March 31, 1922

LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend has transferred twelve to the permanent staff; is that right?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

But is that the fact? That is what I understood my hon. friend to say the other day.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

What is the difference between 106 and 117?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend stated very clearly that he had transferred twelve. He mentioned also the other night that one had passed out; perhaps he forgets what he did say, but I do not. Thirty are being dismissed, as he has told us so clearly, his reasons being to do away with this miscellaneous group of temporary employees. The twelve employees whom he transferred were paid out of the estimates of last year; therefore if we give the same amount this year as last, $171,000, plus $35,000, we are giving exactly the same amount for a smaller staff. And there is something further that my hon. friend might take into consideration. There are two offices here which can be dispensed with. One is vacant now, involving a salary of $3,900. The other, with a salary of $3,700-Assistant Director of Technical Education

is not needed and, it is understood, was to have been dispensed with. This is a total of about $7,500, so that in asking for this reduction we are asking for nothing unreasonable.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

The hon. member

surely does not indicate that (both the Director of Technical Education and the Assistant Director can be dispensed with?

Supply-Labour

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Unquestionably, on this ground: these two offices were inaugurated in connection with the $10,000,000 vote by way of assistance for technical schools in Canada some years ago. The duty of these officers was to organize technical schools in each province and allocate the respective shares of the $10,000,000 vote to each. There is no necessity for continuing the services of these two highly paid officials once the provincial officials commence to function; a clerk in the deputy minister's office can do all that is required. When the Director of Technical Education vacated the office nearly a year ago, the late government was determined not to refill the position, on the ground that it was no longer necessary. My hon. friend the other day, while he did not think it was required, would not assure the House that he would not give this position to some deserving friend. But what I want to point out is this; there is no need for such an officer, because the provincial governments are functioning so far as technical education is concerned.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I have been trying to get this thing clear in my mind, but I do not know that I have succeeded very well. The motion refers to a statement made on the 28th of March as recorded in Hansard at page 479, and the statement, I take it, is as follows:

Mr. Murdock: The proposal is to make twelve of these forty-two temporary employees permanent. The other thirty have received notice, which so far as I understand will not be revoked, that they are to leave the service on the 31st of this month.

Now we may take it as clear that thirty men go out to-day, the last day of the financial year. I think it is quite as clear that it will not be necessary to provide any money to pay the salaries of these thirty men who will not be there next year. It is equally as clear in my mind that they were paid last year. Twelve of them will have to be paid again this year, but thirty of them will not. Then why are we asked to vote money this year to pay for thirty men who will not be there? It may be that the whole forty-two were paid last year out of some other vote-contingencies, perhaps. Well, we are voting the full amount of contingencies again this year, so why increase this vote to an amount that will include the salaries of thirty men who are going to leave the service to-day? I cannot understand the situation, and if I have not stated it correctly, I should like to be corrected. To my mind it is an idle and a wrong

thing of Parliament to vote money that is not going to be expended. We should know how the money is going to be expended before we vote it. It is clear that only twelve out of the forty-two men employed last year are to be retained as permanent, so why should we vote the money for the thirty who are not going to be retained? As I understand the motion, it is simply to reduce these estimates by a sum that will represent the salaries of the thirty who are to be dismissed, and I think under the circumstances the minister himself might very well have intimated to the committee that the vote would be reduced by that amount. It has been done before in this House. I remember last year when the civil government estimates of the Militia Department were up they provided for forty-one men whom we did not intend to employ that year, and we struck out those forty-one, and reduced the vote by something like $58,000. That is all that this motion asks for. The men are not there, so the salaries are not required, and the money should not be voted.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If the facts were as stated by my hon. friend who has just taken his seat, I for one would not take the slightest exception to this amount being reduced as suggested by the hon. member for Centre Vancouver (Mr. Stevens). I think the whole difficulty has arisen from the form in which the estimates have been presented to the House. In this, connection let me say that it is not wholly the fault of the present Government that the form is what it is, because the Government in presenting the Estimates to Parliament has simply followed the form in which the Estimates were presented and passed last year, and has presented its figures under corresponding heads. If my hon. friends will look at the Estimates, they will find that what we are now discussing are items contained on pages 107 and 108, details of civil government, which relate to the members of the service whom we wish to have retained as permanent em- * ployees. If hon. members will turn to the estimates of the Department of Labour on page 52, they will see there the votes which were passed by Parliament at the last session. Let me direct attention to item No. 268, Administration, Employment Offices Co-ordination Act. Hon. members will see that last year the sum voted under this head was $75,000, and that this year the minister is asking only $45,000. I am informed that in connection with these em-

