May 14, 1954

PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to bring some matters to the attention of the committee. I should like to preface my few remarks by the general observation that, in the nine years that I have had the honour to be a member of parliament, there has not been another time in my experience when so many complaints have reached me with regard to poor postal delivery service. I am not speaking simply of my own riding. I am speaking of complaints that one receives from various quarters about poor postal service. I have made it a point, I think in almost every case, to put these complaints before the minister. The minister is always courteous but the results are not particularly gratifying. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chairman, that the public of Canada feel, with justification,

that when it was called upon, beginning April 1, to pay substantially increased postal rates, it was and is entitled to receive better service than it is now receiving. I do not refer only to the matter of the two deliveries a day in residential districts, although I include that matter. If we are going to have these substantially increased postal rates, we should have that kind of service. However, I am referring to other matters of wider effect as well.

The minister is aware of the fact that in the city of Toronto particularly, with the new metropolitan area established by law, there has been a good deal of confusion with regard to what is the local urban area within which the four cent postage rate applies. A great many people are still under the impression that with the enlargement by law of the metropolitan area, it is at least archaic that the postal service should set tight limits on the area within which the four cent local delivery rate applies. To a great many people in that area it has been annoying to find not only that their letters are required to bear on their covers the penalty of inadequate postage but that, under the new regulations, those letters are now returned to them. For instance, if someone in the metropolitan area puts a four cent stamp on a letter that happens to be going, we will say, to Willowdale or to some place within what is the Willowdale area but is nevertheless within the Toronto area according to general understanding, the letter is returned to him for increased postage plus penalty, and valuable time is wasted by that return. I would urge on the department that there should be a rationalization of the local delivery system with regard to deliveries within a metropolitan area like that existing in the Toronto district.

I do not intend to delay the committee, Mr. Chairman, by referring in detail to all of the complaints that have reached me with regard to inexcusably delayed deliveries. However, I wish to mention some of these complaints because I think they illustrate, as clearly as anything that one can place before the committee, precisely what their nature is. For instance, I have before me a cover addressed to a lady living on the street on which I live here in Ottawa. It is a perfectly proper address. This letter was mailed from Sudbury. It bears the stamp "Sudbury, December 16, 1953, 10.30 p.m." It reached Ottawa. It is properly addressed in a perfectly legible hand. I know the house well. Nevertheless this letter, on reaching the Ottawa post office, was returned marked "not in directory". Yet it is a residence in this city that anyone can see, and the envelope 83276-300J

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is very clearly addressed. The letter was returned to Sudbury and finally reached the recipient in Ottawa away on in January after a loss, as a result of poor handling and inefficiency in the department, of something like three weeks. Even taking account of the pressure on the postal services at Christmastime and the fact that temporary help is employed in such cases, I submit to you, Mr. Chairman, that there can be no excuse whatever for inefficiency so glaring as that.

Then I have before me the cover of a letter which was mailed from Victoria, British Columbia, and which took from December 21 to January 11 to reach the addressee. I have another here with a Toronto postmark, December 19, 1953, perfectly clearly

addressed to a proper address in Toronto. This one, if you please, was returned with the notation "not known here", although it was the address of the recipient and she was there. It is quite obvious there was no inquiry made. After being shuttled around in the mail it was eventually redelivered to the original and proper address on January 26, 1954.

It is for service like that that the people of this country are being called upon to pay substantially increased postal rates. It is no wonder they are not only irritated but outraged by these further impositions. Just yesterday I was spoken to by a gentleman who resides in Ottawa and he showed me two covers which suggest a very striking contrast. He received the two of them at the same time, on April 26, in the daily delivery in Ottawa. One came from England and was postmarked from Stoke-on-Trent at 5.30 p.m. on April 23. It was posted on the afternoon of April 23 and was delivered here in Ottawa on the morning of Monday, April 26. That was very good service by the transAtlantic air mail.

But let us see what happens with domestic mail. In the same delivery he received a letter postmarked from Toronto on Thursday, April 22. It took that letter from Thursday, when deposited in the Toronto post office, until Monday morning to be delivered here in Ottawa at an address which is quite accessible and well known. It was placed in the post office twenty-four hours before the letter posted at Stoke-on-Trent in England, and they arrived at the same time. Poor postal service between Toronto and Ottawa is not new. It has been referred to in the discussion on the estimates of the Post Office Department every year for a good many years past. Surely it should be possible to have overnight service between two large cities as closely connected as Toronto and Ottawa with a high volume of first class mail

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moving between them. I do not think any hon. member is going to condone service deliveries like this where mail is placed in the post office in Toronto on a Thursday and is not delivered in Ottawa until the following Monday. There was no holiday intervening, except Sunday.

It was not a case of a public holiday at all. It was simply a case of poor service, delays in the post office. At which end the delay occurred one does not know, but certainly a delay did occur somewhere in the post office. If the government is determined to levy these very high postal rates, increased to figures that the public of Canada resents, then surely the least that the Post Office Department can do is to jack up its service.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Frank A. Enfield

Liberal

Mr. Enfield:

Before the minister is called upon to answer some of the questions and queries that have been put to him, I should like to deal briefly with the post office situation. It is a matter that is rather close to my heart inasmuch as I have had a great deal to do with the problem in my own riding. I think that the problem with which the Post Office Department is faced is so obvious that sometimes some of us more or less do not see the woods for the trees. As we all know, there has been tremendous industrial and domestic expansion in the construction field in Canada in the last few years and the Post Office Department, like every other organization that has to supply public services, has been faced with the problem of rapidly expanding its services, taking on new employees and training them to provide these much-needed new services.

The Post Office Department is not the only organization that is having trouble. Go to some of the big metropolitan areas and you will see what you run into so far as other services that people require, sewers, water, roads, are concerned. I saw a reference in an Ottawa paper the other day to "tulip time in Pothole". There is the problem of providing these services right here on our doorstep. I think my area exemplifies more than any other in Canada the type of problem that the Post Office Department is encountering at this time. I should like to outline it for you and show what we have been endeavouring to do to iron out the situation.

Metropolitan Toronto is a most difficult area to provide service for because there is the hard core of the urban area, the rapidly growing suburban areas spreading out from that and then a completely rural portion encompassing the whole. Therefore you have three problems of distribution, urban, suburban and rural, right in the one large unit. The change is very rapid. For example

in Scarborough township alone there was an increase in population last year of 18,000 people, 18,000 people in one area the size of a small city that has grown up within an already rapidly expanding area. Of course, when all these people move into the area the first thing they think of when they get settled in their new homes is to demand all the services that make for a convenient existence, including mail delivery to the door.

