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Defending a Contested Ideal

Luc Juillet
Ken Rasmussen

Chapter 1. The Origins of the Public Service Commission: 1867-1918

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It would have been much wiser to have framed the measure so as to give the members of the Civil Service Commission absolutely independent status similar to that enjoyed by the Auditor General.
Robert Borden, Debates, June 29, 1908
I would also point out that these commissioners are to be appointed as though they were judges.
Sidney Fisher, Debates, June 29, 1908
There shall be a Commission, to be called the Civil Service Commission consisting of two members appointed by the Governorin-Council. The rank, standing and salary of each commissioner shall be those of a deputy head of a department; and each commissioner shall hold office during good behaviour, but shall be removable by the Governor General on address of the Senate and House of Commons.
Civil Service Amendment Act, September 1, 1908

  • 1 R. MacGregor Dawson (1929), The Civil Service of Canada, London, Oxford University Press.

1The Public Service Commission today is the legitimate heir to the civil service reform movement of the 19th century, which dedicated its efforts to creating an independent public service that would improve the quality, fairness and morality of government by eliminating the patronage and associated corruption that had plagued the public service since Confederation.1

2Reformers at the time felt that the best way to bring about positive reform was to create a public service staffed on the basis of merit as determined through a process of competitive examination. Such a reform would enhance efficiency by ensuring that only the competent would be appointed, and it would enhance equity by making sure that all Canadians had fair and reasonable access to public employment. Moreover, by largely removing staffing from the purview of politicians, the introduction of the merit principle would also enable public servants to play a legitimate constitutional role in providing the Crown with honest, fearless and confidential advice.

3It is worth noting at the outset that those advocating reform were not of a single mind and that they were often promoting different aspects of the reform agenda. Some were more concerned about morality and patronage. Others mostly wanted to bring about a more professional and managerially efficient public service. Some cared primarily about fairness in public employment and wanted to see a public service that was open to all Canadians. Still others wanted to have the public service play a more effective role as a neutral and non-partisan adviser to the Crown and focused on the idea of creating a new independent public service that would have professional autonomy to serve the nation as a whole, rather than any particular group or political party. Yet the concerns and arguments of all reformers culminated in the same solution: an independent commission that would appoint individuals to the public service after a process of examination.

4When the reforms eventually occurred in 1908, they resulted in the establishment of a Civil Service Commission (CSC) that had to engage in a complex balancing act to keep its various objectives in play. The CSC had to balance a desire for a more professional and managerially effective public service, the need to ensure greater fairness in staffing to account for geographical and linguistic differences and the wish to protect the constitutional conventions of neutrality and anonymity, which had been weakly observed by politicians in the past. While the term “merit” would often be used as a shorthand for a new method to staff the public service, the principle was never easily defined and it was often an amalgam of conflicting values and objectives embodied in the reforms.

5In fact, once the CSC was established, it would become clear just how flexible, or multi-faceted, the definition of merit would need to be to allow the new CSC to reconcile its competing objectives. And in pursuing this balancing act, the CSC would also have to play, and use to its own advantage, its ambiguous institutional role as both an executive and a parliamentary agency in order to keep both parliamentarians and Cabinet engaged with, but not in control of, staffing in the public service. This chapter will examine the origins of this defining balancing act by exploring the nature of the arguments used to create the original commission and will take a look at how, in the early years directly after 1908, the CSC struggled with limited authority and jurisdiction.


  • 2 R. MacGregor Dawson (1922), The Principle of Official Independence, London, P.S. King and Son.

6What stood in the way of the reform of the public service for the first forty years of Canadian history was the self-interest of the political parties, which did not want to relinquish their power to appoint partisans to the public service. Adding legitimacy to this purely partisan argument was the fact that an independent CSC would require Cabinet, and the Prime Minister, to abandon prerogative powers that supported patronage appointments. In Canada, since Confederation, it had been generally understood and accepted that, once appointed, public servants should not use their office for directly partisan purposes, but the method of appointment had always raised concerns about their ability or willingness to abide by this standard of behaviour. Given also that pensions were not guaranteed but required the support of Cabinet upon retirement, the neutrality of the public service was an open question. As though to prove the point, there were numerous scandals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries surrounding public servants who had provided untendered contracts to firms connected with the party in power at the time, purchased supplies at above-market values and acted to ensure that those in the private sector contributing to election funds received favourable treatment. While it had been an established principle, before and after Confederation, that active political partisanship on the part of a civil servant would constitute official misconduct leading to dismissal, instances of such partisanship were rarely acted upon by the party in power.2

  • 3 Peter Gowan (1987), “The Origin of the Administrative Elite,” New Left Review, vol. 162:2, 18.

7 As with many other ideas in good standing in Canada in the 19th century, concepts of administrative reform were imported from Britain. In particular, the ideas were taken from the renowned Northcote-Trevelyan report of 1855, which was referred to endlessly in Canadian debates about reform and was even appended in its entirety to one 19th century inquiry. The central concepts of the Northcote-Trevelyan inquiry were open competitive examination and selection and promotion by merit. The language of the report doubtless seemed like a manifesto for a rising middle class: it spoke of meritocracy and technocracy, and it was flattering to the ethic of self-made urban professionalism and hard work.3 Armed with a body of ideas legitimated in the mother country, a growing group of reformers, both inside and outside government, began to agitate for the establishment of an independent CSC that would conduct examinations to serve as the basis of appointment.

8While political parties were obviously self-interested when it came to the issue of patronage appointment, the practice did have some legitimacy, making it more difficult to abandon. During much of this period, the prevailing view was that appointment to the public service was a legitimate part of the Crown prerogative. With the advent of responsible government in 1848, Canada’s political elite and much of the administrative elite had comfortably accepted the idea that staffing the public service through the practice of ministerial nomination was simply part of a comprehensive theory of the sovereignty of the Crown. In fact, the idea of an independent CSC was seen by many within government as something that would be constitutionally illegitimate and a violation of the tenets of responsible government. The practice was described in an 1882 royal commission on the civil service in the following manner:

  • 4 Canada, House of Commons (1882), Sessional Papers, No. 32, 87.

