June 16, 1922

LAB
PRO
LIB
PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

Might it not be possible

that in such a case the second in charge of the staff of such a post office would be suitable for promotion, and that the Post Office Inspector, having the supervision of that person's work, yyould know better whether he was or was not qualified for promotion than even the member for the constituency?

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

That might apply in the

case of large cities where perhaps a member for a district is not, and could not be, in close touch with the officials; but in a small constituency like mine I think that I know whether the postmaster, or his deputy, or any other official, is qualified or not. I would have no objection to promoting his deputy, if he were efficient, but I say that responsibility should be left to me. I am the right and proper person to decide whether the deputy should be promoted or whether a new man should be appointed.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON
LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

If my hon. friend contends that the election of a man to Parliament is the qualification for him to decide as to who will be best for any public position of that kind, may I ask whether the hon. member would extend that privilege to all on this side of the House?

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I would have no objection so long as I was satisfied that my hon. friend was a fit and proper person to make such a recommendation.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

As long as I felt hon. gentlemen were fit and proper persons to make an appointment, and I had confidence in them, I certainly would be glad to have them do so.

Now I want to speak of the appointment of other public employees. This difficulty arises not only in regard to rural postmasters, but also in regard to our fishery overseers. Last year-or perhaps it is two years ago-the fishery overseer in my county resigned and a new one had to be appointed. The Civil Service Commission proceeded to make appointment on the request, I presume, of the Fisheries Department. Posters were put up in conspicuous places and applications were received. The posters stated that applications would be received by a certain gentleman, a very respectable gentleman, who happened to be a good Conservative. The applications were to go to him and he was to hold a competitive examination. Mark that, a competitive examination for a fishery overseer! Now although I profess to remember a little of what I learned at school and also pretend to have a little information with

Supply-Civil Service

regard to the fisheries, the examination paper was such that I could not have answered one of the questions myself. They were the most foolish questions ever asked any individual since the world began -absolutely ridiculous. In appointing a fishery overseer, you require a practical man. As long as he can read and write, you need not care whether he has an education or not. For a position of that kind, probably the man with the least education has the most brains, and can do the best work. But this examination was held before this good Tory, and I had no objection to it at all. After the examination was over, I found that three candidates retired from the room where the examination was being held, simply because, after looking at the papers, they found they could not answer the questions. The other two made answers, hit or miss, and the highest man received 28 points out of a possible 100. That shows how foolish the whole thing is. The three best men retired from the contest, and left the other two to take the examination. The report of the examination came to Ottawa, and, I think, it was about four months before a decision was reached by the Civil Service Commission, because they were loaded up with applications, had not time to look after it, and they gave the job to the man who made the 28 points. He was not a bad sort of fellow, but, I say, the proper way to appoint a fishery overseer is to have some practical men go out and pick a man. I know a lot of Tories in my county who could pick out decent, respectable men, who know something about the business, but the man they asked to hold the examination was a schoolmaster. He decided who was to fill the very important position of fishery overseer in my constituency. Take the case (pf a lighthouse keeper. Imagine appointing a lighthouse keeper by competitive examination, and having the commission in Ottawa bother with the appointment of lighthouse keepers ten miles from land in the Atlantic ocean.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Who, do you suggest,

should make the appointment-the Civil Service Commission or the minister?

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

The Minister, of course. I certainly say that appointments such as those of lighthouse keepers, rural postmasters, official overseers, and charwomen

in fact, all the outside service-should not be made by the Civil Service Commission. I think the Civil Service Commission

can do a good work in appointing to the inside service, but that is all they can do.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

The hon. member suggests these appointments should be made by the minister of the department affected?

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB
CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Would you be satisfied, in that event, that the appointment should be made upon the recommendation of the sitting member.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Yes, I think I would. It would not make a great deal of difference on which side of politics the sitting member was; he would be responsible, and I think it would be right and proper. In the past, appointments were made on the recommendation of the defeated candidate. That is a mistake, because the defeated candidate has no interest in the matter. He is usually full of spite and spleen, as I have known in my experience, and does not care whether a good appointment is made or not, but if the member had to make the appointment, he would be responsible to Parliament and would have to answer questions with regard to the appointment on the floor of the House. I think the act should be amended, so that the outside civil servants would be appointed by the minister on the recommendation of the member for the constituency. It would work out all right in the long run, because the Liberals will be in power for the next fifty years, and then the Tories would have a chance after that.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

That would not be the sitting member.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

An hon. member has stated that, since the Civil Service Commission was appointed, everything was done through that commission,, that no appointments were made outside of it, that it did not make any difference whether applicants were Liberal or Conservative, the appointments were always made by the commission. Now, I say that hundreds of appointments, which, under the law, should be made by the Civil Service Commission, were made without recourse to that body. For instance, we have an inspector of fisheries in my province, a very desirable gentleman. Before he went into politics he was a clergyman.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON

June 16, 1922