June 16, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Lewis Herbert Martell



In the course of his remarks the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie), paid some attention to something I had said concerning the Marine Department. The hour is late and I am rather in the position of an Irishman who was called in to clean out a parson's cellar. It was a bright morning and the parson was walking in his garden when the Irishman held up some bottles which he was taking from the cellar to the light in the hope that he might extract from them a sufficient quantity for an eye opener. The parson observed this and yelled to him: " Pat, they are all dead soldiers." To which the son of Erin's isle replied: " Begorrah, your
riverence, I'm glad they had the parson with them in their dying hours." I am glad to be in this House in the dying hours of this debate.
It is not my purpose to make any observations concerning the personnel of the Civil Service Commission. I had some experience in the department, and just to show you how there is a tendency for a department to become overmanned, I am going to give an illustration of something that I know something about. I am not blaming any particular political party for this; I am blaming simply the system. Applications were called for a particular position; it was stated that the person should have a knowledge of law and a practical knowledge of the fisheries. The person whom the department had sent them by the Civil Service Commission happened to be a lawyer. He was found not to be fit for the particular work which he was called upon to discharge, and you would naturally think that when he was found unfit, he would be discharged or told to go. Instead of doing that, they placed him in the department stamping lobster labels-a lawyer, at $2,600 a year! That was work that should have beer

Supply-Civil Service
done by a boy for about $500 a year. Then they went down to the constituency of Queen's and Shelburne; they took a clergyman minister who had no practical knowledge of the fisheries, and they placed him in the department at a salary of about $3,000 a year, so that where the work was being done for $1,800 they were paying about $5,600 for the same work.
The think that I object to as regards the present Civil Service Act is the fact that it does not afford any scope for recommendation for promotion on account of efficiency. There is in every business concern in the country power, at least impliedly, in the manager, to pick out his good men and to recognize their efficiency by promotion. That is not the case in the Civil Service at the present time. It is absolutely impossible for the deputy minister or the minister to recognize ability or efficiency in the department. There is a certain position; a certain person is placed in that position, and no matter how great his ability may be there is no chance for him to get an increase of salary or to be promoted to a better position. Naturally he loses all ambition, becomes stagnant, so to speak, and incapable of evolving new ideas, and there is a tendency for him to " loaf on the job Consequently he gets behind with his work, the department has to make application to the Civil Service Commission for further help, and another person is appointed to assist the loafer; thus two men are paid to do one man's work.

Topic:   EDITION
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