In the spirit and practice of the English constitution, the Crown is the fountain of all appointments, and among the duties and responsibilities of its advisers stand the proper and responsible selection of servants of the State. If it be, at times, expedient for Constitutional Government to institute Commissions to investigate, it is repugnant to them to devolve on such bodies, the duties of governing and administering, for which appointment and promotions form an essential part.4

9This simple statement captures in essence the problems confronted by those who were advocating the creation of an independent CSC. The existing constitutional model justified patronage in terms of the Crown prerogative, making patronage more than just a synonym of corruption. It was a constitutionally legitimate form of action for the executive to engage in. This interpretation of Crown privilege was used to keep the idea of an independent CSC illegitimate. An independent organization would violate both the Crown prerogative as well as the conventions surrounding ministerial responsibility, including the need for ministers to be able to report to Parliament on the conduct of the affairs of their departments, specifically in regard to the manner in which individuals were appointed. This situation

  • 5 J.E. Hodgetts, et al. (1972), The Biography of an Institution, Montreal, McGill Queen’s University (...)

was only possible if the government could freely place its own appointments within the administrative system. In this view, the Minister being responsible for the effectiveness of his department would ensure that the most capable person would be placed in the leading posts.5

  • 6 Gordon T. Stewart (1986), The Origins of Canadian Politics: A Comparative Approach, Vancouver, Uni (...)
  • 7 Gordon T. Stewart (1986), “The Origins of Canadian Politics and John A. Macdonald,” in R. Kenneth (...)

10Lending weight to the practice of ministerial nomination was the manner in which the leaders of Canada’s political parties acquired the power of the colonial governors: they claimed “that Canada’s monarchical constitution validated their comprehensive exploitation of the public service and manipulation of the electoral system.”6 Before the achievement of responsible government, the entire patronage of Upper and Lower Canada was in the hands of the Governor General and his appointed council, and in both colonies powerful networks of local notables were built up by patronage distribution.7 After responsible government, and then with the achievement of Confederation, Cabinet and more particularly the Prime Minister, began to exercise such Crown prerogatives:

  • 8 Ibid, 41.

Macdonald took over the powers exercised by the governors since 1791 and appointed only his party’s supporters to posts throughout the public service. He even evolved a constitutional justification for such a thoroughgoing deployment of patronage for party purposes. ‘By constitutional practice,’ he insisted, appointments are vested in the Crown and the whole responsibility of appointments rests with the ministry of the day.’8

  • 9 Peter Smith (1987), “The Ideological Origins of Canadian Confederation,” Canadian Journal of Polit (...)

11It should be emphasized that this model regarded the use of the Crown prerogative in this manner as an effective check on democracy, and as a means of enhancing executive authority and bringing about political stability.9 Of course, it is well known that this privilege was used mostly to help build strong political parties.

  • 10 See Alan Ryan (1972), “Utilitarianism and Bureaucracy: The Views of J. S. Mill,” in Gillian Suther (...)
  • 11 John A. Rohr (2002), Civil Servants and Their Constitutions, Kansas, University of Kansas Press, 3 (...)

12At first, the concerns around efficiency that emerged from a patronage bureaucracy were not great, because the early bureaucracy had few responsibilities and little impact on the lives of most Canadians. Indeed, the problems of a bureaucracy staffed exclusively on the basis of patronage only began to present themselves in Britain in the mid - 19th century when that country was experiencing rapid industrial growth.10 The general response to the problem of bureaucracy that emerged in Britain was to subsume a non-partisan, merit-based public service under the institutions of representative and responsible government. Such a model would be based on a separation between the political party and the public service, a separation of policy and administration and a belief that public servants should loyally execute public policy regardless of personal belief. In short, just as the monarchy moved above the political party the civil service was to find its new constitutional position below the political party11 Just as the Crown had no political positions, the new civil service would have complete neutrality. This new model was part of the establishment of a constitutional monarchy that required

  • 12 Henry Parris (1968), “The Origins of the Permanent Civil Service, 1780–1830,” Public Administratio (...)

an unpolitical civil service whose primary connection is with the Crown, and which while subordinated to party government, is unaffected by their changes: the two permanent elements, the Crown and the civil service, which not by chance together left the political arena, supply the framework for the free play of parliamentary politics and governments.12

13In this interpretation, the public service was no longer a part of a unified executive but served each successive government. To fully realize this vision, a body that would select the new neutral public: servants would be essential. Once established, the CSC, according to its advocates, would create a constitutional public service that would become a technical instrument of representative and responsible institutions serving the impartial interests of the Crown and advising and, in some cases, instructing a succession of governments.


  • 13 First and Second Reports of the Commission to Inquire into the Present State and Probable Requirem (...)
  • 14 Sessional Papers (1869), No. 19,4.

14Arguments favouring an independent CSC began to develop shortly after Confederation, when the first in a series of royal commissions was called to investigate the public service.13 John Langton, Canada’s first auditor general, was asked to “inquire into and report upon the organization of the several branches of the Public Service with a special view to their adaptation to the wants of the new Constitution, and to providing for their efficient and economical performance.”14 The Langton inquiry did not pay much heed to patronage; it was more concerned with creating an effective administrative organization regardless of the method of appointment. This lack of connection between efficiency and patronage is probably explained by the fact that the civil service at the time employed only 250 people in Ottawa and a few thousand others spread out across the rest of Canada.

  • 15 Sessional Papers (1869), No. 19, 5.

15The absence of any discussion of patronage cannot, however, be seen as an endorsement of patronage by the Langton royal commissioners. Rather, they saw administration as an activity that should be considered separate from politics, and for that reason they wanted to make public administration more efficient by ensuring that the partisans who were appointed were capable of handling the non-political nature of the majority of their tasks. Their concern was therefore directed almost exclusively at eliminating conditions relating to the personnel function that were deterring “young men, who were conscious of energy and ability, from adopting the public service as a profession.”15 In trying to create a strong administrative “cadre,” the commissioners felt that steps would have to be taken to ensure that the best young men were recruited, justly rewarded and assured of a fair system of promotion based on merit.

  • 16 Sessional Papers, (1870), No. 64, 11.
  • 17 Sessional Papers (1869), No. 19, 6.

16For these early reformers, the emphasis was on the very basic desire to improve the personnel function of the public service. Principally, the commissioners believed strongly that “only young men should be appointed to the service, that they should enter it in the lowest grade, and that before being appointed they should undergo the ordeal of a rigid examination, and also at every step they take upwards.”16 They also hoped to avoid corruption by paying decent salaries. They wanted responsibility rewarded with salary and, of course, they advocated the possibility of an assured pension. If efficiency was to be increased by attracting talented young men and rewarding them fairly, the next logical step was to disencumber “the service from men, who from age and infirmity are no longer efficient for the performance of their duties.”17 The commissioners also advocated a rational system of promotion based on a combination of ability and seniority. While they avoided identifying patronage as the cause of any of the ills afflicting the post-Confederation public service, it seems safe to conclude that this practice was never far from their minds. The central point in many of their recommendations was that the whole efficiency of the service depended upon a rigid adherence to the rules of advancement and promotion.

