April 17, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal


Then I was mistaken and I accept my hon. friend's correction. But, after it was taken away from the Inland Revenue Department, the fact that it is being merged with the Customs Department would not be a sufficient reason at the present time, because, before the Inland Revenue Department was merged with the Customs, this branch of the Inland Revenue had been taken away and put under the Secretary of State, if I am correct in my facts. I read the other day a statement made in the British House of Commons on the eve of the Christmas adjournment, wherein the ex-Prime Minister, Mr, Asquith, commenting on the situation in replying to a review that had been made by Mr. Lloyd George, said that there was one great

danger in the multiplicity of departments, that this policy tended to over-centralization. I believe we have had an example of that tendency here; we have had more than an example, we have seen it in operation. With the multiplicity of departments, the heads of departments attempt to take authority from the Governor in Council in matters which ought to be submitted to it, and to put themselves in the place of the Governor in Council, constituting themselves judges of final resort or sole arbitrators in cases which heretofore had to go before the Governor in Council. This over-centralization is gradually taking away from the representatives of the people the privileges which it is their duty to exercise in this: House. As a matter of principle, on the score of expediency there may be justification for the creation of these departments. I do not know but that one of them could be dispensed with. Referring to the Department of Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment, I believe that the best authority to deal with any matter concerning soldiers is the Department of Militia. Since we have taken away from the Minister of Agriculture the control of food, and given it to a commission under his direction, which, however, I understand, reports to him still, I do not see why it would not be as well to have a commission directly under the supervision of the Minister of Militia and Defence to
deal with these military matters-I mean the Minister of Militia in Canada, not the minister for the British Isles, nor the minister for France, if there is one; there may foe, I do not know. For these reasons, Mt. Speaker, I want to put myself on Tecord .as being against overcentralization, the multiplicity of departments, the assumption of the rights and privileges of Parliament, even of the Imperial Parliament, by the passing of certain Orders in Council, which I hope it will be my privilege to'discuss further ini this House.

Full View