April 22, 1936

SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Johnston, Lake Centre):

My position with regard to what

the hon. gentleman said would be that he has not named any hon. member.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Yes, he said, "like the

right hon. leader of the opposition."

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Johnston, Lake Centre):

The hon. gentleman did not charge the right hon. leader of the opposition with any wrongdoing, nor has he charged any individual member of this house with any wrongdoing.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

I do not think you

caught the remarks of the hon. gentleman, Mr. Chairman.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Johnston, Lake Centre):

I think I did, and my ruling would be that anything the hon. gentleman has said so far is in order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I should like to make it

clear on Hansard that the right hon. leader

of the opposition is engaged this afternoon, performing his proper duties, in attending a meeting of a committee of this house, which necessitates his temporary absence from this chamber. That is the only reason why he is absent.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I should like to say a

few words in connection with this section, in support of the position taken by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George and those sitting around him. I may say that I am in agreement with the government in bringing down this legislation, because I believe it is an attempt to overcome some of the evils that the minister put on record in moving the second reading of the bill. If any further argument were needed to support what the minister said at that time I think it was furnished by my right hon. friend who has just taken his seat.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. FINN:

Not right honourable, just

honourable.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

Not yet but at some

other time, I hope. I suppose in expressing my approval of the bill I shall find myself in that category suggested by the bon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, who said in Vancouver recently that hon. members whc supported this bill must have something wrong with their heads. However I do not mind that, since I imagine I shall be in fairly good company. I believe the minister is falling short of what he intended to do if he leaves this section as it now stands. In support of his position he points out that the board will make these appointments, but I should like to suggest that if another government comes into power the term of office of this board will be terminated, and then we shall see exactly what my hon. friend from Halifax says happened in 1930. Therefore we are not going to get over the evils by merely appointing a board. I have before me to-day's Routine Proceedings and Orders of the Day and I wish to draw to the attention of the committee two questions which appear thereon. Question No. 3 asks:

1. How many persons have been dismissed from the staff of the Vancouver harbour commission since October 23, 1935?

2. How many of those dismissed during this period were ex-service men?

3. How many persons have been appointed to the staff of the Vancouver harbour commission since October 23, 1935?

4. How many of those appointed during this period were ex-service men?

Question No. 5, which I suppose was put on the order paper to meet the reply to question No. 3, asks for the number of person*

National Harbours Board

dismissed from the staff of the Vancouver harbour commission during the period from August 7, 1930, to October 23, 1935.

Now, ten years hence, unless we deal with this matter in the proper way and put it under the civil service commission, we shall have similar questions to this on the order paper, and for similar reasons. The minister asked the hon. member who is acting leader of the opposition to-day (Sir George Perley) if he would make appointments through the civil service commission or a similar organization if he were dealing with his own business. But government business is not the same as private business, as has been well pointed out. I suggest to the minister that if he wants to get the credit which is undoubtedly coming to him for introducing this legislation, he go the whole distance and have the appointments under the civil service commission, so that we may get away from the evils of patronage in this matter.

Mr. ST-PERE: All the appointments?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

Something can be done. There may be minor appointments that would not come under the civil service commission, but I am convinced that most appointments could be made by the commission just as well as by the board which is going to be appointed.

Mr. ST-PERE: Does the hon. member say that the civil service commission is competent to appoint the manager of a car repair plant in Montreal? What competency have they to appoint a master mechanic? The hon. member talks about patronage; in 1930 my opponent was the leader of a committee which looked after the dismissal of Liberals. These are facts. My hon. friend from Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) is a motorman. He was appointed there because the manager knew what he could do. Would he tell me that specialists administering a harbour board are not more competent to employ men belonging to special trades than is the civil service commission? The hon. member from his place in the house tries to convince the people of Canada that the civil service commission should have the first word in appointing plumbers, mechanics, and men all belonging to working classes. I say that this is impracticable; it is nonsense. The civil service commission is not omniscient.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

It seems to me that the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. St-Pere) is strengthening the argument we are trying to make regarding this matter. I say again, I am not trying to assess the blame. My hon. friend from Hochelaga blames the Conservatives for doing certain things when

IMr. Maclnnis.]

they came into office; I could reply and blame the Liberals, but is a tu quoque argument of any use in a matter of this kind? This has been an evil and trouble all through the years. I told my hon. friend, the minister, before that personally I am very glad he has brought in this legislation; I think something was required to improve the administration of the ports, but I submit that he should give further consideration to this point. This government is not going to be in power forever; some day there will be another government. Is he going to perpetuate the idea of having the employees of this board change when there is a change of government? I would take exactly the same stand if the argument were the other way; I do not believe in the principle. If you are going to have a good administration of the harbours you have to build up a competent staff, some of whom, at any rate, will have a certain degree of permanency. Perhaps it cannot be managed to have all the staff of the harbour board appointed by the civil service commission; sometimes I think there are some positions being filled by the commission to-day that would be better not dealt with by the commission. I have known oases like that. I referred a little white ago to the canal in the constituency of Argenteuil; I think some other authority might be more competent to appoint lock men than the civil service commission. We took the small post offices away from the civil service commission some years ago, very wisely I think. The member of parliament is better able to suggest the name of a postmaster for a small post office in his constituency than any one else. I am not suggesting that everyone employed by the harbour board should be appointed by the civil service commission, but I say to the minister, who is evidently endeavouring to improve the administration of these harbours, that some way ought to be found to give permanency to at any rate a large part of the employees of the board, so that when there is a change of government they will stay in their positions. I speak my personal views entirely; I am not in favour of giving the commission authority over everyone appointed, but I am sure that on the whole the civil service commission have improved the service and made civil servants feel that they are more permanent, and so have drawn to the service a better class of men and women, who are willing to make it their permanent calling in life. Surely some way can be found to give to at least the greater part of the employees of this board that sense of permanency, so that

National Harbours Board

a better class of men will be secured and that when there is a change of government or a change of the board, the staff will not change. There may be a change of the board, even under the present government; is the new board to get rid of the old employees and take on new ones? I say to the minister: Surely he can find some way to give to the greater part of the staff of these harbours a sense of permanency which will make for the selection of better men and improve the administration of these harbours.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I agree with the principle

of building up a permanent staff. Perhaps my right hon. friend is not aware that there is considerable permanency on our harbour staffs. I suppose the number of new men employed on the harbours since this government came into power is not ten per cent of the strength of the harbour staffs.

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Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

But you have not been in

power ten months yet.

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Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

But it did not take you three months-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

The minister

should not say it did not take the other government three months. I would like to know what he means by that. He is not suggesting that we dismissed all the men in the harbours administration, is he?

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Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

A question has been asked

about the numbers; I have the numbers here, if wanted.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

I think both

sides have done a good deal of that sort of thing. I do not think we can get on with this discussion on that basis.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I think there has been improvement from year to year, and considerable improvement is taking place in the present year. The practice is growing up of binding these people into permanent organizations in quite a satisfactory way. For instance, in the port of Montreal, this group insurance which has been in effect some time, binds the people into a more or less permanent organization,

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Would that bind the board?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

It would not bind the board, no. But at the same time it builds up a permanent service, gives the men a status in the books of the commission, which I may say has been respected to a high degree over the years. I believe some method like that, rather than giving the appointment of the entire staff holus-bolus to the civil service commis-12739-133}

sion, is the wise way to work it out. I believe it will work out that way under a permanent board. Remember that this board is being appointed for ten years, and I think the permanency of the heads will build up the permanency of the staffs as far as a business that is seasonal in character, as this business is, will permit. I do not know that I can think of any step at the moment that I can take which will hasten that situation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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April 22, 1936