  • 18 Doug Owram (1986), The Government Generation, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 46.

17Immediately after Confederation, we see the beginnings of the assault on patronage. Two different arguments were put forward, both of which would become part of the legacy of the CSC once it was established. First, patronage needed to be replaced because it was unfair and contradicted a central liberal belief that a man should have the opportunity to succeed or fail according to his own abilities. Second, patronage was wrong because it was inefficient.18 In the context of these early reforms, the public service was considered part of the broader political community; it therefore needed to be organized according to principles that reflected and represented the best of that community. By attempting to make the public service more efficient, by definition reformers were hoping to make it more independent, autonomous and representative. Patronage, then, was both unfair and inefficient. This notion, that the political must be separated from administration, would find its first forceful champion in the person of a Conservative member of Parliament named George Casey.


  • 19 Dawson, Civil Service of Canada, 38.
  • 20 For the report of the Select Committee, see Canada, House of Commons (1877) Journals, Appendix No. (...)
  • 21 Debates, March 15, 1875, 708.

18In the 1870s, George Elliot Casey, a Conservative MP from southern Ontario, was probably one of the first prominent figures in Canada to champion the creation of a CSC based on the need for an administratively efficient public service with autonomy from government. Casey’s involvement in the reform movement started almost two years prior to the establishment of the parliamentary inquiry he was to head. Casey had begun “an intelligent and persistent agitation to improve the service along the lines adopted in Great Britain. ”19 As a result of his intense activity, a select committee was appointed with him as its head.20 Casey, along with a growing number of Canadians, regarded the public service as a necessary and vital part of the governmental system that needed to be established on a sound and rational basis of administrative practice. As a strong advocate of the ideas contained in the Northcote-Trevelyan report, Casey was convinced that “no matter how excellent might be the Government of the day, or how wise its administrative acts, it might be spoiled by the faults of the Civil Service.”21 This view would remain at the core of the arguments in favour of an independent public service.

  • 22 Ibid, 710.

19Reformers were now beginning to take dead aim at patronage. For Casey, and the reform movement in general, the public service was imperilled because political nomination did not provide the necessary checks on the quality of the civil servants appointed. Therefore, patronage “was apt to lead to the establishment of what was sometimes called a bureaucracy, or a sort of family compact among the civil servants.”22

20Recognizing the difficulty of persuading party politicians to give up their patronage power on moral grounds alone, Casey’s committee proceeded to point out that politics and administration were two separate fields of activity that naturally operated according to different principles. This was perhaps the most convincing of the arguments favouring an independent public service commission. The committee made one of the earliest and most powerful arguments in favour of a separate realm of public administration:

  • 23 Journals (1877), Appendix No. 7, 5.

As general principle appointments, promotions, and the whole management of the Service should be separated as far as possible from political considerations. The Service should be looked upon merely as an organization for conducting the public business, and not as a means of rewarding personal political friends. The attempt should be made to render it a profession calculated to attract the best ability available, and to afford a due reward for the possession and exercise of first-class business and administrative capacity.23

  • 24 Ibid, 5.
  • 25 Ibid, 98.

21At the time, patronage made the public service unattractive “to the class of active and intelligent young men who should be obtained for it,” and it was not always “able to retain such of that class that do enter.”24 In order to remedy this situation, Casey’s committee followed the lead of the Langton inquiry of 1869 and recommended competitive examinations guided by a board of examiners as the first step toward improving the image and quality of the civil service. For the public service to become a respectable middle-class employer, it would first have to free itself from the clutches of self-interested politicians. One deputy minister summed up this concern succinctly in his testimony before the committee: “I should not like to put one of my sons into the Civil Service if I could put him into a profession.”25 When the civil service had become a respectable middle-class profession, a major goal of the reformers would have been met.

22To achieve this separation, the Casey committee’s chief recommendations were to place the practice of making appointments entirely in the hands of an independent commission, subject applicants to an examination before appointment (although only a qualifying, not a competitive, one), and have them serve a period of probation before their final appointment. The committee also accepted a form of divided service, recommending that it

  • 26 Ibid, 6.

would be advisable to grade the service in departments where the nature of the work will permit, in such a manner as to separate the mechanical from the higher duties, and to confine promotion in rank to the class of officers engaged in the performance of the latter.26

  • 27 Ibid, 6.
  • 28 Ibid, 8.

23Promotion in the two grades “should proceed prima facie on the grounds of seniority unless a junior be reported as better qualified for the position, with full reasons for such report.”27 The fact that all these reforms had long been in force in Great Britain, and that they had continued in force under successive governments, was, as far as the committee was concerned, proof of their effectiveness in “purifying” the administrative world.28

24No new legislation was to emerge from any of this committee’s recommendations. This is not surprising, since it was merely a select committee that had spent only one month preparing its report. Yet whatever its shortcomings, the investigation had a positive impact in that it helped spread the idea that an independent CSC was essential to creating a separate sphere of professional public administration. This idea would not disappear; rather it would grow in the years to come, eventually forcing the political parties into relinquishing patronage, if not in the name of democracy then at least for the good of democracy.


  • 29 For the First Report of the Royal Commission to Consider the Needs and Conditions of the Civil Ser (...)
  • 30 Dawson, The Civil Service of Canada, 44.

25The reform movement gained its first substantial victory in 1882 on the heels of the McInnis Royal Commission.29 Membership for this commission was drawn mostly from the senior civil service, with the exception of its chairman, Senator D. McInnis. The commissioners “traveled over the Dominion, heard a host of witnesses, asked them more than three thousand questions, received delegations from the lower ranks of employees, investigated the British and American civil services and produced a comprehensive study of superannuation.”30 When it was over, Canada would have a new Civil Service Act and, more importantly, an established pattern of administrative reform that would, with a few interruptions, continue to accelerate until 1908.

  • 31 Sessional Papers (1881), No. 113, 12.
  • 32 Ibid, 13.
  • 33 Ibid, 13.

26The McInnis Commission began its report strongly endorsing the reforms that had taken place a decade earlier in Britain. Although they expressed certain doubts “as to whether the public opinion of the Dominion is even now fully alive to the importance of a thoroughly efficient Civil Service,”31 the commissioners felt there was “nevertheless a feeling in the public mind that the interest of the public service had been subordinated to a greater or less extent to the purposes of political parties.”32 They were of the opinion that politicians, once they realized “how much the prosperity and welfare of the country depends on a pure and efficient Civil Service, will not hesitate to abandon a patronage which is found to be injurious to the best interests of the country.”33 Their optimistic faith in the responsibility of politicians, and the influence of an abstract “public interest,” would remain largely unrewarded, and the political parties would continue to make no distinction between their partisan interests and the national interest with regard to the civil service.

