May 30, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

Peter John Veniot (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

It is not a yearly payment, as I think I stated last night, but a lump sum payment which carries no further responsibility for future payments. The bonus was based on a valuation of the patent rights granted to the department. Those rights are generally valued by outside parties and a percentage ranging from 5 to 7 per cent of the value may be paid as a bonus for the right of the government to use machinery of that kind.
I wish to give a brief history of this matter and especially as to the employment of Mr. Hill. I think I led the committee a little astray last night as to the number of years he had been employed. My information is that Mr. Hill came to the Post Office Department around 1924 or 1925. He was formerly employed as an efficiency man with the Civil Service Commission, filling a position equal to that of chief investigator. When the time came for changing the railway and postal facilities in the city of Toronto, which made a complete change of the railway terminals as well as the new postal terminals, Mr. Hill was invited owing to his knowledge of such matters to become connected with the Post Office Department. It was necessary at that time to employ a person who had a good scientific knowledge not only of railway terminals but postal terminals, and it was then that Mr. Hill became connected with the department. His trip to the United States was in connection with railway as well as postal terminals. He was accompanied by the chief engineers of the railways interested and other officials, and his expenses were paid by the Post Office Department. Afterwards the knowledge secured from the investigation that he made in the United States was used in connection with both railway and postal terminals in Toronto.
May I add for the information of the committee that we have to-day at Toronto the largest and most up-to-date postal terminals in the whole world, and I speak with absolute knowledge of what I am saying. To Mr. Hill is due the credit for the installation of a system in Toronto which is equalled by no other place in the world. Up to 1927 or 1928 the United States had the best postal ter-
Supply-Post Office

minals in the world, Chicago and other places in the United States being looked upon as having superior facilities in that respect to any others in the world. I am glad to say that Toronto is now superior to these places, and the same system which has been adopted at the postal terminals in Toronto will be adopted also in Montreal. Montreal will be placed on a basis equal to that of Toronto. Throughout all this work Mr. Hill was the engineer or mechanical architect in connection with the laying out of these terminals. During that time he had perfected, or at least invented, machinery that was necessary in connection with the railway terminals and which could not be found in the United States. The machinery that we could have purchased in the United States would not have met the requirements at the larger postal terminals in the Dominion. Mr. Hill invented certain machinery which places Toronto on the basis I have referred to. He did not come to the postal department as a permanent employee because the salary attached to the classification by the commission did not warrant a man of his mechanical ability accepting a permanent position. Mr. Hill to-day is still a temporary employee of the department under certificates issued from time to time by the Civil Service Commission to continue him temporarily in the service as long as we need him. We will need him at least until the completion of the postal terminals in Montreal. Let me quote for my hon. friend's benefit section 17 of the Civil Service Act: In the absence of special authority of parliament no payment additional to the salary authorized by law shall be made to any deputy head, officer, clerk or employee permanently employed in the civil service in respect of any service rendered by him, whether in the discharge of Ms ordinary duties of office or of any other duties which may be imposed upon him, or which he may undertake or volunteer to discharge or otherwise perform.
It will be seen that it was not in violation of this section that Mr. Hill was granted a bonus. The bonus was granted, not for any additional services he had rendered but for the right of the department to use for all time to come the machinery which he had invented and patented both in the United States and Canada. This machinery, as I have said, is used in our postal terminals and other large offices.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Full View