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BC Sessional Papers

RETURN To an Order of the House for a copy of all correspondence in connection with the resignation of… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1897

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 60 Vict. Resignation of Secretary of Board of Health. 625
To an Order of the House for a copy of all correspondence in connection with the
resignation of Dr. Watt as Secretary of the Provincial Board of Health, and of all
applications for the position.
Attorney- General.
Attorney-General's Office,
11th March, 1897.
Copy letter Dr. A. T. Watt to the Hon. the Premier.
Victoria, B.C., January 12th, 1897.
Sir,—I beg to inform you that I have received the appointment of Superintendent of
Quarantines in British Columbia. I wish, therefore, to refer to the bearing this may be supposed to have on the office I now have the honour to hold under your Government.
It may be thought that this new appointment will not give me time to attend to my duties
as Secretary of the Provincial Board of Health, and that I ought to give up the latter position.
As a matter of fact, however, my new duties as Quarantine Officer will not be nearly so onerous
as were the demands of my private practice. As you are aware I have been allowed, up to the
present, to attend to whatever private work I might care to, but, as I am now giving up practice, entirely, I shall in reality have more time than formerly.
There are on an average only about twenty vessels per month that I shall have to inspect.
It takes only an hour or so to make the inspection, and as half this number will arrive during
the night, it will happen only about once every third day that I would be engaged during the
day time for an hour or two inspecting a vessel. The rest of my time I shall have almost
altogether to myself, and so could easily go on with my work in connection with the Board
and devote, should it become necessary, more time to it than I have done heretofore.
However, I have no doubt that some objection might be raised on the score that under
exceptional circumstances I might be engaged as Quarantine.Officer, just when some matter in
connection with the Board required immediate attention. This objection might stand if I
were the only executive officer, but, as it is, any urgent case could be attended to by the Chairman, or even by one of the other members of the Board. In fact, in all important or urgent
cases Dr. Davie should be the one consulted, since by the Act the Chairman is constituted the
Chief Health Officer of the Province, although since June last I have been performing nearly
all the executive duties. Dr. Davie has, of course, given valuable advice on all matters upon
which I have consulted him. But as he has not been paid any salary since that time, it was
not to be expected that he should devote the same time to other lines of the work that he did
previously. Now, while I am most anxious to continue my connection with the Board, I feel
that it would be better if Dr. Davie were asked to take a more active part in the work, and
receive a corresponding share of the money being paid in salary. I should like to make a suggestion for a re-arrangement.
I should like to be relieved of some of the clerical work, which has really grown to be very
considerable, and be allowed the occasional services of a typewriter. The executive work could
then be agreeably apportioned between Dr. Davie and myself, and the money available for
salaries of executive officers divided between us in due proportion to the work done. I would
suggest, also, that the partition of both labour and money be left to ourselves.
My desire is to retain a certain connection with the Board, and have the opportunity to
devote my time to a kind of work that I have become much interested in. The other appointment puts me in an independent position financially, so I shall be able to give much of my
time to the Board even without a salary in proportion to the work I do. I am the more willing
to do this since the work I am doing for the Province is always adding to my information, and
will make me better able to perform  my duties as Quarantine Officer.    The converse is also 626 Resignation of Secretary of Board of Health. 1897
true, that what I do for the Dominion will enable me to do more efficient work as Secretary of
the Board, for I would beg to point out that quarantine and Board of Health work are almost
identical; that the knowledge I have to acquire to fit me for one fits me for both, and also that
the experience gained in either position will be of great help to me in the other. The Dominion
office which I have received really places me in a position to devote my entire time to sanitary
work and study, and I should be reluctant to give up the opportunities offered in the congenial
field of labour which has been open to me while acting as Secretary of the Board. Now that
I have got well into harness and interested in the work I should feel that there would be lost,
both to the Province and myself, much of what I have done in the way of acquiring knowledge
of the sanitary conditions of the different parts of the country, and in the study of sanitation
with special reference to the various pioblems arising out of the health work of this Province,
and also the benefit of the acquaintanceship I have with what has been done up to the present
by this Board and the various local organisations.
Quite as important, also, is the fact that the work thus far has been mostly of an initiatory character, and can be best followed up by those who have begun and planned out the work.
Moreover, many important undertakings, such as the preparation of pamphlets, etc., are in
various stages of completion, and would have to be commenced afresh by any new man taking
the office, so that much time would be lost.
