August 1, 1904

LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Nearly nine years.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Then, that makes his position all the stronger. It would take him nine years to work up from the minimum salary to the maximum of $600 a year. But, as he understood it, a part of the contract was that, in consideration of his beginning at a low wage and working up, he would establish and make good his right to superannuation when the department did not require his services any longer. The contention of the men who came in under that law is that if they take advantage of the Act of the hon. gentleman they lose their superannuation, and the sum to be paid them would be only the total of their payments into the superannuation fund, with interest added. They would continue to pay a certain sum annually into the fund ; and when they retire, what they receive is whatever is at their credit in the superannuation fund-it may be $200, $300 or $400. But they absolutely deprive themselves of the right to superannuation. Now, that is the difference between the two schemes, as I understand it from the men.

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CON
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Of course, that is entirely'erroneous.

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?

Mr CLARKE.

Then, the hon. gentleman (Sir William Mulock) will please explain how it is.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I have read the statute twice ; I will send it to him.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

I will read it, because I do not wish) to misunderstand the law. This is the Act of 1902 : [DOT]

Such election shall not affect his rights or position under the Civil Service Superannuation Act or the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1SSS.

Does that mean that the carriers will still continue to pay in annually as they did up to the passage of the Act of 1897, and that when they retire from the service they will receive an annual allowance, if they have served 35 years, of seventy per cent of their wages ? Is that the explanation !

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I do not wish the hon. gentleman's remarks to go abroad unchallenged. The hon. gentleman is quite aware that when the retirement Act was passed an option was given to all persons who were then on the superannuation list, either to continue under the old superannuation list or to come in under the Retirement Act ; and if a letter-carrier was entitled to superannuation under the old Act and did not desire to be transferred to the provisions of the new law, he remained entitled to all the benefits of the old law. A letter-carrier who was entitled to supeiannua-tion then is entitled to superannuation today ; and if to-day a letter-carrier chooses ,tio change his mode of payment, and instead of being paid by the year to be paid on another basis, he is still entitled to his rights under the Superannuation Act.

\Iv CLARKE. Of 1882-83 ?

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Whatever the date of the Superannuation Act is. Whether the hon. gentleman is arguing, or supporting the contention of others, or whatever view lie is advancing, it would be a great pity if if letter-carriers were misled, and by the suggestion that they are losing the benefit of the Superannuation Act, were to fail to avail themselves of the great pecuniary advantages that the Act of 1902 conferred upon them. A number of them have been (badly advised, prejudiced, and have failed to avail themselves of the opportunity of having a salary of $725 a year, which is waiting for them if they choose to accept it. A number, more wise, have availed themselves of it. It would be incorrect to state that all the old letter-cairiers had refused to accept the new law; a considerable number of them have. I gave some figures when I was asked that question some time ago. I do not remember the number now. but the number that have , already accepted the new Act and those

who are now anxious and waiting to accept it, will represent considerably more than a majority of the letter-carriers. They hare been misled or frightened, and have not therefore profited as they might have done by the Act. That does not affect their legal right in the case of sick-pay, for they have no such legal right. My hon. friend from Brant (Mr. Heyd) stated that nothing in the law entitled letter-carriers or any other members of the civil service to pay when absent, for whatever cause, unless they are employed under the statute ; and if there is any class that the public expect to be on hand for the performance of their duty it is the letter-carriers. When one makes default it is too late in the morning to appoint a substitute to perform that morning's work. The state of affairs in some parts of the Dominion made it necessary to withdraw any excuse to letter-carriers not to be prompt and punctual in attendance at their duties. If any man comes under this Bill and works faithfully, he is well paid for it

as well paid as any class of workmen in Canada. If. however, they do not wish to avail themselves of this measure, it is entirely their own affair and their own loss.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I would take this opportunity of asking the minister if it is a rule in the post office at Montreal and the substations, that when letter-carriers who are ill and who produce satisfactory proof to the postmaster, by a medical certificate or otherwise, that they are ill, they are deprived of their pay ?

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

The rule is, in the first instance, to withhold pay from any one who is absent from duty except during his holidays ; the cause of his absence is investigated in the first instance by the officers of the post office in question. They make their report accordingly, furnishing such evidence as bears upon the case, which is transmitted to the Deputy Postmaster General, and he thereupon pronounces upon the case, and decides whether, under all the circumstances, the employee should or should not be granted sick leave.

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LIB
LIB
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

That strikes me as imposing upon the minor employees of the department because letter-carriers are minor employees-a very long and difficult procedure in order to obtain pay for periods of illness. I think, in a large place like Montreal where the postmaster is a trustworthy man, he ought to have power to exercise a certain discretion. Now, either the Postmaster General is rather harsh to the minor employees of his department, the letter-carriers in particular

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I do not think so.

Mr. MONK-or else he is a much maligned man, because in Montreal the letter-carriers are dissatisfied, and those employed in the inside post office are dissatisfied, and it seems to me there is a consensus of dissatisfaction to-day, showing that there must be some grievance. I have already offered the Postmaster General to investigate it with him if he will come down

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I found the hon. gentleman's statement was entirely without foundation.

Mr. MONK-but the hon. gentleman has never accepted my offer.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I investigated what he said, and found it absolutely baseless.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I am still waiting for him to come to Montreal. When I brought up the question some time ago, of these men being obliged to work overtime without extra pay

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

That is absolutely untrue.

Mr. MONK-my hon. friend at that time caused to be placed in the post office at Montreal, as I am informed, in a conspicuous place, a notice that nobody should work overtime-that is the information I have-when I brought up the question of overtime-work a notice was given that nobody should be called upon to wrork overtime. Well, I think nobody should be called upon to work overtime. I think that notice was quite proper. But 1 think circumstances may arise

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

That is not the tenor of the notice.

Mr. MONK-that is the tenor, according to thte information given to me

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August 1, 1904