June 16, 1922

LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Why no, he was a Baptist. That is the reason they made him fishery inspector. This gentleman was appointed

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for the service, at a good salary, without asking the Civil Service Commission to make the appointment, and now, although he is a clergyman, with very little experience in fishery matters, he is chief inspector for the three maritime provinces, and has his office in the city of Halifax. Yet, my hon. friends will rise to their feet with a straight and long face, and tell us they had nothing to do with patronage at all, did not make appointments, and that it was all done by the Civil Service Commission. I would not blame the commission for something I do myself. I would be proud to say I made certain appointments, if such were the case. In my county, a customs officer resigned about two years ago, and I recommended the name of a retired sea captain, who had two sons overseas, and who had fallen down and hurt himself very badly, and had to retire from the seas. He was a good man, had been going to sea for thirty years and had a family. I recommended him. Shortly afterwards I heard a good Conservative had been appointed, a man who had always worked for his party, and deserved anything his party could give him, but he was not appointed by the Civil Service Commission. He was appointed temporarily, to get over the objection which I would raise, and was kept on temporarily, until six months after, when they thought I would forget all about it. But when I came to Ottawa I found his appointment had been made permanent, without any reference to the Civil Service Commission. Yet these gentlemen sitting angularly opposite say they never made any dismissals or appointments. In Nova Scotia, out of

1,000 appointments made, even by the commission, within the last five years, I doubt very much if two Liberals have been appointed, and there is reason for it. I can understand it, and if I were on the commission, perhaps, I would do the same thing, but the fact is that, although I have nothing against the commission, there is no question that, in Nova Scotia, influences were brought to bear on the commission, or on one of the members of the commission, with the result that the Tories all got jobs. _ _

In conclusion, my candid opinion is that, in order to get an efficient Civil Service, there must be a housecleaning. I am told there are some 52,000 civil servants all over Canada. In 1911 there were 14,000 and these 52,000 are doing the same work now which the 14,000 did formerly, or very little more work. Everybody knows, whether it is here in Ottawa or out in the country

districts, there are too many officials altogether. We must have rural postmasters, and certain officials, but everybody knows that, in most of the offices, instead of having one man to do the work they have two, and sometimes three or four. We know they may get small salaries, and, as the hon. member from Marquette (Mr. Crerar) said, it would be far better to arrange to give one man a good salary to do the work, and let the other two or three go on a farm, or on a fishing boat, or wherever they could get employment.

We must have a house-cleaning. After looking over the Estimates and seeing the very large amount of money-I think it is some $120,000,000-paid to officials, I think it is about time this Government did better than the late government did. They have a great work to do if they will properly rearrange matters as regards the Civil Service and public employees. Millions of dollars can be saved by this Government if the ministers and their deputies have a housecleaning. They should do that, and they should pay men properly for their services. I also say that the Civil Service Commission should be allowed to fill appointments in the inside service, because they are qualified to do that. They are here on the spot; they can hold examinations; they can find out about a person's character and all his qualifications, and I am quite sure that that should be done. With regard to the outside service, as the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Turgeon) says, it is both expensive and not the right and proper way to fill such vacancies, because there is a delay, a great delay in some cases, the public interest suffers in the meantime, and after somebody recommends a candidate to the Civil Service Commission, neither the Civil Service Commission nor the Government know whether that person is suitable for the position or not. Therefore, I say that putting politics aside-and as I said before, I do not want to have the appointment of these officials-I feel, as a member of Parliament, it is my duty to help the Government to get an efficient service, and that I should not shirk my duty, but should endeavour to give my knowledge of matters ir. my constituency and any information which I May have to the minister or his deputy. Therefore, in the best interest of the country, from a business standpoint, the right and proper thing to do is for the Civil Service Commission or the Government to divorce themselves from the outside service and to give to

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members of Parliament the right to appointments in the outside service in all the constituencies. As a result members will feel that they have some responsibility, and whether appointments be Liberal or Conservative, I feel quite sure that, realizing their responsibility, the members, in every case, or in nearly every case, will appoint good men who will give good service to the country, and who will be satisfactory to the department.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

The hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) remarked that in 1911, 1 think he said, 14,000 civil servants had been dismissed and 25,000 or 26,000 had taken their places. The percentage in my district was greater than that. I have in recollection a man who was a civil servant and he resigned in 1912. The gentleman who took his place is getting 65 per cent more salary than he got; he has two assistants; there is less work, and it is being worse done. Whether it was in gratitude for that beneficence or on account of the idle time that he had, that gentleman was able to devote a great deal of time and misspent energy to boosting the candidature of the gentleman who was the candidate for the late government in the last election. I have no doubt that, under existing conditions, he will make it his business to do so in the next election.