27While rejecting the division of the service into the British two-tier model, the McInnis Commission did strongly encourage the adoption of the other two main components of the British system: open competitive examinations and promotion by merit. The attractiveness of these features was to be found in their ability to separate politics from administration, creating a neutral bureaucratic apparatus. As the commissioners suggested,

  • 34 Ibid, 20.

Men who had obtained their places by merit alone and as the result of impartial examination could not possibly be open to any imputation of political partisanship in office; nor would they be in any degree influenced in the discharge of their duties by political considerations.”34

28From this time forward, merit and impartial competitive examination would become the tools reformers used to “purify” the administrative apparatus, separating it from political control. In short, merit and impartial competitive examination were enshrined as the first new values of a responsible public service and would be the major responsibilities of a CSC when it was established 1908.

29The commissioners had great faith in merit and examination as a means of creating an impartial civil service; they also argued that they be used to determine promotions. In the commissioners’ view, promotion by examination was almost as important as entrance examinations, because

  • 35 Ibid, 17.

the efficiency of the Service so largely depends on a good system of promotion, that we have felt it necessary to emphasize the importance of avoiding such injustice as we have mentioned, and which can not fail to be injurious to the best interests of the Service. Men whose just claims are thus passed over become discouraged, they lose their self-respect and hope for the future. Such injustice destroys all incentive to emulation and all desire to excel. Nor does the mischief end there. It affects the whole Service. It is destructive for discipline, and it impairs the usefulness of those who witness as well as of those who suffer it.35

30According to this view, all subjective assessments of a candidate’s worth had to be eliminated from the personnel function. Open competitive exams, promotion by merit, and the resulting conventions of neutrality and non-partisanship would combine to remedy the problems plaguing the public service by replacing the subjectivity of patronage with the fairness and democratic egalitarianism of merit. These reforms would also aid in the creation of a more dignified civil service by moving the civil service toward professional status. As the commissioners argued

  • 36 Ibid, 20.

The public service would, under such a system, be open to the public instead of being, to a large extent, a closed corporation in the hands of political parties. An opportunity would be given to all intelligent and educated young men to obtain by their merits alone, a start in a service in which promotion, by a continuance of intelligent self-improvement and well directed official labour, would be certain.36

31Again, the key element in bringing all these important innovations to fruition was to be found in the establishment of a CSC that was as free from political influence as the “judiciary happily is.” Although the first Civil Service Act (1868) had created a Board of Civil Service Examiners, it was easily ignored by ministers, and when it was in fact used it provided an examination so rudimentary that only the completely illiterate failed. The board contemplated by the McInnis Commission, which was eventually established, was to be a precursor to the CSC. It was to provide the public service with a system of competitive examination conducted all across the Dominion that would rigorously test every candidate’s character for both intellectual and moral qualities. The establishment of this new Board of Civil Service Examiners would clearly be the first victory and the first real institutional innovation toward the development of a truly independent Civil Service Commission.

  • 37 Debates, March 15, 1889, 673.

32Many of the McInnis Commission’s recommendations were accepted and appeared in a new Civil Service Act (1882), Canada’s second to date. The act created the Board of Examiners, which was independent of party control; it limited the age of new employees to those between eighteen and thirty-five; it began the slow process of formally recognizing the deputy head as the administrative head of the department and it authorized appointment to the civil service only after an examination. Unfortunately, this act applied only to the Inside Service, that is, the Ottawa-based public service, and was regarded by politicians, in the words of John A. Macdonald, as merely a means “to provide that men should write in a good hand, should know the principles of arithmetic and possess a good common school education.”37 It was clearly not intended to eliminate patronage, at least from the Prime Minister’s point of view.

33While the act was largely ignored after its passage, it nevertheless provided a solid basis for the development of the Civil Service Commission. Primarily, it brought a subtle change to the relationship between the public service and the other institutions of government. The public service was slowly gaining increased independence from the older institutions at the same time as it was gaining increased responsibilities. The civil service was coming to be regarded by a growing number of politicians and intellectuals as an administrative means to political ends. In addition, it was beginning to be seen as an important tool in the further development of a national interest, a view that ran up against the prevailing belief in the rightful dominance of vested interests. In the end, the most concrete result of the passing of the Civil Service Act in 1882 was the creation of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, the precursor of the CSC that would conduct qualifying examinations and limited promotion examinations. Despite objections on many fronts, the assault on the strictly political model of civil service appointment was gaining momentum.


  • 38 For the Report of the Royal Commission Appointed to Enquire into Certain Matters Relating to the C (...)
  • 39 Dawson, The Cavil Service of Canada, 61.

34One of the arguments for creating a CSC was the need to eliminate the ever-present corruption created by patronage. As something that forced politicians to act, the issue of scandal and corruption would prove to be central; indeed, it resulted in another 19th century royal commission ten years after the McInnis Commission.38 The new royal commission, chaired by George Hague, general manager of the Merchants Bank of Canada, was appointed, all too typically, because “certain officials had been guilty of serious breeches of trust; some had altered accounts, others had accepted bribes; the Government had been defrauded in goods it had bought due to corrupt civil servants.”39When the burden of scandal proved to be too much for Prime Minister John Abbott to withstand, he met opposition demands for action with the nomination of the Hague Commission.

35The Hague Commission’s origin in scandal explains the strong emphasis that it placed on developing a sense of the national interest at stake in the debate about how the civil service should be organized and how it should operate. This would be an enduring theme among those advocating for a more powerful public service. In testimony to the commission, Auditor General J. L. McDougal commented that

the continuance of the notion that the management of public business is the management of what belongs to the Government of the day and not to all the taxpayers of the country

  • 40 Sessional Papers (1892), No. 16c, 22
  • 41 Ibid, 23.

36is the biggest defect in the civil service.40 For McDougal, the first step in creating a public service operating in the public interest was to increase the amount of deputy control; in fact, he felt that the deputy should have “absolute control of every man in the department.”41

  • 42 Ibid, 46.

37McDougal’s point was emphasized by most of the deputies who gave expert testimony. A few senior civil servants expressed their belief that “if the deputy-heads were too independent of the political heads, they would rule the country without being responsible to the House.”42 But in the end, most agreed with Alexander Burgess, deputy minister of the Interior, that the

  • 43 Ibid, 59.

permanent head of a department should be in a position to exercise the functions of his office fearlessly and independently, which he in many instances might not be able to do if his tenure of office were dependent upon the favour of the Government.43

38A fearless and independent deputy was the first major step towards the ultimate goal of a fearless and independent civil service capable of working in the public interest.

