June 1, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)

UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

It strikes me that the approval of the Governor in Council covers both. With the approval of the Governor in Council they (may exclude, and they may make regulations. That is, the Governor in Council would have to approve the regulations, as well as the exclusion of any positions in whole or in part.
With reference to the amendment and the discussion we have had, I doubt very much if any good purpose would be served by continuing it at length. My good friend from North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) expressed his opinions very strongly and very fully before the committee. We had some hours of discussion there, and we simply could not see eye to eye as to the effect of the words introduced into this amendment. I wish to say quite frankly for myself that, so far as the question of patronage is concerned, I am absolutely opposed to the old plan of having appointments made simply on the ground of political preference. I have been in public life something like fifteen or twenty years, and I know the evils, and in my judgment there is nothing that hurts a political party or a government more than political patronage. It has dragged down many a government in the past and will continue to do so so long as it is exercised. There are others who hold a different view, but in my judgment the further the Government and members of Parliament get away from patronage the better for themselves and the beter for the service. So, if any person has any idea that this amendment is adopted with the view of introducing a "joker" into the law, well, so far as I am concerned, he is very much mistaken.
Now, what is the practical position? It is simply this, that Parliament, as the report states, whether wisely or unwisely,
{Mr. Davis.]
threw upon the Civil Service Commission a task that was absolutely impossible for it to carry out. We went further in our law than any country in the world. We are miles in advance of the United States in this regard. There they have lists upon lists of exemptions from the operation of their Civil Service law. In Great Britain there are exemptions but not so numerous as in the United States. But here in Canada two years ago we threw upon the Civil Service Commission an enormous task, which they were supposed to undertake immediately. We placed in their hands the classification of all employees in the Inside Service and the Outside Service of every class from messenger or charwoman up to astronomer, as our report points out. They had to classify all these employees. Some sixteen hundred classes have already been defined; they had to fix the salary ranges of all these persons; and in addition they had to undertake all appointments to the service, all promotions in the service and all other details covered by the Act. Now, the impression I got from the evidence, and I think I am safe in saying that those of us who sat on the committee and heard the evidence from day to day could come to no other conclusion, was that the public service of Canada has suffered during the past two years. But that is not the fault of the commission; they have done the best they could under the circumstances.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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