Charles Gavan Power
Wait and see.
My hon. friend says "Wait
and see." I shall be glad to wait and see if I have the assurance of the government or of the Prime Minister that they have no intention of supporting the contention of the hon. member for Dorchester. May I say that the hon. member, during the late ill fated visit to England of the right hon. Prime Minister and the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) was publicly styled in the newspapers the Acting Solicitor General. Therefore, his statement is almost an official or at least a quasiofficial statement. He says that he speaks for the members from the province of Quebec and his statement is published in a newspaper owned or at least directed by an important official of this house, the deputy speaker. I believe it is the duty of the ministers from the province of Quebec and of the Prime Minister to take the committee into their confidence in this matter. This should be done before we vote any further sums, and I ask the Prime Minister to give us this information.
Mr. Chairman, I hasten
to take the committee into my confidence. This sum of $20,000 was expended last year and this vote is to make good a deficiency caused by an appropriation made by the Civil Service Commission which was used to to extent of $25,000 for printing, payment for which was past due on April 1, 1930. My hon. friend gives point to the argument I advanced the other day when he gibes at the chairman of committees because of his non-partisan character, knowing that the chairman cannot reply.
He may leave the chair.
He cannot leave the
Oh, yes he can; he can leave the chair and put somebody in his place.
Not unless the committee gives him permission. It is hardly in accordance with the usual sportsmanlike qualities of my hon. friend. So far as the large question of the civil service is concerned, from the warning which has been given I feel quite satisfied that there will be considerable discussion of this item when the estimates are before the committee. At the moment we are not submitting any estimates of our own, these amounts being necessary to make good moneys which were expended in the manner which I have indicated.
With respect to the sneer
of the right hon. the Prime Minister-
Oh, no, the sneer was
my hon. friend's.
-I have this to say with respect to my sportsmanlike attitude. The hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. La-Vergne), after the Prime Minister had indicated to him what his conduct should be, deliberately went out of his way to indulge in a partisan address to this house. I think the remarks which I addressed to him were of a nature which he himself could understand or at which he himself could not take offence. So far as I know he has made no attempt whatsoever to hide his connection with this newspaper, nor has he-I could quote his paper-made any attempt publicly or privately to hide his feelings with respect to the Civil Service Commission. If he so desires, the chairman of this committee may leave the chair and reply to the remarks of any hon. member. If the chairman thinks that I have cast unreasonable or unjust reflections upon him, he can reply.
I resent the attitude taken by the Prime Minister in this respect. We have been in this house together for a great many years and he should know that I have not on any occasion since he has been here taken advantage of my position unfairly or unjustly to assail any hon. member. For the right hon gentleman to say that this is not a matter which should be brought up during a discussion of the civil service estimates-
I did not say that.
I am sorry.
My hon. friend must
have heard what I said.
Supply-Civil Service Commission
On these estimates.
I said there would be
Just like the special session.
I accept my right hon.
friend's statement, as I must, that these are matters which should not be discussed on these estimates, but we in Quebec understood that this was an urgent matter. It is extremely unlikely that the Civil Service Commission's estimates will come up for several months. During the period which will intervene between now and the end of the session when the Civil Service Commission's estimates usually come up there will be hundreds of friends of the right hon. gentlemen, hundreds of friends of the hon. member for Dorchester, of the Solicitor General and of the Postmaster General seeking positions in the civil service but who will be precluded by the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission. A large number of those are my electors, some of whom up until last September were my devoted friends and on their behalf and in order that the position of the hon. gentlemen opposite may be made known to the public, in order that the people of this country outside of their constituencies as well as within may know something of the value of their statements, I think it is the duty, if the Prime Minister does not wish to do it, of members of the administration from the province of Quebec who are specifically mentioned in this article, to express their views on this matter. There should be no question about it and the people for whom I speak should know where they stand.
Shall the resolution
No; I am prepared to stay here a long time. I think the Prime Minister owes it to the house to make some statement on these estimates. We have no desire to be obnoxious, but when our friends were sitting on this side of the house we did the best we could to accommodate them in every way. My right hon. friend will not deny that we gave him and his supporters whatever information was asked for, and whatever questions were asked were answered by the ministers of the then government. I believe it is a duty, at any rate it is a courtesy, to give whatever information is asked for, and I do not believe the Prime Minister would be lacking in courtesy to hon. members. It is only in conformity with the ordinary amenities of public life that he
should answer a question put to him in a courteous manner. I do not ask him to give a general statement as to the policy of the government, although I think I would be entitled to do so; but I ask him, if he will not speak himself, to allow his ministers, the Postmaster General, the Solicitor General, or some of his other ministers to do so. Let someone on that side of the house say in the Commons of Canada what they have been saying throughout the country. The hon. member for Dorchester, who was so bold at a banquet, should be willing to explain his views to the house. Hon. members would, I am sure, be interested; I should be much interested and if on this estimate he will move for the abolition of the Civil Service Commission, I promise him my most cordial support. I will support him to the best of my ability. There are on this side of the house a large number of members who, like him, have had to suffer from the Civil Service Commission in days gone by.