39Deputies were clearly interested in acquiring the authority they needed to fulfill their obligations, and deputies were trying to establish an equal but separate relationship with ministers. Deputies wanted to be supreme in administrative matters, with politicians supreme in political matters. In their testimonies, deputies went to great lengths to describe what they thought would be the ideal relationship between themselves and their ministers.

  • 44 Ibid, xx.

In countries such as Great Britain where responsible Government has developed into its highest form, the position is this, that while the head of the department directs the policy thereof, the deputy head, subject to such policy, directs its administration.44

  • 45 Ibid, xx.

40In Canada, however, the minister was deemed to have excessive control over the details of administration. Such ministerial involvement had the advantage of bringing the administration of public business to Parliament, but for the royal commissioners, it tended “to bring the administration of public affairs somewhat too closely into contact with politics.”45

41This latter view was perhaps best expressed by William LeSueur, an early public servant/reformer who contended that the duty of a deputy minister

  • 46 Ibid, 627.

is to furnish his Minister with full and accurate information upon all departmental questions which the Minister may be called upon to decide, and to advise the Minister in the public interest. His function is not to suggest to the Minister ways and means of turning this or that contingency to political account, nor to cover with his recommendation things which are advisable solely in a political sense.46

  • 47 Ibid, 630.

42In short, the deputy was to be completely neutral, like the public service as a whole. A classic bureaucrat and a classic bureaucracy were to serve as the norm. “A public servant should not be required to navigate political shallows, or take political soundings: his business one would suppose, should be to steer a simple course in the safe waters of public duty.”47 The desire was for a public service commanded by a deputy minister who would ensure that it promoted the interest of the nation in an impartial and efficient manner.

  • 48 Ibid, xxi.

43Rather than submitting a long list of recommendations that might guide the government in pursuing a more rationally organized civil service, the Hague commissioners chose to submit a draft bill. Its principle recommendations were the appointment of a Civil Service Commission to replace the existing Board of Civil Service Examiners, the adoption of the principle of appointment by open competition rather than the existing qualifying examination and the clarification of the role of the deputy as administrative head of the department.48

44The commissioners admitted that public opinion in Canada might “not as yet be ripe for open competition.” Nonetheless, they firmly believed that their recommendations would improve the quality of the civil service. As they put it,

  • 49 Ibid, xxviii.

Doors to appointments and promotions in the service will open only to capacity and honesty, and no man or woman who aspires, as all have a right to aspire, to any such position, will have occasion to seek or use any influence less honourable than his or her own merit and fitness for office.”49

  • 50 Cindy Sondik-Aron (1987), Ladies and Gentlemen of the Civil Service: Middle Class Workers in Victo (...)

45The dignity of the civil service would be improved, and. so would that of the people in it, knowing that their success or failure: was related to their own character, ability and capacity. By championing more rational methods of selecting and promoting civil servants, the commissioners were also reflecting a changed relationship between individual effort and subsequent success in the job market. Merit in this sense is a classic liberal principle in that it makes people responsible for their own success or failure.50 Access to positions in the civil service was on the way to becoming a right available to all Canadians with the necessary qualifications. Formal recognition of this right, even in a limited sense, was another fifteen years away, but the ideas paving the way forward were now, at the end of the 19th century, largely in place.


  • 51 John S. Willison (1907-1908), “Civil Service Reform in Canada,” in J. C. Hopkins (ed.), Empire Clu (...)
  • 52 John Marshall (1906), “Civil Service Reform,” Queens Quarterly, vol. 14, 159.
  • 53 House of Commons, Debates, June 25, 1908, 11341.

46Beginning in the early 1900s, there was a growing sense of frustration among many MPs and, increasingly, among the general public, including many in the business community. Most would have sympathized with John Willison, Wilfrid Lauriers first biographer, who observed that “there is surely a crying need for reform of the Civil Service in Canada and the protection of honest and efficient public officers from the spoils element which corrupts and bedevils the administration of public affairs.”51 This was unquestionably the predominant attitude among most reformers by the early 1900s. The public service was being harassed by selfish, ignorant and short-sighted politicians. What was called for was the complete reform of the personnel system, which would strengthen the hand of the public service through an emphasis on utility and meritocracy, thereby protecting the true guardians of the public interest. Most reformers now sought a new Civil Service Act that would “take every place from top to bottom out of the hands of the politicians who, both at Ottawa and Toronto, have shown themselves so unworthy of being trusted with the power.”52 The goal was to free the bureaucracy from the grasp of rapacious politicians, and that required strengthening the public service. Such reform would have to take place even if it meant weakening a fundamental pillar of responsible government: ministerial responsibility to Parliament. Indeed, the creation of the Civil Service Commission implied, and indeed required, that Cabinet relinquish some executive control and that Parliament accept less than complete accountability. Such were the feelings surrounding the need for strong action that, when the time came to debate the proposed legislation, neither Cabinet nor Parliament balked at the idea of losing some of their authority. Indeed, in the debates about the legislation for a new Civil Service Act, Conservative Party leader Robert Borden noted that “it would have been much wiser to have framed the measure so as to give the members of the Civil Service Commission an absolutely independent status similar to that enjoyed by the Auditor General.”53 Yet it was clear that the commissioners would be granted a great deal of autonomy and independence, which, while not always used by some of the early commissioners, turned out to be an essential feature of the Public Service Commission as we know it today.

  • 54 C. A. Magrath (1913), “The Civil Service,” University Magazine-, vol. 12, 248.
  • 55 Reg Whitaker (1987), “Between Patronage and Bureaucracy: Democratic Politics in Transition,” Journ (...)
  • 56 Owram, 41.

47There was a willingness to accept independence for the CSC, because Canadians were becoming more comfortable with growth in government activity. Supporters of this view included the Conservative Party, which was an early proponent of increased government ownership. There was recognition that development of an industrial infrastructure demanded “expert knowledge and technical efficiency of the highest order, with a force trained and organized to handle such intricate questions.”54 The acceptance of a growing state made efficient by the widespread use of experts may be taken as a modern example of the Canadian willingness to use the state to provide direction and assistance to the limited industrial economy that existed at the time. Whatever the reasons, there was a growing consensus that the public service needed to be increasingly independent and that this independence was related to the CSC’s independence. The accumulation of public business was a natural and progressive state of affairs; the reforms were simply intended to handle public business more effectively. Thus, public service reform was motivated not only by a sense of moral outrage but also by economic interests, by the business community, which wanted the public service to be better able to manage the economy in the interests of business.55 There was a general belief that Canadian governments, at all levels, were incompetent and inefficient, that the public was by and large ignorant, and that there was thus a need for a new force that could deal effectively with the various problems facing the state.56

  • 57 Robert Craig Brown (1975), Robert Laird Borden: A Biography Volume 1: 1854–1914, Toronto, Macmilla (...)
  • 58 Canadian Annual Review (1908), 28.

