April 20, 1917

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I do not object to the House going into Committee of Supply. I understand that we are to take up the Civil Government Estimates, but this will not interfere with rule 17 (c) which requires that the estimates of any department shall be first taken up on a day other than Friday.

House in Committee of Supply. Mr. Rain-ville in the Chair.

Department of Customs-Salaries and Contingencies, $353,100. -

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

We have just the same number of officials as we had last year. The estimates for the salaries of those officials was $328,237.50 last year; this year the salaries amount to $328,100 or a decrease of $137.50, the reason being that we have reduced the number of officials in subdivision (a) of the Third Division from 27 to 23, but we have added four in the subdivision below that, thereby reducing the total amount. We have, of course, added the statutory increases. There have been no other changes.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

There is an actual economy of $137.50 in that department?

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?

Mr REID:

Yes.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

That is a great example for the colleagues of my hon. friend.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

We have leally done better than that because in that amount is included the payment of officials who are serving overseas.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER :

Do I understand that something will crop up later on which will wipe out this saving?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

No.

Air. MURPHY7: Although a resident of the city of Ottawa, and the representative of a constituency part of which is within the city of Ottawa, I was unaware until recently, when the Parliamentary Committee on Returned Soldiers met here shortly after the adjournment, that a number of drastic, I had almost said revolutionary, changes have been made in the Civil Service Act. These changes are so important and so few members of the House may be Informed regarding them, that I think it is absolutely necessary at the outset of the considerations of these Estimates that the attention of hon. gentlemen should be drawn to them. If members of the committee will get No. 4 of the printed proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee on Returned Soldiers, they will find most of these changes set out in the evidence of Dr. Adam Shortt, Civil Service Commissioner, generally referred to, erroneously as the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission. For instance, at page 370 he refers to an Order in Council that was passed on the 12th of October, 1016, and explaining the gist of that Order in Council, he "says (page 371): J

B n t0 tms' Ulat the only Person eligible to enter the Service in the regular way at the present time are these below the military age, and that age has been reduced by this Order in Council from 18, which was formerly the minimum, to 16, and those over the military age. Formerly they could not be admitted above the age of 35, now they can be taken in to an indefinite age.

I submit that that is scarcely a provision that would apply to returned soldiers.

-which is dependent upon the judgment of those who issue these certificates, or who suggest them for employment.

He then went on to explain that the discretion .as to the admission of persons over thirty-five years of age rested jointly with the departmental heads and the Civil Service Commissioners. Further on he explains that whereas in the past it had been

customary to employ temporary help for a period of six months only, by this Order in Council that time limit was abolished, and on page 371 he says that any one taken on temporarily could now be kept on until the end of the war, in any department of the inside or outside service.

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CON
LIB
LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

What the hon. minister has stated is no doubt very interesting, but it does not touch the points I endeavoured to bring before the committee. The first point is as to the increased age at which appointments may be made. At page 371 of the evidence appears the following question and answer:

Q. But if the discretion is all rig-ht hf can be taken in at seventy?

A. Yes, -but usually, unless there are special circumstances, not over sixty.

But the Order in Council of January, 1917, opens up a much wider field. It takes out of the hands of the Civil Service Commissioners altogether the appointments that have rested with them under the Civil Service Act and hands them over to the minister of the day. At page 373 of the evidene-e you find this:

Q. In other words, these appointments may be made outside the Civil Service Commissioners altogether?-A. Yes.

Q. By the Deputy head?-A. Well, by the head who orders the deputy head to take action.

That is the evidence of Dr. Shortt, of the Civil Service Commission. It will be seen that the Order in Council makes the most radical change in the statute law relating to the Civil Service. I would ask the minister to what extent he has availed himself of this power and how many appointments he has made by virtue of it.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I am sending for the Order in Council of January, 1917, and when I have it before me I can discuss it better. So far, I have not made any appointments to the Inside Service except on certificate of the Civil Service Commissioners.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The appointments are:

W. A. Deslauriers, P. W. Johnston, November 1, 1915; B. L. Peters, J. J. Wall, W. Worsley, December 1, 1915 ; J. W. Pilon, J. S. Deachman, R. R. Fitzgerald, September 1, 1916; E. Petrie, K. S. Raynard, October 1, 1916 ; J. G. Raymond, April 17, 1916. .

All these appointments are made at salaries of $800, except that of J. G. Raymond, who is appointed at $500.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

To what positions are these men appointed?

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CON
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Are these new appointments, or are they the filling of vacancies?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

They are all to till vacancies caused by death or resignation.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I am not aware that these Orders in Council, which practically supersede the Civil Service Act, were drawn to the attention of the House. I understand from the minister that he is sending for them?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Yes. I am not sure whether they were brought down or not, but I will have them here in a few minutes.

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April 20, 1917