June 26, 1925

LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

If we are to have a detective service of any value to be used against smugglers, its personnel must be changed frequently.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I should like to protest against this further extension of the practice of appointing men altogether outside the Civil Service Act. Something like thirty-three per cent of the total personnel in the public service is to-day more or less subject to patronage, notwithstanding the fact that a few years ago we thought we had gotten rid of patronage in this country. In connection with the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment there are some 3,094; in the Soldier Settlement Board, 618; in the Income Tax department, 1.211; and then under order in council P.C. 1053 we had 12,804 brought in, a total of 17,727, and under the votes that have been put through a very considerable number of employees are exempt from the Civil Service Act. It seems to me this is a tendency which ought to be checked. With regard to these proposed appointments I should like to quote a paragraph from aD editorial which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of March 10 last:

The United States presents an experience parallel to that now being put through in the House of Commons. Appointments to the Prohibition Enforcement Bureau in that country were exempted by the terms of the Volstead Act from the provisions of the civil service law\ In "Good Government," the organ of the National Civil Service Reform League, the president of the league is reported as follows in regard to the nature of the appointments made by the politicians for prohibition enforcement:

"Everyone knows that a large proportion of that force is composed of grafters, thugs and miscreants, who not only take bribes, but are guilty of unlawful acts of violence. Whether the Volstead Act can ever be fully enforced or not, it certainly cannot be so enforced so long as a substantial part, if not the majority, of

Supply-Marine and Fisheries

its enforcement officials make enormous sums of money by conniving at its violations. In the beginning the league pointed out the probability of this result if the positions were exempted from the provisions of the civil service law, and has endeavored constantly to procure an amendment of the law which would classify the entire prohibition force without covering in the present members. . . . Certainly a force appointed after competitive civil service examination, and investigation of the character of the applicants by an independent body such as the Civil Service Commission, would eliminate a large proportion of such scalawags as are now appointed on political recommendations, and would vastly improve the character of the service."

It would seem as if we might very well profit by the lesson which the United States has to offer us in this regard. They have made an attempt to do this work by the method we now propose, and to a very considerable extent they have failed. Why should we not use the Civil Service Commission in making these appointments? Is there anything peculiar about the character of the work which these men are to be asked to do?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Outside of fiction, has the hon. member ever heard of men whom we commonly call '"spotters" being men of very high character?

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I do not know that we have, and that may be the cause of their failure. But it is all the more reason why these men should be appointed-

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LIB
LAB
LIB
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Put them in uniform.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It is not necessary to put them in uniform. If, as is suggested, we propose to secure for this work men who are not of very high character, we .are not going to get effective service. We will have a condition of affairs such as has been referred to by the article which I have just read.

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LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I suppose a B. A.

may sweep the streets, and I hope as well as some others.

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LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

There is no particular reason why a body such as the Civil Service Commission might not be entrusted with the task of selecting these men. I think they are quite as capable of selecting them 321i

as anyone else. The examination in this case might be of a different character from that which is conducted for other classes of civil servants, but it is absolutely ridiculous to expect to secure results if we pick up men here, there and yonder whose qualification is that they lack anything like character, and who are appointed simply as a reward for political services past or for political services they may be expected to render in the days to come.

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Item agreed to. River St. Lawrence-amount required for repairs to dredging fleet and to expedite dredging operation- revote of unexpended balance appropriated under vote No. 459 in supplementary estimates, 1924-1925, $51,750.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

How does this come in

the supplementaries?

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

It is a revote of money not expended last year.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is all the more

reason why it should be in the main estimates.

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

We did not know the exact figure in time.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The main estimates were

made up in January.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But the revotes run all

through the main estimates.

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June 26, 1925