48Reform would eventually come at the end of a two-year parliamentary session between 1906 and 1908 in which the Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier had come under constant attack from a Conservative opposition hoping to expose the corruption in the ongoing administration of the government at the time and its inability to move forward. There were of course new demands for new social and economic policies, but both parties were hesitant to act, partly due to the inadequacy of the machinery of administration at the time. But Borden had decided to put the full weight of his party into a new tactic aimed at discrediting the Laurier government.57 The Conservatives ran a “purity in politics” campaign and continued it throughout the remaining session of Parliament until the general election at the end of October 1908. Of this time, one contemporary observer noted that “it was a stormy Session and filled with angry debate and prolonged discussion and personal charges; it was a scandal Session teeming with Opposition allegations of corruption and maladministration.”58

  • 59 Oscar Douglas Skelton (1921), Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Volume Two, Oxford, Oxford (...)

49This session summed up what had become clear to most Canadians: the public service was corrupt and ineffective due to patronage appointment. The Liberal Party, like the Conservatives before them, had lots of supporters continually clamouring for jobs and private firms expecting rewards for their donations. One of Lauriers early biographers noted that the governing party would not only fill all the postmaster, excise officer and other jobs but participate in activities well beyond: “Supplies must be bought from firms on the patronage list, subsidy hunters, contracts seekers found the way smoother if they subscribed to campaign funds.”59 Indeed the distribution of patronage, broadly defined, had arguably become the most important function of government. It was noted at the time,

  • 60 Ibid, 270–271.

Sir Wilfrid frequently repeated the story of Lincoln, asked during a crisis in the Civil War whether it was a change in the army command or complications with foreign powers that wrinkled his forehead, and replying, “No it is that confounded posrmastership at Brownsville, Ohio.” No other subject bulked so large in correspondence; no other purpose brought so many visitors to Ottawa. It meant endless bombardment of ministers, ceaseless efforts to secure a work from the friend of a friend of the premier, bitter disappointment for the ninety and nine who were turned away.60

50The move to end this system began in 1907 under relentless pressure from the opposition because of the scandals. The Laurier government eliminated all patronage lists for suppliers. An Order-in-Council was passed requiring that timber licences be granted only at public auction and a new Elections Act forbid companies from contributing campaign funds and set heavy fines for ballot tampering.

  • 61 For the Report of the Royal Commission to Enquire into and Report upon the Civil Service Act and K (...)

51The presence of an increasing number of reform constituencies, demands for more public policy, growing industrialization, immigration, urbanization and ongoing scandals had forced the government’s hand beyond its earlier limited reforms. A royal commission was established to investigate the civil service and was headed by John Courtney, the deputy minister of finance.61 The Courtney Commission was to be the most thorough inquiry to date, lasting ten months, and hearing over 200 officials and publishing 1,900 pages of evidence and appendixes. Strongly dissenting from the Laurier government’s view that the civil service was satisfactory, it instead recommended the complete repeal of the existing Civil Service Act. It stated what nearly everybody knew: that patronage was alive and well in the civil service and that the 1882 act had done little or nothing to get rid of it.

52The Courtney Commission noted the litany of abuses that the previous inquiries had observed and made many of the same recommendations. The most far-reaching were as follows:

  • 62 Ibid, 45.

The service should be entirely free from political favouritism or patronage; that appointments should only be made by merit after competitive examination; and that for that purpose, a permanent Commission of three officials should be created to deal with the question of the service; that this Commission should be entrusted with all examinations in connection with the service; that they should cause different examinations to be made in the different subjects required by the several classes employed in the Civil Service.62

53Like the previous inquiries, the Courtney Commission did not want to develop a two-tier system in the civil service but rather felt that every position should be open to talent. It emphasized that

  • 63 Ibid, 16.

the principle should never be lost sight of that promotion and pay should in every case depend on individual merit, and that, therefore, every individual in the service should, as it were, be under continual appraisement and be eligible for promotion to any position in any division of the service.63

54It wanted to make the civil service a career open to talent and representative of the best in Canada.

  • 64 Ibid, 45.

When a young man of great efficiency, who gives indication of force of character, appears it is surely to the advantage of the country that it should get the full benefit of his capacity as soon as possible. To secure this he should have swift promotion instead of having obstacles thrown in his course by narrow official regulations and limitations.64

55Despite these arguments, the act that eventually did emerge divided the Inside Service in Ottawa into two broad categories, reflecting perhaps the executives’ awareness of the political nature of the senior civil service.

56Despite recognizing the importance of the formal institutions of government in the creation of administrative responsibility, the Courtney Commission would focus most of its effort on reforming the civil service and not the overhead institutions. The guiding assumption in the other inquiries had been that Parliament was strong enough to withstand a weakening of the convention of ministerial responsibility, especially since this convention had led to the rampant abuse of the civil service for strictly partisan purposes. Like all the other inquiries, the Courtney Commission was most interested in creating an accountable administration, not more parliamentary oversight. It believed that strengthening the civil service and strengthening Cabinet control would result in responsible administration.

57The passage of civil service reform legislation took place in the lead-up to a federal election that was held on October 28, 1908, which the Liberal party won again, although with a reduced majority. Even though the election was fought on the Liberal party’s substantial record of scandal and Borden campaigned aggressively on clean government and a commitment to greater public ownership, the Liberals still prevailed. Once the election was concluded, not surprisingly the government went on to other matters and lost interest in reform of the public service. But the CSC was created and it did begin its work to improve the quality and professionalism of the public service of Canada, albeit with limited jurisdiction for the Inside Service located in Ottawa. The CSC that was created had a strong legislative basis with substantial autonomy, but it would quickly begin to find out how difficult it was in practice to ensure that patronage appointments did not occur even in the Ottawa public service, let alone in the service outside Ottawa, over which it had no jurisdiction. The CSC was at least potentially powerful, however, in that its strong statutory basis and independence and autonomy would help shield the CSC from its detractors and allow it to create a strong, effective public service in the years to come.