There are twenty-one mailing addresses in my riding alone, and it is not a rural area comparable to some of the vast ridings represented by many hon. members. It is supposed to be an urban area. People sorting mail in the city of Toronto post office have as many as 10,000 different points of reference to remember when they are doing their sorting. The problem is how to take care of this rapid expansion so as to provide people with good, efficient service. Some would like it to be at the same cost as before, but obviously that cannot be done. When you are capitalizing, when you are setting up new post offices or new systems, taking on new men, providing new equipment to handle the mail and new means of transportation, there is bound to be an increase in the amount of money you spend. I am surprised that the increase during 1953-54 was not greater than the $17 million that the Postmaster General mentioned.

When I look at the number of new employees the department is taking on, as found in the details of the estimates, I am surprised that there are not more than the odd few in each section. Considering the vast amount of work that has to be done, the number is surprisingly low and bespeaks the efficient handling of the help by the organization. Therefore I do not think we should complain unduly about the increase in rates. Of course, as the hon. member for Macleod and others have mentioned, naturally people are going to complain about an increase in rates, but I feel that if we tell them the story of what the department is up against they will agree, as reasonable people, that you cannot have something for nothing. If we want to follow the very good principle-I think it is a good principle- that the post office should endeavour to pay its own way, then obviously increased revenues have to be obtained from somewhere.

How have we attacked the problem in my riding? I think the metropolitan Toronto post office is to be commended for the aggressive and forthright action taken. In the last few months door to door delivery service has been extended to nearly 4,000 people. We have set up one new semi-staffed post office that I am aware of. We have

plans under way for a new post office in Scarborough, Ontario, that will provide delivery, we feel, for many more thousands of people within that particular area. I must say, too, the co-operative work of the Toronto district post office has been excellent in this regard. I think if the department could attack the problem other members are finding in their riding with the same energy and forthrightness that I have seen in my particular part of metropolitan Toronto, they would not have very much to complain about.

As I say, this question has been uppermost in the minds of my constituents, perhaps more than any other matter concerning the federal government. I have not had, however, very many personal complaints from my people regarding the service. I know the hon. member for Eglinton seems to have a curious capacity for collecting these complaints. I recall that when we were discussing this matter last Christmas he was complaining that a letter addressed to Mr. D. Fleming, Toronto, which should have found him immediately, took a little longer than usual. I have not had, as I say, more than a few letters from anyone in my particular part of metropolitan Toronto complaining about actual delays that had occurred in the delivery of mail.

Actually, two of these complaints occurred at Christmastime when the mail was very heavy. In another case the cover was sent with the complaint, so I was able to have an investigation made and an explanation given of that particular item. I feel it is significant, when we have such rapidly expanding areas and when this problem is uppermost in the minds of the people, that I have not received many more direct complaints concerning delay in mail deliveries. Mind you, I am not suggesting that we have not received complaints, as the Postmaster General knows. I say again that a good attack upon the problem by the Post Office Department will provide the necessary service and gradually solve this problem with which the Post Office Department will be faced as long as we are growing so rapidly. We hope our growth and expansion will continue at the same rate as we have experienced it in the past.

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CCF

Erhart Regier

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Regier:

The area about which I wish to speak is not a new area at all, and therefore it is not an area that has any of the growing pains of these new areas that are arising on the outskirts of these large cities in Canada. After listening to the member for York-Scarborough, I feel that some of the Postmaster General's top assistants from that area ought to be moved over to the area from which I come so that he would receive some

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of that good advice which he apparently received in connection with the situation in the hon. member's area.

I feel this is the proper time for me to raise this matter of a Burnaby post office, especially since we are discussing the item containing the minister's salary. I was saying to someone that I hoped we could get out of the minister an executive ability to match his charm and personality. I was rudely reminded that the two do not necessarily go together. However, I feel that any faults that have existed under his short administration so far are only due, as the member for Vancouver East said the other day, to some very rotten advice he has received from the west coast.

At this time I should like to pay tribute to the efforts of other members who have, for the past twelve years, represented this area that I now represent. The people back home used to be taken in by the line that if you have a Liberal elected, and get your member on the government side of the house, you will get much more out of the government. The people have since been thoroughly disillusioned. They knew they had most able men. One man has since been honoured and is today the hon. Minister of Fisheries. He represented this area for a period of eight years and, I am sure, did his utmost to obtain a fair deal from the Post Office Department. The other member still sits in this house as the member for Burnaby-Richmond. This is not a partisan matter. I have with me today numerous editorials in which the people at home congratulate their two members on presenting a united appeal on this matter.

Our area of Burnaby is one of the oldest on the west coast. Burnaby was in existence when possibly wild animals were still roaming the swamps of what is today called Vancouver. It is a thoroughly organized municipality, having some 70,000 inhabitants. They feel they have been getting a raw deal, from a political standpoint, and simply fail to understand how various Postmasters General have had the nerve to let down their local member. I think the whole of the population back home would endorse the statement that their members of parliament, even though they sat on the government side, have been let down by former postmasters general.

One member, whom I recall, was elected as late as 1949. One of the main reasons for his election to this House of Commons was the fact he was an effective organizer and advertiser. He built up the native pride of the people in their area and said that if the people would elect him Burnaby would be put on the map as it ought to be. We have

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seen some action since that time. Not too long after that 1949 election two sub-post offices were erected. There has been a lot of amazement as to the manner in which these sub-post offices were set up. We see the same pattern in other areas, and I am thinking of the riding of New Westminster. Apparently it has become the policy now that when the department need a new post office they no longer get the Minister of Public Works to erect a public building. They deem it expedient to award a long-term lease to someone who will then undertake to erect the building that will house this post office.

Now, people do not erect public buildings for the love of it. They erect them for one purpose only, and that is to make money. I hope that we have seen the end of this policy, because it was a poor policy. However, that is all past and gone. We have these sub-post offices in operation and, for the time being, ;and as the minister knows, the staff there are doing a splendid job. At this time I should make it quite plain that I am not, as the member for Eglinton did, going to complain of poor service. I feel that the service back home is excellent when we consider the conditions under which the men there have to work. I hope that good labour relations are going to be re-established very soon, and that the morale of that part of the civil service we have at the lower levels is not going to deteriorate.

We were told also that we had some reason to look forward to getting a federal building in Burnaby. I went along with the idea that we could not reasonably look for a Burnaby post office until we had a federal building.

