March 31, 1922

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Subject to the approval of Parliament.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Subject to the approval of Parliament. But Parliament approved that law in the first place and gave the Civil Service Commission that power, and until Parliament repeals that act it must

Supply

Labour

continue in force, and any action taken by the Minister of Labour or any other minister to move to reduce a salary for a certain office-I am not saying a certain official, because the salary is attached to the office, not to the official-any such action would be equivalent to repealing the Civil Service Act so far as that particular salary was concerned.

Let me point out to the committee a concrete example of what power the Civil Service Commission has,

always subject to Parliament; that of course, goes without saying, for we can repeal the whole act just as well as we can repeal one section by doing as the right hon. gentleman suggests we have power to do. No one questions the power of Parliament to repeal any act, but so long as the Civil Service Act is in force a minister cannot, without contravening the spirit of that legislation, reduce any salary fixed by the commission, and everyone knows that.

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CON
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

He can dismiss an official for cause, but he cannot appoint another in his place. In other words, he can reduce the personnel, but not change it. Le me point out a concrete case. A committee in the Militia Department, composed of certain officials of the department and one member of the Civil Service Commission, proceeded to reclassify that department some months ago under the instructions of the then minister;-this was before my time. That committee brought in a report classifying, I think, 190 officials and fixing their salaries. Eighty-two of those 190 officials appealed to the Civil Service Commission and got their salaries increased, notwithstanding the fact that the minister had approved of the lower classification made by the committee. That shows that the Civil Service Commission is intended, under the act that created it, to fix salaries, even if those salaries are higher than the scale proposed by Parliament.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Does the minister think it wise and in accordance with our parliamentary traditions that the expenditure of public money should be taken from the sphere of effective criticism by this House?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Certainly not. Hon. members would have the right to move for the repeal of the Civil Service Act if they wished.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Would the hon. minister approve of that course being taken?

.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

My hon. friend must be Irish: he answers a question by asking another. That is a matter for discussion.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I am pointing out the effect of the act as it stands now.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

I should like to point out to

the hon. minister the serious situation that arises here. We are engaged in the laborious process of criticising the Estimates, and yet it seems that all our labours are in vain, because when we try to bring our criticisms to bear we find the responsible minister of the Crown takes refuge by saying: These things are fixed before

hand by the Civil Service Commission. I think it is a very serious feature of the present situation, and not in accordance with British parliamentary traditions which declare that all public expenditures should be subject to the effective criticism, of parliament.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Militia and Defence; Minister of the Naval Service)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That may be true.

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

Mr. Chairman, I should like very much indeed to expedite as far as possible the business of this committee. But as my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition, and others have chosen to "pick" on me in regard to this civil service question-and, personally, I do not mind that in the least-I am going to read into Hansard what purports to be a complete statement of this question as prepared by my honoured predecessor, Hon. Mr. Robertson. This statement, as I understand, was prepared for the Conservative government in the expectation of being able to show the wonderful benefits accruing to civil servants under the provisions of the Civil Service Act. It recites in detail the munificent and wonderful privileges and the sympathetic consideration enjoyed by civil servants through the acts of our predecessors in office. It would appear to be a very opportune time to place this statement on Hansard for the information of hon. members. It was evidently prepared, as will be noted before I finish reading it, after 1st October, 1921, just on the eve of the general election, for the purpose of showing what had been accomplished by adopting the Civil Service Commission method of dealing with the remuneration of civil servants.

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CON
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

After 1st October,

1921.

S upp ly-La b our

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

And before 6th

December.

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

It reads:

The Arthur Young Company was appointed by an Order in Council of August, 1918. Mr. Crerar was a member of the Government at that time, having been sworn in on October 12, 1917, resigning November, 1919.

The employment of Griffenhagen and Associates, Limited, was authorized by P.C. 1238, May 31st, 1920. Their contract was terminated by 60 days' notice, P.C. 296, February 7th, 1921.

The subcommittee of Council to consider proposed legislation re Civil Service and to draft a Bill to bring about proposed reforms, consisted of the Hon. A. K. Maclean, convener, Hon. N. W. Rowell, Hon. F. B. Carvell, and the Hon. G. D. Robertson, appointed by P.C. 372, February 18th, 1918.

"The Subcommittee on Reorganization and Efficiency, consisting of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, President of the Privy Council, the Minister of Labour, and the Minister of Immigration, appointed by Order in Council, P.C. 1238, May 31, 1920, was cancelled by P.C. 3649, October 3, 1921, which appointed instead of the foregoing, the Minister of Labour, the Secretary of State, and the Minister of Immigration. Employees who have up to date been blanketed in under the provisions of Order in Council of December 16, 1920, P.C. 2958-with overseas active service, 894 other females, J-,0621 other males, 727 ; total, 2,638. Number of employees in Civil Service, 191314, 29,135; 1917-18, 44,378; 1919-20, 50,307 ; 1920-21, 41,641. The decrease shown by last figure is. due mainly to the reductions in war departments. The above figures do not include rural postmasters. There were about 8,000 rural postmasters in 1914, and there are about 10.000 to-day.

The Union Government went to the country in 1917 with a definite policy to reorganize the Civil Service and to eliminate patronage. In implementing their promise they have carried out a reclassification of the Civil Service and a partial reorganization. The reclassification was carried out by, and under the direction of, the Civil Service Commission.

The merit system of promotion is now in full sway in the Civil Service, even in the higher positions. Clerks are selected from the ranks of juniors, seniors and branch heads from those below them, and so on right along the line. New employees are only taken into the service when there is no one suitable for promotion amongst the permanent employees. Patronage has been entirely eliminated. Examinations are practical instead of academic. The new order of things offers inducements and prizes to the highly trained man. Every position is graded and dovetailed into another of greater opportunity, responsibility and salary. Patronage is dead. Favouritism is as nearly eliminated as human nature and the inexorable processes of departmental procedure will permit. To-day entrance to the Civil Service is by way of competition and is ruthlessly just. Industry, integrity, and intelligence are now the only passports to success in the Civil Service, which offers opportunities worthy of the consideration of the best minds among the young men and women of Canada."-(Extract from a pamphlet recently issued by the Civil Service Commission.)

Some examples of merit promotion made recently are-

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

What has that letter to do with the item under consideration, Mr. Chairman? The minister is taking up the time of the committee with something that has nothing to do with the matter before us.

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK (reading):

Some examples of merit promotion made recently are: postmastership of Winnipeg, filled by the assistant postmaster; director of Printing Bureau, Deputy Minister of Finance; Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance; Assistant Deputy Minister of Interior; postmaster of Toronto.

Coincident with reclassification the Outside Service came under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission. Previous to this, in the matter of promotions, the trail of patronage was apparent, and the more remunerative appointments were made under the direction of the Patronage Committee. This was particularly true in the Outside Service, where politics entered into every promotion and appointment. The lucrative posts in each locality were jealously guarded, and as no official was transferred from his district or promoted to higher duties in another place, promotion of any kind wras almost unknown. The majority of officials in the Outside Service were without hope and many of them in great distress.

The Civil Service Commission was constituted in 1908. Their jurisdiction, however, was confined to the Inside Service and remained thus limited for ten years. During those years, in spite of attempted remedies, the patronage system survived and flourished. The many anomalies and abuses existing were discussed from time to time in Parliament, but so little practical and permanent improvement had resulted that the people were skeptical-

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I rise to a point of order. What item of the Estimates is now being discussed, and is the letter which the minister is reading relative to that item?

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March 31, 1922