Mr. Speaker, I am frankly astonished at the number of refusals on the other side of the house to grant a second reading to this bill. In answer to your question "Shall the second reading of thei bill be carried?" there was quite a volume of "no" and that before the members who spoke had heard the argument thereon. I would take it, therefore, that they have pretty well made up their minds that in so far as patronage is now permitted they are going to cling to it with the tenacity of the party system of the older days. I hope, however, that after I have presented what few facts I have at my disposal on this matter, many of these same gentlemen will join with me in doing what they can to enforce and strengthen the principle as applied to our administrative service.
I sympathize with Your Honour. Although my voice is by no means a loud one it can usually be heard.
After all there is one question the answer to which should determine our attitude totMr. Speaker.]
wards this whole problem and that is: Does Canada's public service need, efficient business supervision instead of political control as in the past? The answer to that will answer the whole problem in my opinion. This question has already been answered effectively and well in successive parliamentary reports on the civil service since 1877. From 1877 to 1924 successive commissions and committees have sat and discussed the whole problem, and in every case they have come to one definite conclusion, namely, that the merit system should be not only brought into effect but maintained properly in all its strength.
There is at the present time no provision for appeal and personal boards of welfare as in other democratic countries. That is another question and it is now being dealt with by a committee in another way; but there is another reason why the bill that I have before the house at the moment should carry and that is that, owing to a lack of proper supervision of the entire service, it is estimated that there is an annual loss to the country of more than $25,000,000 which could readily be saved if business management were permitted to apply.
I will give that in just a moment. In support of this latter statement several considerations may be mentioned. An annual saving of $746,000 alone has been effected by the government printing bureau under the readjustment by the Civil Service Commission. An annual saving of $860,000 has been achieved in the Post Office Department, partly by departmental economies, it is true, but partly also by adjustments made in the personnel by the Civil Service Commission. In the evidence adduced before the Spinney committee of 1921, Dr. Roche, a former minister of the interior, declared that an investigation of that department would reveal conditions similar to those in the printing bureau where a saving of thirty-seven per cent had been effected. If this is so, then more than a million dollars are beiing wasted in that department alone. The cost of the staff of the Interior department increased $1,500,000 from 1915 to 1922; it increased $1,000,000 from 1919 to 1922, which fact caused a protest by the way from Senator Bradbury in the Senate.
Similar references might be made concerning other departments. In one department there are several hundred men with expensive equipment lying idle, incurring an expenditure of nearly a million dollars. It is on record that the late John Fraser, when Auditor General, claimed more than once that the
Civil Service Act-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
Ottawa service was bearing an excessive overhead of 66 per cent. In the cost of maintaining the personnel at about $60,000,000, he estimated that a saving of 25 per cent or $15,000,000, at least, could be made. In public purchasing by open competition an estimated saving of thirty per cent on say $30,000,000, or $9,000,000 in all, could be effected and no mention is made of the losses on political contracts such as the Timiskam-ing dam, railways, merchant marine, and other matters.
What I have said might be extended almost without limit. For example, in ten parliamentary commissions on the civil service only once did the same person sit on two commissions and the same lack of continuity applies generally in the case of the history of civil service legislation introduced in this house since confederation. Then there is the extraordinary fact that though annually there is distributed in unnecessary expenditure more than $25,-
000.000, 19,000 civil servants receive on an average from $1,100 to $1,400, or slightly less in salaries.
One clause of my bill asks that the powers of the commission be extended. At the present time under the act the Civil Service Commission, although nominally having the power to go into and reorganize departments, in effect has not the power unless the deputy and other officials of the department consent, or invite the reorganization. That condition of affairs is wrong. It, should be compulsory upon the commission as part of its duties to enter into and reorganize the various departments of government consecutively, starting, if you like, with the largest and continuing through to the smallest. I say, as the result of what examination I have made of conditions, that if such a reorganization took place, if the commission undertook its duties properly and well, there would be a saving of even more than $20,000,000 a year in the administration of our civil service.