I shall have something to say about that a little later. I am only rather amazed that the federal building item in the estimates of the Minister of Public Works for last year has somehow disappeared this year. We are rather apprehensive about it. At the time of the Christmas recess, a conference was held in the area of all interested organizations. That meeting was attended by North Burnaby and South Burnaby boards of trade; postmasters from respective outlying cities; top-notch postal officers; and members of the local municipal council. An agreement was reached and that agreement, although not formulated in the manner of a resolution, recognized first of all that we would likely have to wait until we obtained a federal building before we could expect a post office at Burnaby. However, in the interim there was the general desire expressed that a useful purpose would be served if Burnaby could be divided into regions or zones, and these zones labelled

Burnaby 1, Burnaby 2 and so on. What was the result? We did not get the zones even though we wanted them, but we did get some zoning and there is now listed in the official guide such places as North Burnaby and South Burnaby. The reaction to this was immediate. Here I would like to read the opinions of each of the eight elected municipal officers, the reeve and the seven councillors, and may I point out that only one is C.C.F. The others are solid supporters of the Liberal party, though there may be one supporter of the Conservative party for all I know. However, Reeve C. W. MacSorley said:

It is not what we wanted at all.

Councillor Sam Hughes said:

An insult to council's intelligence . . .

Councillor Murray Morrison said:

He wanted us to speak with one voice but this further divides us.

Councillor Gerald Charlton said:

North Burnaby has only just gone on record against any change at present.

Councillor Mrs. E. O. Wilks said:

We want Burnaby alone in the address, not north and south Burnaby. We must not give approval to this change.

Councillor W. P. Philps said:

It takes no account of East Burnaby.

Councillor Fred Philps said:

This does nothing for Burnaby. I am thoroughly dissatisfied.

Councillor Arnold Hean said:

We will now wait for the editorials!

I will not read the editorials. However, after that I went and made a personal appeal to the Postmaster General, as he knows, and I asked the following: First of all, Mr. Chairman, that he use his influence so that an early beginning would be made on the construction of a federal building; secondly that Burnaby be divided into postal zones, Burnaby 1, Burnaby 2 and so on, and if it was found necessary to be able to do that, that all mail for Burnaby be sent through either New Westminster or Vancouver post office. I further asked that the whole of the lower mainland area, where no rail, water, or air transport for letters is necessary, be given the benefit of the drop letter rate, as in large areas of Montreal and Toronto.

Then I added this, and I really meant it as I indicated at the beginning, and I mean it even now:

We do, however, feel that you are competent and willing to give it the recognition that this second largest centre of population in British Columbia is asking for.

In answer to that I received a short reply dated April 15, the second paragraph of which reads as follows:

I am asking my officials to make a thorough study of the situation and as soon as their report is received, I shall get in touch with you.

I would like to read that part again, Mr. Chairman, "-a thorough study of the situation-" What followed? As a result of that letter I received an acknowledgment from the corporation of the district of Burnaby in which, among other things, they said:

The council . . . would ask you to continue pressing for a unified system of postal distribution in this municipality.

That letter was signed "Charles B. Brown, Municipal Clerk". Upon coming here after Easter, as the result of what apparently has been a "thorough study of the situation", I received a letter from the Postmaster General. But, Mr. Chairman, before dealing with that letter I would submit that there has been no thorough study of the situation whatsoever, and that fact emphasizes what the hon. member for Vancouver East said the other day, namely, that some of the advice being handed over to Ottawa from postal officials is horribly wrong.

To return to the letter I received, point No. 1 deals with the existing sub-post offices and the dates upon which the leases for them will expire. Point No. 2 states:

A central building could not be utilized to serve both north and south Burnaby because of the topography of the area.

I think that sentence is enough to make any member from British Columbia laugh. Whoever wrote that sentence has obviously no idea of the topography of Burnaby. We have five major highways running through the municipality east and west; we have excellent paved roads running through the municipality north and south; and to say that the topography of the area does not permit the construction of a central building when Liberal members of parliament have been asking for such a building, and when local municipal organizations have been urging for one for years, seems the last word in bad advice. The letter then goes on, and this is the part my people are going to resent more than anything else:

However, If a federal building were erected in either north Burnaby or south Burnaby, possibly space in such a building could: be used to replace the rented premises now occupied.

That sentence, Mr. Chairman, makes it seem as though the Postmaster General had never heard of any plans for a federal building in Burnaby, and would also indicate that if we are going to get one it might be in

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north Burnaby or south Burnaby; but we are certainly not going to get one where the people of Burnaby want one to be constructed. Again I would emphasize that there is a modern, well-paved highway running right through the centre of Burnaby, so if anyone wants to lead the people to believe that that is a place where wild animals live, he is badly mistaken. The centre of Burnaby is well settled and it is a wonderful area.

The letter goes on:

The suggestion that all mail for Burnaby be channelled through either New Westminster or Vancouver is not practical from a postal service standpoint.

Then it goes on to explain that because one part of Burnaby is nearer to New Westminster and another part is nearer to Vancouver there would be a delay in the service if it were all channelled through one major post office at either New Westminster or Vancouver. But that is even more ridiculous than anything heretofore in this letter. Surely it does not take any longer for mail to be hauled from the centre of New Westminster to the centre of Burnaby than from the centre of Vancouver to the centre of Burnaby. At least the suggestion of serious delay is really stretching the imagination, and I know it will be resented by the people back home because they know it is just not so.

Then the minister goes on to remind me there is one organization in my riding which is not in favour of an all-Burnaby post office. I would like to point out that the north Burnaby board of trade has never stated that they did not want a Burnaby post office. Their representatives were at the meeting during the recess and they voiced no objection whatsoever. The only thing about which they are concerned is that any reorganization should not be permitted to interfere with the excellent service they are now getting because of the loyalty of the local postal worker. They want it considered on a metropolitan basis, and when we are asking for a Burnaby post office we are not violating that principle of a metropolitan distribution of mail in any way, shape or form.

Then, point No. 4 reads:

There appears to be no necessity for mail for Burnaby to be zoned.

I should like to ask the Postmaster General: If there is no necessity for that mail to be zoned, why is it zoned now? We have it zoned; Burnaby, north and south Burnaby, are at least several of the zones. We have the post office of Barnet, and a part of the municipality gets its mail through New Westminster. As a member of parliament, I ought to know my riding fairly well; yet I am

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having a difficult time when I read somebody's address and want to send him a letter. I do not know whether such and such a number on such and such a route should be sent to New Westminster, to north Burnaby or to south Burnaby. I am forever finding I have to keep on resorting to the map and asking: Now, what zone is that particular letter supposed to be sent to? I maintain that the population is going to go up by leaps and bounds, and I am more concerned with the long-term outlook for Burnaby mail than I am with the immediate situation.

I do not hesitate to say that in ten years' time, instead of 70,000 people, we shall have

140,000 people, and what is the situation going to be like at that time? Right now I hear the New Westminster postmaster and the Vancouver postmaster voicing complaints that Burnaby mail is still being wrongly addressed by those who write to people in Burnaby. I submit that unless a thorough study of this situation is made it is going to be worse than ever instead of becoming better.

