Alexander Kenneth Maclean
It is not the custom in America or Europe.
The vice-chairman of this committee undertook to establish by two unfortunate illustrations-
Mr. MACLEAN :
[DOT]-very unfortunate from his standpoint, a defence for the proposed change suggested by the committee, and which is now one of the clauses of the Bill. To say that an appointment of a scientific officer to the Health Department could not be made by the Civil Service Commission is a proposition I do not affirm at all, and I do not understand why he made that suggestion.
The hon. gentleman is
not quoting me properly. It is not the case of an ordinary appointment to the Health Department. I stated that they were proposing to start certain research work in the Health Department. There will be one man appointed, who must be specially qualified for undertaking the research work, and I conceive that they will have the very greatest trouble in securing the services of that man. But instead of that, my hon. friend suggests that the Civil Service Commission should advertise and get applications from here, there and everywhere, and that somebody should sit down and decide as to which applicant should be appointed- I claim the Health Department itself which knows exactly the type of man required, the character and training and everything of that kind, is in a -better position to appoint that man than any Civil Service Commission.
All my hon. friend
says would be applicable to the appointment of any person to any position in the public service.
A stenographer, for
I say again that the Civil Service Commission could make just as good an appointment to the Scientific Branch of -the Health Department as could the head of that department, and I say, in any event, that the Civil Service Commission would confer with the deputy minister in making the selection. But under the Civil Service Act you are applying a principle in regard to appointments to the Civil Service, and you cannot go on picking out one position here and one position there and putting it without the Act, or taking it from within the Act. If it is in the public interest that appointments to the Astronomical Branch be taken from under the Civil Service Act, some minister is going to suggest that the same thing be done in his department. You would have the same suggestion in another department, and perhaps still in another department, and in the end you would find the invasions against the Act so numerous that it would be virtually destroyed. I say, the insertion of the words "in the public interest" 'in this section is an unfortunate selection of words. They are not workable terms. They are terms that always should be eschewed, especially in reference to their insertion in a statute or in any document, and even when they are employed in spoken language before a popular assembly, they are not regarded as very definite, and they are open to many interpretations. I say, Mr. Chairman, that the word "impracticable" there means something. It was intended to meet the case which the committee was considering. There is another word, "inexpedient," which perhaps is preferable to the word "impracticable," because that word recognizes the policy or the principle that in certain cases or instances, it is not desirable for one reason or another to adhere to the principle, but to depart from it. I do not know that I can add anything further, Mr. Speaker, other than to 'say that I quite agree with the amendment suggested.
I desire to clear up one or two little misconceptions that I thought might arise in the minds of the members of the committee from the remarks made by the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Calder). He spent some time this afternoon in proving from the evidence that it
is advisable that certain other classes, or certain other employees, should be withdrawn from the operation of the Civil Service Commission in the public interest, and apparently left it at that, to show that what they suggest in their amendment will meet the case and that it is the only way to meet it. I want to point out that those of us who dissent from the view of the majority of the members of that committee do not necessarily find fault with ~That attitude at all. we are willing to admit that there are other employees in the Civil Service who might very well and profitably be withdrawn from the control of the Civil Service Commission^ but we differ as to the method by which that should be done. The amendment would give the power to the commission itself to make these exemptions just as they please, so long as they felt they were in the public interest-a very wide term, which I contend will give the commission power to exempt any part of the Civil Service from the operation of the commission, and so nullify the will of Parliament as expressed in the Act of 1918. I would like to refer to another remark made by the hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Best). He referred to the evidence that was given, stated that the witnesses were examined under the eye of the Civil Service Commission, being themselves civil servants, and intimated that they would be in some fear as to their treatment if they gave evidence that did not meet with the approval of the Civil Service Commission. I pointed out to him then that the main witnesses who were examined were themselves deputy ministers and not appointed ' by the commission.
You will admit that they were not all deputy ministers?
There were eight deputy ministers and only four of the witnesses were ordinary civil servants. Those deputy ministers are not appointed by the commission, but by the Governor in Council or by the minister. Therefore, there could be no possible fear in their minds as to the treatment that might happen to them if they gave evidence contrary to what perhaps the chairman of the commission might desire.
If it is a good thing for the Civil Service Commission to hire men and women at $2, $3 or $4 a day, why not give them power to appoint the deputy ministers? If it is a good thing in one case, surely it would be in the other.
That is not the law. As I understand, deputy ministers are not appointed by the Civil Service Commission. But this was directly contrary to the assumption of the hon. member for Dufferin. As a matter of fact, the deputy ministers who were examined by the committee are directly under the control of the Government, and the majority of them gave evidence that, I think, was directly contrary to the views perhaps of the one minister, their direct superior, who sat there as vice chairman. Therefore I say it is something in favour of the present Civil Service Act that the great majority of those deputy ministers, despite the fact that over them sat the chairman and vice chairman of that committee, gave evidence which did not bear out the advisa>bility of what we have tonight in the amendment to the Bill. So far as the chairman of the Civil Service Commission is concerned, if the evidence is searched carefully it will be found that he prefers to leave the Bill as it is, for some time at least. There is no possible doubt about that.
Mr. THOMPSON (Yukon):
ground has the hon. gentleman for saying that the evidence given by those deputy ministers was at variance with the opinions held by the vice chairman of the committee?
This is the ground: Nearly all the deputy ministers, who were heard, with the exception of the first two or three, were in favour of leaving the Civil Service Act as it is in respect to appointments, so that there would be no likelihood of political patronage being exercised again. I say that the amendment which is proposed does make it possible to reintroduce political patronage. That is my reason for saying what I did.
Mr. THOMPSON (Yukon) :
But as a
matter of fact the deputy ministers are not appointed by the Civil Service Commission at all.
That is what I say.
Mr. THOMPSON (Yukon) :
commissioners of the Civil Service Commission are appointed by Parliament, and can only be dismissed by a majority vote of Parliament, as I understand it. So the deputy ministers and the commissioners are on an equal footing; the deputy ministers do not owe their position to the commission, and the commissioners do not owe their positions to anybody except Parliament itself.
That bears out what I said.
I was trying to make the point that the deputy ministers, who were the majority of the witnesses, could not possibly have any fear of the commissioners because they were not under their control.