There has been a lot of talk about patronage to-night directed at this Bill, but it has not hit at the mairk at all. The patronage which is objected to is not the few appointments made by the member. I have been in control of the patronage in my constituency for four or five years, and I don't think I secured appointments for more than one person each year to post offices and so on, and there never has been a complaint against one of them, although I turned down dozens and dozens of men. That is not what the people are kicking so much about to-day, but rather at the matter of letting contracts to friends at exorbitant prices with the object of having some of the money turned back to the party funds. I do not see anything in this Bill to remedy that state of affairs. That is the big thing the people mean by " patronage," and not the few appointments made here and theie by members. When there is an appointment to be made of a postmaster in some rural constituency, who knows better than the member where that post office should he situated if a new post office is to bb opened up? I think that members*, with the majority they have behind them this year, and the independence which characterizes members in this House, would feel that they could defy their constituency, or
one or two people here and there, and be big enough to locate the offices where they would best serve the community. There is an injustice done here, and under this so-called reform havoc will be wrought in the Civil Service and a great deal of displeasure and more harm caused. I think that, where there is more than one application for a postmaster, at least the opinion of the member should be taken. It is not only a matter of shifting a man into this department or into that. The Bill as constituted is an excellent thing. But where there are more than two applications for a post office, or where there is a vacancy for a postmaster caused by the opening of a new office or by death, I think the member could be consulted first and no harm result. If this Bill is to fulfil the promises* of the Government, something should be put in it to provide that every tender for dredging or any other work or for any supplies should be sealed and left in a designated place until the time comes to open it, and it should be opened in public. In that way we will get away from patronage in the big sense of the word.
That is a form of patronage that may well be embodied in this Bill instead of in an Order in Council. I am not taking up the cudgels about Orders in Council; I have endorsed some of them. But this is going out as a Civil Service Bill, and is not a complete reform of patronage.
I have no* doubt that the intention of the Government, as enacted by Order in Council, will be followed out faithfully and to the letter, and that the lowest tenderer will receive the contract in each case. That would, accomplish the strict abolition, of patronage.
As* many members began work in committees at ten o'clock this morning, and it is now midnight, and I assume we will be adjourning before long,
I do not wish to take up very much time. With the general .principle of the Bill I am in hearty agreement, as I said when, it was (first introduced. Anybody who was born in Ottawa and has lived here all his life, and who has had anything to
12 m, do with politics must assuredly welcome any measure to put an end to patronage. The very fact that a man has been born in Ottawa and lived here all
his life and has had something to do with politics makes him look at a measure of this kind even with a more pritical eye than that -of my hon. friend from Winnipeg (Mr. Blake), who has just spoken. I agree with him that what the public understand in the talk' about patronage is the wider meaning covering every kind of distribution of party or Government favours such as my hon. friend indicated.
is in charge of this Bill read to the committee a statement from the Civil Service Commission purporting to detail what they have done since February 13 last, when the management of the Civil Service was practically turned over to them-and as my hon. friend said just now this Bill proposes to give statutory authority for the power that was then vested in the Civil Service Commission. I presume that, owing to a rush of work, the Civil Service Commission overlooked an important part of their work with which I think I should acquaint the committee, because I think it has an important bearing on the Bill. It has this bearing on the Bill, that unless something is done to give the House and the public some assurance that different methods will prevail, the^ Civil Service Commission is not likely to meet the views and the wishes of the people who desire that patronage should be abolished. The Order in Council transferring the management of Civil Service affairs to the commission was passed on February 13 last, I understood my hon.' friend to say. On February 18, five days after the commission was put in sole charge, they issued a circular and blank form, which I hold in my hand, and on which applicants for positions were expected to give their name, address, age, position desired, experience, and itwo classes of references, one as to ability and one as to character and habits. In the city of Ottawa, I am informed, hundreds of these forms were sent out, and each person who received one received at the same time a circular from the Civil Service Commission in these terms:
The enclosed form of application for temporary employment is sent you at the instance of Mr. A. E. Fripp, M.P.
Yes; I will send it to my hon. friend. Even assuming that this circular was not sent out by the Civil Service Commission, it requests that the forms shall he filled in and sent to that body. The Civil Service Commission, therefore, cannot be absolved of all connection with the transaction.
It may not have been very objectionable, anyway. Perhaps the Civil Service Commission desired to establish a list of those who would he available for temporary employment in Ottawa. Quite likely they have lists in some of the departments, hut the commission may have required further information. I will make inquiries and say something a-bout the matter to-morrow.
by my hon. friend is a most extraordinary one. What necessity was there for the Civil Service Commission sending out a circular saying " the enclosed form of application for temporary employment is sent to you at the instance of Mr. A. E. Fripp, M.P.." If this was done because of the reason suggested by my hon. friend, that the commission desired to establish a list of those desiring temporary employment-