April 29, 1921

UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Minister of Militia) :

Mr. Speaker, I think there is some misapprehension on the part of hon. members opposite as to the real scope and nature of the proposal. While printed as a formal Bill, it is brought before the House now for the purpose of referring it at once to a special committee to thoroughly thresh out the whole matter. I think the hon. minister who introduced the Bill made it very clear that that was the intention of the Government in submitting it in this way. However, as there appears to be some objection on the part of hon. gentlemen opposite, perhaps no great harm will be done if the Bill be allowed to stand over, say, until the beginning of next week, although I anticipate the real work in connection with this Bill will be in the Special Committee, which committee will have to report back to the House, and the whole matter will then be open for discussion.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne and Queen's) :

Will the right hon. Prime Minister permit me a question? He has told us that a certain number of public official were to be taken out of the control of the Civil Service Commission. Now, will he tell us: When that change is effected what will be the appointing power over those officials?

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The Prime Minister,

of course, has exhausted his right to speak, but under the circumstances I would ask the House whether he shall be given unanimous consent to answer the question.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Any officials taken out of the Act will be just where they would have been if the Act had not been passed. As regards mere manual labourers, I think the hon. member will recollect that in his own speech he stated that it is unworkable to have these men all over the country under the Civil Service Act; and they will be just where they would be if the Act had not been passed. It is suggested that any class or classes would not be taken out of the control of the Civil Service Commission, but that the nominating power would be placed where many thinlrit would be much more convenient in the public interest to place it.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNI L
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Just where it would

have been if the Act had not been passed.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

That is going back

to the old patronage system.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Not at all. I do not

think even if the Bill passes in its present form it goes so far as the hon. gentleman himself' suggested in his speech in this House.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UF

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

United Farmers

Mr. T. W. CALDWELL (Victoria and Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, this Bill has been brought on at very short notice and we have had very little time to peruse it. It looks to me like a very radical departure from the policy outlined by the Government when the Civil Service Commission was appointed. We have gone to a great deal of expense in establishing that commission and in getting experts to classify the Civil Service, but if I understand this measure correctly the right is reserved to the Governor in Council to reverse any decisions that have been made by the Civil Service Commission, and that the council is empowered to establish additional classes, grades and positions, to divide, alter or abolish existing classes or grades, and to change, revise, amend and alter the designation or name descriptive of any class or position, and so forth. I think in view of the fact that the Civil Service Commission has been in existence only for a short time it is just possible that the scheme as administered by them has hardly been given a fair trial. While possibly a good number of members are not overly well pleased with the way the scheme has been worked out by the Civil Service Commission, I think it is very unfortunate that just previous to an election, the Government should reserve to ,themselves the right to make these proposed changes, and under the circumstances it may well be looked on with suspicion by the country. I think this Bill should be deferred to give us time to look over it and decide just what it contains.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. D. D. McKENZIE (Cape Breton North and Victoria) :

Mr. Speaker, for a great many years Kruger's entanglements held the palm, but for the last few years those entanglements have appeared quite simple in contrast to what we have been able to produce under what is known as the Civil Service Act. Last year we were told that to solve the mysteries of this Act it was absolutely necessary to bring in a combination of men known as the Young Company from Chicago. They were here for awhile, and they got so entangled that they had to get out, and an-

176J i

other set; of men, known as Griffenhagen and Associates, came in to throw some light upon this wonderful Act. They got all befuddled and had to leave. And now we are told we must go back for light and leading to the Civil Service Commission themselves. We started out from the Civil Service Commission, and when they told us the whole thing was beyond them and that they could not do anything with the civil servant, we went to this Mr. Young and his company. Then they got beyond their depth, and from them we went to Griffenhagen. And now we are back to this repeating decimal; we find ourselves where we started. With all the wisdom of Chicago and New York and all these other places, we are thrown back on my good friend from Yarmouth, who has arisen out of the wilderness to give us light and leading. It is a pity he did not tell us long ago that he knew all the time what was wrong; he would have saved the Civil Service no end of trouble. But the point is that our friends on the other side have tasted blood in the appointment of some 24,000 men some few days ago; they are now breaking forth and taking the whole business, and we find leading the van our good friend from Yarmouth. It is too bad that we find this good, respectable one-time Liberal now grinding in the mill of the Philistines.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The Prime Minister is evidently anxious to get along with the business of the House. May I ask him, simply by way of expediting matters, whether there are any more skeletons in the ministerial closet which should be exhibited to the House?

Mr. JOHN BEST (Dufferin) moved the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned.



The House in committee of Supply, Mr. Boivin in the Chair. Militia and Defence-Ordnance Arms, Lands, $75,000.


?

Mr POWER:

We have already passed large sums for inspectors. What is this expenditure intended to cover?

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

We have gone over the details of this item with the greatest of care and have pared it down to the last dollar. It covers the purchase of transport and heavy ordnance, field guns, and the reserve of mobilization stores, munitions, clothing, small arms, saddlery, harness,

transport vehicles; the cost of inspection of ordnance, small arms and ammunition; the purchase of land for camp grounds, rifle ranges and drill halls; legal expenses and other disbursements in connection therewith. For the chief inspector of arms and ammunition at Quebec and his staff there is $45,000; for the inspector of arms and ammunition at Lindsay and his staff, maintenance and the like, $11,000; for the inspector of artillery stores at Ottawa, salaries, material, etc., $14,000; and that allows us a leeway for miscellaneous services of $5,000.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
L LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

We have already passed an item in reference to details of civil government and I was under the impression that we had voted the salaries of all these officials. Now we fine hidden in other items the salaries of three or four more inspectors. I would like some further explanation from the minister. Who is the inspector of ammunition?

Mr. GtJTHRIE: The inspector of ammunition at Quebec is Mr. Keightley. We have two arsenals, one at Quebec and one at Lindsay. From these arsenals a large amount of ammunition has been turned out, running into many millions, and in that connection it is necessary to have a competent inspector. No loss can be greater or more consequential than that resulting from defective ammunition. The item is reduced this year by $25,000; we have brought it down to the lowest possible figure. There has been no attempt to disguise these items; they are carried now as they have been for fifteen or twenty years.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
L LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The fact that it has been done that way for fifteen or twenty years is no argument. The minister lays before the committee certain details of civil government in which are included salaries of certain inspectors; now, under this item of ordnance arms and lands, we are asked to vote salaries for a number of other inspectors. For example, I understand that there is an inspector of clothing. Where does he live and what does he do?

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

The Inspector of Textile Products, in the item that appears in the Civil Government list, is the inspector of clothing.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
Permalink
L LIB

April 29, 1921