Is the minister in a .position to tell us what amount was collected through Customs last year in comparison with the year (before, so that we can see what ratio of expense it took to collect the revenue that was collected by the department?
The number of employees in the Naval Service is 139, an increase of six over the number provided for in 1917-18. The increase is to provide for the appointment first, of an officer in charge of the Western Division of Fisheries, and five extra stenographers; all, of course, subject to the approval of the Civil Service Commission. The others are the usual votes.
Last year the employees of the Marine Department were subject to the recommendations of a committee, entitled, The Conservative Committee of Patronage. Hae the minister received of late any recommendations from that committee, and if so, have the recommendations (been considered?
inform the hon. member that I have received no such recommendations, and>
if I had I certainly woulld not pay the least attention to them. While I have the honour of being Minister of Marine and Fisheries and of the Naval Service, I am going to administer this important portfolio to the best of my ability, and I do- not intend to recognize any patronage committees at all.
We have seen in the papers that the Department of Inland Revenue is to be merged in the Department of Customs. The member for Dorchester (Mr. Cannon) some time ago asked a question in the House in regard to this matter and the Prime Minister replied that he would make a statement shortly. Before we vote any moneys under the head of Inland Revenue we should know exactly what is proposed to be done with that department. If it is to he merged with the Department of -Customs, the committee should be informed what branch of the latter department will handle the work heretofore done by the Department of Inland Revenue.
I am sorry that I cannot give full information, but I will give the hon. gentleman all that I have. At present I am acting-Minister of Inland Revenue. Nothing further than that has yet been -done. There is a Bill before the House in connection with changes in departments, and if Parliament passes that Bill, possibly something may be done along the line of merging the two departments. If there is a merging, it will be of the Customs and Inland Revenue Departments.
The Bill before the House does not give much information. If it is the Bill that I have seen-and I suppose it is the Bill to which my hon. friend refers-the Governor in Council is given power to transfer one department to another or to make any change without the House having any knowledge of it and without Parliament first passing upon it. If the two departments are merged, does it mean that they will keep their identity while under one minister? Will the w-o-rk oif the deputy ministers be done by only one deputy mini-steT? We now have the Deputy Minister of Inland Revenue, and the Commissioner of Customs, which corresponds to the position o-f deputy minister. Surely the Bill which is before the House has not been introduced without some action being thought of or contemplated. There -must ibe some plan in the mind of the minister or of the Government -as to w'hat change is to he -made and how the merger is to be effected. I should like the details with regard to these points; they would help a good deal when the Bill to which my hon. friend has referred comes -before the House. Before I agree to give the Government the right to form a department or to change, combine, or create new departments, I want to -know exactly what these new departments are going to be. Heretofore all new departments have been created by the legislative power which at the time of the enactment knew what the authority of the department was to be, the scope of its activities, the officials to comprise it, and so on.