I am asking for the reinstatement under the commission of those positions that have been exempted by several orders in council, all but one of which were introduced by the present administration. When the present administration came into office practically the entire service was under the merit principle, but in the intervening years an enormous number of orders in council have been passed from time to time exempting various positions. In addition I am asking that departments that were regarded on their inauguration as temporary in nature, be now placed under the commission and given the rank of permanent. There is no reason I can see why they should not be so placed. The Prime Minister in his
recent speech on the budget stated that, having listened to the arguments of hon. members, there was no intention now of doing away with the income tax, and therefore we may assume that the income tax branch of the department will continue to exist. If it is going to continue to exist, then I ask, in fairness to the system and the staff of that branch, that they be placed under the commission and receive the advantages of the permanency of the staff and all the other recognitions that they would acquire under it.
The same thing is true with regard to the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment and the Soldier Settlement Board. Hon. members will remember that the argument at the outset for placing those departments outside of the operations of the act was that they were temporary, but ten years after the war we find they are still being maintained and in many cases the votes have been increased for those departments. There is therefore no indication at the present time of any temporary nature in those two departments. In fact recent speeches by hon. members would indicate clearly that we may regard the Department of Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment as being, at least in our lifetime, of a permanent nature. Then why should we not make it permanent and place it under the act? Hon. members will at once rise in opposition to this proposal of mine and say: How are you going to establish an effective test for the minor positions-the labourer, the postmaster of a small post office with a salary of less than $200 a year, and all that sort of thing? My answer to that is that other countries have done it and other countries are doing it effectively to-day. You will find throughout the world nations applying the principle which I am asking to be applied in this case to the very class of positions which this government saw fit to exempt under special orders in council.
Ah well, the commission for some reason or other which we had better examine possibly before a committee of this house did, it is true, make some suggestions to the government with respect to that, but I say definitely to the government that if the ministers of the crown of that day had adhered to the principles which they themselves enunciated at an earlier date they would never have consented to the request of the commission, which was in my opinion an evasion of their proper
Civil Service Act-Air. Garland (Bow River)
responsibility and duty, and which had behind it unquestionably pressure from those who wanted to get back to the patronage system again. I do noit think you can escape that implication.
As a result of the abuses arising from patronage, including inefficiency, extravagance and abuses, the Union government some years ago placed under a special law, which I have under my hand, all civil service positions at that time; in other words, they provided that all positions in the service must be filled on the basis of open competition and of demonstrated ability to pa-form the work required. Those are almost the words of the act itself. As I have said, thousands of positions, some 13,000 odd, have since that time been exempted. The principal objection to retaining these positions under the Civil Service Commission was the impracticability of carrying on the proper examinations. When this question is discussed by hon. gentlemen opposite, and perhaps by one or two to my right, they will say that you cannot have an effective examination for these positions, and why should you have an examination at all for a labourer, for a man who works with a pick and shovel? My answer to that in the first place is that you can have an effective examination, and1 in the second place that the sustaining of the merit principle is so allimportant that no excuse on the ground of a temporary difficulty should be recognized as a binding reason why all these positions should be exempted'. We had a discussion in this house not long ago, a very heated and rather partisan one, with respect to the appointment of men to work on the retaining wall of the Rideau canal, and if the discussion that took place at that time is any criterion of the attitude of the public as a whole on this question, then what I have said stands well buttressed by the remarks of the Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning). At that time, if I remember aright, he intimated that so far as he was concerned he thought it would be better for all concerned, better for the members for Ottawa, better for himself and the government, and better for the men, that the commission should have the handling of these appointments. I refer you to bis words in Hansard of a few days ago.
