May 11, 1922

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

The appointment of

every official at Ottawa will be under the Civil Service Act, unless an exception is made by vote of Parliament. I am making an exception now, just as has been made in previous cases.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Not at all. The minister may justify what he is doing now, but he cannot justify it in that way. The Civil Service Act went a certain length. It included virtually all the services; certain services did not come under it, for definite reasons given. Now, we went that distance and stopped there. But the minister is asking Parliament to retrace a part of the step that has been taken. He desires to remove something from the operation of the act by special statute, because he is afraid that otherwise the right man might not be appointed. To a certain length and stop is very different from what the minister proposes. Having got a certain distance, he wants us to retrace our steps and to that extent repeal the act.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

The Civil Service Act was passed before the Income Tax Act. When the latter act was passed every official appointed under it would have come under the operation of the Civil Service Act unless special exception had been made by vote of Parliament. The Civil Service Act never applied in this respect, because my hon. friends excluded this department from its operation. I am making an exception to-day in one case, whereas my hon. friends did so in hundreds of cases.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is not a fair

statement at all. It is true that the Income Tax Department never came under the Civil Service Act; neither did the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

It would have come

under the act but for the fact that it was excepted.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It was never put under the act. These two departments were never put under the act for the reason that the appointments made in connection therewith were in their nature temporary appointments. They did not prove to be as temporary as had been expected, but they were services that were not regarded as of a permanent character. For this reason they never came under the Civil Service Act at all. But what the minister proposes to do now is to take a distinctly reactionary step. He may have special reasons for doing so, but the reason he has so far given would be a reason for repealing the whole Civil Service Act. Has he any special reason to justify the step he is taking in this particular instance?

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

The special reason is

that this gentleman has had forty-five years' experience in the public service and is exceptionally well qualified for the duty which I require him to perform. I would ask the House to accept that as reason enough. But I again state that if any department of the public service is not under the operation of the Civil Service Act it is because it has been excepted by just such a motion as I am making on this occasion.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

My hon. friend is

entirely wrong. However, if we agree on the conclusion, I will not quarrel with him as regards the road we take to get there.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

We may agree that

there is a great difference between never having brought certain services under the act, and seeking to make an exception of certain services that are already under it. The minister says that the exception here is justified on the ground that Mr. Russell has long experience and is, in his judgment, a man eminently qualified for the duties to which he is to be assigned. I am not disputing the minster's judgment. I know Mr. Russell, but I am not aware of his special qualifications. Assuming that the minister's judgment is correct, does he

Supply-Finance

think that the same fact would not appeal to the Civil Service Commission? Would Mr. Russell's long experience not appeal to them as eminently qualifying him?

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

They would have no right to consider it.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No right to consider his experience?

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

Not in competition with another man.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the minister say that the Civil Service Commission cannot consider the experience of an applicant in estimating his qualifications?

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

Not in competition with other applicants.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Certainly; in competition with others the applicant's experience in this case would help him in the race, just as it would help anybody else. The Civil Service Commission takes an applicant's experience into consideration, in fact, they do so in regard to every application. So that what the minister is doing is tantamount to saying that what really qualifies an applicant is something which the Civil Service Commission should not consider at all. If that is the case, then we should have no Civil Service Commission.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My hon. friends say " hear, hear." How many of them are there, though, who did not say just the opposite during the last three sessions?

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Civil Service Act had all sorts of champions in this House, on this side of the Chamber, during the past three sessions. Even if we sought to refer to a committee the question whether or not it would be wise to make any exceptions, hon. gentlemen rose up in arms, indignant that anything should be done in the way of going back to patronage. But now they are enthusiastic advocates of such a course, because they think they will reap the rewards.

Topic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1921-22
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May 11, 1922