The last point in the reply is this:

As regards the drop letter rate, the situation in Burnaby is not comparable to either the Montreal or Toronto postal areas.

This may interest some of the members from there:

In the case of Montreal, the drop letter rate of postage applies only within the area served by letter carriers in the Montreal postal service.

We had a number of editorials in our papers back home lately calling for the drop letter rate in the lower mainland. I also know that they have written letters. I have been in the constituency of Verdun, which most people look at as being a suburb of Montreal. Some 90,000 people live there. I understand that the sitting member for that area won his election apparently because he pledged them a new post office. Why 70,000 people in Burnaby, one of the oldest areas of Canada, should be denied any post office recognition whatsoever and a place like Verdun receive a new post office is a little beyond my comprehension. My people voted Liberal for three parliaments in a row, and they are getting a rotten deal out of it. I know that the people of Verdun can send a letter to Ville La Salle for four cents and also to Montreal itself; and to use the argument, "areas served by letter carriers", brings me to ask this question: Does the minister think that in Burnaby the mail is still delivered by ox-carts from one settlement to another? We also know of such people as letter carriers. The New Westminster people have letter carriers, as do the people in

Vancouver North and West Vancouver. If the area served by letter carriers is going to be the basis on which the service of four-cent postage is given, then West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, other than the rural routes that exist and are part of the New Westminster system, should get the lower rate.

The minister goes on to say:

In the case of Toronto, a metropolitan municipal area has been created by provincial legislation.

So that is it, now. We rely on the provincial government to designate the metropolitan area, when all the time the minister has been telling us that they disregard municipal boundary lines. But here, because the province of Ontario has seen fit to declare a metropolitan municipal area, that is given as an argument. Well, it should be known that we also have such a thing as a metropolitan Vancouver area, and we have many organizations and public services that are based on the greater metropolitan area. The letter goes on:

Furthermore, the complete area is under the jurisdiction of the postmaster, Toronto.

That, Mr. Chairman, is exactly what I am asking for; that until we get a federal building and a post office of our own the whole of our mail for Burnaby be channelled either under the direction of the New Westminster postmaster or the Vancouver postmaster; that we be entitled to address our mail to Burnaby, and that the names of these zones be Burnaby 1, Burnaby 2, Burnaby 3; and, if Barnet is included, Burnaby 4. We think that is a reasonable demand to make. I think our minister is a very sincere man. He is new at his task, just as I am. Doubtless he receives some bad advice. I hope I do not get any bad advice, but I am hoping that he and I are able to learn, and he at least has the great advantage of a charming personality. I say again, I hope that when we vote his salary this time we will get the executive ability to go along with it.

However, in conclusion I want to read a rather long sentence. It is only one sentence, even though it is long. It is from bulletin No. 4 published by the South Burnaby board of trade. It outlines what everyone there wants. It speaks here of an Easter conference which it was intended to convene and which we were not able to have. The purpose of the conference was to be to:

. . . settle once and for all why 70,000 people cannot have a post office address that will give due recognition and publicity to the corporation of Burnaby and not further divide the community as the present plan will do. Other communities with smaller population have solved their problem by a zone system with full recognition of their corporation name and nothing short of this will satisfy the majority of Burnaby citizens.

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LIB

Tom Goode

Liberal

Mr. Goode:

Mr. Chairman, it is most refreshing that someone now can help me with this fight. Perhaps when you sit on this side of the house there are supposed to be differences politically between the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam and the member for Burnaby-Richmond; but in this case that is not so. I do not agree with everything he says, in this instance, but I do agree with 99 per cent of it.

As I have said in this house before in his presence, this is a matter of two gentlemen, I hope, coming from British Columbia who want the same thing and who are trying to represent their people in the best way possible; regardless of where they sit in the house-they are going to co-operate. I have fought this fight of the Burnaby post office since 1949. The Postmaster General may not be in possession of all the facts. As my hon. friend mentioned, the Postmaster General is comparatively new, but I have fought this fight not with the Postmaster General but with senior members of his department. I have a file on this problem. I measured it this afternoon because I knew I was going to speak. It is fourteen inches thick and consists of letters back and forth, conferences held with the director of operations and other gentlemen in his department. That has gone on to the point where, as I said when I started, it is refreshing that I have some assistance.

Seventy thousand people live in Burnaby with a small city east of them, and with all due respect to the hon. member for New Westminster, it has only 26,000 people. The

70.000 people in my municipality have still the postal facilities as though we were only

16.000 or perhaps 1,600. There are two small postal stations doing very fine work, though in very limited quarters, but with four postal addresses in the municipality. A portion of the western part of our municipality comes under Vancouver and has to carry Vancouver addresses. Edmonds and east to the New Westminster boundary carries a New Westminster address and we have a North Burnaby address and a South Burnaby address.

I was rather pleased when the Postmaster General's first action to alleviate the situation was to give me the right to tell my people that we at least had a North Burnaby address and a South Burnaby address, but that is not being received very well. I do not entirely agree with it. Municipal pride comes into this. Burnaby has growing pains. We think we are entitled to a Burnaby address, but it was a move in the right direction and I accept it as such.

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We have come to the point, however, where we have got to go farther. We have small cities and small towns around Burnaby with small post offices. Coquitlam and Barnet are small places in comparison with their own identification and yet I have been told by officials of the Post Office Department, after these many conferences and some hundreds of letters, that we have arrived at the place where a survey has been made. May I tell my friend from Burnaby-Coquitlam that we have a survey on top of many other surveys and we arrive at the position still where

70,000 people in British Columbia are not considered to be entitled to their own postal identification.

May I tell the Postmaster General that this municipality of mine houses some very large commercial concerns. I think the Postmaster General will recognize these names. We have the Trans Mountain Oil Pipe Line Company. We have refineries for most of the major oil companies in Canada. We have the Simpsons-Sears Company which opened the other day. I understand they are one of the largest users of mail facilities in Canada. I understand too that 80,000 people went through that store in two days. We have the large firm of Kelly-Douglas, one of the primary wholesale grocers in the country. We have the Continental Can Company. The Postmaster General will recognize these names. They have their headquarters in the municipality of Burnaby and it is getting beyond the stage where a member of parliament must stand up session after session and fight for something to which his people are entitled.

I know that perhaps a member on this side of the house has no better facilities than my hon. friends on the other side, but we are supposed to have if you listen to the stories from the other side. In this case, though they have elected a Liberal from Burnaby-Richmond, I do not seem to have had too much success. Perhaps it has been my presentation of the case. Perhaps I did not know the story too well, although I should know it with these hundreds of letters, conferences and so on. Now, I have someone to help me and may I tell you, sir, that the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam and I are going to pound this matter until postal identification is given to the municipality of Burnaby-something that it was entitled to before 1949.

