George Green FOSTER

FOSTER, The Hon. George Green, K.C., B.C.L.

Parliamentary Career

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 407)


June 4, 1921

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I quite recognize the importance of the matter in regard to the reorganization of the different departments. First let me correct an error: I say that the staff which is employed by the reorganization committee, the sub-committee of council, has nothing to do at all with the allocation of officers. They simply have to prepare a plan of organization of re-arrangement of business from the investigations which have been made. That is not simply a plan which is made by them, but that is a plan which, when it comes to the sub-committee, has already been gone into by the officers of the department-the deputy minister and the heads of the branches; and where changes have 'been made, they are made and agreed upon between the two. Then after the conferences carried on in that way, comes the recommendation. That goes to the committee on reorganization. That committee takes up those reports and very carefully goes into them, confers with its own staff and confers with the staff of the department which is interested, or with

both of them together, until we come ito a conclusion as to what is best to be done. Afterwards that is reported to council and comes under the view of council, and then the result must go according to the decision which will be made by the council. There is no desire at all on the part of the sub-committee, as my hon. friend right well knows, to do anything else but to secure the greatest efficiency with the greatest economy, and that is steadily kept in mind. It is impossible for me, even with all the knowledge I have, to discuss particular instances in a reorganization which has not yet been fully carried out. My hon. friend has mentioned certain things. They are for the sub-committee, and I can assure my hon. friend that any decision which is made will be arrived at after thorough examination, not only from a report given by our own staff, but a report which is digested thoroughly 'by the department themselves. Afterwards, when it comes to a re-arrangement of the officers, neither the sub-committee nor the staff do that. That is the business of the Civil Service Commission. They take that work up then and do the rest of it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. . 4554 COMMONS
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June 4, 1921

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The amendment consists of an addition to section 5 to this effect:

The privileges set forth in this section, in so far as regards payment of fees on patents already obtained and lapsed by reason of nonpayment of such fees are hereby granted only in favour of nationals and residents of Canada, but the Governor in Council may extend the same favour to citizens or subjects of all countries which have extended, or which now extend, or which within the period of six months from the passage of this Act shall extend substantially reciprocal privileges to citizens and nationals of Canada.

The Minister of Justice and the Commissioner of Patents have agreed to this amendment and I now propose that it be accepted.

Topic:   PATENT ACT AMENDMENT
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June 4, 1921

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

There was a

contract with Griffenhagen and Company that could be determined on two months' notice. That notice was given and the contract expired on April 3, last, and' there has been no contract with them since. The preliminary work which had been done up to that time in conjunction with the authorities of the two departments, Customs and Inland Revenue, and the Post Office, and which was of a very extensive character, laid the foundation for a system of reorganization, and it was absolutely necessary, if that work was to be carried to its fulfilment in these two departments, that the services of some of the men who had laid the plans in co-operation with the department and the sub-committee on reorganization, should be retained. The Government, therefore, has arranged for the services of individuals of the firm of Griffenhagen, and it is their services which are being engaged at the present time. After having given the matter the most careful consideration I cannot see that we can do anything but retain some of these gentlemen.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. . 4554 COMMONS
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June 4, 1921

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Yes, but that

$50,000 is not for the Griffenhagen Company as a company, neither is it necessary that the whole of it should be applied to these officers who have brought the system up to its present state and are now engaged in carrying it through. Any number of these men at any time may be dispensed with, and if we can get those who are qualified to do the work within the departments themselves, they shall be employed.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. . 4554 COMMONS
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June 4, 1921

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The Editorial

Committee got their authority by a certain Order in Council, dated October 4, 1917, which I want to read. I was the minister who made the recommendation:

The minister recommends that a committee of three members of the Civil Service be appointed to consider the suggestions of the Joint Committee on Printing-

I want my hon. friend to listen to their powers as given:

-and take such action as may contribute to the better co-ordination in the preparation for and printing of public documents and subsequent distribution- .

That is, after printing.

-so that the greatest possible economy may be attained, consistent with the public interest, and that three members of the Government be constituted a committee to advise and co-operate with the said Editorial Committee, and whose approval shall be obtained to all measures recommended by that committee before they are put into execution.

That is the primary duty which was put on the Editorial Committ'ee, to cooperate with the Committee on Printing and to see that ,those economies werei practised, both in the printing and in the subsequent distribution of documents that were printed. That remained their sole duty until the Order in Council of June 29, 1920, which in part stated that to them should be given:

Authority to determine the proper disposition of obsolete and surplus publications in store in the various Government departments, as well as in the Distribution Office of the Department of Public Printing and Stationery, and supervise their disposition.

That was an added and late duty which was placed upon them and which they undertook, of course, much later than their primary duties. In the execution of

their primary duties, such as are stated in the first Order in Council, the Editorial Committee have done work which is apparent to Parliament. If the members of the House will get the reports of the two years' work of the Editorial Committee, they will see that they have done splendid work, and that very fine results in the way of economy have come therefrom.

With reference to the action of the Editorial Committee in connection with the matter now before this committee, I am not going to review here Judge Snider's report, and I want my hon. friend and other hon. members, in taking Judge Snider's report into consideration, also to take into consideration the document which I placed on the table of the House this morning as a statement by Mr. Fred Cook and Mr. Lynch, two members of the Editorial Committee, who had the conference at which it was proposed to do certain things with certain of those documents that were supernumerary. Mr. Boudreau and Mr. O'Hara, members of the Editorial Committee, were not in town at the time, and they had nothing to do with that conference. There was a misunderstanding, apparent to anyone who will read the reports, with reference to the conclusions come to by a conference held between Mr. Cook, Mr. Lynch and employees of the Printing and Distribution Department. They have different ideas and make different statements as to the conclusions that were reached. My own view of the matter is that there is not the first item which can be cited to show that there was malice prepense, or that there was any desire to do anything other than was proper and right, and the ultimate result was almost entirely due, I think, to the misunderstanding as to the conclusions come to in that conference. Whether it was from blunder or negligence, or from whatever other cause, I want hon. members, before they make up their minds, to read not only Judge Snider's report, but also the statement I placed on the Table this morning.

I think the whole thing is soluble on the ground, not of a desire to do anything wrong or inconsistent with a desire to do everything right, but owing very largely to misunderstandings and maybe to a little negligence and perhaps oversight. I rose to make that little explanation, 53 that fairness may be had on all sides when both documents are before hon. members for review.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. . 4554 COMMONS
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