April 7, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Louis Napoléon Champagne



(Translation.) I think it will be sufficient in order to satisfy my hon. friend, to state to the House the facts of the case, such as they have been brought to the notice of the Debates Committee. The facts will show that the claim put in by Mr. aiackay is a just one. Let me, then briefly review the facts in connection with that claim. At the beginning of last session air. aiackay was engaged as a translator by the committee, at the rate of $4 a day. That appointment was necessitated by the fact that air. Beaulieu, one of the officers of the regular translating staff was incapacitated owing to his poor health, from doing his work. Mr. Beaulieu, as my hon. friend from St. John and Iberville reminds me, was the former chief of the translating staff. As I said, the committee, finding it necessary to employ temporary assistance, sceured air. aiaekay's services and recommended that he be paid at the rate of $4 a day, which was equivalent for the work resulting from the session, to the sum of $1,000 which was the .salary then paid to the officers of the regular staff. Later^ on, and while air. Beaulieu was still unable' to discharge his duties, the position of the other officers of the permanent staff was changed, so far as their salary was concerned. Towards the close of the session of 1902, the House of Commons, acting upon the recommendation of the Select Committee appointed to supervise the official report of the Debates of this House, thought it proper to raise the salary of the officers of the translating staff from $1,000 to $1,500. Up to that time, they had received $1,000 per session ; but the House deemed it desirable to grant them a salary of $1,500 per annum, Instead of $1,000 per session. But it was not within the power of the committee to interfere with Mr. Mac-kay's position so far as the payments for his work was concerned. That gentleman, therefore, continued being employed temporarily on the staff, as the Hansard Committee was in hopes that Mr. Beaulieu would soon recover his health and resume his former occupation. The fact is that Mr. Beaulieu died three months after the close of the session, in the month of August, I think. Mr. Mackay being engaged only temporarily, we did not think it within our power to increase his salary, as the House had deemed it proper to do, upon the recommendation of the committee in the ease of the officers who compose the permanent staff, to whom the House had granted, for the future, a salary of $1,500. When the matter came up before the committee, and after the facts I have just referred to had been stated to them, namely, that Mr. Mackay had been engaged temporarily, they came to the conclusion that he was entitled to ask for the same remuneration as was paid to the other translators. After taking all the facts of the case into consideration, the committee deemed it but fair, and I think the House will agree with them, that Mr. Mac-

kay should be put upon a footing of equality with the rest of the translating staff.
My hon. friend from Labelle was anxious to know whether Mr. Mackay had gone through the test of an examination, thereby calling in doubt the competency of that gentleman. I must say that Mr. Mackay did not pass the examination which has been required within the last few years from all candidates who aspire to an appointment on the regular translating staff. The reason why the committee did not deem it proper to enforce the rule with that rigour the hon. gentleman seems to take exception to, is that Mr. Mackay was only appointed as a temporary substitute on the staff, in order to fill the vacancy created by Mr. Beaulieu's illness. I may further say, for the information of the House, that the committee did by no means depart from the rigour they have brought, within the past three or four years, to the discharge of their duty, in the matter of appointing translators on the regular staff, to fill such vacancies as may occur in that office. As concerns those appointments, there was no change made at all. Now, in the case of Mr. Mackay, his appointment was but a temporary one, the committee did not think it necessary to insist upon his passing such an examination as is required from candidates who aspire to be appointed on the regular staff. As I just remarked, the committee was then in hopes that Mr. Beaulieu would soon recuperate his health, and that explains why a permanent appointment was out of question. Under such circumstances, we deemed it fair and reasonable, seeing that Mr. Mackay had been discharging the same duties and doing the same work as the other translators, to ask the House to grant him a similar salary.
Such are the explanations I wanted to give to the House, and I hope they will prove satisfactory to my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa). At all events, I may say that the members of the Debates Committee, after taking into consideration the facts I have just stated, have, without a dissentient voice, reached the conclusion that it was but fair and reasonable to make this recommendation to the House.

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