April 6, 1916

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I make the statement on the authority of the commissioner, and I am quite sure he is correct.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB

George William Kyte

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

Early in the session I moved for a return showing the employees of the Government who had enlisted, and who were drawing double salary, and if that return had bean placed on the Table it might not have been necessary to speculate about whether they are receiving double pay or not.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

There would be no need for speculation if my hon. friend would try to get at the facts.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I have no desire whatever to misrepresent the facts. I spoke from information afforded to me in a return for which I moved, and which I received just a few days .ago. I find that Edgar Douglas was appointed Immigration medical officer at Halifax on December 1, 1911, at a salary of $1,200, and under the heading, " When service ceased," I find " enlisted with pay." I find the same in respect to Dr. F. A. R. Gow, " enlisted with pay."

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

When did they enlist?

.Mr. MACLEAN: A few months ago, six months ago. Then I find that another medical officer, John Rankin, was appointed December 15, 1913, at a salary of $1,200, " enlisted without pay." But I find that after he enlisted without pay, another person was appointed on January 3, 1916, at $1,200 as a substitute for Dr. Rankin. Surely my bon. friend did not expect that medical officers should enlist and draw their pay, and still get a paid substitute in their .place.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I do not wish to interrupt the hon. gentleman, but as I understand it, there is no department in the Government that 'is now paying salary to men who have enlisted and who are drawing militia pay as well.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I think it is correct; I think there is no doubt about it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

My hon. friend should blame the Government for giving a false return.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I am going to place myself in the strong position of relying on this return.

IMr. BLAIN: It is an old return; there has been a change since.

(Mr. MACLEAN: This return was presented to me just a few days ago.- If there has been any change recently, well and good.

Mr. BiLAEN: As I understand it, the change took place last November. Prior to last November, double salary was paid in many cases, perhaps in all cases; but my information is, and I am speaking in the hearing of ministers of the Crown, that since last November, no employee has received double pay. ,

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I said a moment ago that I preferred to take the statement furnished to me by the Government's return to the House in answer to a motion of mine.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I would expect my hon. friend to be up to date.

IMr. ROGERS: There is nothing in the return to show that they were getting double pay.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

Just the other day the Minister of Justice stated that the inspector of penitentiaries at Kingston was getting his salary as inspector, and also his salary as a militia officer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

That was before the change made in November.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

At any rate it is quite clear that the immigration officers at several ports in Eastern Canada have for some time at least received departmental- salaries, though practically without departmental employment. But supposing the position taken by my hon. friend from Peel is correct, and that it has been correct for some months past, I say that the fact that we had no immigration should have impelled the Government to revise their departmental policies in respect to employees at these ports where immigrants enter the country, and to reduce their staffs of immigrant medical officers, and abolish mainy offices, retaining just the number of men that were actually necessary.

Just a word or two about some of the other departments. In the Department of Marine and Fisheries I notice there has been steady and substantial increases in the expenditures. I have not recently investigated them in detail, and I will not say that some of them are not justified, but when I find that the expenditures have , grown from $843,000 iin 1911-12 to $1,455,000 last year I ask myself the question: Is that great increase justified; is it necessary for the efficiency of the department? Mind you, Mfr. Speaker, this is exclusive of the expenditures made specially for the Naval Service Branch. When hon. gentlemen opposite were sitting on this side I remember that frequently they occupied the time of the House in condemning the employment of so great a number of fishery officers in the several provinces. We were told that in my province there were hundreds of officers who were actually performing mo .service, and that their connection with the department should cease. There is no particular energy being displayed in the administration of the Fisheries Department at the present moment that I know of. There has been no new programme inaugurated requiring the labours of additional employees. Would not this be a good time for hon. gentlemen opposite to carry out some of the suggestions which they made a few years ago? I think it is quite true that perhaps in each province they could very well dispense with the services of 100 or 200 officials, if not absolutely for all time to come, then temporarily. We upon this side of the House feel that if during the period of the war we oan induce the Government to make any considerable saving in public expenditure we will have accomplished something, and we will feel that we have properly discharged our duties as an Opposition to the country. I venture to suggest to the Minister of Finance and the Government that if they will make a detailed investigation of the expenditures of that particular department, a saving of some hundreds of thousands of dollars might be made without doing any injury to the efficiency of the department or to any interest in the e >untry at large.

During the past week or more, or ever since the hon. Postmaster General made his statement, we have had more or less of a running discussion in connection with the expenditures of his department. I wish, however, to say a few words in addition to what has already been said by other hon. gentlemen on this side of the House. Let me give to the House the figures in respect to the expenditures, because I know figures rapidly, pass away from the minds of hon. gentlemen. Since this Government came into power the expenditures in the Post Office Department have been as follows:

