April 9, 1923

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that everything has been regular until this moment, for I admit that my rising now is out of order. I would ask that no objection be raised to my speaking on the subject at this stage; otherwise I should not have the right to proceed. I have only one word to say. My own view of the action of the board I have already made public. I consider the action of the old Grand Trunk Board as wholly indefensible from every standpoint. It was the taking advantage of an interregnum, which could not be avoided, between the date as of which the valuation was to be made and -the date of the government's possession, and that advantage was taken for the benefit of themselves and of those of their staff to whom they wished to proffer favour, and at the ultimate expense of the people of this country, for whom they were not trustees. While it may be that some thought was given to the fact of the gratuity by the board of arbitration, I am of the opinion that, as the date as of which the value was to be fixed was prior to the grant, the board was not legally competent to take into account the facts of the grant. That makes all the more reprehensible the conduct of the board of directors. But that done, I do not see what there is to inquire into beyond possibly some legal phase which the Justice department is amply competent to deal with. I do not myself know

whether the government can have any doubts as to the legality of the grants, but if it has such doubts the Justice department can deal with the matter. There is nothing in the world mysterious about it. The facts are all in the government's possession. The company is in the government's possession, and the records, the minutes and every-

4 p.m. thing else are all there. There is nothing in the way of fact that remains disputed or that would remain disputed if looked into by an officer of the Justice department, without any powers under the Inquiries Act at all. So much for that. Now, if the government is doubtful as to whether or not someone else got money that is not yet revealed, that will all appear from the auditor's report which is in the government's possession. For the life of me, therefore, I see no reason for a royal commission, except the reason that is only too often in evidence, namely, for the benefit of the royal commission rather than of the country.

Motion agreed to and the House went into Committee of Supply, Mr. Gordon in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR


Labour-salaries, contingencies, $277,235.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

From what I can glean from the estimates, the Minister of Labour has been called upon to so contract, if not to demolish his department, as to make up for the extravagance of many of the others. In the process, though, it appears he is going to remove-according to report-his deputy minister, and put him in the position of King's Printer, a position for which I suppose he knows as little as anjr living man and in respect of which he has had no experience at all. He has had, I should say from memory, about fifteen years' experience as Deputy Minister of Labour. He is to go in, as I understand it-if I am wrong I hope the minister will correct me-over the present Director of Printing, who is by trade and by experience, a qualified printing man, making two directors of printing at salaries of about $6,000 and about $5,000 respectively. I presume the minister contemplates then bringing someone else in as Deputy Minister of Labour. Is that information correct, and if not, what is the minister's intention as to changing the personnel of his department and of the Printing bureau?

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. JAMES MURDOCK (Minister of Labour):

The Deputy Minister of Labour for some years past, having been appointed as such by the late government, has been King's Printer.

Supply-Labour-Printing

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Deputy Minister of Labour was appointed by the Laurier government not by the late government. Recently the duties of King's Printer were added to his duties.

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

My right hon. friend misunderstood me. I will repeat: The Deputy Minister of Labour has been for some time the King's Printer. He was appointed by the late government as King's Printer, and he has since been nominally filling the position, so far as the statute requires.

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The minister knows that the position is only nominal; in fact he himself used the word "nominal." The real head of the Printing bureau has been Mr. Draper.

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

The word "nominal" applies more specifically to the question of salary. Mr. Acland has received no salary as King's Printer. There is now a proposal before the committee in the civil government estimates of the Printing bureau to have the King's Printer paid a salary. As to who is to be deputy minister and who is to be King's Printer, that matter has not been decided. What my right hon. friend has seen in the press is largely, if not entirely, supposition.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But something must bo intended, because heretofore the organization has been this: The late government abolished the separate position of King's Printer and the separate salary for it, but as the statute provided for a King's Printer, the Deputy Minister of Labour was nominated as such. He had, of course, only the one salary, $6,000. Mr. Acland has been Deputy Minister of Labour since some time in the regime of the Laurier administration. Mr. Draper was the active head of the Printing bureau, with the title of Director of Printing. Now the minister proposes to give a salary to the King's Printer. He certainly does not intend that the present Deputy Minister of Labour shall draw two salaries. Is he going to make somebody else King's Printer, and if so how does he justify providing an additional salary of $6,000 when the work is being satisfactorily done under the present arrangement? If he intends to have that as the salary of Mr. Acland, then he should tell us, so that we may know what he purposes doing. Does he intend to bring in some new man to take the post of Deputy Minister of Labour?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I ask my right hon. friend why, if Mr. Draper was the head of the department, his government did not make him King's Printer? Why did they make Mr. Acland King's Printer?

106J

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Well, we saved some money by it, and I think that should be quite sufficient. We would have had to give him $6,000 if we made him King's Printer.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Was that the reason?

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am not aware that there was any other. Senator Roberston was Minister of Labour; he would know. Anyway, the work has been done all right under that arrangement. It is now proposed to add another $6,000 to the expenditure. What is the reason and what is the intention to justify that?

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

As to the saving suggested by my right hon. friend, he will admit that there was an additional expenditure of something like $8,400 or $9,000 a year for an editorial committee, the functions of which should normally and consistently be carried out by the King's Printer. I was sorry indeed to hear my right hon. friend suggest a lack of experience on the part of the-Deputy Minister of Labour. Does my right hon. friend not know that the Deputy Minister of Labour has had an experience of thirty years as a printer, as well as in editorial and publishing work? Does he not know that the deputy minister came to the department a number of years ago with a splendid experience in these capacities?

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?

Mr MEIGHEN:

As a printer?

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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

Yes.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Is the minister sure of that?

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Murdock (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MURDOCK:

Yes. I am quite sure of it.

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

He has been an editor; I never knew he was a printer.

Topic:   SUPPLY-GRATUITIES TO GRAND TRUNK OFFICIALS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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April 9, 1923