I am coming to that. I pointed that out to the civil service commission and to the committee which was subsequently appointed for the purpose of considering the matter. It was at once seen that some improvements should be made, and an improvement was made. In other words, the civil service commission accepted responsibility to a greater extent than it had theretofore done, so that some local person who was favourable to the appointment of a particular individual was not able to ensure his appointment regardless of other considerations.
As the matter stands to-day, there is a competitive examination, and there are, we will say, half a dozen candidates. As a result of the examination A is first, B second, then C, and possibly D. D, being a returned man, gets the preference and secures the position. The objection to including in the category of returned men those who have served in other branches of the service than the Canadian forces is not one about which I think the house would worry. I should fancy that most of us would realize that under present conditions the necessity that induced the framing of the law in the terms in which it was framed has largely disappeared and that possibly if the preference is rather for Canadians, those who enlisted in Canadian units, the difficulties would be overcome. But there are still other difficulties that arise in respect of men from other countries enlisting in our forces in the earlier stages of the war. However, I pass that by.
But when it comes to a question of taking the outside service entirely away from the commission and putting it into the hands of the government and the members of the House of Commons, that would in effect be providing that whenever there is a change of government there is a change in the outside service of this country. Stripped of everything-and we might as well look it fairly in the face-that is just what it means. For my part I cannot bring myself to believe that is the proper thing to do, and I do not believe any hon. member, calmly and quietly sitting down and considering this matter from the standpoint of Canada, will conclude that that is a desirable thing to do; nor do I believe many hon. members on second thought will regard it as desirable even in their own constituencies that that should be done.
There is a third class which is dealt with by this bill which introduces patronage perhaps in its worse form, and that is with respect to professional and technical appointees. It is provided in reality that the minister of the day of any particular department can remove anyone in that department he pleases, and, having removed him, can appoint whoever he pleases in his place, certifying that the person is qualified for the particular duties of the position. Now, under existing law the governor in council determines whether a man should be removed from office for cause; that is, the governor in council takes the final action. But this bill would substitute
Civil Service Act
for the governor in council the head of the department, the minister, and I do not believe, sir, there is any minister who desires to be charged with that responsibility. I know what the pressure would be; there is not a member of this house who does not know what it would be.
I go a step further. I turn to the last section of the bill on page 3, and although it is not within the rules to discuss the bill section by section when dealing with the principle on the second reading, it is quite clear that the only way in which the real significance of the proposed section 64 of the Civil Service Act can be appreciated by the house is to look at the section itself, which reads:
Professional and Technical Positions 64. (1) Whenever, in the opinion of the head of a department, or the deputy head, the knowledge and qualifications required for a position in the civil service are, wholly or in part, professional or technical, the commission, on the request in writing of the head of the department, may appoint to the said position a person mentioned in the said request-
In other words, the commission is then bound to appoint the person named by the minister. The section goes on:
*-provided the head of the department has stated in his request that the person recommended possesses the required knowledge and qualifications and is duly qualified as regards health, character and habits.
In one case that I know of where an effort was made to obtain the appointment, during the last five years, of a certain person, this was suggested as a very desirable way in which to accomplish it; that isj, that the appointment would still be made by the commission but that the minister would name the person to be appointed and he would be appointed forthwith by the commission. Now, are we prepared, sir, to do that? Is the house prepared to accept that principle?
I think I can speak with some degree of, shall I say, painful understanding of this matter, for if any man has suffered by reason of not yielding to that particular form of attack in connection with the civil service, that man was the head of the late government. The effort that was made to do away with what has been done during these years was very great, and it required a good deal of resistance on the part of members of the administration to thwart that effort. But why was it resisted? It would have been easy to introduce a bill such as this, have it passed through the house and thereby create a new patronage list for the outside service and professional technical men. Why
did we not do this, and why do I suggest that this government will not do it?
First of all, we are endeavouring slowly to build up in Canada a civil service of which we can be proud. This has been a slow process. If any hon. members look back to the days when this country was formally established, from 1870 down through the eighties and the early nineties, and realize how difficult a task it has been to try to get into the minds of the people themselves the desirability of having a civil service that would be permanent in their positions, of supplying some provision for their old age, and of making the service a career, they will realize that we have made real progress. Having made progress up to this point, to compare our civil service with that of Great Britain is very much to our own detriment, because there it has reached the point at which no member of the British House of Commons would think of suggesting appointments in connection with postmasterships and matters of that sort in his constituency. Somebody might casually mention it, but that is not a matter that members deal with; it is entirely out of their hands; they do not desire to deal with it. How are we going to create in Canada a similar state of public opinion to that which prevails in Great Britain in connection with their service? We can do this only by frowning down measures such as this.
To give second reading to this measure at this time means that I, from my place in this parliament, have approved of the principle of patronage being restored in Canada. That is what it means. I suggest to the hon. gentleman who has introduced the measure that, if he were to abandon the latter part of his bill-the two should never have been put together-and keep the first part, there is something which the committee might discuss fully and carefully, and upon which it might arrive at a conclusion, one that would be in the public interest to arrive at and report to this house upon. But to ask us now to approve this means that the committee can do nothing more than say yes or no to it. A committee that is set up by the house to consider this question must be a committee that is going to say: We must have patronage returned. That is what it means, and that is the reason I say that we ought to look at it fairly. Do not let us blind ourselves with any specious reasoning about the matter, because there is no getting away from what it means. A committee such as the Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) has suggested, if it were set up to deal with this bill, must of necessity say,
Civil Service Act
if we give the measure second reading: There will be a return to patronage in the outside service and the professional technical services of this country.