May 13, 1953 (21st Parliament, 7th Session)

PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a word about the companies branch. I shall not pretend that what I have to say is new, as the situation has been mentioned in the house on previous occasions.
This is a revenue-producing branch. The last annual report of the department does not indicate the exact revenue, but it is substantial. It is a branch that deals with the public and I think should be required to give service.
There have been certain changes in the branch. I think this companies branch has some very excellent senior officials in it. I cannot understand why it is that, when we look at the details as they are set out at page 478, we find provision for a salary of just $7,200 for the director of this branch. It seems to me that when you have a man of the competence of the present director, Mr. Cattanach, if you expect to hold such a man in this important position the salary range ought to be increased. It is very important, Mr. Chairman, that in a branch like this you have at the head a man whose competence is respected by those members of the legal profession who are dealing with the branch. I know that Mr. Cattanach does command the respect of the legal profession. And, looking at the salary range of $6,900 to $7,500 as indicated at page 478, it strikes me that that is not the kind of salary that is going to retain a man of his ability.
There is another point in relation to this matter which I think should be discussed. I have emphasized that this is a branch that is dealing with the public, and that the public is entitled to service. When a competent man is put in charge of a branch I suggest that some reasonable latitude should be allowed to him through the organization of his department, to give the kind of service the public

Supply-Secretary of State expects. There have been complaints for a long time from the legal profession about delays. This criticism is not directed against the senior officials of the branch, but the delays are laid at the door of the branch. It may be that there is not enough staff. It may be that the civil service commission, when they made their study of the branch, did not correctly apprehend the demands made upon it.
Nevertheless it seems to me that, to carry on the work assigned to it and to give the service the public expects of it, when the public is paying fees to the branch for the service it is to receive, a staff adequate to the demands should be provided; and the competent man placed at the head of the branch should have some reasonable measure of latitude in organizing it. The public looks to him to carry the responsibilities of that branch.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
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