February 26, 1901

CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

We will ti-y to make emphatic representations of them to you.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

The officei-s will take a note of this case, and see to it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

I call the attention of the Postmaster General to the dismissal, ox-rumoured dismissal, of Miss Sanborn, postmistress of Bulwer, which, I understand, is on account of the alleged partisanship displayed by that young iady during the elections which took place in Compton. While we are all accustomed to the peculiar character of vengeance which the present government visits upon those unfortunate gentlemen who have votes and who voted intelligently and independently, I wish to present to the Postmaster General the case of a young lady who has no vote. This post office is in a small community, and the house answers for the Canadian Pacific Railway station as well as for the post office. I understand that the office has not as yet been removed, and I take this early opportunity of calling the attention of the Postmaster General to it. The post office, together with the keeping of the railway station, is the only means of livelihood which this young lady has, and I trust she will not be removed as postmistress. I wish to know if the Postmaster General will grant my request.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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Tlie POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I would ask my hon. friend (Mr. Pope) to discuss tlie question with me later.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

With tlie greatest of pleasure.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

George Adam Clare

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARE.

I wish to ask the Postmas ter General why it is that the post office at Freeport, between Berlin and Preston, in the county of Waterloo, has been closed up recently ? That post office has been in existence for some forty years, and the excuse given by the Postmaster General in other cases does not apply here, because the revenue from that office is quite large and the expense small. It is situated in a very populous part of our county, and although the salary attached to it is small, it is considered so important that a number of the farmers around there pay a portion of the expenses of keeping it up. I do not know whether or not the post office has been removed into another riding, because South Waterloo sent a representative to oppose the government, but I do say that it is unjust that this post office should be closed. If the Postmaster General were to investigate; he would find that it is in the interest of the public that this post office should be returned to its previous location.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

In answer to my hon. friend (Mr. Clare), I will say that his observations shall not pass unnoticed. I will ascertain why the post office is closed, and will be happy to discuss the question at a later period, if the hon. gentleman desires. I will express the hope that while the constituency of the hon. gentleman may not have sent him as a supporter of the government, it did not send him here absolutely to oppose the government.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

I was not in the House this afternoon when the Committee began the discussion of this item, and I do not know whether the Postmaster General (Hon. Mr. Mulock) made any statement as to his intentions with regard to the petition which reached him some time ago from the letter-carriers all over the Dominion. Has the Postmaster General made any provision in the estimates-which I see have been increased-to grant the prayer of that petition, and is it his intention to do so ? I would also ask if the Postmaster General has made any provision to give to the letter carriers of Canada the statutory increase of salaries to which they are entitled ? These are matters of great importance to a number of my constituents, and I would like an explicit statement from the minister (Hon. Mr. Mulock) about them. I would ask, too, if the Postmaster General would vouchsafe us information as to whether he has given any consideration to the question of reducing the drop letter postage ? In large centres of commerce, like the city of Toronto, it costs commercial firms less to distribute 10

their drop letters by messengers than to send them through the post office, and in addition to the reduced cost they get them more expeditiously delivered. I would like to ask the hon. Postmaster General for more information on these matters. I do not desire to take up the time of the Committee by speaking at length on them. I would rather give the time to the hon. minister to make the necessary explanation.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

With reference to the pay of the letter carriers, I would say that the pay of the officials of the Post Office Department, inside and outside, letter carriers included, is regulated by the Civil Service Act which the previous administration, supported by hon. gentlemen opposite, placed upon the statute-book, and at present we are voting moneys in accordance with that Act. It will he premature, therefore, to provide for salaries not provided for by any existing statute. I am at this moment, however, considering the subject, and have been considering it. I have not yet had an opportunity of discussing it with my colleagues, but I will do so at the earliest moment. I cannot say more than that to-night. My hon. friend will excuse me if I cannot be more explicit, as I have not the power to be. With reference to reducing the rate on drop letters in cities from two cents to one cent, that is a subject which has received a good deal of attention in cities, where there is already free delivery, and where public opinion is altogether in favour of the reduction. But I very much doubt if the same view obtains outside of the cities. The cost of maintaining a free city delivery is very considerable, and until the rest of the country gets free delivery, I fail to see how you could justify giving a special preference to the inhabitants of cities. There are others to be considered who pay largely towards the expenses of the service. If a city is desirous of having a reduction from two cents to one cent, let it pay for the reduction by commuting the amount of the difference at a fixed sum per annum, and obtain the one-cent drop letter rate in that way. But up to the present moment I have not seen my way to discriminate in favour of cities.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