There is one other matter that concerns the constituency. I will give it now because the Postmaster General might as well have all of my problems at one time so that he can consider them. The municipality of Richmond, which I have the honour to represent,

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has 27,000 or 28,000 people. The minister has heard me speak of Richmond many times. We have not even got a postal station there. I have a large file of representations to the department from the 27,000 people who live there. There is in that municipality the largest fish cannery in the commonwealth. It includes the Vancouver international airport, and more industries are coming there every day, and yet we are still doing business down in Richmond with a few sub-post offices in drugstores. They get the mail from postal station "L" of Marpole in the riding of my hon. friend from Vancouver South. It is a very fine place, a fine building, but it does not seem to matter that the postmen have to come across the Marpole bridge about which hon. members have heard me speak. They have to go some miles before they can arrive at their destination to start first delivery of the mail. Some of these places still have the rural routes which they carried 25 years ago.

It is just about time that some of the officials of the Post Office Department of Vancouver changed their way of thinking. I fully agree with my hon. friend that the Postmaster General is not getting too sound advice. I do not know that I would like to go as far as my hon. friend did, but the advice which the Postmaster General has received in these two matters is not sound. My case is sound. I will not stand in this house and make a definite statement unless I am absolutely positive that I am right. We are entitled to identification. I do not ask for a federal building in Richmond but I do say they are entitled to a postal station where mail carriers can work from. I doubt if any official from the Post Office Department can argue against me here, and it is just about time someone in Vancouver advised the Postmaster General as to what these conditions are.

I hope the genial minister can check these matters and tell me in his reply whether I am right or wrong.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

My remarks are going to be very brief. I too have a large file up in my office but I do not think it necessary to bring that file down and to read all of the letters in it to the minister. I am sure that we ought to be very grateful to the hon. member from Burnaby-Richmond that he did not read his 14-inch file to the house.

Post office matters were discussed very thoroughly when the question of increasing the four-cent stamp was before the house. I think that most of what hon. members intended to say was said at that time.

I agree with the hon. member for Hamilton West when she said that the Post Office

Department touches the homes of individuals more than any other department of government. When we say "homes of individuals" we mean homes of people living in both rural and urban centres. This afternoon we have heard very little about post office conditions in the rural centres. We have been mostly concerned with urban centres.

I might say that my constituency is probably 90 per cent rural and that there are as many rural routes in the two counties which make up my constituency as there are in any other constituency in Canada. I would also like to say that I was not very much touched by some of the remarks of members from urban centres when they complained of the fact that their residents could not get two mails a day. The minister knows that in many rural sections throughout this country the residents are not getting one mail a day. As a matter of fact, I know of many sections where they are only getting three mails a week or two mails a week, and until that situation is corrected I, for one, fail to think that residents in any city or in any town in Canada should receive two mails a day- when country residents are only receiving one mail every three days or every two days.

There is some argument that business houses in large centres should receive two mails a day but we all know that in the larger cities and larger centres post offices are established at very focal points. It is an easy matter for someone from those large business houses to go down and collect the mail from the post office, not just twice a day but perhaps half a dozen times a day. I cannot see that there is any great suffering in the towns and cities of this country as far as our mail service is concerned.

I make this appeal for the people in the rural districts because they have not the facilities for obtaining news. Many of them have no radios. In many instances they have not telephones. As I say, they do not get the daily papers because they do not always have daily mail. All these many facilities which are found in towns and cities and the more populated areas are not found in some of the back rural areas, with the result that many of our people are leaving the back areas simply because they have not those facilities which can be found in other places. I make this appeal to the minister and his department to see whether better conditions cannot be given to some of those areas.

I am greatly pleased indeed that the rural mail carriers are to receive more pay and more attention than they have received in the past. I believe one of the main reasons for increasing the postage rate in this country was in order to increase the pay of rural

mail carriers and possibly that of mail carriers in the towns and cities, although I think they are being very well looked after at the present time. In the country districts we are handicapped by rules and regulations which I think must have been drawn up many years ago. For instance, you cannot get a daily mail in a rural section unless you have four boxes to a mile. You may have an average of three and one-half or three and three-quarters, but unless you have the four you cannot get a daily mail. To my mind that regulation must have been drawn up many years ago, in the days when mail was carried by horse and buggy. But today, when we have good roads which are plowed in the winter and are kept open all the year round, when the mail is carried by cars and when long distances can be covered, I think that regulation is much out of date. I think the rural mail routes could be greatly extended. I think a route could be extended so that it would include an area in which there are three people to the mile along with an area which has seven, eight or ten people to the mile, and that the figures could be averaged up. As I say, with better roads and all these other facilities, I think that is something that could very well be done.

As I said at the outset, Mr. Chairman, this is the main point I wish to bring to the attention of the committee this afternoon; I refer to the matter of rural mail. Let us try to give better mail service to the people in the country districts. Unless we do so we are going to have in the country areas more vacant farms than we have at the present time. I could have brought into the chamber a file as thick as that of the hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond with reference to the Burnaby post office, and it has to do with the Rothesay post office in my own constituency. I spoke to the minister about this matter the other day. I have raised it in the chamber a number of times. I know that the minister is cognizant of the situation at Rothesay. It is one of our finest villages in the maritime provinces, and is probably one of the finest in Canada. As I pointed out on previous occasions, in that village we have the poorest mail accommodation of any village in the whole country. The minister has been kind enough to mark this an urgent matter at the present time. The present situation has not been altogether the fault of the Post Office Department. The Department of Public Works has also been a little bit negligent in the matter. I was speaking to the Minister of Public Works the other day. He has taken a kindly interest in it. I think a site will be obtained. I have every reason to believe that, between the Postmaster General and the Department of

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Public Works, before this year is out Rothesay will at least have a start on a post office which is greatly needed. That is all I have to say in this connection, Mr. Chairman.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Chairman, apparently quite a number of members of parliament have copious files on the Post Office Department. I am one who also has a file, only I brought mine with me. This file is sessional paper No. 94-H, some of which I intend to quote later. It is a file which was asked for or which was passed by the house on February 15 and which was referred to the Postmaster General on April 21. There is a long gap of time there. It was finally brought down on May 4.

Some months ago, when the post office legislation was before the house, I mentioned the word "patronage" several times and I said there was patronage in the post office. The minister was pained; the minister was astonished; the minister was astounded. The minister was innocent. The minister answered that patronage is something that was not known in the post office, and that it is the sort of word which is not used in the post office. This afternoon I notice that my friend the hon. member for Mackenzie asked whether certain form letters were still being used by the department. I think he also was sniffing around this forbidden subject of patronage. I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that there are form letters which the post office sends out. For instance, I have in this file a form letter. I gather that it is the sort of form letter which is sent either to the Liberal organization or to the defeated Liberal candidate or, for all I know, to Liberal members of parliament. For instance, this letter is signed by Mr. R. H. MacNabb, director of operations, to a defeated Liberal candidate in my riding in Winnipeg. This is an official letter, and it is a form letter. It states:

Dear Sir:

In previous correspondence the department asked for your recommendation-*

Here we have the department asking for the recommendation of a defeated Liberal candidate.

