June 28, 1935

LIB
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

It will be recalled that a provision was made whereby contracts could be entered into to provide equipment, rails and rolling stock for the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific Railway. This vote is to provide for the interest carrying charges which the government may be called upon to pay as a result of that agreement.

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LIB
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

The provision was that the government would carry the interest upon the money invested by the companies in the purchase of equipment up to a given date. This is to provide for the interest for this year.

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Item agreed to. To provide, subject to the approval of the treasury board, for salaries, reclassifications and increases and to authorize payment of the salary of any employee, who is made permanent, from the appropriation under which his salary as a temporary employee has been provided- further amount required, $1,000,000.


LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

Will the minister kindly explain the words, "subject to the approval of the treasury board"? I should like to know what reclassifications and increases are contemplated and in what manner they will be effected.

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

It is estimated that the

statutory increases will require $750,000, and the balance of $250,000 will provide for other increases, reclassifications and promotions which may be effected as a result of regulations to be laid down by the treasury board.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

Am I right in assuming that increases and promotions will be left entirely in the hands of the treasury board?

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

Subject to regulations which will be provided by order in council.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

This will be a complete departure from the procedure which obtained hitherto when promotions and increases were recommended by the civil service commission after investigation, or by recommendation of a deputy head, certified by the head of a department and ratified by the treasury board. The civil service commission is to be eliminated completely in connection with reclassifications, which term is used instead of promotions. The civil service commission is to be eliminated also in connection with increases.

Supply-Miscellaneous

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

No, that is not right. There will be some variation in the .practice which has obtained hitherto, but there is every reason to expect that when the regulations are promulgated they will prove generally satisfactory to the service.

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?

Lionel Chevrier

Mr. OHEVRIER:

I do not intend to enter into a lengthy controversy with the Minister of Finance, but I am satisfied that all the work which was done previously by the' civil service commission in connection with promotions and increases will be taken away from the commission and placed within the exclusive jurisdiction of the treasury board. The minister states that the statutory increases will require something like 8750,000, and I should like to know if he means that everyone entitled to an increase is to receive one. The Prime Minister made it quite plain the other day that hereafter promotions would be made and increases given for merit and efficiency only. That is not a departure from the previous procedure because the Civil Service Act states that statutory increases are made for meritorious and efficient work and granted upon recommendation of the deputy head, certified by the minister and approved by the commission subject to ratification by the treasury board. I am afraid that the civil service commission is .to be left out of things. The deputy head will choose his pets and make recommendations to the treasury board which will probably be sanctioned.

The civil service commission is there for a particular purpose and we either need it or we do not need it. If the government is honest in its purpose, why does it not say that the civil service commission should be abolished? All during this session we have had departures from the provisions of the Civil Service Act, and the estimates are replete with promotions made outside the provisions of that act. I am not quarrelling with those who have been fortunate enough, to receive promotions, but the fact remains that there has been a tremendous amount of discrimination in these matters. I am sure that the promotions and increases which have been made would have been given to others had the civil service commission been handling the matter. I protest most vigorously against this departure from the provisions of the Civil Service Act. The Civil Service Act is on the statute book, and I resent the insinuation that heretofore a large number of .promotions and increases have been given to those who did not deserve them and that hereafter only those who are entitled to them will receive them. I noticed an article in the press which

I am afraid has created a wrong impression. An official of the Department of Finance was asked if these would be statutory increases, and he said that they would not be automatic, they would be given for efficiency. That is the way the statute reads. He continued and stated that the government believes in efficiency and businesslike methods, so that the increases will be given entirely on merit. The insinuation there is that the increases and promotions of the past were not based ,on merit, but were .purely automatic. That is not a fair statement. I do not want to prolong the discussion, but I would point this out to the minister: in the session of 1932, I think it was, when the ten per cent deductions were made, I indicated to him-and he realized the importance of the statement I made then- that when the deductions were to 'be terminated, steps should be taken not only to compensate the employees for the injury suffered by reason of the ten per cent deduction during the years it was in force, but also to place them in the position they would have occupied with reference to promotions and statutory increases had the changes then proposed not been made. I could give the Minister of Finance the page in Hansard where I said that steps should 'be taken, when the time came for the restoration of the ten per cent deduction, to make these compensations and adjustments. I am very much afraid that in. this item of 81,000,000 there is nothing that has the slightest bearing upon placing civil servants in the position they would have occupied in respect of superannuation and with reference to promotions and statutory increases had the salary deduction not been made. That is what I want to urge upon the Minister of Finance. I understand during the recess this matter of .promotions and statutory increases will be taken up by the cabinet and rules or regulations will be made in regard to the granting of them. I hope when, the matter is under consideration the important factor will be taken into account that these civil servants must be placed with reference to superannuation in the position they would have occupied had these deductions not been made and had the promotions and statutory increases been granted. I protest against this most radical departure from the present system, this cutting loose from the provisions of the Civil Service Act.

