June 3, 1921

UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

My address occupied

about twenty minutes, and I did not cover anything that was not included in the report of the committee.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

I bow to your ruling, Mr. Chairman. My point is that any delays in the matter of appointments or any inefficiency in the public service is due not to the Civil Service Act as it stands but to the extraordinary manner in which the reclassification of the service was made, and under which the Civil Service Commission is bound to act. Now, the director of the Experimental Farm stated that twenty-four members of his staff, technical officers of the most efficient type, resigned their positions on account of the classification which was made, and that that branch of the service could not secure men to take their places within a reasonable time, owing to the fact that the salaries under the classification were not sufficiently high. If the public was deprived of the services of those efficient officials, that was due, not to section 38 of the Civil Service Act, but to the classification which the Civil Service Commission is bound to follow and exercise. So much for the delay. There is in the West an experimental farm-I do not remember the name of the place- for which the Department of Agriculture could not get a qualified director, after having given notice three or four times as required by the regulations of the Civil Service Commission, on account of this ridiculous classification which has been put into force by this Government. All the clauses in the original Bill have been dropped, and the Government now comes with the same section 38, which exists in the Civil Service Act, except that after the word "practicable" in that section, they insert the words "nor in the public interest." If the commission decide that it is impracticable and not in the public interest to apply the Act, then a particular class will be excluded. Why insert the words "nor in the public interest" when it is already proven, as I think I have shown, that the commission do not want the Act to be amended; that they could go on efficiently administering the public service with the Act as it stands. Why insert the words "nor in the public interest"? I contend that this is a question of principle. Has this Parliament the right to delegate to a third party, to an independent court, its power to decide what matter or course in the Dominion is of public interest? It is the right of Parliament to decide whether it is in the public interest or not to

pass a clause or Bill which is before it. This committee has not the right to delegate that power, and it is unfair, unjust and illegal to delegate our power to a third party like the Civil Service Commission and to say to them: "You will decide if it is in the public interest to exempt such a class." At first they deprived the Civil Service Commission of the word "practicable", but they leave that word and they give more power to them; they say: "You can decide if it is in the public interest." My hon. friend says that this must be submitted for approval to the Governor in Council. That is very good, but it is proven that the commission, on nearly every occasion, acted according to the recommendation of the head of the department or the minister. The head of the department will go to the commission and say: "We have decided that it is in the public interest to exempt such a class."

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I do not think the hon.

gentleman is fair to the minister. He knows very well that there was no evidence to show that a minister recommended any appointment to the commission.

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

I think mention was

made of a gentleman who was appointed at Dorchester penitentiary, who is a brother of the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister had something to do with that.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Let me tell the hon.

member that the Prime Minister had absolutely nothing to do with it and that the Minister of Justice had absolutely nothing to do with it; that it was done on the principle of promotion by the Civil Service Commission.

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UNION
L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

At all events his name

was mentioned in the evidence and the name of the Prime Minister! was also mentioned. It is mentioned that this appointment was made, and it happens that the gentleman appointed was the brother of the Prime Minister.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The appointment was

made in the most ordinary course.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Will the hon. gentleman

give the evidence on that point?

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

The hon. member can

read the evidence when he is on his feet. I am not surprised at the objection of the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie).

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UNION

Ira Eugene Argue

Unionist

Mr. ARGUE:

The hon. member is

making a statement which he says he is taking from the evidence. I want him to put the evidence on Hansard.

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

The evidence is annexed

to the report. The hon. member can read it.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. member is in

a very invidious position if he cannot produce the evidence.

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

This is the evidence:

By Hon. Mr. Oalder:

Q. In the first place recommended by the previous warden, recommended by you and by the deputy?-A. Yes, I don't remember whether the deputy minister recommended him or not.

I am not positive about that, but I know the minister did.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Who is giving that evidence?

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

General Hughes, superintendent of penitentiaries in . Canada.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

General Hughes must have misunderstood.

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

At all events, that man was sworn and he said this:

I am not positive about that, but I know the minister did-

Recommend it.

By Hon. Mr. Calder:

Q. But at any rate it was not made on the straight recommendation-

"Straight"-playing on words.

-of the 'Minister of Justice, I think, his recommendation alone?-A. I think the commission acted on his recommendation.

That settles the question.

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UNION
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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June 3, 1921