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

UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

This is another ques->
tion which was asked Mr. Foran:
To put the case a little more concretely- and I am not going to ask you to reach a decision-take the case of those light-houses at isolated places where there can be no real competition, don't you think the commission should consider whether people of that class should be exempted?-A. Dr. Roche can tell you that he practically decided, as far as such appointments are concerned, that they should be exempt, because it is impossible for us to handle them in any efficient way. It is a case where you have got to look up the men. You cannot have any competition for positions of that kind. The point which the commission is very anxious to make clear is this: we have had this work imposed upon us. We have adopted the most practical and business-like methods, the most inexpensive methods of dealing with these appointments.
Only one other quotation and I am through. This was a series of questions asked by the member for Edmonton West, of Dr. Roche:
Mr. Griesbach: You have sat at all the
meetings of the committee and have heard all
['Mr. Ca.lder.]
the evidence. Has your mind moved along the road to the point where you think that in the public interest some of these classes of employees might in the public interest be removed from the operation of the Civil Service Act?
Not because it was practicable

the hon. member asks if, in the public interest, they should be removed from the operation of the Act. Dr. Roche's answer was "Yes."
Mr. Griesbach: Your mind has moved along that line?
Hon. Mr. Roche: In fact, I do not know that I could not go a little further and say that so drastic a measure at one step, such as taken in taking in the whole service was too big an undertaking, and in view of my desire to have and maintain the best Civil Service Act in the world, I would not like to have any retrograde step unless an assurance is forthcoming that it is absolutely necessary. I know that we have a Civil Service Act that is more advanced than that in the United States, in England, or in any other country; but I am anxious to see the commission given time to work it out, and we will have more time in future to pay attention to the provisions of the Act when we get this huge undertaking of classification out of our way, as we will have it cleared up before next session.
My main point is this-and it goes right to the crux of the whole Bill;-it is not a question of appointing a wharfinger, or a labourer in some lumber camp or survey party, or a clerk at Ottawa or a lighthouse-keeper on the sea-coast; the whole question is, taking the entire Civil Service throughout Canada, whether it is advisable, in the public interest, to provide that the Civil Service Commission should not exempt all the Cases which we have required. Dr. Roche, as well as Mr. Foran, the secretary, state, not only in the quotations that I have given, but in others that they deem it is in the public interest that they should have that power. Where does the power rest? It is not with the Government. The Civil Service Commission must decide what classes shall be exempt, and they must have clear reasons for those exemptions. If we add to the Bill a clause that they shall report to Parliament every exemption they make and if, further, they have to state the reasons for the exemptions they make, I think Parliament and the people are well protected. After hearing all the evidence, and knowing the manner in which the Civil Service has been operated during the last two years, I maintain it is in the interest of the public and of the Civil Service that there should be certain exemptions.
"As I said the other day, no one is more opposed to patronage than I am, but I want to see the public business of this country run properly, and I claim there are certain powers that have 'been handed over to that commission that are operating in the other

direction, and the public service is suffering as a consequence. \* -
At Six o'clock the committee took recess.
After Recess
The House resumed at Eight o'clock.
DIVORCE-ALPHONSE LeMOYNE de MARTIGNY
On the Order: House again in committee on Bill No. 120, for the relief of Alphonse LeMoyne de Martigny.-Mr. Ross.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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