I have devoted much study to the subject of sanitation during the past few years, particularly since the year 1893, when the Health Act was passed and I was given to understand that
I should receive the appointment of Secretary to the Board, and although I do not wish to
claim having mastered the subject, still I think I may say that it would take some time for
another man to obtain the same understanding of the duties of the office and the knowledge
required for their performance which I now possess.
I feel sure that the Dominion authorities will have no objection to my continuing to hold
the position I have under your Government, as it will insure my keeping abreast of the times
in all branches of modern sanitation. It will also be of mutual advantage to the Dominion
and the Province that the quarantine service and Board of Health should be brought into the
close connection that would result in consequence  of my  acting as an officer in both services.
I hope, therefore, you will consent to my retaining the Secretaryship of the Board of
Health. There are other reasons why it would be advantageous that I should retain it, which
I can state if you desire to discuss the matter further.
I inclose a letter from Dr. Bryce, Secretary of the Provincial Board of Health of Ontario,
bearing on the question of my holding the two offices.
Copy letter Dr. Bryce to Dr. A. T.  Watt.
Toronto, August 12th, 1896.
Thanking you for the information forwarded in answer to my inquiry. I am glad to
know that you have applied for the post of Quarantine Officer at William's Head. I certainly
shall speak favourably should the opportunity arise. I think it a very desirable thing that
you be put in a position to retire from practice, and I would like to see you move your health
office there and do both Provincial and Dominion work. I am convinced one will help the
other in this case, and I think a man would rust if he took quarantine alone. 60 Vict. Resignation of Secretary of Board of Health. 627
Copy letter Hon. the Premier to Dr. A. T. Watt.
February 8th, 1897.
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 12th ultimo,
in which you notify me of your appointment as Superintendent of Quarantine in British
Columbia, and state your reasons for desiring to continue in your present position as Secretary
of the Provincial Board of Health.
The matter has. been duly considered by the Executive, and while fully appreciating the
value of your services as a Provincial Official, and while recognising some of the advantages of
a union of the offices you now hold, it is the feeling of the Government that it would be inadvisable to make the arrangement a permanent one.
The Government regret to lose your services not only as a faithful, zealous and efficient
officer, but on account of certain other reasons so well set forth in your letter. The experiences
you have already gained as well as the special way in which you have qualified yourself for the
work; the desirability of developing the work on lines so carefully initiated, are considerations
which have had due weighht with the Government, and in themselves would suggest the wisdom
of continuing your services in the way desired were it not that other and weightier considerations in the interest of the efficiency of the public service render it neither advisable nor practical.
I desire to assure you on the part of my colleagues, as well as for myself, appreciation of
your efforts in the past, and trust that your successor may be inspired by a similar zeal for the
public welfare.
Copy letter Dr. A. T.  Watt to the Hon. the Premier.
Victoria, B.C., 27th February, 1897.
Sir,—I beg herewith to hand you my resignation as Secretary of the Provincial Board of
Health. I have, etc.,
(Sgd.)       A. T. Watt.
Hon. J. H. Turner, Premier, etc., Victoria.
Copy letter Dr. C. J. Fagan to the Attorney-General.
New Westminster, January 15th, 1897.
D. M. Eberts, Esq.,
A ttorney-General :
Sir,—I beg to apply for the position of Secretary to the Board of Health.
I hold the certificate of " Public Analyst" from the Dominion authorities, and have given
considerable attention to bacteriological work.    Therefore I would, I think, be better qualified
than most other candidates for above position.
I have, etc.,
(Sgd.)       C. J. Fagan. 628 Resignation of Secretary of Board of Health. 1897
Copy letter Attorney-General to Dr. C. J. Fagan.
Attorney-General's Office,
Victoria, B.C., 16th January, 1897.
C. J. Fagan, Esq., M.D.,
New Westminster, B. C.:
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the loth
inst., applying for the position of Secretary to the Provincial Board of Health.
I have, etc.,
(Sgd.)        Arthur G. Smith,
Deputy Attorney-General.
Copy letter Dr. R. E.  Walker to the Attorney-General.
New Westminster, B.C., February 25th, 1897.
Hon. D. M. Eberts, Q. C,
Attorney-General, Victoria, B.C.:
Dear Sir,—I understand that the position of Secretary to the Provincial Board of Health
is shortly to become vacant, and I beg leave to apply for the appointment.
The fact that I have been an active member of the Board of Health since its institution
will enable me (if appointed) more readily to take up and carry out the work already begun,
and will, I presume, be taken into consideration when making the appointment.
Yours truly,
(Sgd.)        R. Eden Walker.
Copy letter Attorney-General to Dr. R. E. Walker.
Attorney-General's Office,
Victoria, B.C., 27th February, 1897.
R. Eden Walker, Esq., M.D.,
New Westminster, B. C. :
Sir.—I have the honour, by direction of the Hon. the Attorney-General, to acknowledge
the receipt of your communication of the 25th inst., applying for the position of Secretary to
the Provincial Board of Health.
I have, etc.,
(Sgd.)        Arthur G. Smith,
Deputy Attorney-General.
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty


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