June 20, 1925

LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

There is nothing roundabout in the course they have to pursue. They are at perfect liberty to recommend to the Civil Service Commission salary increases for any individual or for a whole classification, and the evidence shows conclusively that their recommendations in this respect have never been ignored. Why should we want to change

Canada Grain Act

the situation? There is nothing to be gained by it, and there is distinct danger in the recommendation made by the committee.

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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

One of the reasons advanced by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Millar) for this change was that there was friction between the board and the Civil Service Commission. It seems to me that any department that wanted to do away with the act or to go behind it, or to escape the control of the Civil Service Commission, might very easily stir up a little friction. It seems to me this is simply putting a premium upon friction, and if we are going to abandon the Civil Service Commission first for one commission and then for another, we had better abandon it altogether and wipe it oil the slate entirely.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

If the hon. gentleman

wished to be entirely fair, I think he would remember that I said perhaps I should not call it friction, but that they did not appear to be working together as fully as they should.

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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

I am not going to quarrel over the word. But if they are not pulling together, there must certainly be friction, and the hon. member did use the word himself.

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PRO

Claudius Charles Davies

Progressive

Mr. DAVIES:

I do not see how this section would be workable at all. This section was thoroughly discussed in the Agriculture committee, and I agree with my hon. friend from Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell) that the officers of the Board of Grain Commissioners agreed before the committee that this would not be workable. What would be the position of the other employees under this section? It proposes to take certain offices from under the act and allow the Board of Grain Commissioners to pay them any salaries they see fit, and once they do that, immediately the rest of the employees of the board are going to ask for exactly the same privileges. I think the whole thing is vicious. It is just opening the way to patronage in an underhand manner. I came in here promising my people that I would oppose patronage in every form, and I am going to do it by voting against this section.

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PRO

Leland Payson Bancroft

Progressive

Mr. BANCROFT:

I am going to vote

against this section, and in favour of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Bow River. During the election campaign I took a stand against patronage, a stand that was taken, I think, generally by members in this comer of the House, and I for one have not changed my views since that time. Every argument that has been advanced so far in favour of this clause has been advanced by

every other department that wanted to get rid of the Civil Service Commission. There was a move not long ago to have the Penitentiaries branch taken out from under the Civil Service Commission, and identically the same arguments were advanced on that occasion as have been put forward here this afternoon. I cannot see how we can consistently ask that this branch of the civil service be removed from under the Civil Service Commission unless you are going to allow any branch that puts up this argument to be taken out of the jurisdiction of the commission also.

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

Possibly it may be suggested that I am inclined to limit the powers of the Civil Service Commission, but it is not so. I think I stand as loyally for the principle of maintaining the Civil Service Commission as any individual in this House, and yet as I see this particular matter, the trade is supplying the money to pay these officers. It seems to me, therefore, that they should not come wholly under the Civil Service Commission.

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PRO

Leland Payson Bancroft

Progressive

Mr. BANCROFT:

It has been suggested in this House this session that the penitentiaries should be made self-supfiorting by providing work for the inmates at various trades. If that were done, would the hon. member recommend taking the penitentiaries away from the Civil Service Commission and restoring patronage in that branch?

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

We will face these problems when we meet them. There is no use anticipating such matters, let us deal with them when they arise. In the meantime there is this problem before us to consider.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

There are numerous services now that are self-supporting besides this. Does the hon. member want to extend it to the Post Office department for example?

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

If my right hon. friend will permit me I will continue with my statement.

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PRO
PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

The problem is this: In

the past we have had a number of gentlemen in the service who were recognized throughout Canada for their ability. As the grain trade developed and prospered it has induced these men to leave the service and has been indifferent to the question of salary-the fact that a hundred or even a thousand dollars more was involved seemed to be immaterial. In my opinion the Civil Service Commission has not kept abreast of the times or we would not have lost the very efficient officers to the

Canada Grain Act

extent that we have lost them in the past. In order to attract these efficient officers the trade willingly offered them much larger salaries than they were receiving in the government service. As an example of this let me state that a former member of the Board of Grain Commissioners is now receiving $1,500 per year more from a private company than he received when he was on the board. In conclusion may I say that in speaking as I have done I have not retraced my steps in the matter of government appointments. I still hold the views that I have always held on the question of patronage.

