If the late government abolished patronage it did so by placing a man in the Civil Service Commission who took the pains before he was put there to sweep the board clear of every Liberal in my constituency.
I have heard various statements of that kind to-night but I can only speak from knowledge of my own district and my own province, and as far as I am aware there was no wholesale dismissal of Liberals in our country. During the last Parliament we were told by hon. members who are now sitting on the government side that patronage had not been abolished at all; that the claim that it had been was a farce, and that it still
existed in the same old form. Now they are finding out that such is not the case. When we hear ministers of the Crown standing up here and saying "For God's sake give me power," and when we hear hon. gentlemen opposite complaining today about the situation in which they now find themselves, we know that the pledge of the government which was elected in 1917 was really carried out, and that patronage was abolished. Now as far as I am concerned I would not like to see patronage restored, particularly now-
We used to hear about the abolition of patronage. That was one of the planks in the platform of the Union Government-abolition of patronage including patronage for Conservatives. Now, conditions have changed and we hear a cry for the restoration of patronage, which I suppose means the restoration of patronage for Liberals.
The hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil), for whom I have a great deal of respect, expressed the view that members of Parliament should be consulted about appointments regardless of their political views, but he was frank enough to say that the appointment should go to supporters of the government of the day. Well, that is a fair statement on his part.
hon. member will pardon me, I said that the party in power ought to give the preference to its friends but that I did not approve of the principle of ignoring the representative of a constituency as was done in my case for ten years.
I think the hon. member will also be frank enough to say that previous to that time the Conservatives were ignored by the Liberal government. But the point I am coming to is this: The principle involved here is not that the member for the constituency should have something to say, but that the members supporting the government, or the defeated candidates for that matter, should have the say and that patronage for the Liberals should be restored.
a change in my hon. friend's constituency but his constituents do not seem to think that; he has been there for a long time now. Hon. members opposite doubtless will say that this is the psychological moment for the restoration of patronage because their party may not be in power for a very long time. That is quite probable. All indications or signs point to that and I will agree with my hon. friend (Mr. Turgeon) to that extent. As a matter of fact this Government has not a majority at all.
It is quite evident that hon. gentlemen opposite want to get back to the patronage system. I am opposed to that, I do not think it would be a good thing at all. I certainly would not like to see them carry out wholesale dismissals so as to enable them to give appoint-mente to their friends. I say it would be a very bad thing indeed to do or to interfere with the Civil Service Commission at all.
from Hants (Mr. Martell) smiles. A few minutes ago he said that when the civil servants were no good they put them in the Marine Department. He should know, because he was in the Marine Department himself. Personally, I am very much opposed to the restoration of patronage. I think appointment by the Civil Service Commission is the proper system to adopt; I have no criticism to make of the present members of that commision, and I have not heard any criticism here to-night. No one seems to have taken that stand. Apparently, they are doing their duty conscientiously, and doing it well-to the best of their ability at all events. But I have always thought that members of Parliament, irrespective of what party they be-
long to, might be consulted or, referred to more than they have been in reference to appointments, because in most cases they know something about the applicants for positions, and will be able to say whether they are suitable for appointment or not. I do not say that the recommendation of members should necessarily be accepted, but I think they might be referred to, in the case of some of the appointments, and they might be asked for their recommendation, and if they had any objections to raise, those objections should be taken into consideration. I wish to put myself on record as being in favour of the continuation of the Civil Service Commission. It may be that certain classes of appointments might very well be taken away from that commission. That matter was the subject of an act passed last session, and some arrangement might be made whereby some of the classes which have been referred to might be taken out of the jurisdiction of the commission, but I say, do not restore patronage, particularly patronage for the Liberals.