If the hon. gentleman can tell me how many immigrants are going into Manitoba from now until next year and where they are going to settle, then perhaps I can tell him definitely. In answer to the hon. gentleman's inquiry as to the increase in the number of post offices I find that 310 were added during the last fiscal year.
There are now 10,460 post offices and 310 must be some proportion of the whole number, must it not ? There were so many miles of mail routes ; this year we have added so many more, and that must be some proportion of the whole number. Now would it not be natural to estimate, if you are judging from a business standpoint, what would be the additional amount required for the coming year, and then to provide for that proportion of in-' crease? We are only estimating one year ahead, but you are giving exactly the same estimate as that of last year. That does not seem to be the most intelligent business judgment that could be exercised.
It must be remembered that these estimates are prepared not to-day, 'but as long ago as December, on data covering the period up to the end of November. I want to give the House the latest possible information, and when the supplementaries are brought in we will know the state of affairs up to that date, as the new services are posted up in the department from day to day. Is it not better to have definite information up to March 1, than up to last November ?
I can hardly agree with that. Whatever information was in the possession of the department up to November or December must be as reliable, in estimating the future, as the information up to March 1 would be; one is a proportion of the year just as the other is. Any one coming into this country picking up the estimates and seeing that the Postmaster General is asking the same amount for the coming year as he did for the last year would naturally reach the conclusion that the country is not expanding very fast, but we know that it is expanding very fast.
My friend is right. I think that on general principles the main estimate ought, wherever it is possible, to be the main estimate and that the supplementary estimate should be made as small
as possible. I wish to ask the minister from what railways we are now getting free mail service and to what extent. It strikes me that some of our subsidies were given some time ago with an obligation compelling the railway taking the subsidy to carry the mails of the Dominion free. Are we getting any return in that way at the present time?
The department is getting no mails carried free. I think the condition attached to these subsidies is that in the case of a railway receiving a subsidy it must perform services to the government to the extent of three per cent of the subsidy before it would be entitled to payment for services.
I think we pay the Receiver General as if the Receiver General was the railway. When we put the mails on a new line of railway that is in that position, instead of paying what the railway earns to the railway we pay it over to the Receiver General.
My hon. friend knows what I mean. H3e knows (that certain railways were bonused under certain conditions, one of these being that they were to do a certain amount of public carrying for the country. What I want to get at is
to what extent the Post Office Department has participated in that. Thejcountry has got the benefit of it if these roads under these conditions have been carrying the mails.
As I explained to the hon. gentleman, if it is a question between the department and the railways the department has to pay the Receiver General for the service. The railway company has not received money from the government, because it is not entitled to payment of its claim until it has earned three per cent.