Now the question arises, if you place these positions on the merit principle and make them subject to a civil service examination, no matter how perfunctory or casual it may be, some day or other you are going to be faced with the difficulty of making appointments, say, to the Public Works department in the city of Vancouver, and how are you going
to ask that branch in Vancouver or any other branch in a city far distant to wait until the Civil Service Commission in Ottawa has reter-mined whether it has men on the eligible list for that class of position? That is a difficulty that I have anticipated. I expect that will be one of the arguments that will be hurled against this bill, but my answer to that is that it is provided for in the act itself, in section 39, sub-sections 2 and 3, where it is provided:
When employees are required on short notice for emergency work outside the city of Ottawa a responsible agent or officer of the department requiring such extra assistance may engage the necessary employee and the said agent or officer in each case shall forthwith report to the commission through the deputy head of his department the names of the persons so employed.
No such employment shall extend beyond thirty days unless approved by the commission; but where the place of employment is outside the Dominion of Canada, the term of such employment may extend to ninety days.
Such employees may be paid the prevailing rate of pay at which persons qualified to perform such emergency work may be secured in the place or locality where the work is required to be done.
So that whole situation is carefully and studiously met by the provisions of the act itself. There is no difficulty, therefore, with respect to the making of temporary or emergency appointments in any part of the Dominion even if the Civil Service Commission is not at the moment in a position to make these appointments, because it is allowed thirty days, and an extension of time, if necessary, upon application from the deputy head of the department or the head of the works concerned.
I have in my hand evidence regarding the objections of council to the merit principle being applied in these exempted positions. A moment ago I intimated that the cabinet was responsible for the abandonment of the merit principle in this connection. When the commission reported to the government, the governor in council considered the situation, and then referred the matter back to the commission. On page 4 of the regulations you will find noted these words: "Considered too cumbersome and unnecessary, and the last step would be worse than the first." These words being interpreted to mean that the council did not agree to the merit regulation, and Dr. Roche says:
That was brought to our notice. When it came up in the formal board meeting, my colleagues-I give them credit for their own honest opinions-differed with me. I felt that
Civil Service Act-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
we had put that in all previous regulations, and I did not see why we should suddenly find out by a sudden conversion that this is not workable, and therefore I refused to sign a memo, without that being in, and I did it because of this fact.
That is the reason why I have included in my bill a provision tihat no position shall hereafter be excluded from the operation of the Civil Service Act of 1918 excepting upon the unanimous report of all the commissioners. There are only three of them, and the unanimous report of the three commissioners should be given. I find by examination of the reports of different committees and commissions examining into the civil service that in almost every case since the commission was established there has been a feeling that at least two of the commissioners have been to some extent influenced by those who would return to patronage, but there is one man to whom great credit is due who has at all times consistently refused to be swayed from the path of duty as 'laid down for him by the act itself, and that man is Dr. Roche. The greatest credit is due to him.
No, not at all, but I feel that for reasons which they may very sincerely hold, they have listened perhaps at least with greater effect-we will put it that way-to the pressure from those who would return to patronage than Dr. Roche has. That is the way perhaps to put it. That is why I think, if the government is sincere in its desire to maintain the merit principle, it will at least insert this clause in the act, that no positions hereafter shall be excluded from the operation of the act excepting upon the unanimous report of the three commissioners. That is not asking too much; it is a fair provision. At the present time there is a strong suspicion which it would be well for the government to remove from the public mind and from the minds of hon. members of this house-it is no more than a suspicion, I grant you, but it is there and I have heard it in this house since I came here-that the last two appointees of this government to the Civil Service Commission are being motivated by the desire of the members of the party surrounding the Prime Minister in their actions with respect to these things.
my hon. friend is going a little wide of the mark when he attacks in this Way commissioners who are not here to defend themselves. If he has any direct charge against any commissioner I wish he would make it; then it could be investigated. I submit that no hon. gentleman should reflect on a member of the public service either directly or indirectly unless he is prepared to go further and make a definite charge.
