January 8,

1921 1,380

1 Steno.-Bookkeeper, May 17, 1920 .... 1,020

1 Messenger Clerk, March 16, 1921 . . 600

1 Office Appliance Operator, Grade 3,

June 30, 1920 1,080

1 Clerk-Stenographer, April 16, 1921 . . 960

1 Clerk-Stenographer, March 10, 1920 .. 600

1 Junior Clerk, September 9, 1920 600

1 Statistical Clerk, August 18, 1920.. 960

1 Junior Clerk, March 8, 1920 600

1 Junior Clerk Stenographer, December

6, 1920 600

1 Clerk-Stenographer, August 7, 1920.. 960

1 Clerk-Stenographer, October 1, 1920 960

1 Private Secretary, January 9, 1922.. 2,400

1 Confidential Messenger, September 11,

1920 960

1 Clerk-Stenographer (Vancouver), September 16, 1921 960

1 Junior Clerk-iStenographer (Calgary),

June 13, 1921 $ 900

1 Investigator (Ottawa), February 4,

1921 3,000

1 Investigator (Montreal), January 1,

1919 $15 per day (when employed)

The appointment of private secretary was made after I took office. The confidential messenger was a temporary employee in the office when I came there, the date of his appointment being as specified. He was made the confidential messenger of the minister with the specified increase in salary whatever it amounts to-I think it is some $300 a year.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

I am sorry to say the figures have not been totalled but I can very readily make the count.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Never mind, we can get that information later. My hon. friend pointed out the manner in which the increases were made but what I want to find out from him, irrespective of that, is this: Are any of these salaries too high, and if so what are they?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

It would be entirely

unbecoming, under the existing condition of the law, for the Minister of Labour to even hazard a view as to the consistency of wage rates now in effect with respect to the various classes of civil service as established and maintained by the Civil Service Commission, a body appointed

Supply-Labour

under the preceding government. While, no doubt, I might hold certain definite views in regard to these matters, it would appear to me as being entirely unbecoming that I should be called upon to express my individual opinion on the subject at this time, especially when I have no jurisdiction whatsoever over this question.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I would have thought that the minister responsible for these payments would be able to give the Committee an idea as to whether the payments ought to be made or not. After all, he is the minister who has chiefly to do with the wage scales of the country, and kindred subjects. He is held to be an authority on what are considered fair wages and what rates ought to be paid in the respective cases, and surely we ought to be able to appeal with confidence to him for information as to whether, in these or other cases, the salaries we are paying are too high or too low.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

If the House in its

wisdom should later assign to me the duty of determining what should be a consistent and proper wage rate for the various civil servants I should then consider I would have an absolute right to answer the question of my hon. friend. At present it would not be fair-and I am sure my hon. friend does not want to put me in such a position-to ask me to express my opinion as to any individual rate paid, because these rates are established by the Civil Service Commission, an heirloom of which has been bequeathed to us from the previous government, and whose recommendations we are now following.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

If there is

such an "heirloom", and it is bad in its character, I do not know why the minister does not puncture that heirloom, unless it is from any false sense of modesty, a sentiment I would not have ascribed to him. Now what I am asking is this: My hon.

friend said, in connection with these estimates that there were large increases made in a particular way for particular reasons. I know my hon. friend is not in charge of all the other departments, nor is he sitting in general judgment upon the Civil Service Commission, but he is in control of his own department and he knows what kind of work the different members of his staff have to do. There is no use in talking about these things in generalities; there is not a bit of good in ministers coming here and saying "We have got big votes but it is the Civil Service Commission

that is responsible". The thing they can say, and they will help us by saying it, is "In our department we know the work that is carried on and we ought only to ask for so much money for this man or that man". If the minister has not considered that view of the subject he ought to do so before these estimates are passed.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

I think I appreciate

fully what my hon. friend from West York (Sir Henry Drayton) would like to get me to do, but he has not a chance on earth of inducing me to meet his wishes. I will, however, go in the direction of meeting the hon. member's desires by expressing this view: A few days ago a deputation waited on me in this city and said they represented some forty-five returned soldiers who have been discharged as physically fit under D.S.C.R. regulations. These men I was told-all of them under civil service regulations, and most of them married-were being required to work for $720 a year. I will express to my hon. friend the belief that a man cannot in decency, in this Canada of ours under the existing conditions, maintain a family as Canadians should, live on $720 a year. Of course it must be admitted that at the present time there is a bonus attached to that salary. I do not know what the result is going to be in that respect, but if my hon. friend wants to get my view on any question affecting the existing salaries that is the only opinion I would care to express. As regards the individual employees in my department, my hon. friend flatters me when he even suggests that I have even been able as yet to get a line upon the work of every individual employee. I find there have not been sufficient hours in the day during the past three months for me to accomplish anything of the kind. However, I hope that, if I continue in my present position, when I again come to this House with estimates I shall have a better grasp of the situation in that regard. I hope to know if the various employees in the department are worth the amount of this country's money that is being paid to them for the duties they are called upon to perform, ibut at the present time I doubt my ability to give you any detailed information as to whether any or all of the employees in the department are overpaid or underpaid.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

Is it not a fact that the employees of the Labour Department, as well as all the employees in all other departments in the inside civil service, have

Supply-Labour

to receive a certain salary until they get to the maximum, whether you want to give it to them or not, or whether they are worth it or not?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

The hon. gentleman is absolutely correct.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I feel very diffident in disagreeing with so final a pronouncement from the last court of appeal as that just given by the Minister of Labour, but I am compelled to. He tells this House that, r.o matter what may be the will of the Government, or of this Parliament, these men must get the salaries set opposite their names because the Civil Service Commission says so.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon, if he understood me to say that, I can only say that I did not intend to convey any such impression.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What did the hon. minister say?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

I understood the hon. gentleman from Hants (Mr. Martell) to ask me if it was not a fact that these salaries rnd the increases in the salaries were set forth, and that I was compelled to pay them, whether I wanted to or not. I answered, yes. The Civil Service regulations so far as I know-and I have some things to learn yet-provide for just that, no more and no less. I am not dealing with what this House can do.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not see very much difference between what the hon. minister says and what I ascribed to him, but he will not get out of responsibility in that way.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

And I do not want the hon. gentleman to get out of the responsibility, although he has been trying hard to. The Civil Service Commission has a duty under the act. That duty is to define the duties and to allocate the salary that is in their view commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of each office. With that duty they are intrusted by the Civil Service Act. But no civil servant has a right at all to any salary until this House passes upon it and decides that it is a proper one. And when the minister comes to this House with his estimates, he says: Those are the salaries that I think right, and I ask this House to vote them. That is his responsibility.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Fine hair-splitting.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN :

It is not the hon. gentleman's hair I am trying to split, my idea is to get it into his head.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink

March 31, 1922