This bill is similar to one introduced at the last session. It proposes three things. First, it is intended to restrict veterans' preference to Canadian veterans, the term Canadian being defined by the Canadian Nationals Act, chapter 21 of the revised statutes. Secondly, it proposes to extend from three to five years the requirement in regard to necessary residence in Canada demanded of applicants for positions in the civil service. In the third place, it proposes to do away with a practice which has been introduced into the administration of the Civil Service Commission regarding exceptions made to the clause requiring three years' residence in Canada for applicants. The Civil Service Commission has adopted what I might call blanket regulations, which seem to contradict the terms of the Civil Service Act, and in virtue of which applicants are admitted practically as a matter of course into the civil service without complying with the requirements of the Civil Service Act in
this respect. This bill proposes to discontinue that practice and return to the sense and spirit of the Civil Service Act. Whenever it may be necessary to make an exception tn the requirements of the Civil Service Act, it is proposed that such exception shall be a special case to be specially considered by the cabinet.
This bill is simply to provide a safeguarding clause to ensure that the general nature and character of speeches on public affairs shall be the ground for regarding any meeting as unlawful. In some of our cities recently there has been what seems to some of us an abuse of the law, whereby citizens have been prejudiced with regard to their utterances, while others who may have been listening have been declared to be members of an unlawful assembly; and this without any regard to the general character of the speeches made. This bill is merely to prevent that sort of thing in future.
This item represents the excess of expenditures over the appropriation for contingencies by the Department of Agriculture last year. It arises primarily because of over-expenditure in connection with delegations that went out of the country in relation to investigations into agricultural matters.
If it is not out of order at this stage, I would ask the Prime Minister
to have the courtesy to bring down all the documents and correspondence and statements of accounts in connection with an item, No. 61, which will come up in the course of the afternoon's or evening's discussion. The item in question has reference to a governor general's warrant and deals with certain matters under the Department of National Defence.
This is similar to a large number of items that will appear in these supplementary estimates. The custom grew up of carrying forward balances from one year to the other. A printing account of $25,000 at the end of last year was owing by the Civil Service Commission to the Department of Public Printing. When the estimates for the last year were made available it followed that when the balance of printing accounts for the preceding year was paid there remained just that much less money to take care of the business of the department. The result is that some $22,000 would ordinarily have been required, but owing to economies effected otherwise the amount called for to pay the balance due to the printing department to square the accounts of the commission is $20,000.
I do not know whether this is the proper time to discuss the Civil Service Commission, but I would ask the government whether it has arrived at any policy with respect to the abolition of that body. I have in my hand a report of a speech made on February 23, 1931, by the hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Gagnon). I will translate freely from the French. The hon. member is reported in a newspaper called Le Franc Parler, published in the city of Quebec under the auspices and with the imprimatur of the deputy speaker of the house.