I think the position taken by the Prime Minister is very fair, and I will be equally fair by withdrawing any implication there may be in my remarks. But I do say to him that I have simply expressed in my statement the point of view that has been expressed to me.
may be very true; but it would be to the interest of the government, and the commission itself that any suspicion of that kind should not be allowed to continue. My proposal to the Prime Minister would be that in all cases of this kind where any such question arises, where there is any doubt in his mind as to either the commission itself or the recommendations that come from it, the matter should be referred to a committee of this house; and I will in a moment quote the right hon. Prime Minister's own words in that regard. I stated a little earlier that other countries had found it quite practicable to place under the operation of the merit system and to make subject to examination appointments of men, such as ordinary day labourers, much less higher positions. Let me quote a memorandum which I have in my hand respecting some of the regulations covering the appointment of unclassified labourers in the federal service of the United States. This is an extract from regulations of the United States Civil Service Commission, published in the report of the commission for the year ending June 30, 1922, Regulation No. 1 provides:
1. The Civil Service Commission is authorized to apply these regulations to such cities or parts of the executive civil service as it may deem expedient.
2. It shall be the duty of all officers in the executive civil service to aid the commission in all proper ways in carrying these regulations into effect.
I will pass over the qualifications of applicants and come to the particular subject under discussion, the point of eligibility:
Civil Service Act-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
1. The names of eligibles, with the kinds of labour in which proficient, rated at 85 or more, shall be registered by sex in the order of their ratings on physical condition,
on physical condition.
-except that honourably discharged soldiers, sailors and marines, their *widows and the wives of soldiers, sailors and marines disqualified by injuries received in service and line of duty, shall have priority.
2. Eligibility shall be for one year, but the period may be extended by the commission for all those on any register if it is deemed inexpedient to hold a new examination.
I turn then to the report of William C. Deming, who explained the details and advantages of the merit system. At that time he was head of the federal Civil Service Commission of the United States. Take unskilled labourers, for example:
Those who seek employment as unskilled labourers are given a physical examination only. It would be useless to test a pick-and-shovel man or a charwoman in arithmetic or geography.
I quite agree with him. But when opponents of the merit system state that it is not practical to make an eligible list for unskilled labourers, I say the evidence of what has been done in other countries must disabuse their minds of that point of view.
For the mechanical trades,-
And, by the way, an enormous number of Skilled artisans have been excluded by order in council passed by this government.
-a physical examination is required which constitutes 40 per cent of the total rating. The other 60 per cent is given to a rating on training and experience in the particular trade upon which application is made.
I could go on and quote what they do in all other cases, such as the technical professions, book-keepers, stenographers, file clerks, general clerks, and so on, through the whole rota of possible positions.
We also find, Mr. Speaker, that parliamentary reports from beginning to end since 1877 have consistently denounced patronage in the government service. Let me refer very briefly to these reports. A committee under the chairmanship of Mr. George Casey, M.P., reported in April, 1877, and this is an extract from the report:
Political patronage is responsible for other evils, and we do not hesitate to express the conviction that many unnecessary civil offices have been retained, and that new places have been created, for no better purpose than to provide for the followers of influential politicians.
Generally speaking, political influence has been found to interfere more or less in the working of all branches of the service, and always with bad effect.
IMr. E. J. Garland.]
'*'And always with bad effect." Here is another extract from the first report of a commission to investigate the civil service, of which Mr. Donald Mclnnes, of Hamilton, was chairman, and Mr. Martin J. Griffin, secretary. This was on March 5, 1881. The report says:
The patronage system.
-embarrasses ministers in providing an efficient public service, and it causes great and often irresistible pressure to be brought on members of parliament to force their consent to the nomination and appointment of unfit persons.
That last statement, Mr. Speaker, I wish to repeat.
-and, it causes great and often irresistible pressure to be brought on members of parliament to force their consent to the nomination and appointment of unfit persons.