-of a suitable person for permanent appointment as postmaster at-

A certain area in my constituency is there named. If that is not patronage, Mr. Chairman, then what does that word mean? The form letter goes on to say this:

The order of preference which, according to law, is observed in making such appointment is as follows:

And they give six orders of preference. Then the form letter goes on as follows:

The department is desirous of placing this office on a regular basis as soon as possible and would

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appreciate receiving your recommendation within the next two weeks. In the absence of word from you the department will conclude that you are not in a position to make a recommendation and will examine the qualifications of persons who may have applied for or who may be interested in obtaining this position.

Only alter the defeated Liberal candidate has been given the opportunity to make a recommendation, and has failed to make one, does the post office graciously condescend to look into the qualifications of those who have applied for the job. Yet the minister tells me that there is no patronage. He infers that "patronage is a dirty word which we in our department would never use". The letter continues:

The selection will then be made according to the result of the inquiry and with the preferences as outlined in paragraph 2.

I am going to say this quite frankly and quite bluntly. The minister today has been the recipient of many bouquets. The time has now come for some brickbats. I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, that in certain appointments the post office is polluted with this concept of patronage. I am now going to give, to a modified extent at least, chapter and verse of my case. In this file also there are three letters from opposition members of parliament. By coincidence they happen to be three members of the party which I represent here in the house. One is from the former member, Mr. Bryce, who was concerned, as I have been for some time, about a sub-post office in a new area of north Winnipeg, West Kildonan. Mr. Bryce wrote this letter on April 9, 1951. I want to quote it extensively, indeed, the whole of it, to show the sort of letter it was. It reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Rinfret:

I would be very much obliged to you if you would have the officers of your department check into the possibility of a post office being set up at the corner of McGregor and Me Adam streets in West Kildonan, Manitoba. I understand it will not be possible to have an accounting post office but that in all likelihood it would be possible for a non-accounting post office to be set up. This is in one of the districts where hundreds of new homes have been built up on what was bald prairie two years ago.

Thanking you in anticipation, I am,

Sincerely,

Scottie Bryce.

I read that letter to show that Mr. Bryce's desire was to have a post office in that area to serve the people of the area and for no other purpose. Apparently he had no idea at all of anyone who might perhaps act as postmaster. But I find in going through this file, as I have said, many letters from the defeated Liberal candidate in my constituency,

tMr. Stewart (Winnipeg North).]

who now is the defeated Liberal candidate in the constituency of Winnipeg North Centre.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Does he now handle the patronage for both ridings?

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Alan Carl Stewart

Mr. Siewari (Winnipeg Norih):

This is an example of the sort of letter which is sent to the defeated Liberal candidate in Winnipeg North from the director of operations of the Post Office Department. It reads:

Dear Mr. Taraska:

I received your letter dated the 31st August in regard to the position of postmaster at Winnipeg-Louise Bridge post office. Instructions are being issued for the appointment of Reverend P. H. Kohlmeier to the postmastership of this subpost office.

He was the person of course who was nominated by this prominent member of the Liberal party. On another and earlier occasion, dealing with that sub-post office, there is a letter from Mr. MacNabb to Mr. Taraska which reads in part as follows:

In view of your representations in the matter when you called at the department recently, this matter was given further consideration. However, as the postmaster has at least shown that he is incompetent, it is considered that he could not be continued in charge of the office and that steps should be taken towards his replacement.

But does the post office itself decide what sort of postmaster shall take the job there? Far from it. The letter continues:

I would therefore appreciate hearing from you again and receiving for the consideration of the Postmaster General your recommendation of some suitable person for this position.

Does my hon. friend tell me that is not patronage of the most flagrant kind? Let me go on a little further and quote a letter on page 68 of the file. Again this is a letter from Mr. MacNabb to Mr. Taraska, and it reads as follows:

In accordance with your recommendation contained in your letter or June 16, 1951, instructions have been issued concerning Mr. ... in the position of postmaster at the above named sub-post office, his permanent appointment dating from the 25th of June, 1951.

Again the appointment is dependent entirely upon the desire either of the local Liberal organization or of the local defeated Liberal candidate. We are told that there are certain rules and regulations concerning subpost offices, and that one of them is that the establishment of sub-post offices is approved by the department after the need has been definitely established by suitable inquiry by field officers. I can only conclude that the field officers that the post office has had at its disposal in North Winnipeg are the defeated Liberal candidates for election. I wish the Post Office Department would do something about the situation and get the whole

matter into much more competent hands. Here is another letter. This time it is addressed to Mr. MacNabb and is signed by Mr. Peter Taraska. It reads in part as follows:

In answer to your letter of October 26-

But first let me say this was one to Mr. MacNabb. The Post Office Department is very busy corresponding all the time with defeated Liberal politicians. I do not know what the cost must be to the country, but I would suggest to the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre that he might have advocated the cutting out of this sort of correspondence for it would certainly save the taxpayers a very substantial sum of money. Here is Mr. Taraska writing to Mr. MacNabb. I should say here, Mr. Chairman, that as a member of parliament I have the habit of signing my letters "Alistair Stewart, Winnipeg North". I find that the defeated Liberal opponents do the same thing because the signature is "Peter Taraska, Winnipeg North". The letter reads:

In answer to your letter of October 26, and after making the necessary inquiries, I am pleased to recommend for the appointment of postmaster for the above named sub-post office Mr. . . .

I do not want to embarrass these people by giving names.

-resident returned soldier and the new owner of the present post office premises. Mr. . . . has the necessary qualifications and experience-

None of which I deny; it may be true. What I am objecting to is the way it is done. What I am objecting to is the fact that the minister stands up and states that there is no patronage in the post office. My hon. friend is an innocent abroad. If he will see me at the dinner hour I will give him much more proof than I shall be able to give before five o'clock. In connection with that same sub-post office there was a letter to Mr. Taraska, again from Mr. MacNabb, reading as follows:

In accordance with your recommendation . . . instructions have been issued confirming Mr. . . . returned soldier, in the position of postmaster at the above named sub-post office.

