June 3, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)

L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte √Čthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

I will suggest to the hon. member for East Simcoe (Mr. Currie) that, if he wants further information, he should ask for the laying on the table of the House of all correspondence with regard to that appointment, and he will get the information. As I was saying before, the only change made in the Act is the insertion of the words "nor in the public interest." I contend that these words should not be inserted, because
5 p.m. they mean the delegation of the powers of Parliament to a third party which is not responsible to Parliament. The ,hon. member for East Simcoe says: "But this is subject to the approval of the Governor in Council." I answer him by saying that the Governor in Council will, as heads of departments have always done, suggest this to the Civil Service Commission: "You will do such and such a thing, because the present condition is not in the public interest." They leave out the word "practicable". If this section is not amended every branch of the service could be taken out of the hands of the Civil Service Commission and be brought under political patronage, simply by the Government declaring that sue a a step was "in the public interest". I think that this Parliament should not be deprived of the right of declaring whether or not it is in the public interest.
I do not agree altogether with my hon. friend the Minister of Immigration in his remarks the other day, but I do agree with what he said at the end of his speech, which seems to directly contradict the principle of the Bill which he has presented to the House. What did he say?
Personally, I am inclined to the view, although I doubt if the commission themselves
are, from discussions I have had with them,_
not before the committee, but more or less offhand after our meetings-that we should put the exemptions that are made in the statute; but probably it would be better for a year or two to elapse before that is done. Let us first work the thing out a little further.
I quite agree that it would be advisable, for the protection of the commission, and of Parliament, and of the public, that these exemptions should be reported upon to Parliament, setting forth the reasons why the exemptions were made in particular cases.
I agree with that, and I think my hon. friend from North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) would be satisfied if that were done, or if these words " nor in the public interest " were struck out. Let the commission prepare a list of the classes which it seems impracticable for them to administer and [The Chairman.]
let those classes be approved by this Parliament and put in the statute.
Mr. Chairman, I regret to have occupied so much of the time of the committee, but I considered that it was my duty to make these remarks. I have done so solely from the point of view of the public interest, and from no other motive. I trust that the amendment of my hon. friend from North Waterloo will be accepted. I have no objection at all to seconding it.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT, 1918, AMENDMENT
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