Now the question has been put to me: Am I not in a better position to nominate a postmaster for a little village in my riding than the Civil Service Commission? My answer is twofold. First, I do not know- although I probably could learn-the qualifications required to fill the position. That, however, could be overcome, and possibly I should be as well able as the commission to determine from a stated form the eligibility of any individual who might apply or whom I might have in mind for nomination. But the statement of this commission has the strongest force in matters of the kind, that the member himself does not always feel free-although he may be independent enough to act freely-in making the appointments if he has it in his power to do so. The pressure1 of political partyism is too strong upon him, the need for getting his friends into office is frequently too apparent to him, and there is the inclination on his part that is almost inescapable to appoint, other things not even being equal, those who are his political friends. I ask any hon. member opposite to place himself in a position where two men are applying for a postmastership; one of them is a frank and avowed Conservative, a man who does not agree with the hon. gentleman politically at all; the other is a good friend of his own political persuasion. Now, this good friend of his own political persuasion may not be quite as efficient as the other applicant, but it is very easy to argue-
He may not be in this particular case. It is very easy for +be hon. gentleman who has the appoint-
Civil Service Act-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
ment in his hands to say to himself: Oh, well, the other chap is a good friend of mine;
I am sure he' will be all right anyhow; I will let the thing go through; I don't want to have a Tory in that job anyhow. That is how we are tempted to act; it is human nature. But in the administration of our public service such temptations should be eliminated as far as possible. Let me quote an extract from a report of a commission composed of Messrs. J. M. Courtney, chairman. Thomas Fyshe and P. J. Bazin, on March 17, 1903:
That entrance to and promotions in the service should not he a matter of political patronage, but that the whole outside service should be placed under the Civil Service Commission: that promotion therein should be by merit, and that the higher positions should be filled from the service itself.
A commission composed of G. N. Ducharme and R. S. Lake reported to much the same effect on November 9, 1912. In the report of Commissioners Slack, Lewis and Eugene Tarte in 1918 we find much the same language; in fact, the language of this report was even more trenchant. The statement appears:
General conditions in the printing bureau may be briefly described as shocking. They are. however, the perfectly natural consequence of the "system" which created them. Under any but government ownership the sheriff would long ago have closed the doors of the plant.
Much the same language is used in the report submitted in 1921 by the parliamentary committee of which Mr. Spinney was chairman. and in the final report of the special parliamentary committee brought down in June 1923 under the chairmanship of Mr. James Malcolm we find1:
Your committee is of the opinion that the two fundamental principles of the Civil Service Act are the merit system and the system of appointment by competitive examination, and that both these principles must be preserved.
They did not say "in part"; they did not say that the principle must be preserved with respect to the service generally but not as regards 13,000 positions. The statement is explicit that, in the opinion of the committee, the merit system should be faithfully adhered to. Let me now give an extract from a report of a special committee of the Senate, session 1924, under the chairmanship of the Hon. F. L. Beique:
Your committee is convinced that the method of appointment and promotion by competition (usually known as the merit system), is preferable, in every way, to advancement by favour or influence. In support of this principle may be cited the
findings of a number of committees, extracts from which will be found in the appendix to this report.
I have already' quoted from some of these findings. My time is going and although there is much that I should like to say I must curtail my remarks. The ideal condition in government would be one in which the administrative function, in so far as it is generally applicable, would be separated from the political function. The political function in the business of government is the function responsible for policy and authority. I am speaking in broad terms. I admit there may be modifications of that rule from time to time, and in certain instances but broadly speaking the political function is one of policy and authority. The administrative function, the civil service, has for its duty the carrying out in a business like manner of the policy determined by the political. To do this properly the administrative should not be hampered by the political nor vice versa.
I hesitate at this stage to bring to the attention of the house the record of the Liberal party in this connection. It is not one of which I am proud personally, because I adhere to the merit principle and believe in it, and because the Liberal party, through its greatest leaders, has from time to time expressed itself in determined tones on this question, and now to find them in office under pressure from their friends, from the commission, or from some other source going back upon their own stated principles and repudiating their own convictions is to me repugnant. I am not going to weary the house with a recitation of all the orders in council. Let it suffice to say that the positions which are to-day exempt from the Civil Service Act number between thirteen and fourteen thousand, roughly, and this in spite of the words of the Prime Minister himself. The right hon. gentleman, speaking in Ottawa on September 11, 1926, is reported to have said:
May I say further, ladies and gentlemen, that I stand strongly, and have always stood, for the merit system and promotion on the basis of merit and will do my utmost to see that that is maintained. I might say much more, but being in the middle of an election and on the eve of the day of polling, I naturally have to be somewhat reserved and careful in the statements that I make.