Will the minister tell us what he intends to do for the farmer in the way of a rural mail delivery ? I believe that subject is under consideration, and that an experiment is to be made. Would he mind telling us where he purposes making the experiment ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

That is a very large question. A rural mail delivery has been tried for a short time in the United States, and one of my officers has been there taking observations, and is now preparing a report upon it. Mr. Ross, the assistant postmaster at Toronto, has been specially charged with that duty. I do not

know what conclusion he lias arrived at, as lie lias not yet made his report. I would not be right, probably in criticising the United States administration, but I think it will turn out that they are undertaking a much larger project than they contemplated when they began it. As to what it will cost, no one can very well anticipate. I had some conversation with some of the officers charged with the matter, and if I rightly understood them, they view with some alarm the task they have undertaken. It would mean a rural delivery over an area equal to that of Europe, with a population only one-fifth of that of Europe ; and Canada has an area equal to that of the United States. It is a very large problem, and could only be entered upon after the most careful consideration.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

Robert Johnston

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHNSTON (Cardwell).

I have listened to the discussion to-night with considerable interest. The Postmaster General has laid down the rule that a post office may be cut off on the ground of its small revenue. We have also heard a great deal about the benefit of the two-cent postage rate. Those of us who live in the rural districts are not so much concerned in that reduction as we are to have the post offices at convenient points, where we can get daily mails. An office in a country place may be a very good distributing office, but a very poor receiving office; and if we should be deprived of our post offices on the ground of their small revenues, while we have now to travel considerable distances to get our mails, we would be compelled to go a great deal further. Then, with regard to the payment of postmasters, I think, the postmasters of towns and cities are paid a great deal better than the country postmasters, who have probably to keep their offices open much longer. In the rural districts we want the daily papers-though it would be a good thing for the government if the daily papers did not come-because they inform us of what is going on. A rural postmaster may sometimes be obliged to have his office open as early as six o'clock in the morning, when the stage goes by, and also late at night. I want to draw the attention of the Postmaster General to these points, so that he will consider that while a rural post office may not produce much revenue, it may be a very useful distributing office, and the postmaster may have to keep it open even longer hours than the city offices.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

The remuneration of postmasters is a constant subject of discussion in this House. It has been so, I am told, long before any of the present members enjoyed seats here, and it will doubtless continue to be so for years to come. No one will pretend that the allowances made to postmasters of the class to whom my hon. friend refers represents in any respect a remunerative salary.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK.

The communities are pressing for an increased number of post offices, and a neighbour is willing to take the office and serve a dozen of neighbours. He has the mail brought to him instead of having to go for it to the post office, and a nominal fee is allowed him. That has been the practice since confederation. If my hon. friend will think for a moment, he will find that if we were to give $50 increase to every postmaster in Canada, there are 10,000 postmasters, and that would involve an increased expenditure of $500,000.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

Robert Johnston

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHNSTON (Cardwell).

I think it would be possible to take something off the men in the cities and towns who are getting large salaries and add that to the men in the rural districts who do not get enough. We have in our settlement men getting $10, $15 and $20 for keeping post offices, and they have to keep these offices heated and open longer hours than in the cities or towns, and besides they are responsible and have to furnish security. I say we should put them on a basis somewhat equal to the others, and give them something worth while, even if you have to take it off those who have large salaries.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. ROBINSON (West Elgin).