58From September 1, 1908, when it was created, until 1918, when its jurisdiction was extended to cover the entire public service, the CSC faced numerous challenges, including regular challenges to its legitimacy and jurisdiction. During this initial period, it consisted of two commissioners appointed by the Governor-in-Council at the rank and salary of a deputy head and a small staff not numbering more than eight. The Laurier government wanted to ensure that the CSC had sufficient status and made sure that those appointed to lead it would be equivalent to deputy heads. A further indication of the independent status of the commissioners was that they were not appointed at pleasure like deputy ministers, but rather were appointed during good behaviour for a fixed term. While they were appointed by the Prime Minister, they were removable only by the Governor General on the joint recommendation of the Senate and the House of Commons.

  • 65 House of Commons, Debates, June 25, 1908, 11331.
  • 66 Hodgetts et al., The Biography of an Institution, 28.

59The creation of the two-person commission was also the first attempt to ensure that the C.SC would embody the representative principle in its decision-making process. When introducing the legislation that established the CSC, the minister noted in the House of Commons, “In this country we have people belonging to two different original races and that fact will be recognized in the appointment of the commissioners.”65 The act came into effect on September 1, 1908, the commissioners were appointed on September 4 and they began their work on September 16. One of the first two commissioners was Michel La Rochelle, a former secretary to Wilfred Laurier who had run as a Liberal candidate in Quebec and who, given that partisan connection, was not an ideal candidate.66 The other commissioner was Adam Shortt, a well-respected Queen’s University professor who had been a strong advocate of civil service reform in the run-up to the legislative changes of 1908. When the two commissioners took office, they inaugurated a stormy decade during which they defended merit appointment within the CSC’s limited jurisdiction of the Ottawa-based public service. This two-person structure quickly proved to be problematic and was eventually replaced by a three-commissioner system with one of the commissioners designated as the chair and exercising most of the executive authority. The new three-person system had to wait, however, because when he became prime minister in 1911, Robert Borden chose to leave the old structure in place until Shortt left the Civil Service Commission to become head of the Historical Documents Branch of the National Archives in 1918.

60Organizationally, the CSC began its life in 1908 by taking over the activities of the existing Board of Examiners, which had been established in 1882 under the Civil Service Act. The Board of Examiners had always been a testing agency whose mandate was to make sure that public servants were minimally literate and capable of the duties that they were to perform. The secretary to the Board of Examiners became the secretary to the CSC, the rest of the board’s small staff transferred to the CSC, and they began to hold examinations in Ottawa for a small fee. The new CSC continued the work of the Board of Examiners holding certifying examinations for persons that departments wanted to appoint in the public service based outside Ottawa. But in 1908, a new practice was instituted: when a vacancy became available within the Ottawa-based public service, departments would indicate that they had a vacancy and the CSC would fill the vacancy from its list of successful examination candidates. This practice differed greatly from that in the United States, which had developed what was known as the rule of three, in which the Civil Service Commission would forward three names of qualified candidates to a department and that department would select one of the individuals. In Canada, the CSC was to be more authoritative in the matter of appointments.

  • 67 Alasdair Roberts (1996), So-Called Experts: How American Consultants Remade the Canadian Civil Ser (...)

61The examinations that the CSC organized were, in the first instance, aimed at two classes of entrants. Those at the lower levels needed only to have a good high-school understanding of mathematics, spelling, history and so on, but those at the higher levels needed to meet a much higher academic standard. The examinations were an attempt to test both for the job at hand and the overall academic suitability of the candidate for a career in the public service.67 In some of its special examinations, the CSC tested only for the specific job, but at the higher levels the CSC clearly attempted to identify those with an ability to progress in their career as a public servant. This approach contained, of course, a not-so-subtle class bias, somewhat like the British model, but it also contained, as would become clear, regional and language biases because of the underdeveloped nature of higher education in most provinces. These various biases were repeatedly criticized by MPs. While the CSC did respond with an attempt to make its examinations representative of the educational system across the entire country and not just the elite universities, the exams continued very much to reflect the Anglo-American tradition, making it difficult for those growing up in the more classic French system in Quebec to compete.

62While the CSC that was established in 1908 was an important precedent, it was a limited victory and ministers and departments quickly reverted back to making political appointments, even in the Inside Service, believing that the CSC should function really as a certification agency and not as a central recruitment agency. The CSC’s ability to establish itself was further hampered by the coming of the First World War in 1914. During the war, most hiring occurred with no restrictions. As before, across the entire public service, no certificates of qualification were issued, no general examinations were held and no time limits for temporary employment were imposed. The public service was in as much disarray by the end of hostilities in 1918 as it had been at any time in its past, and it was in need of another major jolt of reform.


  • 68 Henry Parris (1969), Constitutional Bureaucracy, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

63The CSC that emerged in 1908 was eventually to become an influential participant in the creation of the modern public service as a result of both its structure, which guaranteed its independence, and its desire to ensure that merit drove the recruitment process. Forever eliminated was the view of the public servant as a handmaiden of a political party. The new vision, accepted, endorsed and facilitated by the newly established CSC, was that the public service should become a neutral instrument, impartially serving the various interests of the state. The public service would become the preserve of, if not the virtuous, at least the competent. It would be a mistake, however, to see this triumph of the CSC as a mere accident of fate. Rather, it was largely the product of the strenuous efforts of modernizers, mainly senior public servants, university-based reformers and reform-minded members of Parliament, who saw the creation of a CSC as the precondition for turning public service into a respectable profession and ensuring that public servants would serve the nation as well as act as a valuable resource to a succession of partisan government leaders. While there were few explicit claims that the public service was now a constitutional entity, the fact that the public service was staffed on the democratic principles of fairness and equality, that it had acquired new behavioural requirements and obligations and that it was a statutory body gave the CSC some authority to oppose Cabinet when it came to protecting the public service’s new constitutional position. The CSC would therefore be at the heart of the creation of a “constitutional bureaucracy” in Canada.68 While the CSC would for decades expend efforts to bring about an efficient public service, in the end it would be its role in maintaining the constitutional conventions of public service neutrality and non-partisanship that would provide it with its legitimacy and its longevity. Public servants were acquiring a similar constitutional position as the Crown, and based on the conventions of anonymity and ministerial responsibility, public servants would increasingly be like the Crown—unable to do any wrong!

  • 69 Kenneth Kernaghan (1976), “Politics, Policy and Public Servants: Political Neutrality Revisited,” (...)
  • 70 Herbert J. Storing (1961), “Political Parties and the Bureaucracy,” in Robert A. Goldwin (ed.), Po (...)

