May 17, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

We have had no answer to the question why, when the Clerk of the House stated that the only position to which Mt. Sherwood could be appointed was subdivision B of the second division, and when Mr. Speaker had that request transmitted to the 'Government, the classification was changed by somebody from subdivision B to subdivision A. The result is that, whereas if Mr. Sherwood had been appointed to subdivision B, his salary could not rise above $1,600 without his passing later on an examination and qualifying for the higher division, his classification has been changed in these Estimates from subdivision B to subdivision A, so that he begins immediately at $1,600 and his salary will increase automatically up to $2,100. That has not been explained to the committee and I think it ought to be. It appears from the statement of the Clerk of the House that Mr. Sherwood is being appointed to a class in which there is no vacancy, a class which is already filled; and is being appointed to a higher position than Mr. Speaker apparently recommended he should be appointed to. I do not think this -is a mere trivial matter, as the Minister of Finance has said, because there is a principle involved. The principle is whether we should have any regard whatever to the Civil Service Act or whether whenever anybody who has some influential friends is desirous of an appointment to a position under the Government, it will only be necessary for him to go to those who have influence and his name will be put in the Estimates and he will be appointed, irrespective of the requirements of the statute. It does seem to me that, to take a young man who is unable to pass the Civil Service examinations neOessary to qualify him for the discharge of the duties of a routine clerk, and put him at once in this high division, starting at a salary of $1,600, in a higher class than that which many employees of the Government who have been

for years in the Civil Service have been able to attain, is excedingly unfair. We know that there are hundreds of clerks working all the year round, not merely during the four months that Parliament is in session, who are receiving less than $900 per year; men who are better qualified than Mr. Sherwood, but who cannot rise above the $900 because they have not been able to pass the qualifying examination. It is very discouraging to, them that a young man, not able to fulfil the requirements of the Civil Service Act, should be pitchforked into a higher position at a salary $700 more than they are able to attain, and with the certainty that his salary will increase ahtomatically until it reaches $2,100. That is very discouraging to the hundreds of employees in the Civil Service who have passed examinations and who cannot rise beyond $900 a year without passing further examination and being recommended by their chiefs for promotion. I do not think my bon. friend the Minister of Public Works ought to threaten dire vengeance upon employees of the Civil Service simply because there is some little criticism of the attempt which the Government is making to override the Civil Service Act. This young man has simply been employed as a temporary clerk, and has not been able to pass the Civil Service examination; yet he is to receive immediately a salary of $1,600 a year for four months work, because, say what you like, that is all he will have to do. He is employed for fouT months in the year, and during the rest of the time he will be able to attend to the ordinary mercantile business he is carrying on, in Ottawa. He will be receiving a salary about equal, considering the time he is employed during the year, to that which a deputy minister receives. The salary of a deputy minister, as provided by the Civil 'Service Act, is only $5,000 a year; and he has to work the whole year round and to carry very great responsibilities. Yet this young man, as I have said, who has been only a short time in the service, for this short period of from three months to four months, about one-iquaTter of the time that a deputy minister has to work, is to receive a salary practically equal to that which a deputy minister receives. I do not think it is at all encouraging to the Civil Se'rvice. I cannot see why my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) has approved of this. That hon. gentleman, during this session, made

remarks with regard to subsidies which aroused very warm approval throughout the country; but I am very much afraid that, in respect of patronage as in respect of many other matters, my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce reserves his eloquent remarks and his strong arguments for the ears of the private members of this House and for the ears of the public, instead of for the benefit of his colleagues in Council, because we find that continually the Government is bringing down to this House measures of which, if we are to judge the Minister of Trade and Commerce from the speeches he makes here, he cannot be expected to approve. I should like to hear whether the Minister of Trade and Commerce approves of this departure from the terms of the Civil Service Act, approves of this yielding .to the demands of those having influence with the Government, and approves of the making of this appointment in defiance of the provisions of the Civil Service Act. It is surely a step towards yielding to those pernicious views with regard to patronage which are of the very worst description.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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