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


John Best



I certainly realize that, but I know that many would try to save their 'bread and butter even if tkey had to stretch the truth. I do not think there should be a law compelling men to give evidence under the eyes of the men who have control over them. It is not right. There is not a court in Canada where that would be done.
Probably patronage was abused in the past, but I do not think that the people of Canada ever expected that this delegating of power to the Civil Service Commission would go as far as it has. I am informed that there is no other country in the world where such great power is given to the Civil Service Commission. I do not see how we in Canada can boast of our democracy, if we are going to hand over the business of Parliament to two or three men, and have no say in it whatever ourselves. I heard an hon. member a few weeks ago say that the civil servants in one province, I think it was in New Brunswick, were all collected in one county, and that they should be scattered around, but of course he had no say, and the Government had no say, as to how those civil servants should be distributed-the Civil Service Commission appoints them just where it sees fit. And strange to say their salaries are increasing all the time. We are paying out $67,000,000 on the Civil Service now and the people's representatives have no say as to what shall be paid. The commission regulates that matter for us, and if things go much further, they will very soon be regulating everything else. Hon. gentlemen opposite have often told me that they believe the present system of running the Civil Service had worked great injury in many cases. I believe it is not in the interest of the public that two or three men should have power to run this country for us. I am opposed to commissions. I have stated on several occasions in this House that the Government has appointed too many commissions. Nor do I believe in Orders in Council; I am opposed to them, although sometimes, of course, they are necessary. I believe in the people's representatives ruling, but when the Civil Service Act was passed, there was more taken out of their hands than all the other measures that have been introduced since Confederation have withdrawn from the control of members of Parliament.

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