Supply-Labour

ployment offices some temporary clerks whose services are being dispensed with were formerly employed and paid out of that particular vote.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Just at that point, may I ask how much of this $75,000 was expended last year?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

While that

point is being looked up, I might invite the attention of the committee to another point. If hon. members will look at Item No. 267 on page 52, they will find that the amount voted last year for Fair Wages and Inspection Officers was $20,000, and that this year it is reduced to $5,000; and if one takes the last item of all on that page under Details, "Appropriations not required for 1922-23, $50,000," I speak subject to correction, but I think investigation will show that that $50,000 was in part used for the payment of salaries of temporary clerks who are leaving the service.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That $50,000 would

represent simply the excess of last year over this year, and it is put in there for the purpose of balancing the two columns. It is meaningless outside of that.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The members of the committee will see that the total amount asked for by the minister last year was $472,000 and that this year it is $372,000. There is a saving of $100,000. It is reasonable I think to ask the committee, when considering the question of reducing the civil government estimates by the sum of $97,000, to take into account the fact that the minister in presenting his estimates to the House this year shows a reduction of $100,000 in the expenditure for his department on what was asked last year, part of that amount having been used to pay the salaries of temporary employees. *

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

May I correct my

hon. friend? I am not asking for a reduction of $97,000, but of $23,000 in this item No. 24, on page 9 of the civil government estimates.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am glad to

hear that it is not the larger amount, but what I have said would be equally applicable in that case; perhaps the force of my remarks might be increased. When my hon. friend asks that the civil government estimates for the Department of Labour be reduced by $23,000, I think it is fair to ask the committee to take into consideration the fact that the minister shows a reduction in

the main estimates for the Department of Labour, as presented to Parliament this year, of $100,000 on the amount asked for last year. I can readily see, that if hon. members wish to embarrass the minister, wish to make it difficult for a new minister requiring first knowledge of his department, and wishing to do justice to the members of his staff, they can probably make out a case from the estimates as brought down which would seem to show that some money asked for was hot required, but in view of what I have just said, and in view of the explanation the minister has made that some of the temporary clerks he is dispensing with altogether, were not paid out of corresponding appropriations to those he is referring to at the present time, and that the increase is accounted for by his seeking to disclose publicly to the House that he is making permanent a few clerks to take the place of a larger number of temporary clerks he has dispensed with, I hope my hon. friend from Centre Vancouver, under such circumstances, will not press his motion. If he should, I would ask the Committee to take what I think under the circumstances would be a reasonable attitude in considering the motion and bear in mind all that the minister has said by way of explanation, as well as his saving on the main estimates, and permit him at least the opportunity to get to know the work of his department before beginning to do an injustice to some members of the Civil Service who certainly will be adversely affected if a motion of the kind is passed.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Will the minister answer my question as to the amount expended under the item of $75,000 because that is important; that is what this whole argument is based on.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

My hon. friend will understand that as the fiscal year expires to-night we could not accurately give him the information now. It might be of information to him, however, if I would state the results at the close of the last fiscal year.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Pardon me. I have asked my hon. friend for certain information. 1 am asking it in a conciliatory spirit and, having in mind the expressed wish of the Prime Minister that this motion be withdrawn, if he will tell me, or show me that a very substantial portion of the $75,000 has been expended on this the 31st day of March, or up to the 1st of March, it will go a long way to support the argu-

Supply-Labour

ment of the Prime Minister. If not I cannot see anything in the argument.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink
LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

In answer to my hon. friend I would say that up to February 28th, 1922, $47,012.51 had been expended under Administration Employment Offices. I still would like to give my hon. friend some of the results that were before him at the close of the last financial year as indicating that he surely must have some knowledge of this situation. At the close of the last fiscal year we found that the civil government salaries $106,762.60 had been paid out, and that out of civil government contingencies $30,627.91 had been paid for temporary employees. For the salaries of Fair Wages Inspecrion Officers $12,269.84 had been paid; for salaries under the Conciliation and Labour Act $12,721.12; for salaries to Administration Employment Offices $50,953.93. I am sure my hon. friend will agree these are funds entirely different from those we are considering here.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE BILL
Permalink

March 31, 1922