Now that the election is over may I cordially invite the Prime Minister to abandon that reserve and carefulness and regale the house with exactly what he would like to have told that meeting in Ottawa. He continued:
I do not wish to say anything here that is other than in accord with what were our
Civil Service Act-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
policies prior to the time that T went out of office. All that I have said to you to-night is simply by way of stating that I am prepared to implement what we were ready to do.
The last sentence is a qualification which is not easily understood. I do not know what they were -prepared to do but they were prepared to do it anyway. Now, I find- the Minister of Justice, speaking on March 11, 1921, is reported in Hansard at page 839 as follows:
Mr. Speaker, I endorse the remarks of the hon. member for Maisonneuve
Who at that time, Mr. Speaker, was yourself.
-and I am opposed to the resolution moved by the hon. member for Victoria.
Then Sir Sam Hughes.
I do not believe in political patronage. It has been tried in many countries of the world and it has been found wanting everywhere. I think that positions should go to merit and never to influence, on the part either of the candidates themselves or of their families, and I am opposed to nepotism in the distribution of public offices. There is one matter I wish to deal with for a moment or two, and that is the fact that this government is not giving proper support to the Civil Service Commission.
He was referring to the Union, government, and now I apply his own words to himself: I say that this government is not giving proper support to the Civil Service Commission. I must now pass on. There are many other quotations that might be given from men of prominence in the Liberal party who have since left the house. The Hon. Charles Murphy was one of the most brilliant exponents of the merit principle and he exploited, it on every occasion to condemn patronage.
I have only forty minutes. The hon. gentleman will make a speech himself, I have no doubt. So far as this question is concerned, I must say that in my seven years in this house I have found no more honest, convincing and consistent supporter of the merit principle than the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, and I appeal to hon. gentlemen on my right to follow the leadership of that man in this matter. I feel that their present leader will follow in his footsteps; I hope he will adhere to the merit principle as the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen did. Let me quote Mr. Meighen's statement:
We put the civil service on the rock basis of merit, although this was done in the face of the bitterest of party opposition, but the task was achieved. I want to say that under any government of which I shall be the head the civil service will continue to stand on the rock basis of the merit system.
A burst of applause followed that pronouncement of policy. Mr. Meighen went on to say that the civil service was in danger and he mentioned certain matters of a partisan character to which I need not refer. He also referred to a statement made by the Minister of National Defence, " now sometimes called minister of self defence," the Hon. E. M. Macdonald of Pictou, to the following effect:
Of all the facts of which Mr. Meighen is guilty, the one unforgivable sin I can never forget is the passing of the Civil Service Act . . . . There lies the greatest danger that surrounds the civil service, and keep this in mind, in so far as you vote.
I ask you too to keep that in mind when voting now. We find also that His Honour the Speaker, before his elevation to that office, is reported as follows-Hansard, May 2, 1921:
In Canada, my right hon. friend (Sir George Foster), who is the senior member of this house, knows how the lives of ministers of the crown have been made unhappy through this infernal patronage system Is there a member of this parliament with any selfrespect who of his own free will would return to the days when lobbies were filled with office seekers who made parliamentary life almost unbearable by their importunate demands?
Just before my hon. friend resumes his seat I would like to ask him a question, as I am sure he would not wish- to mislead the house in regaird t o any orders in council which have been passed exempting civil servants or classes of civil servants from the control of the Civil Service Commission. He made reference to a large number who had been exempted, but I did not catch whether he said a large number of orders in council or a large number of individuals who had been exempted under orders in council. Would he tell me that first?