I think the rest of my contribution to this debate might be put in the form of a little parable. Sometimes a homely truth can be brought home in that way better than by hours of argument and debate. The debate that has gone on this evening on this question reminds me very much of the story of Tom Smith's wagon. Tom Smith went to town with a team and a wagon. This was in British Columbia, and he visited the government "booze-joint" as we call it. It has some particular name, but I forget it.

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LIB
PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

Dispensary. He got a few shots andJ he was going home, his head nodding and his team travelling along at an easy pace. The king pin that holds the trees on to the tongue of the wagon came out-the farmers will understand this-and consequently the horses went on ahead and they pulled the reins through his hands. Tom was left sitting in the wagon; the team went home, and, of course, they stopped when they reached home. Tom sat there the whole night still, he thought, hanging on to the reins and thinking that

it was taking the team a long time to get home. Next morning the neighbours turned out to see what was the matter when they saw the team standing at the barn. They found Tom along the road still hanging on, as he thought, to the reins; they stirred him up and said: "What's the matter?" Tom looked around and scratched his head, and said: "If I am Tom Smith, I have lost a team and if I am somebody else, I have found a wagon. That is the situation here to-day. If we are Tom Smith, we have lost a team, and if we are not Tom Smith, we have found a wagon.

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LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

In the course of his remarks the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie), paid some attention to something I had said concerning the Marine Department. The hour is late and I am rather in the position of an Irishman who was called in to clean out a parson's cellar. It was a bright morning and the parson was walking in his garden when the Irishman held up some bottles which he was taking from the cellar to the light in the hope that he might extract from them a sufficient quantity for an eye opener. The parson observed this and yelled to him: " Pat, they are all dead soldiers." To which the son of Erin's isle replied: " Begorrah, your

riverence, I'm glad they had the parson with them in their dying hours." I am glad to be in this House in the dying hours of this debate.

It is not my purpose to make any observations concerning the personnel of the Civil Service Commission. I had some experience in the department, and just to show you how there is a tendency for a department to become overmanned, I am going to give an illustration of something that I know something about. I am not blaming any particular political party for this; I am blaming simply the system. Applications were called for a particular position; it was stated that the person should have a knowledge of law and a practical knowledge of the fisheries. The person whom the department had sent them by the Civil Service Commission happened to be a lawyer. He was found not to be fit for the particular work which he was called upon to discharge, and you would naturally think that when he was found unfit, he would be discharged or told to go. Instead of doing that, they placed him in the department stamping lobster labels-a lawyer, at $2,600 a year! That was work that should have beer

Supply-Civil Service

done by a boy for about $500 a year. Then they went down to the constituency of Queen's and Shelburne; they took a clergyman minister who had no practical knowledge of the fisheries, and they placed him in the department at a salary of about $3,000 a year, so that where the work was being done for $1,800 they were paying about $5,600 for the same work.

The think that I object to as regards the present Civil Service Act is the fact that it does not afford any scope for recommendation for promotion on account of efficiency. There is in every business concern in the country power, at least impliedly, in the manager, to pick out his good men and to recognize their efficiency by promotion. That is not the case in the Civil Service at the present time. It is absolutely impossible for the deputy minister or the minister to recognize ability or efficiency in the department. There is a certain position; a certain person is placed in that position, and no matter how great his ability may be there is no chance for him to get an increase of salary or to be promoted to a better position. Naturally he loses all ambition, becomes stagnant, so to speak, and incapable of evolving new ideas, and there is a tendency for him to " loaf on the job Consequently he gets behind with his work, the department has to make application to the Civil Service Commission for further help, and another person is appointed to assist the loafer; thus two men are paid to do one man's work.

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CON
LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

I was not fired, I resigned of my own volition to drive out some scalawags of the Tory party who were bungling the affairs of the country. But the point I am trying to make is that there will be no efficiency in the service so long as the deputy ministers and ministers are not in a position to recognize ability in their staff. My hon, friend from St. John has interpolated a political and personal note. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that my remarks do not afford him the slightest justification. I was simply blaming the system which has obtained for some considerable length of time. But politics- mean, low, personal politics, is so much akin to the nature of my hon. friend from St. John that he cannot give one credit for a sincere desire to advance the best interests of the country. I would like also

to inform the hon. gentleman that if he wishes to discuss political issues I am prepared to meet him, for I am ashamed neither of my own political record nor of my party's. As he is so curious, I may inform him that I was in the department, but I defy him to get any minister .who presided over the department during the time I was an official in it to state that I did not perform my duty diligently and efficiently.