1911-12 $ 9,172,000

1918-14 12,956,000

1914-15 15,950,000

1916-17 (estimated) . . .. 17,486,000

So that we have an increase of nearly $8,000,000 since 1911-12. That is a most startling increase. The obligation rests upon hon. gentlemen opposite to give very cogent reasons, much clearer reasons than they have given yet, for that tremendous increase in a period of five years. I do not deny the proposition that we must expect increases in some of the great departments of the public service. In many cases it is

a good indication, and in itself it affords no ground upon which one may condemn a Government or a department. But we have expected from the Postmaster General some more valid reason for this great increase than we have received from that hon. gentleman up to the present time. What I fear is that hon. gentlemen opposite are reverting to their natural tendency to deficits in that particular branch of the service. Hon. gentlemen opposite have a record behind them in respect to this department. I find that during the period when they were in power, prior to 1890, it usually cost this country 30 per cent more than the total revenue to administer the department. I find that some time after the late Administration came into office, from 1901 or 1902 down, that department was administered at a cost of about 90 per cent of the total revenue, and that it had a surplus of about 10 per cent. Some hon. gentlemen opposite took the position a few days ago that this branch of the public service should not be able to boast a surplus, and that all the revenue from this source should always be expended for the advantage of the public. There is something to say in favour of that, but that is not the position in which we find ourselves. We do not find that the revenue has merely been expended, but we find a tremendous deficit. The hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) advanced that argument some two or three weeks ago, but if that were the position to-day the Opposition would not be upon such strong ground as that which we occupy. It is not a question of the Government not having a surplus, but it is a question of a deficit last year of $3,000,000, a deficit tips year of perhaps $5,000,000, and, if they keep on at the same ratio, a deficit next year of probably $6,000,000 or $7,000,000. I submit that it is a good business proposition that there should be some parity between income and outgo in connection with the administration of any branch of the public service. That is the standard which anybody would advise for the conduct of any private business, and, in so far as is possible, that is the standard which should be adopted by the Government in respect to the expenditures of any particular department. The Postmaster General sought to justify this increase in his expenditure by the reason that he was called upon to engage in extraordinary expenditures in connection with rural mail delivery, in connection with additional railway mail subsdies, and in connection with increased pay to -

the civil servants of his department According to the figures he gave, this would account for an annual increase of about $1,250,000. But we find that the increased expenditure of 1915 over 1914 was just about $3,000,000; so the $1,250,000 does not account for the full additional expenditure. He says further that he was obliged to make unusually large expenditures because of increased business in places like Montreal, Toronto and Quebec. I do not know what business he referred to as having increased. It was certainly not the business of the Post Office Department, because the revenues did not increase very substantially at any of these places. For instance, the gross revenue at Quebec in 1914 was $184,362, and in 1916, $213,563; at Montreal, in 1914,

$1,625,000, and in 1915, $1,590,000; at Toronto, in 1915, $2,703,000, and in 1915, $2,905,000. These figures certainly do not indicate any increase worth speaking of at these important points. Surely we can have some slight increases in the revenues of a department without necessitating an increase in the expenditure. The increase in the gross revenue at these three points was very small indeed; so this reason given by the Postmaster General the other night that the increased expenditure was due to increased business at certain points does not hold good. He has signally failed to account for the alarming deficit -in his department. It is all very well to say that expenditures have increased; they are expected to increase in the Post Office Department, I suppose; but let us not forget that the revenues have also increased very substantially. The Postmaster General is looking merely at one side of the account. He would have us believe that the revenue was constant and that he had to meet unexpected and unusual expenditures which was responsible for a deficit of $3,000,000 last year, and probably $5,000,000 this year. My hon. friend from Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) suggests that a gTeat deal of the revenue secured by the Department during the past year, under a strict accounting, should not be credited to the Post Office Department. However, I do not propose to discuss that particular point this afternoon.

I made the statement some time ago that the system of letting our mail contracts by tender had been practically abandoned by this Government. The Postmaster General did not agree with that statement. He said that the department had strictly adhered to tender and contract, and he thought it a

splendid system. I repeat to-day what I said on two occasions in the past, that the system of tender and contract has been practically abandoned by the present Postmaster General, and more particularly by his predecessor, until now nobody in the country has any confidence whatever in the integrity of the system. I know numbers of people who ordinarily would tender for mail contracts, but who absolutely refuse to do so to-day; and I say the practice of the Government justifies the course of such people. I do not know whether I can at once put my hands upon some evidence I had on this point, but I might refeT to a question put to the Government this session by the hon. member for Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll), and answered by Mt. Cas-grain, as follows:

Q. Who has the contract for carrying the mail between the tram car and the post office at Glace Bay?-A. William Grade.

Q. What remuneration does he receive?-A. $345 per annum.

Q. What was the amount of his tender; who were the other tenderers, and the respective amount of their tenders?-A. Tenders were received from Daniel McIntosh at $350, and Joseph Devoe at $400. Mr. Devoe reduced his tender to $345, and the contract was awarded to him. On account of the enlistment of his son, he withdrew his offer, and the contract was given to William Gracie at the same price.

I have in mind four different cases of just that kind this session, the Government giving the information in reply to questions. One was in answer to the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil), who cited a similar case the other day, and so did the hon. member for Richmond (Mr. Kyte) a few days ago; an answer given to a question by the late Mr. Law was of the same nature-all indicating that the department absolutely disregarded the system of tender and contract. I say the Poet-master General- hae no right to award contracts to persons who are not the lowest tenderers. The Postmaster General has no right to allow a man -whose tender is higher than the lowest to put in a second tender which is lower than the lowest previously in. But it has been done in hundreds and hundreds of cases since 1911, when the present Administration came into power. It was done in scores of cases in the calendar year 1915. I -have personal knowledge of a number of such cases.

t _

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Did it ever occur when the late Government was in power?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROFITS.
Permalink

April 6, 1916