Yet the minister says this is not patronage. I do not know what it is if it is not patronage and, as I said before, of the most blatant type. I find so many examples on this file. Here is another one, a letter to Mr. Taraska of January 4, 1952, from Mr. MacNabb. I do not know whether Mr. MacNabb is the political commissar of the Liberal party in the Post Office Department or what his job is, but he seems to be in charge of the patronage end of it. The letter reads:

In accordance with your recommendation dated the 12th December, 1951-

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-they have appointed so and so as subpostmaster. Whether there is a recommendation from anybody else I do not know. I do know that there is a form letter that goes out to the Canadian Legion, but there is no record in this return of any recommendation from the Legion. Indeed, I suspect if there were one the recommendation of the defeated Liberal candidate would supervene and his ideas would be the ones which would be accepted. Here is another letter. This one is signed by Mr. McFarlane. It reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Taraska:

A request has been received in the department for the establishment of a sub-post office at 1615 Salter Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Conditions in the district are favourable and the department is

prepared to open a sub-post office. Mr...who

operates a drug store at that address, is the only applicant for the position of postmaster. Would you kindly furnish your recommendation of the postmastership of a sub-post office in this area.

One would think that the Post Office Department would investigate the qualifications of this applicant and, having decided that they were satisfactory, appoint him or, if they were not satisfactory, they would not. But far from it. They do not do that. They go to the local field officer, the defeated Liberal candidate, and ask him for his advice. There is another letter here signed "Peter Taraska, Winnipeg North" to Mr. MacNabb, which reads as follows:

In answer to departmental letter dated 14th October, I beg to inform you that after making the necessary investigation-

The field officers are ardently at work.

-I am pleased to recommend Mr. . . . who operates a drug store . . .

This gentleman of course was appointed and, for all I know, probably quite rightly so. As I say, what I am objecting to is the system, the fact that patronage does exist and that we ought to get rid of it because it is no good either for Liberals or for anybody else.

I was going on to read some more of these letters from some defeated Liberal candidates, but I think I shall go on with one which is not from a Liberal candidate but from one who was a member of parliament and whose judgment was sought by the department and who gave his decision to the department. The person to whom I refer is a former member of parliament, and one who was always greeted in the house with loud applause, Mr. J. S. Sinnott. I have a letter here from Mr. MacNabb to Mr. Sinnott which states:

The appointment in this case rests with the Postmaster General.

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I thought the appointment in all cases rested with the Postmaster General.

Would you be good enough to submit for his consideration, your recommendation of some person for permanent appointment as postmaster at this sub-office.

Notice the charming courtesy. Then, Mr. Sinnott replies also most courteously that he has not, as yet, the information but he will let Mr. MacNabb have it at the earliest convenience.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Perhaps he should have

recommended himself.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Siewari (Winnipeg North):

Then, Mr. Sinnott wrote again as follows:

I wi'ote to you on June 15 in connection with the nomination of someone to fill the place of the former postmaster, Mr. Lloyd Winston Hall, . . .

I wish to advise you at this time that the nomination of ... is quite satisfactory, and Mr. Hall thinks the location and facilities will meet the requirements in that district.

Mr. MacNabb writes back on July 3, 1950, and states:

Dear Mr. Sinnott:

In accordance with your recommendations contained in your letter of the 22nd June, instructions have been issued confirming ... as permanent postmaster at the Winnipeg-East Kildonan suboffice.

There is not a word here about the Postmaster General doing it. It is in accordance with Mr. Sinnott's recommendation, and that is how the Post Office Department makes its appointments.

Now, there was another time when Mr. Sinnott was not so fortunate. I do not want to suggest for a moment that the Post Office Department is always a spineless organization and does not stand up to members of parliament. Sometimes it does. Mr. Sinnott desired to have the Morse Place sub-post office changed. The whole matter is set out in the correspondence, and it is at this point that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre comes into the picture. He also has a letter here in this file to Mr. Bertrand, which reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Bertrand:

You wrote me on December 9 in reply to my telegram of December 6, with reference to the proposed transfer of the Morse Place post office, indicating that any action in connection with this matter had been suspended until further inquiry could be made.

You will recall that I pointed out in my telegram that this sub-post office has been in its present location for some thirty-three years, and that there was a wave of protest amongst the local residents over the suggestion that it might be moved.

I Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North).]

Again in fairness to him I am reading my hon. friend's letter in full. It is quite a brief letter.

Your action in suspending the proposed transfer was appreciated by the residents of Morse Place, but there is still some concern over the fact that the matter does not appear to have been finalized as yet. May I ask, therefore, whether the inquiry referred to in your letter of December 9 has been made, and whether it is now definite that this subpost office will remain on the Anderson premises where it has been to the satisfaction of all concerned for such a long period.

Thanking you for your further attention to this matter, I am . . .

As a matter of fact, the post office was kept there because the postal authorities in Winnipeg knew very well that is where it ought to be kept no matter what an importunate member of parliament might say about it.

There was another matter which I raised early in the session-

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Charles Delmar Coyle

Mr. Cole:

You are not complaining about that one?

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Alan Carl Stewart

Mr. Siewari (Winnipeg Norih):

No, I just want to put it in the record to show that the post office sometimes says "no". But a nonLiberal member of parliament usually stands a poor chance against someone who is the defeated Liberal candidate. An opposition member of parliament is just a nuisance so far as this department is concerned.

Here is another case.

Oddly enough, this correspondence starts with a letter from myself, which I really think is worth reading again. It is to the Postmaster General.

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Charles Delmar Coyle

Mr. Cole:

Are you quoting yourself?

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Alan Carl Stewart

Mr. Siewari (Winnipeg Norih):

I could quote no one who was more accurate or authentic so far as patronage in the Post Office Department is concerned. The letter is dated June 15, 1953 and reads:

I am writing in connection with the application of Mr. Morry to have continued at St. John's Pharmacy sub-post office No. 27, Winnipeg.

There are certain gaps in this letter which my hon. friend will appreciate for I do not need to put the whole story in again in black and white. I go on to say:

A few months ago I complained about an attempt which was made to remove a sub-post office from Sinclair's Pharmacy where it had been for almost 40 years. A well-known member of the Liberal party went to Sinclair's Pharmacy and demanded $500 or the post office would be taken from there. As I told Mr. Turnbull this was the most outrageous blackmail and I am glad that the sub-post office was not changed.

I am very happy to say it was not. I go on in the letter:

I hope the new owner of sub-post office No. 27 is not going to be penalized and I would request your personal attention to this matter.

Well, the minister did give it his personal attention because he wrote to me, and that letter will come up in due course. As I said, this letter of mine was dated June 15, 1953, by a happy coincidence, in the middle of the election campaign.