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

I asked my hon. friend how long he was in the service. The House has heard a great many times about his having been in the department. He might now give us some details of his service there, for it is early in the morning yet.

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LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

If my hon. friend would possess his soul in patience I might recite to him a tale which he will not like to hear. However, I am not going to pay any more attention to my hon. friend's interruptions. So long, Mr. Chairman, as you keep from the heads of departments the right to recognize efficiency and ability in their staff, just so long are you putting a damper upon ambition, which must inevitably be followed by indifference and lack of efficiency, which in turn will necessitate the appointment of more officials to carry on the work.

What about the Civil Service Commission's method of ascertaining the qualifications of a person for a particular position? Some few years ago the late Union Government, so called, required in the Department of Agriculture-I do not know whether the ex-minister (Mr. Tolmie) was then presiding over it-an apple inspector for the county of Hants, and advertised for applicants. Several returned soldiers applied, but the commission appointed a custom tailor in the town of Windsor, although he did not know a Gravenstein from a Russet. When that man found what were the duties of an apple inspector he wrote to the department that he was not qualified to discharge the duties-and that after the Civil Service Commission had deemed him qualified! I am not advocating a return to political patronage, because I know that where a member recommends someone for a particular job he disappoints probably ten or twelve others who are also seeking it. But I claim the system is wrong. We must evolve a system which will give to the people better qualified officials who will render efficient service, and to this end the deputy ministers and ministers of de-

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partments should have some measure of control at least over their staff.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

The present administration

is not claiming any credit for the Civil Service Commission; at the same time it is not assuming any blame. I am standing as a sort of godfather to the estimates now before the committee, we having had nothing whatever to do with their preparation. We are asking for quite a large sum of money to carry on the work of the Civil Service Commission during the ensuing year, for which work this Administration is prepared to assume responsibility. I feel sure that both the members of the Government and of the Civil Service Commission will co-operate to secure the fullest efficiency of the public service. I do not think that the commissioners themselves feel they have realized the ideal efficiency which we all desire to see in the departments. I do not suppose it was really the intention when the first Civil Service Act was passed that the control of the Outside Service should be so suddenly forced upon the Commission, but naturally during the war period a great deal of extra responsibility had to be assumed by it. This has been a very valuable discussion and I am sure the commission will be very glad to receive the suggestions made by hon. members to-night. I sincerely trust that with the appropriation we are asking for the coming year a great deal of splendid work will be accomplished towards increasing the efficiency of the public service throughout the Dominion.

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Item agreed to. Progress reported.


ADJOURNMENT-BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE BIRTHDAY CONGRATULATIONS TO RIGHT HON. MR. MEIGHEN


On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King for the adjournment of the House:


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will the hon. gentlemen please tell us, with some definiteness, what the business to-morrow is to be?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

To-morrow the Finance Minister proposes to go on with some of his budget resolutions. I think it is probable that we shall also take up one or two of the bills and resolutions that still stand under Government Orders. There are not many of them, but such as there are will be taken up. I am glad to be able to inform hon. members that we

have completed the passing of the main estimates. Of course, there will still be some supplementary estimates, but I think it will be a source of satisfaction to hon. members to know that we have got that far. May I take advantage of this moment to congratulate my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition on having attained his forty-eighth birthday, and to wish him many happy returns?

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have to thank my hon. friend-even though I do feel this is driving it home a little-as well as the rest of the House; I appreciate their congratulations very much. Will the right hon. gentleman be good enough to say what budget resolutions it is proposed to take up? A very wide field is covered in the term "budget resolutions." The Finance Minister said yesterday there were certain items he did not propose to take up to-day; I do not know myself what they were. It would be of great value if we knew just what ones it was proposed to take up first. As far as the motions on the Order Paper are concerned, I am not particular, but I would like to know whether it is proposed to go on with the wheat board resolution? ,

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, we will not take the wheat board resolution tomorrow. As to the particular budget resolutions, I am sorry I cannot give my right hon. friend the information, but I am sure the Finance Minister will endeavour to meet the wishes of the House if there are any particular resolutions that the House should not wish to debate to-morrow.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Could the Prime Minister say whether it is proposed to go on with the specific tariff resolutions, with the resolutions as regards depreciated currency, the dumping clause, the marking act, and those in that category-outside of the customs resolutions?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The three

that my right hon. friend has just mentioned are the three which the Minister of Finance said would not be taken up today.

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June 16, 1922