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

I think the senior member for Ottawa is hardly warranted in making the statement that the estimates are replete with examples of promotions being made outside the provisions of the Civil Service Act.

Supply-M iscellaneous

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

There were seventytwo given out in the return brought down the other day.

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

I think the record of the

government in that respect has not been exceptional, and I do not think there has been any expansion of the practice. Regulations are required because of the peculiar nature of the conditions that have arisen by reason of the circumstance that deductions have been made over a period of years. My hon. friend knows full well' that superannuation has never been interfered with; the ten per cent deduction has no bearing upon superannuation. The only question which *nay arise is, if I may put it in this way, the amount of increased salary that a certain employee would have received had he received the statutory promotions in the ordinary automatic course. In view of the fact that there have been deductions over the last three years, we have to have special regulations to deal with that situation. I may assure my hon. friend and the committee that there is no intention on the part of the treasury board to lay down regulations so far as the letter of the law will permit with regard to these civil servants, but we feel in the public interest there can be a better class of administration if there is a closer check held by the treasury board over expenditures.

My hon. friend has said that there are no cases in which promotion has been given except on merit. I may say to him that I take second place to no one in my admiration of the civil service as a whole, but there are in the service some cases, not numerous, where men have received promotions who did not deserve them by any standard of measure, efficiency, qualification or otherwise. So far as the person is concerned who is entitled to promotion, his rights will not be interfered with in the slightest degree. We will address ourselves to this matter as speedily as possible after the house rises, and I hope it will appear to ,my hon. friend that the course taken will be satisfactory.

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Item agreed to. To pay to the estate of the late General Sir Arthur William Currie, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., LL.D., in recognition of the eminent services rendered to his country by the deceased general during the great war, $50,900.


LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I regret to have to register a protest against this grant. The late Sir Arthur Currie may have tendered eminent services during the war; into that matter I do not intend to enter, but I would say that there were tens of thousands of Canadian officers and private soldiers who did their best during that period and who rendered in their own spheres just as great service as that of Sir Arthur

Supply-M iscellaneous

Currie. I would say that the late Sir Arthur Currie and his family were well taken, care of during the war and since. I think of the large numbers of the rank and file who have had1 no such tribute paid' to them and no such material care, although they are sadly in need of it. In my own city a few days ago there were hundreds of men camped outside the hospital, urging that they, as returned men, should be given at least as large an amount of relief as the ordinary civilians of Winnipeg. Only to-day I was stopped on the street by two men wearing returned men's buttons, who claimed that they could not obtain relief from the city of Ottawa and that for various reasons they were turned down even at the legion shelter here. Anyone who is up and down this country must come across no end of cases of that sort. Until such time as we feel that we have enough to provide for the rank and file of the returned men as well as for the large numbers of younger men who are coming along, I think it is quite improper that we should make such a large grant as this to one individual. We say we do not stand for class distinctions in this country, but in passing a grant of this kind we are setting up certain class distinctions that in my judgment are injurious to the best interests of this country. I differ from the right hon. leader of the opposition, and1 suggest that there are large numbers of Canadians who will deeply resent special treatment of this kind.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would mention just two points in reply to my hon. friend. One has referenoe to his remark that the late Sir Arthur Currie has been well cared for. I might remind my hon. friend that Sir Arthur Currie has been in his grave for some time, and he is in his grave because of broken health resulting from the service he gave his country overseas. May I remind my hon. friend also that this grant takes nothing away from any other returned man. If it took anything from any living soldier, any private in the ranks, I would be the last to support it. But there are times when individuals, even members of parliament, stand for communities as a whole, and the recognition of their services is looked upon as the recognition of the service of the community they represent. General Sir Arthur Currie represented the Canadian army corps overseas; he represented the people of Canada in the great war; in his service overseas, he represented what Canada stood for, and I for one believe that- that service was part of a service to humanity rendered at a time of the world's greatest need.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I am sorry that my right hon. leader is not in his place at this moment, but in his absence I desire to say that I entirely agree with the remarks of my right hon. friend the leader of the opposition. I am very glad that at last we are recognizing to some extent at least the great service performed for this country by the late Sir Arthur Currie. I only wish it had been done during his lifetime.

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June 28, 1935