Mr. R. L. BAKER (Eglinton):
Mr. Speaker, I did not anticipate speaking on this subject, but one point that comes to my mind should, I think, be discussed. I believe I have studied the report of this committee fairly closely, but I cannot find where attention has been drawn to the increase in the number of civil servants which has occurred in the last four years. According to the figures of the bureau of statistics, in the last four years the total number of civil servants has increased not by hundreds but by thousands. Is that not an important matter to consider? Should we not place responsibility for this heavy increase? If we continue to increase the number of civil servants at the rate at which their number has been increased in the last four years, we may reach the time when twenty-five per cent of the people of Canada will be in the government service and the other seventy-five per cent doing their best to pay the taxes to provide the salaries. This is particularly serious at a time when the people
Civil Service-Report of Committee
of Canada are concerned over the tremendous load of taxation which they now have to carry. Yet here we are piling on more taxation.
I am satisfied that many* of the additions made to the civil service are not necessary. Until 1930, when a man left the civil service, whether he resigned or was superannuated at sixty-five or seventy years of age, the civil service commission automatically got busy and appointed another man to the position whether he was needed or not. Often when a man reaches seventy he is not doing very much in the civil service, and there is no real need of replacing him. In business when an employee of seventy retires, he is often not replaced, but in the government service vacancies are automatically filled. For the period 1930 to 1935' however, the rule was made by the previous government that no replacements would be made unless the head of the department stated to the commission that the position required to be filled. The result of that rule was that the number of civil servants went down and down and down constantly from 1932 to 1935. But in 1936 the number increased again by hundreds and hundreds, and finally it amounted to additional thousands.
I do not know of any question that is more important for a civil service committee to consider, yet I do not find it dealt with in this report at all. It is a question of great importance to the taxpayers of Canada. As I say, if appointments continue at the present rate we may reach a point where twenty-five per cent of the people of Canada will be in the public service, and the other seventy-five per cent will be trying to earn enough money to pay the salaries of the twenty-five per cent. An impossible situation will be reached if this practice is not stopped, and I wish to put myself on record that in my opinion this committee in not taking up this matter was guilty of overlooking a question of very great importance to the taxpayers of this country.
Topic: CIVIL SERVICE ACT
Subtopic: MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE