Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):
Mr. Speaker, I have I think been on every special civil service committee that has been appointed by the House of Commons since 1936. I sat on the committee last year, and I am rather sorry to hear the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) say many of the things he did this afternoon. It was reminiscent of some of the committee's meetings last year. I think he will agree with me that after the committee had had a number of sittings and said a number of things, some
of which I think should not have been said, we got down to business and I believe did some very good work.
I was also sorry to hear the hon. member for Temiscouata make certain references to employees under the civil service commission. I do not think the evidence given by these persons when they appeared before the committee last year bears out the statements that he made in regard to them to-day. If there was anything that stood out in the committee last year it was that these employees demonstrated to the committee that they were fully qualified to deal with the matters with which they were called upon to deal.
I do hope that when this year's committee is organized and gets down to work we shall give our attention wholly and solely to matters with which it is necessary to deal in order to have the civil service function in the best possible way. I have too much respect for the business instincts and business ability of most members of the cabinet to think for one moment that they are not in favour of the merit system, and of appointments to the civil service being made on the basis of ability and merit. The patronage system would make their work even more difficult than it is to-day, and we must all admit that it is difficult enough as it is.
The hon. member for York South (Mr. Lawson) referred to the great blessing of not having an absolutely unqualified patronage system. Now if it is a blessing to have a merit system, even if it is not a complete one, if we have a good system through having eliminated a great deal of patronage, surely we could have a better system if we eliminated all patronage. That is a matter which the committee can go into this year. Before I sit down I must again say that I deeply regret that the hon. member for Temiscouata made the references he did in his remarks to-day to certain members of the civil service.