No, he was a good Orange Conservative. He said : If I cannot get my mail oftener than once in six months it is pretty nearly time to move away from this country. There are other places where they feel this same drawback, and I do think that in our western countries the hon. Postmaster General should exercise more generosity than he does in the east. I believe that if the postal service runs behind there it should be charged up to immigration or provided for in some other way so that the people would have a sufficient number of post offices. I hope the hon. Postmaster General will look into this question.
I would like to call the hon. minister's attention to the fact that I see that at page 115 of the civil service list the name of Thomas Robinson Garrett as a third-class clerk in the Toronto district, being among the railway mail clerks. He was apparently born on the 15th September, 1845. May I ask the hon. minister if the date is correct as to his age ?
Assuming that the date is correct, the hon. Postmaster General has informed us that on account of age and infirmity he retired Mr. LeSueur and Mr. Matheson, whose superannuation allowance will amount to about $2,000 a year each. The Postmaster General retires a gentleman who is 61 years old, and he appoints another who is 55 years. The life of a railway mail clerk, under ordinary circumstances, is not very long, because of his arduous work, and does the Postmaster General think that it is in the interest of the country to appoint a mail clerk at such an age ? Where does Mr. Garrett come from ?
The point arises, that if a man has a retiring allowance it is easier to dispense with his services, because it may be a case of hardship to throw him out on the street if he has no superannuation. Have any other appointments been made of men 55 years of age.
The Postmaster General is not alone in inconsistency, because a few years ago the government introduced the Bill to retire judges when they reached 70 years, and a judge was recently appointed at the age of 71 years. Is George G. Anderson now a permanent railway mail clerk?
On a former occasion the Postmaster General promised that he would consider the question of reducing the postage rate on drop letters in cities. Has the hon. gentleman given that matter consideration ? It is a fact wmch must be well known to the Postmaster General and his officers that a large number of local letters are distributed by leading concerns in cities by messengers employed for that purpose at a lower rate than the 2 cents that the post office charges. That would seem to prove that the drop letter rate is altogether too high.
They would be getting their letters at a less rate than would be charged our friend the farmer who has to walk to the post office. I do not think that the people who live outside of the cities would be very anxious to adopt the suggestion made by the hon. gentleman. The free delivery is very expensive, and those who get the benefit of it might be expected to pay the extra expense, either in the way of an extra rate or by contribution of a bulk sum.
The Postmaster General forgets that postal cards and circulars now require only a 1-cent postage, and are delivered iu cities just as letters and newspapers are. My contention is that a 2cent rate is too much for this service, and that is proven by the fact that large legal and mercantile firms can employ messengers to distribute their letters and circulars at a less rate than 2' cents each. In view of that fact, it is not an unreasonable request to ask the minister to take this matter into consideration.
The hon. member for West Toronto has raised a very important question with reference to the postage on newspapers. What revenue does the Postmaster General get to-day from postage on newspapers, and what does their circulation cost him ? We get some newspapers in the western countries that are all right, but we also get a lot of terrible Tory sheets that are not worth paying for. They have a bad effect on our western people and some limit should be put upon their circulation by an increased postage rate.