Mr. Chairman, I have no files covering lengthy correspondence which I need to go through for the benefit of the Postmaster General, and after listening to the speech of the hon. member for Burnaby I have come to the conclusion that my own remarks, in so far as the post office is concerned, and the complaints I have to bring to the minister's attention, are of a minor nature.
However, there are a couple of points I wish to bring to the minister's attention. In the recent news item I noticed that the C.P.R. branch line from Sicamous to Kelowna through the Okanagan valley in British Columbia will discontinue hauling mail, and that such a service will be taken over by the trucks. I can understand that such a course would prove to be economical as it would eliminate delivering from the train to the post office at these small places. However, I would like to have an assurance from the minister that in making this change the service we will be receiving will be at least equally as good and perhaps an improvement on the service we obtained in the past.
I cannot pass up this opportunity of bringing to the attention of the minister, as I
have done on previous occasions, the question of the Vernon post office. The lack of postal facilities in Vernon has been recognized by the department for some years. I have had proof of this in the interviews I have had with the deputy postmaster general and officials of the department. I know the genial Postmaster General will tell me that his genial colleague, the Minister of Public Works, will not proceed with the erection of a public building there. But, Mr. Chairman, I must remind the Postmaster General that his department must take the blame for this situation. Four years ago the Vernon post office was declared inadequate by the postal authorities. Since then both the urban and rural population have increased rapidly, the facilities have not yet been improved, and the larger volume of mail is adding daily to the congestion. Therefore, I would suggest it is imperative that the problem which has existed there for years should be corrected. It is to the Postmaster General that we look for help. It can be argued of course that it is the Department of Public Works that must provide these buildings; but nevertheless, in considering the problem of an adequate mail service, it is not likely that the people of any district take that into consideration. They are looking to the Postmaster General for results.
When the Postmaster General replies to the questions that have been raised in the committee I would like him to refer fully to the two problems I have raised.