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

I wish to say that I am

opposed to this section entirely; it is simply making a wagon track through the Civil Service Act. Every argument that was advanced here could be applied with equal force to many other cases in the Civil Service. There are hundreds of men in the Civil Service to-day, patriotic and self-sacrificing enough to give their services to the country at the present time, who would receive probably twice the remuneration they now get if they were working for a private corporation. To argue that the illustration only applies to this particular instance is an absurdity to say the least. We have the evidence that not in one instance have the Board of Grain Commissioners applied in vain to the Civil Service Commission where an increase in salary was considered necessary; and we hav6 not had one instance brought before us this afternoon showing that any one man has relinquished his position because his salary was inadequate. I can readily understand the position we are going to get into if what is proposed here is carried out. A minister will say he is responsible and ought to have the right to make appointments. I was at the sittings of the special committee that inquired into the civil service and I never heard of a single case where a department did not set up that claim. Such being the case we, the members in this corner of the House ought to come out and show where we stand on this question. There seems to be no manner of doubt that any recommendations on the part of the Board of Grain Commissioners to the Civil Service Commission intended to raise the standard of efficiency have been accepted by that body. If the standard of efficiency is not high enough, who is to blame? The standard should be raised in order to see if we cannot get more efficient men. If we do get competent men, I am quite sure the salary paid will be commensurate with their ability.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Did not my hon. friend,

at the time he speaks of hear a complaint from the Board of Grain Commissioners on the score of inefficiency?

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

As far as the inefficiency is concerned you can appoint men who have passed examinations successfully and yet may prove inefficient in practical work. I think that is quite true of every department of the government. However, if the Board of Grain Commissioners had inefficient men in their employ it was always open to them to appeal to the Civil Service Commission and they could have got rid of them in some way

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

The complaint I have heard to-day is largely that the Inspection department has been losing its best men because the grain trade offers them better salaries. I think there is only one real remedy in this case and that is for the farmers to get together and, through co-operation, grade their own grain, hire their own inspectors, and pay them what salaries they like. Then we will not have to be bothered with the Governor in Council, the Civil Service Commission, or a Canada Grain Act. I wish the farmers of western Canada could have been here this afternoon and heard all the trouble we have in connection with the employment of inspectors and the salaries they are paid. I do not think we will ever get away from that trouble-regardless of whether the rates of pay are set by the Governor in Council or by the Civil Service Commission-until we organize a co-operative organization where the farmers can employ their own inspectors. As far as I am concerned, after listening to all the arguments here this afternoon in regard to this particular section, I intend to vote for the amendment offered by the hon. member for Bow River.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I think most of

us will admit that this branch of the government service is quite different from the others, in that it is entirely commercial.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The less some hon. members know about the subject the more they seem to laugh and cackle. Mr. Chairman, this is purely a commercial service, in that respect resembling the National Railway Board. The grain trade is administered by a board and the services rendered are paid for by the farmers through weighing, inspection, and grading tariff at so much per car. The greatest objection that I have to these appointments being made by the Civil Service Commission here in the Hunter block

Canada Grain Act

is this. You first have to convince them that an appointment must be made. It takes a month to do that, and it relates to a matter about which the members of the commission themselves know nothing. As to getting rid of an inefficient inspector he has the right to enter an appeal and all sorts of delay is involved. In the meantime an incompetent officer may be doing work that will involve hundreds and thousands of dollars' loss to the farmers. And yet we are to be told the situation is one that cannot be rectified.

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June 20, 1925