March 16, 1926


Motion agreed to.


IMPERIAL CONFERENCE 1926

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I 'beg to

lay on the table copies of correspondence between the governments of Great Britain and Canada relating to the proposal to hold an Imperial conference in October, 1926.

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE 1926
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PRIVY COUNCIL DECISION

RIGHT OF APPEAL IN CRIMINAL CASES


'On the Orders of the Day:


LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask

if the federal government is taking any action in regard to the recent decision of the Privy Council in the Alberta appeal case? Is section 1025 of the Criminal Code to 'be set aside by that decision? And is the right of appeal in criminal cases to be entirely at the discretion of the Privy Council?

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL DECISION
Subtopic:   RIGHT OF APPEAL IN CRIMINAL CASES
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

The judgment has just been received by the Department of Justice, and I would not like to make any statement or comment before having an opportunity of reading and considering it.

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL DECISION
Subtopic:   RIGHT OF APPEAL IN CRIMINAL CASES
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DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE


The House in committee of Supply, Mr. Duff in the chair. Salaries and contingent expenses of the several ports in the Dominion, including pay for overtime of officers, notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act, and temporary Sbuiidnngs and rentals, $6,723,815. Hon. GEORGE H. BOIVIN (Minister of Customs and Excise): Mr. Chairman, while the entire estimate for the outside service of the Department of Customs and Excise is included in vote 349, amounting to $10,884;,390, I think it would be better, if the committee would agree, to take up the different items separately, discuss them as they are reached, and after each separate item has been approved, have one formal vote adopting the whole resolution. I really do not understand why it has always been the custom to have all the items of the Department of Customs and Excise estimates embodied in one vote, but we have followed the usual custom this year making it much easier to make comparisons with the items required in previous years. Before going into the details I desire to say that it is not through any spirit of bravado that I happen to be the first minister to present his estimates. I at once ask the committee to grant me thq indulgence which is usually given to a new minister submitting his estimates to the House for the first time. That does not mean, however, that I am not prepared with the aid of my officers to give to the members all possible information, and if there is any information that I do not have available at the moment, the members of the committee may rest assured that I will do my best to get it for them. If they insist on the information, there will be no attempt on my part to press the item until such information has been brought down. It is true that an inquiry into the administration of the Department of Customs and Excise is being carried on and there is a rule of the House that provides that matters pertaining to a committee cannot be discussed in the House until that committee has made its final report. I think, [DOT] however, it will be possible for hon. members to ask such questions and for me to give such answers in connection with the estimates as will give this committee all the information required, without in any way referring to what is going on at present before the customs investigating committee. The only information, perhaps, that I cannot give definitely will be concerning the organization of the preventive service staff of the Department of Customs and Excise. I want to say very frankly to the committee that the preventive service staff, organized under the vote of $350,000 which was included in the supplementary estimates of last year, has not been entirely satisfactory. Hon. members will ascertain that only about $35,000, or one- Supply-Customs



tenth of the amount voted, has been expended. I thought it better to spend little than to expend a very large amount and get no results. I am asking for a re-vote of the same amount this year, with the intention of expending it in the same careful and cautious manner, and if it is impossible for me to describe exactly the plans I have under consideration for the reinforcement of that staff, it is because I desire to await the outcome of the customs inquiry and to follow in so far as it may be possible the suggestions which may be made by that committee. I am sure that the work of the committee will not be wasted effort, and that the suggestions received from the committee both as to possible amendments to the Customs Act and as to the reorganization of the preventive service staff will be enlightening, and that it will be possible for us to adopt them in many respects. With these few preliminary remarks, and asking once more for the indulgence of hon. members I would suggest that we proceed, Mr. Chairman, to consider the item you have just read.


LIB

William Duff (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Is it the pleasure of

the House that the resolution be considered item by item?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I take it, Mr. Chairman, that we all agree with the minister that that is the only thing to do. We always have done it; sometimes we do the right thing, and I think we had better continue to do so. Just at the commencement and before discussing this item I would like my hon. friend to give me all the information he can in connection with the salaries. The first item is, I suppose, the one we will take up, amounting to $6,723,815, and it deals with the salaries and contingent expenses of the several ports in the Dominion, including pay for overtime of officers and so on. I notice there is an increase in that particular item. I would like the minister to give the House some information as to how he finds these services, and if there are any changes which he desires to make, as well as his observations on the reference there made to the Civil Service Act, in connection with employees.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. DOIYIN:

The words "notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act" do not apply in any sense to the appointment of the employees. The salaries paid out of this item of $6,723,815, which shows an increase over last year of $271,447.61 are paid to civil servants in the outside service but all appointed by the Civil Service Commission. The words "notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act" refer only to pay for over-

>

[DOT]

time. The officers for overtime work are chosen by the department and the overtime salary is paid without reference to the Civil Service Act. The overtime rate is 50 cents per hour on week days and 60 cents per hour on Sunday. The Sunday and much overtime labour of customs officers is repaid by the railway or steamboat companies that take advantage of the services of these officers.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Do they pay the civil servants direct?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

No. The officers are paid by us, and the company is billed by the department for the overtime. None of our officers are ever obliged to work overtime on Sunday but those who do so voluntarily and willingly are paid.

Additions to staff under this item account for the sum of $59,210, but that amount is offset by the decrease in salaries to promotions, retirements and appointments of senior officers whose positions are taken by new men or by men promoted from an inferior rank so that in reality the additions to staff mean an increase of $1,880. The statutory increases provided for by the Civil Service Act, with which all the old members of this House are quite familiar, account for the sum of $169,530.

Another increase in this item is for contingent expenses. They are increased by about $97,492.61. The major portion of that amount, about $60,000, is made up of overtime salaries and special salaries paid to watchmen for boats at Halifax, Windsor and other ports, but specially at Halifax, where all boats coming into the harbour laden with liquor must be placed under guard by the department, and the officers must be paid for watching the boats. While the amount, $97,000 may appear large, I should state at once that this amount like the overtime paid to our officers on Sundays, is reimbursed to the department by the owners of the boats and schooners requiring the services of these watchmen.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I take it from what my hon. friend says that he has some new regulations in connection with this particular branch of the department's work. He tells us that there is a substantial increase in this connection. I assume that must be because we have some change in the regulations. My hon. friend shakes his head. If there is no change in the regulations, why does the amount go up so much? Perhaps it would be more convenient if my hon. friend would give the committee just exactly how the item

Supply-Customs

is made up, so that we can see where the increases come in, and how the expenditure compares with last year.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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?

Mr. BO IVIN@

The total salaries amount to 85,753,815, as compared with 85,579,000 last year; that is, the difference in total salaries is about 8175,000. As I stated before, the statutory increases account for 8169,530, and the additions to the staff, very few of which were made, are almost entirely compensated by the decrease in salaries paid to the new appointees.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Is it convenient at this point to give the additions to the

staff?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

The net additions to staff are 48 men, receiving salaries amounting altogether to 850,210. The total number of officers paid is 3,583. The total amount paid in salaries is 85,753,815.

Mr. M,ANION: What were the 48 additions?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
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March 16, 1926