Mr. Chairman, if I
take the liberty to express my views upon this important subject, it will be only to repeat what I said in the last Parliament; for I have not changed my opinion since. This matter must be considered from many angles. We have to secure not only the efficiency of the service, but the greatest possible economy in the making of appointments as well as in the general administration of departments. Since 1918, when the disposition of appointments was put entirely in the hands of the Commission, the cost of administering the Civil Service has tremendously increased. It is well known that before that time appointments to the outside service did not cost the Government one cent. The recommendation of a person for appointment to a position in the Government service is a great responsibility on the part of the member of Parliament. I had the patronage of my county for many years, and I have been elected on each occasion with increased majorities; had I used bad judgment or recommended the appointment of inefficient or dishonest persons, I would have been defeated when the next election came on. I say it is a great hardship to have the exercise of patronage in your county. A member has to be on his guard all the time; when a vacancy occurs he has to be sure to select a man who is capable and efficient, but
one who is in public life should be prepared to give his best energies to his county and to his country; if he is not prepared to assume that responsibility, let him stay at home. From the aspect of economy, I may point out that when a postmasters in a rural district dies or leaves his position, it takes two or three months for the Commission to appoint another man in his place, and the cost runs up to two or three hundred dollars. Under the old system, during the fifteen years that I had the patronage of my county I simply wrote a letter to the Postmaster General or to the minister of the department concerned, and the appointment was made without one cent of cost to the country. In the last four years it has cost thousands of dollars to appoint men in my county who have no more right to the positions than anybody else. We are responsible for the expenditures of public money, and we should protest against sudh a system as this. During the last three or four years I have had a rest because I have not been consulted in matters of! patronage in my constituency; and in the case of some of the appointments made the officers are certainly not the most efficient. But there would have been no use in my complaining to the commission; I would not have been listened to. In the earlier years* following the placing of all these matters in the hands of a commission, I took the trouble to make recommendations for appointments, naming men whom I personally knew to be well qualified for the positions concerned, but not one man recommended by the member for Gloucester was appointed. The hon. member for St. John (Mr. Baxter) knows that I know very well every man in the county of Gloucester, his qualifications and his efficiency. The member for the county is the one who best knows his constituents. I do not know the families in the constituency of my hon. friend (Mr. Baxter); I could not make recommendations for appointments in his constituency, neither could he make selections for appointments in mine. The post office inspector, to whom the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) referred, is in the same position; if he lives in the city of Halifax, what does he know about the local conditions in Amherst and other places? Now, what should be done? Men appointed to positions in the outside service must be efficient and of good character. Take the case of fishery officers; every fishery inspector or guardian occupies, in his own little district, a judicial position. He has power
to impose fines, he must be a man of sterling honesty. But how does the Commission know of his qualifications in that respect? They find out whether he knows that two and two make four-that is what it amounts to.