August 4, 1917

CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WIHITE:

It has been placed upon Hansard two or three times during the present session. If my hon. friend is interested he will be able to find it without difficulty.

Ottawa public buildings-Telephone service, $47,000.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I notice there is an increase of $5,000 in this item, and I think the minister should give some explanation

in regard to it. I should suppose there would not be as many telephones in this building as there were in the Parliament Buildings which were destroyed by fire. The amount, $47,000, seems to be very large indeed for telephone service in connection with the public buildings in Ottawa. Could not a great saving be made in the case of telephones? I should suppose it would be possible to instal a central switchboard so that the officers in the different buildings would be served in that way, and that this would mean a very large reduction in the cost of the service.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

The increase is due to the increase in the number of employees, largely in the Militia Department, for example. We had many, many hundreds more during last year in the Militia Department than before. Then we have the pension hoard, the assigned pay .office and various other branches, all of which make a demand at once for telephones. We have switchboards in the Militia Department and the Printing Bureau. Outside of the Militia Department ana the Printing Bureau I do not know that a switchboard would be desirable. The increase of $5,000 is not very large in view of the increase in the Militia Department and in the other services that we have to supply. We have to provide telephones for the Food Controller, the National Service Board, the Fuel Controller and various offices of that kind.

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LIB
CON
LIB

George William Kyte

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

Is there a special rate of rental agreed upon between the Government and the company, or do you pay the ordinary rate?

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CON
LIB
CON
LIB

George William Kyte

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

That would mean almost two hundred extra telephones this year over last year. That would supply a very large number of additional offices.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

This item is to take care of any possible increase for the coming year.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Is there any special building in the city used as a garage for the militia automobiles, or are they distributed in different garages throughout the eity?

fMr. Pugsley.l

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I would not be able to answer that question.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

From what I hear, they are so much on the street that they would not need a garage. .They are rolling about the streets all the time.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

That shows that they are necessary or they would not have them.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The telephone charge strikes me as very high taking one telephone with another. There must be over

2,000 telephones. While in certain of the offices there might be a charge of $35, I would suppose that for the great majority of the offices a very much smaller charge would be made. I know it is customary on the part of telephone companies to charge more for offices than residences. The reason for that, I suppose, is that there are more calls for offices than is the case with residences. But that would not apply to the offices of hundreds of clerks in the different departments in Ottawa. Thirty-five dollars strikes me as being a pretty high charge on the average for all these different instruments. However, that is a matter for the officials of the department to look into. An expenditure of $47,000 would strike the public as a pretty heavy charge for telephone service for a year. The increase of $5,000 is very large. As my hon. friend from Richmond (Mr. Kyte) points out, while there is an increase in the number of employees, they would not all have the telephone service. I think some effort ought to be made to get some reduction in the charge for telephones.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

The item does seem rather large but I find on looking at the record that we have 1,014 phones altogether, 800 odd of which are office phones and only 100 odd house phones.

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LIB
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Probably all of that

amount has not been expended-I do not know,-but that is the number of phones that we have on the departmental record. Of these 817 are in offices and 190 in houses.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

As the total last year amounted to $47,000, the minister will see that it will amount to an average of $47 a phone, which is very high indeed, some $12 apiece greater than what the minister said was the amount which was paid. There must be some error in that because the minister surely does not pay $47 a phone?

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August 4, 1917