There was a letter dated June 25, 1953, again sent by the commissar of political operations, Mr. MacNabb, to Mr. D. W. W. Revie, 803 Charles building, Winnipeg. The house might be interested in knowing that Mr. Revie is associated with the Manitoba Liberal Progressive Association, so one can assume at least that he is not a Conservative. This is ten days after I drew the attention of the Post Office Department to the matter. The letter reads:

The above sub-post office was temporarily closed on the 15th June owing to the resignation of . . .

This sub-post office is located in the drugstore known as "St. John's Pharmacy". This business has been purchased by Mr. Manuel Morry, resident civilian, who has forwarded an application for the postmastership of this sub-office.

Would you please be good enough to furnish us with your recommendation of a suitable person to act as sub-postmaster at this office.

Then, four days later, which is 14 days after I wrote to the minister, he answered me and said:

In your letter of the 15th June you expressed interest in having sub-office No. 27, Winnipeg, retained in the St. John's Pharmacy.

The department has just received the resignation of Mr who has been sub-postmaster of the office located in St. John's Pharmacy, and an application from Mr. Manuel Morry, who apparently has purchased the St. John's Pharmacy from Mr. Bland.

Your representations on behalf of Mr. Morry and the retention of the office in the St. John's Pharmacy has been noted and will be given every consideration.

I would be the happiest man in this house if I thought that were so.

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LIB
CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

It is

addressed to me; but, as compared to the head of a Liberal organization, who am I to say my letter or my opinions would receive consideration. I would feel gratified if I had a slight hand in this, but modesty forbids my believing I was the one who was responsible.

Mr. Revie writes to Mr. MacNabb, and his letter is dated June 7. Under the date "June 7", the department has noted "dated June 7 but received in department July 9." By that time, the Liberal party in Winnipeg were having a very rough time, and one

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cannot blame them if they were a month out in their calculations. The letter reads:

I beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of June 25th, in the above connection. Our recommendation is that Mr. Manuel Morry, who has forwarded an application for the postmastership of this suboffice be appointed.

Then there is a courteous word from Mr. MacNabb who writes back to Mr. Revie:

In accordance with your recommendation . . . etc., etc.

I did not get a letter from the minister. But Mr. Revie was told and that is why I assumed Mr. Revie was the man who had done it. But here is the letter to Mr. Revie:

In accordance with your recommendation-

Not Mr. Stewart's but Mr. Revie's.

-received in your letter of the 7th July, instructions have been issued for the re-opening of the above post office under the charge of Mr. Manuel Morry as postmaster.

Now, does the minister tell me I am being too modest?

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Charles Delmar Coyle

Mr. Cole:

No, you are not too modest.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Slewarl (Winnipeg North):

My modesty is justified in this particular case. But let me go on to some other defeated Liberal candidates. We have lots of them in our part of the country. Here is another one dated December 22, 1953. That date is rather

interesting. The letter is addressed to Mr. Frank Chester and it informs him a subpost office will become vacant at the end of December owing to the resignation of the postmaster. Here is a tip-off. The letter states that a note of this vacancy has been sent to Colonel Cairns. The post office does not know what is happening on every occasion but when it can it certainly tells the Liberal organization and sometimes Colonel Cairns.

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Charles Delmar Coyle

Mr. Cole:

Who is he?

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Alan Carl Stewart

Mr. Slewarl (Winnipeg Norlh):

He is the

provincial secretary of the Canadian Legion. Let me say to my hon. friend that many of these notices are sent to Colonel Cairns but we do not know what he says as there is no information from him among these letters and I therefore cannot say anything about that part of it. I know Mr. Chester is asked "We would appreciate receiving a recommendation of a suitable person to act as sub-postmaster at this office."

I remember around about Christmas reading in a newspaper somewhere that Mr. Frank Chester had been appointed to a quite responsible position in the civil service. I take it for granted of course, Mr. Chairman, he would do nothing further in this matter

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because no one in the civil service would write a letter advising Mr. MacNabb who should be appointed to this sub-postmastership. But on the 4th of January of this year Mr. Chester states:

Dear Mr. MacNabb:

I wish to acknowledge and thank you for your letter of December 22, re the above vacancy and after going into this matter carefully-

Another field inspector promoted in the department.

-and considering only one application has been received I recommend that this office be re-opened as soon as possible and that the application of Mr. Myron Hunter, 1785 Main Street, be accepted.

I mentioned this because I asked questions in the house about the matter for there was another gentleman who also wanted this office and I advised him the proper thing to do was to make an application for the post office, find out if the people in his vicinity wanted the post office, get a petition and send it to the Postmaster General. This is what that man proceeded to do. But what a futile waste of time. The Liberal party were hard at work. Here is Mr. Chester writing to Mr. MacNabb, though I regret very much to say that the post office was not very much impressed with the letter sent out. It apparently thought Mr. Chester's recommendation was not much good because it decided to ask one who shall be nameless, but who is a cabinet minister from Manitoba, as to what he thought about the situation and his advice was that they should appoint a certain one of three applicants who were, Mr. Beek, Mr. Gunn and Mr. Hunter, and the letter continues:

In order that the sub-office be re-opened as soon as possible-

But just let me say for the moment that this is really going to the top brass. Mr. Chester's recommendation was noted, but there follows a letter from the anonymous minister's office to Mr. MacNabb in regard to who should be selected for this post. But the post office never sent another letter to Mr. Chester in this regard for Mr. Chester was lost to the Liberal party. He had gone to his reward and therefore he could not recommend anyone. But Mr. MacNabb wrote to this anonymous minister as follows, and the letter is dated February 4:

In accordance with your minister's recommendation of the 25th January 1954-

A very exalted fieldman.

-instructions have been issued for the appointment of Mr. Myron Hunter for the position of postmaster at the above sub-post office.

The Liberal organization in North Winnipeg had given up and I do not blame them. Now the post office has to go to the very fount

and origin of Liberalism in Manitoba. Obviously the Postmaster General decides nothing. Obviously if a sub-postmaster is going to be appointed the people in West Kildonan need not send any petitions. It will be a matter for the Liberal party to decide who the sub-postmaster is going to be. Of course, Mr. Chairman, you know as well as I do that there is no patronage in the post office. The minister protests his innocence; he is virtuous; he is as above suspicion as Caesar's wife; indeed he out-Calpurnias Calpurnia. I have never seen such innocence.

I could go on here and give chapter and verse on what I consider to be patronage within the post office, but, Mr. Chairman, I think I have said enough at this stage to persuade even my innocent friend across the house that he has in his department, in some sections of it, this political commissariat which unknown to him is telling defeated Liberal candidates all over the country, "We want your advice as to whom should be appointed to the sub-post office." I have given my hon. friend all the details. He may not have known about them but now that I have told him his eyes will be opened and he can go into the post office now, take a very sharp cleaver and start to chop off some heads. If he does that we might have a post office in this country without patronage.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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May 14, 1954