June 3, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal


They were leading questions. I think my hon. friend will know what that means. The few instances that have been given by the Minister of Immigration with regard, we will say, to scientific men and others, do not touch the question at issue to my mind. I am willing to admit for the sake of argument that an astronomer possibly could be selected to better advantage by the head of the department. My point is that the inclusion of the words "or in the public interest" will open the door so wide that the commission will have it in its power to effect a complete change of policy from what was contemplated in the original Civil Service Act. That power ought to be reserved to Parliament. _
I understand that the Minister of Immigration proposes another amendment to the effect that during the recess the deputy ministers and the Civil Service Commission may get together to decide as to what other employees should properly be exempted from the operations of the commission, and report to Parliament. Now, I quite agree with that suggestion-I made it myself-but there is this difference between us: The minister would give the commission power to make those exemptions, in other words, to have an accomplished fact and to report to Parliament. My contention was that they in their wisdom should come to a decision so far as was thought advisable in regard to what changes should be made, but that they should not have the final say, but should come with their recommendations to Parliament, and that then Parliament would deal with those recommendations on their merits. There is the difference. In the one case you transfer the power to the commission, and in the other you retain the power in the hands of Parliament.
I stated the other day, and the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) has dwelt upon it I think with very great effect, that under the Act as it stands to-day with the word "impracticable" the commission has all the powers that should fairly be given to it, if you want to make certain that they will remain within the Act as was intended when it was originally passed.
I just wanted to clear up the point, that this is not a question whether we are in favour of exemptions or not; it is a question entirely as to method. For that reason I do not agree with the amendment that I understand the minister is going to propose, because it does not touch the real, vital principle of the Bill as it is presented. He would ask Parliament merely to pass upon what has already been done; 1 would say that Parliament should retain the doing of it for itself. There is no manner of doubt injny mind, and I do not think there is any doubt in the minds of hon. members opposite, that while it may not be the intention just now of those members or of the commission to reintroduce the exercise of patronage, it at once becomes possible if that phrase is included in clause 38. I cannot understand the attitude of the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) who complains constantly that the commission has already too much power, and then is going to vote in favour of an amendment that will give them infinitely greater power. But I do think the committee should realize absolutely, as I think most of them do, that if the amendment carries, whether or not patronage comes in, it will be made possible within the law.

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