John BEST

BEST, John

Personal Data

Party
Unionist
Constituency
Dufferin (Ontario)
Birth Date
July 11, 1861
Deceased Date
June 7, 1923
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Best_(Canadian_politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=e375fe20-c436-4578-9657-d976230c2a5a&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

December 22, 1909 - July 29, 1911
CON
  Dufferin (Ontario)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Dufferin (Ontario)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Dufferin (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 48)


June 3, 1921

Mr. BEST:

Were not many of the witnesses the heads of different branches'?

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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June 3, 1921

Mr. BEST:

I certainly realize that, but I know that many would try to save their 'bread and butter even if tkey had to stretch the truth. I do not think there should be a law compelling men to give evidence under the eyes of the men who have control over them. It is not right. There is not a court in Canada where that would be done.

Probably patronage was abused in the past, but I do not think that the people of Canada ever expected that this delegating of power to the Civil Service Commission would go as far as it has. I am informed that there is no other country in the world where such great power is given to the Civil Service Commission. I do not see how we in Canada can boast of our democracy, if we are going to hand over the business of Parliament to two or three men, and have no say in it whatever ourselves. I heard an hon. member a few weeks ago say that the civil servants in one province, I think it was in New Brunswick, were all collected in one county, and that they should be scattered around, but of course he had no say, and the Government had no say, as to how those civil servants should be distributed-the Civil Service Commission appoints them just where it sees fit. And strange to say their salaries are increasing all the time. We are paying out $67,000,000 on the Civil Service now and the people's representatives have no say as to what shall be paid. The commission regulates that matter for us, and if things go much further, they will very soon be regulating everything else. Hon. gentlemen opposite have often told me that they believe the present system of running the Civil Service had worked great injury in many cases. I believe it is not in the interest of the public that two or three men should have power to run this country for us. I am opposed to commissions. I have stated on several occasions in this House that the Government has appointed too many commissions. Nor do I believe in Orders in Council; I am opposed to them, although sometimes, of course, they are necessary. I believe in the people's representatives ruling, but when the Civil Service Act was passed, there was more taken out of their hands than all the other measures that have been introduced since Confederation have withdrawn from the control of members of Parliament.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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June 3, 1921

Mr. BEST:

I want to say a very few words on this question. It seems strange to me that the tan. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Ethier), who was a member of the special comimiit-tee that considered this Bill, should find fault wnith the Bill that is now before the House in the way he has. I also have some fault to find with it, but the fault I find is that it does not go far enough. When I heard the hon. gentleman not more than five minutes ago speak of this Parliament delegating powers to two or three men who are not responsible to the people, and not responsible to Parliament, I thought he was telling pretty near the truth. What has this Parliament done? It has delegated to two or three men in Ottawa all the powers of a federation that is the strongest in the Dominion of Canada to-day. We have a federation here for which the people of this Dominion pay $67,000,000, and the amount is increasing every year. These are people who tell us what we are going to do, and where we get off at. I went to an office in the West Block a few days ago with two other hon. members, and we were discussing the expenditure of money on highways. I said that it had reached"such a stage that the people were beginning to find fault with the extravagance, and no wionder. What was the answer I got from that civil servant? The answer was " To hell with the public." That is what he told me. They tell you to-day, and they tell the people of this country, where we get off at. The Parliament of Canada has no say over them at all.

. CALDWELL: Which cabinet minister was it that made that remark?

. Mr- BEST: I did not say it was a Cabinet Minister. I said it was a civil servant that made that statement. The hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Ethier) was a member of the special committee that considered this Bill, and he has told us of the witnesses that appeared before that committee. It is strange that the only witnesses called before that committee were

deputy ministers and civil servants. There in the committee room was the Chairman and the Secretary of the Civil Service Commission sitting listening to all the evidence that was given by men who were under that commission. There were men who told me "We dare not give evidence. If we told the truth, our heads might go off." Is it not strange that the only ones who gave evidence were the parties interested, and that the Chairman and the Secretary of the Civil Service Commission should he right there watching them and listening to every word they said? I do not think there ever was a committee appointed by this House where such a ridiculous thing occurred, and where witnesses gave evidence before those who controlled them. If they did not tell what was expected of them, off would go their heads, if the commission wished.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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June 3, 1921

Mr. BEST:

If it is a good thing for the Civil Service Commission to hire men and women at $2, $3 or $4 a day, why not give them power to appoint the deputy ministers? If it is a good thing in one case, surely it would be in the other.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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June 3, 1921

Mr. BEST:

The commission decides who are to be the heads of different departments.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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