April 22, 1936

CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Speaking to the

subsection under consideration I would like to associate myself with those who are urging that the government should not in any way undermine the principle of the Civil Service Act. It has been found necessary because of the incompetence of the various harbour boards that they should be brought under the direct control of this government. The local boards apparently have been very unsatisfactory. The minister himself has said that the waste has been shameful, and so on. It does seem to me that under those circumstances it is highly desirable that we should start off in the right way. If there is any sense whatever in having a large number of government

National Harbours Board

services come under the Civil Service Act, there is every reason why this new arm of the service should also come under the act.

I cannot see that any case at all has been made for exempting this particular branch that will one day be essentially a part of the service. There are professional appointments to be made, technical and other officers, clerks and other employees. Surely we at Ottawa have all these classes of appointments in the various departments of government. It seems to me that no reason has yet been given for exempting this particular service from the Civil Service Act. I regret very much indeed that by this measure, if it is carried through, the government is doing a great deal to undermine the principle of the Civil Service Act. It is doing this in two ways. First of all, it is creating a new department which is being exempted for no good reason. I am afraid that we shall have patronage there as we have had it in other departments again and again. Second, it is exempting this great field from the rightful ambitions, shall I say, of those who might expect to be placed in positions under this service. Further, it has an adverse effect on other civil servants.

I notice that the next clause provides that the Government Employees Compensation Act is to apply to the people appointed under this board. I notice also that the Civil Service Superannuation Act is to apply. The next subsection provides that all the benefits given under this act are to be preserved. A man may be taken out of the ordinary civil service and placed under the jurisdiction of this harbours board at a larger salary than he has been receiving or is likely to receive. He is taken out of the regular line of promotion and suddenly advanced to a good position. Is it possible for the great body of civil servants to observe that kind of treatment with equanimity? They know this man is advanced and if anything happens to him under the harbours board he can return to the civil service; he retains all the rights which he would have had had he remained in the service proper. This is undermining the principles of the Civil Service Act in a very subtle way; it is undermining the morale of those appointed to the customs, the post office and other departments of the government.

I appeal to the minister to reconsider this matter. I think the hon. member for Argen-teuil (Sir George Perley) was right when he said that if a case could be made out for the exemption of certain classes of employees,

'Mr. Woodsworth.]

then that should be done, but that the others should come under the Civil Service Act. I cannot see where it would take more than a few hours to make the necessary classification in a matter of this kind. If this clause could stand and certain amendments could be introduced, we would affirm the principles of the civil service so necessary to the welfare of our nation.

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

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

In order that

we might get on, perhaps the minister would let this clause stand and try and provide for the beginning at any rate of permanency in this service. This bill cannot go through until the Department of Transport is set up, and I think the minister might give this matter a little consideration.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

We are only at subsection 1

of section 4 and we have had two long sessions of the committee. Section 1 has been allowed to stand and it seems to me that we should try to make some progress.

I can assure my hon. friend that this particular phase has been discussed and we believe it is quite impossible. I am sure he would not ask us to place a vast organization like this under the civil service commission. There is a time and place for all things.

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

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

I am not suggesting that it should all come under the civil service commission; I am suggesting that there are certain classes of the staff that could come under the commission. I think the minister should consider that. As I see it, this bill cannot go through this house until the Department of Transport has been set up and there is a Minister of Transport. We can consider it but it cannot go through under the rules of this house.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I quite appreciate that, but

I would point out that we should try to make some progress. This is the third month of parliament and we have debated this one section for nearly two hours. Surely we should try to consolidate the progress we have made.

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

Thomas Bruce McNevin

Liberal

Mr. McNEVIN (Victoria, Ont.):

It seems to me that these employees are somewhat similar to the maintenance of way employees and running trades of the railways. I think you can eventually obtain the same permanency here as was obtained in the case of the railways. A permanent staff can be built up and I think we are only wasting time discussing the matter.

Supplementary Estimates

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

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I was interested this afternoon when the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) asserted his prerogative of dictating the rules of order of this house. I suggest that any hon. member who seeks to wrest that crown from his head should be severely dealt with. Speaking on the second reading of this bill I emphasized this particular point, and I want again to place myself on record. It is all very well for the Minister of Marine (Mr. Howe) to contemplate the pleasant picture I know he has in mind. I believe he is quite sincere When he says that the appointments to be made will be made in a businesslike manner, the same as they would be made in a private enterprise. If that were possible there could be absolutely no criticism of this clause,, but it is not possible under present conditions. I think we need only consider the straining at the leash on the part of certain hon. members opposite who seem to be anxious for this clause to go through to realize that they are anticipating something in the way of political profit. With bated breath and whetted appetite they feel that they are approaching a political millennium as far as patronage is. concerned. It is that very attitude which makes me feel that the minister should give more mature consideration to this particular clause at this particular time. Although I recognize that he is sincere in his desire to remove all positions from political patronage, the fact remains that he has not made his position secure. During the course of his remarks the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) suggested that this measure was being introduced because of the incompetence of the various harbour boards. I do not think he meant to use those terms and I know the minister did not introduce this measure for that particular reason. We have had' harbour boards in the past which were eminently competent.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Would the hon. gentleman permit me to interrupt? I had in mind the statement made by the minister himself, who said:

To me it shows the most shocking betrayal of public trust I have ever read in my life. I feel in one way that it should be put on Hansard so that the people of this country might learn something about harbour commissions; on the other hand I dislike to do this because it would certainly give the people a very unfortunate idea of how public affairs are conducted.

I based my statement upon those words.

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

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

Apparently the hon. member has forgotten that the Minister of Marine

seemed to have certain mental reservations because he qualified the statement which the hon. member has just quoted.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I listened to his remarks and I did not hear any qualification whatever.

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

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I am assuming it was qualified for I hardly expect that the Minister of Marine would allow a statement of such severe criticism of previous harbour boards to stand in that particular manner. I just want to emphasize again my opposition to this clause although I am in general agreement with the principle of the bill. Along with the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and others who have expressed their opinions, I hope that some way will be found whereby political patronage can be absolutely eliminated from the management of our national harbours. If that can be done much money can be saved and greater efficiency established

Progress reported.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1936-37


A message from His Excellency the Governor General transmitting supplementary estimates for the financial year ending March 31, 1937, was presented by Hon. Charles A. Dunning (Minister of Finance) and read by Mr. Speaker to the house.


LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

In moving that the estimates be referred to the committee of supply, perhaps I might be permitted a brief word in summarized explanation. The special supplementary estimates are designed to deal with those expenditures which the government deems necessary because of conditions now prevailing, as distinct from the main estimates which were designed to cover what might be described as the normal expenditures of the country. These estimates contain provision for projects already undertaken to the extent of $30,418,000; they contain provision for other projects to the extent of $28,430,000, or a total of $58,848,000 for projects already undertaken, and other projects. I may say that the division is maintained all through the details of the estimates as between these two classes of items. In addition, there is provision for $26,000,000 for grants in aid to the provinces with respect to direct relief, and provision for an estimated deficit of the Canadian National Railways of $39,900,000, a total in all of $124,748,000.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1936-37
Permalink
CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Is there no provision there for relief as such, except what is given through the provinces?

Reports of Committees

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1936-37
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The other projects contain provision for that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1936-37
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Will the estimates be given to members?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1936-37
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I have just received the estimates from the printer and have given instructions for distribution to be arranged as soon as copies come from the printing bureau, but I am not sure how soon that will be. I move that the estimates be referred to the committee of supply.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1936-37
Permalink

Motion agreed to. At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, April 23, 1936


April 22, 1936