I hope the hon. the Postmaster General will give careful consideration to some communications he has had from me on the subject of free rural mail delivery. I do not expect that such a system could be started all over this Dominion in one year, but the hon. gentleman could begin in the county of Elgin, and then follow it up in the county of York. He would then find that this service would be so much appreciated that the country would never allow these hon. gentlemen to remain in their seats on that side of the House unless they continued it. There is nothing you can do more calculated to keep the boys and the old men on the farm and make them love the farm as to give them a rural free mail delivery. They would then get their newspapers every evening, and be able to discuss all those questions which come up before this House and know nearly as much as some of the gentlemen- not the gentlemen opposite, of course-in this House.

I cannot refrain from putting in a plea for those postmasters and postmistresses who have to keep these rural post offices open almost day and night, because in the country, when our work is done and we have had our supper, it is often late in the night before we can go for our letters, and these postmasters and postmistresses have to keep their offices open to wait upon us. I think their case is deserving of every consideration, and I hope that when Christmas time comes, the hon. gentleman will have something on the Christmas tree to repay them for the work they are doing.

Let me add just another word. I often come down to the city, and of course, like

people from the country visiting the city, am quite an observer, and I see strong, double-fisted fellows-as big as the Postmaster General himself, walking to the post office two or three times a day just to see if there is anything there. It would be economy to have the mails brought to their addresses at least once a day and utilize these big strong fellows in some other kind of work. I think that every city of 10,000 inhabitants or even less, should have a free mail delivery. It would expedite business and in every way be an advantage to the community.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

I would draw the attention of the hon. Postmaster General to the fact that a petition has been presented from a part of my constituency asking for a post office to be erected in the township of Edwardsburg. The people have been agitating to have a post office there for some years, but although it is a very thickly settled district, they have not been able to get it as yet. Consequently they are obliged to travel quite a distance for their mail, and I understand that an arrangement has been submitted to the Postmaster General by which the route could be changed without any extra expense and give them this post office asked for. A number of people have expressed their willingness to take charge of the post office, and I hope the hon. gentleman will try and accommodate that section. He could do so without any extra expense. It would be a great convenience to the people to be able to get their daily paper and keep in touch with the times.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The subject was brought up this afternoon as to whether the Postmaster General had considered the question of changing the postage on newspapers, and I am not aware that he made any observations on the matter. I have heard from several rural publishers, who express the opinion that they would much rather have a straight postage on paper without regard to distance, than the present arrangement. The present arrangement occasioned a great deal of trouble and annoyance in separating the papers that must be carried a long distance, from those within the free zone, and the delay often results in their not being able to be mailed at the earliest possible moment.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

The publishers who enjoy the free zone can very easily get over the difficulty complained of by not taking advantage of the privilege. Some have done so. They find the exemption is so trifling that they voluntarily pay the postage. Last year I introduced a Biil dealing with the subject, which passed this House, but did not meet with favourable assent in the Senate.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON.

I have heard numerous attacks made upon the Postmaster General this evening-some, I am afraid, with 16i

a tinge of bitterness-and it, therefore, affords me a great deal of pleasure to call the attention of this committee to a little incident which proves conclusively, to my mind at least, that the Post Office Department is not administered in that partisan spirit of which we have heard so much. Shortly after the general election in 1896, a small post office in my constituency of Haldi-mand was about to be deprived of a daily service, a tri-weekly service to be established. Being somewhat interested in the matter, I wrote as strong a letter as I could to the Postmaster General, asking him to continue the daily service, and, in my letter, I pointed out that in the polling subdivision where the post office was situated, only three Conservative votes had been polled in the general election. This, I told the Postmaster General, was not said to influence his judgment according to lines of political bias, but merely to show him the high grade of intelligence of the people in that neighbourhood, in the hope that such an intelligent people might not be deprived of the daily service and the daily newspaper. The reply came back from the Postmaster General, in terms courteous, but firm : I do not consider it in the public interest to continue this as a daily service ; I must insist on a reduction to a tri-weekly service.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE CORONATION OATH.
Subtopic:   VISIT OF THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL AND YORK.
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February 26, 1901