May 14, 1954

CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

It was done unilaterally.

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Donald MacInnis

Mr. Maclnnis:

That is not the way to do it; it should be done through the accredited representatives of the association. If it was not done, it should still be done in order to give the men a feeling that no one is being unjustly discriminated against for one reason or another. I appreciate that sometimes seniority must be disregarded in promotions and matters of that kind which depend upon fitness and a lot of other things, but where all things are equal then seniority should apply. As I said before, this is a regular practice in industry where the men are organized.

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LIB

Alcide Côté (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Cote:

In answer to my hon. friend may I say that this question was discussed by my officials with the representatives of the unions and the situation was explained to them at the time.

The hon. member for Hamilton West referred to the Woods-Gordon report. This report has practically been implemented in toto or is in the course of implementation, although there are two or three items still in abeyance. The first is the recommendation in regard to the discontinuance of the savings bank, and the second is the suggestion that we could save $200,000 in Toronto alone. It has been decided not to make any change at this time so far as the savings bank is concerned.

With regard to the possible saving at Toronto, I think I should report here that it was not possible nor practical to implement the recommendation in that regard. This was a theoretical suggestion that was made but in practice it is not possible to implement it. It was indicated that a saving of $200,000 a year could be made in Toronto alone. According to the Woods-Gordon report that saving could be made by substituting belt sortation for the present facing-up and primary sortation.

The idea is not new. It has been tried by many postal administrations and discarded. We built a prototype machine twenty-five years ago and ran a lengthy experiment before coming to the conclusion that it was not practical. It was inevitable that the Woods-Gordon report would contain such a recommendation; in theory it is admirable, but it does not work in actual practice. However, we are still keeping an open mind on the subject in case there is some feature or

gadget which we have overlooked and which would make this scheme practical. So far this has not materialized.

The hon. member for Saskatoon referred to the lower rate of payment for smaller offices. The duties and responsibilities of a small office are not as difficult as those of a larger office. In a city the size of Toronto a sorter must memorize the boundaries of 600 carriers. Compare that with the work of a sorter in an office where there are only ten or a dozen carriers. The rates are determined by the civil service commission.

The hon. member for Macleod made similar remarks about the revenue postmasters. I have every sympathy with these people, and may I say that the salaries of people in this class were increased recently. We are now considering some other method of payment. I think the hon. member for Huron North also asked about the method of payment of revenue postmasters. They are now paid out of revenue. For at least ten or twelve months we have been working on a new method of payment on a unit of work basis and we hope that eventually we will be in a position to more adequately pay these public servants.

The hon. member for Macleod referred to revenues. There is an indication that there will be an increase of revenue, but it is too soon to make a positive statement in that regard.

With regard to public buildings, we now have about 300 recommendations before the Department of Public Works. We base our recommendation upon the need for postal service accommodation, and we make our recommendation accordingly to the Minister of Public Works. Naturally the Minister of Public Works has other features to consider and he decides on the priority to be given. We do not make a recommendation for the erection of a public building for postal services unless the revenue is at least $10,000 per annum.

The hon. member for Vancouver South asked about the colour of the stamps and if there was a regulation that the stamps must be blue or red. There was an international regulation that the postage stamp for unit letter rate should be red. This must not be confused, however, with the domestic unit letter rate. We feel that the present five-cent stamp is attractive, both as to design and colour.

The hon. member for Mackenzie brought up a point similar to the one raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North. As a matter of fact, it is the same point which was dramatized by the hon. member for

Supply-Post Office

Winnipeg North. For many years we have Mr. Cote: I do not know Taraska. I did asked the advice of many people, including not mention the name; it was brought up by the Legion, the defeated candidates, members my hon. friend. I presume that Mr. Taraska of parliament and others. It is nothing new. is quite a good person.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Opposition

members?

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LIB

Alcide Côté (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Cote:

Members of parliament and residents of the localities.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Opposition members of parliament?

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LIB

Alcide Côté (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Cote:

Oh, yes. My hon. friend himself even quoted a letter which I wrote to him.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

I have never been asked at any time to commend to the department a certain individual. These form letters do not come to opposition members of parliament; they may come to members of parliament but not opposition members.

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Charles Delmar Coyle

Mr. Cole:

Maybe the form of the letter could be written otherwise, but these letters are sent to people in the field, in the locality where we are seeking information, because they are presumed to know better than anybody else. A member of parliament makes recommendations, but, as I said before, there is a lot of difference between suggestions, recommendations and appointments. I can assure my hon. friend that after the information is obtained we make the appointment only after an objective inquiry.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

When the postmaster at Endeavour, for example, is asked to resign how does Mr. Underwood-and I should say that I appreciate the outstanding work that Mr. Underwood has done for many years; he has been very helpful-happen to know that Ross Barrie at Pelly should be the person who could tell him who a good postmaster at Endeavour, 70 miles away, would be. How does Mr. Underwood or Mr. Mac-Nabb, the one who is featured in the correspondence of the hon. member for Winnipeg North, write to Mr. Taraska in Winnipeg. How did he happen to pick out these names?

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LIB

Alcide Côté (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Cote:

My hon. friend talks about a case of 1943, ten years ago. He gave some lengthy explanations about it.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Three months ago.

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LIB

Alcide Côté (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Cote:

My hon. friend opposite knows that I do not know of the details. He mentioned Mr. Underwood. I do not know the details of this case, but as far as the information-

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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 the minister know Taraska?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

He is a good Liberal.

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LIB

Alcide Côté (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Cote:

I do not know Taraska. I

know hardly anybody mentioned by my hon. friend. But again this is given only as a suggestion or information. I do not think my hon. friends opposite would deny that a member of parliament and even a defeated candidate is in a position to do that. I remember it was mentioned a few minutes ago that a defeated candidate in Ontario was trying to get credit for postal accommodation that had been provided. I think it was the hon. member for Oxford who said that. Well, I hope my hon. friends will not hold me responsible for anybody in the country trying to get credit for postal accommodation in the country. It is quite natural.

I also remember that many, if I may use the word again, recommendations have been made by my hon. friends opposite in many instances, and I have always considered those recommendations as a natural thing coming from members of parliament.

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PC

Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nesbitt:

My only objection was not to his making the announcement but receiving the information before the duly-elected member did.

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LIB
CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Before we leave this-

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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. Perhaps it is time to point out to the committee that actually the Postmaster General has the floor and should be interrupted only with his consent. At the same time I think the committee is of the opinion that if we finish one feature of the Postmaster General's reply before going on to the next, perhaps it would be more expeditious in the long rim. However, I must ask hon. members to observe the fact that the Postmaster General has the floor and is to be interrupted only with his consent.

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May 14, 1954