64By securing its new position of neutrality, anonymity and increasing autonomy within Canada’s system of government, the CSC freed the public service from the burden of partisan politics. Yet, ironically, the CSC’s gift of autonomy to the public service would also give it a role in the policy process. As Professor Kenneth Kernaghan has noted more recently, “While efficient staffing of the service required the separation of politics from administration, the need for effective development and execution of public policy drew administrative officials into the political maelstrom.”69 Thanks to the CSC, the public service was becoming less a trough at which the parties fed and more a source of policy advice and initiatives, a phenomenon that would end up creating, curiously, one of the main problems for public servants in the future: “A civil service free of detailed political control, trained in a purely instrumental science of administration, and insulated from the political life of the community will not be non-political: but it will be politically irresponsible.”70 In attempting to make the public service more responsible by freeing it from patronage, the CSC would give the public service the opportunity to be irresponsible. As many of the critics of merit-based reform noted, patronage may indeed have had its faults but it did have one political virtue: it brought the public service in touch with the political community. Ensuring that the public service remained responsive to the wishes of Cabinet, but also to the needs of the political community more broadly defined, would become one of many balancing acts that that new CSC would be asked to perform.


1 R. MacGregor Dawson (1929), The Civil Service of Canada, London, Oxford University Press.

2 R. MacGregor Dawson (1922), The Principle of Official Independence, London, P.S. King and Son.

3 Peter Gowan (1987), “The Origin of the Administrative Elite,” New Left Review, vol. 162:2, 18.

4 Canada, House of Commons (1882), Sessional Papers, No. 32, 87.

5 J.E. Hodgetts, et al. (1972), The Biography of an Institution, Montreal, McGill Queen’s University Press, 14.

6 Gordon T. Stewart (1986), The Origins of Canadian Politics: A Comparative Approach, Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 82

7 Gordon T. Stewart (1986), “The Origins of Canadian Politics and John A. Macdonald,” in R. Kenneth Carty and W. Peter Ward (eds.), National Politics and Community in Canada, Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 15–47, 22.

8 Ibid, 41.

9 Peter Smith (1987), “The Ideological Origins of Canadian Confederation,” Canadian Journal of Political Science, vol. 20:2, 2—29.

10 See Alan Ryan (1972), “Utilitarianism and Bureaucracy: The Views of J. S. Mill,” in Gillian Sutherland (ed.), Studies in the Growth of Nineteenth Century Government, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul; see also Bernard Schaffer (1973), The Administrative Factor, London, Frank Cass.

11 John A. Rohr (2002), Civil Servants and Their Constitutions, Kansas, University of Kansas Press, 36.

12 Henry Parris (1968), “The Origins of the Permanent Civil Service, 1780–1830,” Public Administration, vol. 46, 164.

13 First and Second Reports of the Commission to Inquire into the Present State and Probable Requirements of the Civil Service, see Canada, House of Commons (1869) Sessional Papers, No. 19. For the Final Report see Sessional Papers (1870), No. 64.

14 Sessional Papers (1869), No. 19,4.

15 Sessional Papers (1869), No. 19, 5.

16 Sessional Papers, (1870), No. 64, 11.

17 Sessional Papers (1869), No. 19, 6.

18 Doug Owram (1986), The Government Generation, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 46.

19 Dawson, Civil Service of Canada, 38.

20 For the report of the Select Committee, see Canada, House of Commons (1877) Journals, Appendix No. 7.

21 Debates, March 15, 1875, 708.

22 Ibid, 710.

23 Journals (1877), Appendix No. 7, 5.

24 Ibid, 5.

25 Ibid, 98.

26 Ibid, 6.

27 Ibid, 6.

28 Ibid, 8.

29 For the First Report of the Royal Commission to Consider the Needs and Conditions of the Civil Service of the Dominion, see Sessional Papers (1881) No. 113; Second Report, see Sessional Papers (1882), No. 32.

30 Dawson, The Civil Service of Canada, 44.

31 Sessional Papers (1881), No. 113, 12.

32 Ibid, 13.

33 Ibid, 13.

34 Ibid, 20.

35 Ibid, 17.

36 Ibid, 20.

37 Debates, March 15, 1889, 673.

38 For the Report of the Royal Commission Appointed to Enquire into Certain Matters Relating to the Civil Service of Canada, see Sessional Papers (1892), No. 16c.

39 Dawson, The Cavil Service of Canada, 61.

40 Sessional Papers (1892), No. 16c, 22

41 Ibid, 23.

42 Ibid, 46.

43 Ibid, 59.

44 Ibid, xx.

45 Ibid, xx.

46 Ibid, 627.

47 Ibid, 630.

48 Ibid, xxi.

49 Ibid, xxviii.

50 Cindy Sondik-Aron (1987), Ladies and Gentlemen of the Civil Service: Middle Class Workers in Victorian America, New York, Oxford University Press, 115.

51 John S. Willison (1907-1908), “Civil Service Reform in Canada,” in J. C. Hopkins (ed.), Empire Club Speeches, 128.

52 John Marshall (1906), “Civil Service Reform,” Queens Quarterly, vol. 14, 159.

53 House of Commons, Debates, June 25, 1908, 11341.

54 C. A. Magrath (1913), “The Civil Service,” University Magazine-, vol. 12, 248.

55 Reg Whitaker (1987), “Between Patronage and Bureaucracy: Democratic Politics in Transition,” Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 22, 55–71.

56 Owram, 41.

57 Robert Craig Brown (1975), Robert Laird Borden: A Biography Volume 1: 1854–1914, Toronto, Macmillan Canada, 120.

58 Canadian Annual Review (1908), 28.

59 Oscar Douglas Skelton (1921), Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Volume Two, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 270.

60 Ibid, 270–271.

61 For the Report of the Royal Commission to Enquire into and Report upon the Civil Service Act and Kindred Legislation, see Sessional Papers (1908), No. 29a.

62 Ibid, 45.

63 Ibid, 16.

64 Ibid, 45.

65 House of Commons, Debates, June 25, 1908, 11331.

66 Hodgetts et al., The Biography of an Institution, 28.

67 Alasdair Roberts (1996), So-Called Experts: How American Consultants Remade the Canadian Civil Service, 1918-21, Toronto, IPAC, 35.

68 Henry Parris (1969), Constitutional Bureaucracy, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

69 Kenneth Kernaghan (1976), “Politics, Policy and Public Servants: Political Neutrality Revisited,” Canadian Public Administration, vol. 19:3, 435.

70 Herbert J. Storing (1961), “Political Parties and the Bureaucracy,” in Robert A. Goldwin (ed.), Political Parties, U.S.A., Chicago, Rand McNally & Co., 146.

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