I will make a note of it.
I would like to ask the government whether the 24th of 51 ay is to be a public holiday.
There is a Bill before the House.
The public would like to know whether the government will let the Bill go through.
The public will be informed in due time.
SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. IV. S. Fielding) moved that the House go again into Committee of Supply.
LEFURGEY (East Prince, P.E.I.) Reference was made, Mr. Speaker, some time during the winter, to the unsatisfactory mail service between Prince Edward Island and the rest of the
Mr. P.ORDEN (King's).
Dominion, and we hoped that on the opening of navigation this matter would be remedied by the department, and every facility provided for a 'satisfactory service. To our great disappointment, however, the much needed improvement has not taken place. Navigation has been opened since three or four weeks, and the regular summer steamer is plying between Charlottetown and Pictou, and the government steamer Stanley came to Summerside harbour about the 4th of April and made one trip to Pictou, but since then there has been no steam communication between Summerside and Pictou. or between Summerside and Cape Tor-mentine, while the Stanley could have been making three trips daily, if necessary, between the two latter places. We have two-government boats available, but they are laid up at Charlottetown or Pictou, and the Charlottetown Steam Navigation Company steamer, plying between Charlottetown and Pictou, is not even provided with a mail clerk, so that, at present, when navigation is opened, the whole length and breadth of tlie island, we are receiving our western mail twenty-four hours later than we were accustomed to receive it during the winter season. During the winter we had on both the government boats mail clerks who assorted the western mails and sent them out by special train to Charlottetown and the west, and that system gave some satisfaction. In the summer, when the mails come from Boston and Montreal, we have on the boat plying between Point de Chene and Summerside, a mail clerk, and the mails are forwarded on the arrival of the boat by special train east, and west, the people of the eastern end of . the island thus receiving a fair measure of justice. But, at present, while the mails are arriving at Charlottetown, the western people do not even get the benefit of a mail clerk on board the boat, or a special train to forward their mails. The department may not be able to realize the conditions of affairs, but I am sure that the hon. Minister of Marine is cognizant of the whole situation, and he. at least, should look after the interests of the west end of the island as well as the east. But, apparently the hon. gentleman is so wrapped up in the eastern end that he is afraid to make a move, or probably he does not expect to contest an election in the island again. This is the time of year when the people, after having been housed up six months, should have an opportunity of communicating with the outside world, and getting in reports and carrying on correspondence with the view of finding a market for their products. But, instead of greater despatch in the mail service at this time, our mails are twenty-four hours longer in reaching us, in the western part of the island, than during the winter. In the summer time-and we should have a summer service now-the mails are received from Montreal and Boston in the space of twenty-
four hours. Surely it is not asking too
much that to-day we should at least hare a forty-eight hour service instead of having a service by which it takes a letter four or five days to reach Montreal or Ottawa. 1 have in my possession a letter which was mailed in Summerside on the 13tli, and only reached me this morning, and papers printed in Summerside and mailed on the 13th, which also reached here by this morning's mail. I wish to take the liberty of ; reading a few extracts from this paper! the Pioneer, which supports the hon. the Min- 1 ister of Marine and this government in everything they consider it necessarv to do :
Mr. Editor :
Sir,-With the summer boats making regular trips between Pictou and Charlottetown there should be no reason for kicking on account of irregularity in receiving the mails. The twentieth century is now fully installed, still the mails that reach Charlottetown by boat on the after- I noon of one day are only received at Summerside about noon of the next. Even were the afternoon train delayed for a short time till the steamer's arrival, it would not be too great a concession, for I am informed that the boat sometimes arrives within half an hour of the departure of the train. What, is the matter anyhow? Is the steamer too tardy in arriving from Pictou, is the Minister of Marine and Fisheries taking sweet revenge on Prince county people for having elected an opposition man, or is the Charlottetown postmaster too long In office, and on that account in need of an outing? An impression of that kind, has long been abroad.
A boat running between Summerside and the Cape could, during the past week, make three trips a day if necessary, and so give Charlottetown people their mails earlier than at present, I but our neighbours of the provincial hub desire no speedy arrangements, for when both winter steamers were fast in the ice with mails on board, they offered a resolution that as a special favour the boats be not moved. It is bad enough to put up with irregular mails during winter without making the nuisance permanent. Give us a change for the best.
Summerside, April 12, 1901. Let me now read for the benefit of the lion, the Minister of Marine the editorial of this Liberal organ on this important matter : Referring to ' Kicker's ' letter in this issue, it must be admitted that our mail arrangements are far from satisfactory, and an unfortunate feature of the situation is that the opening of navigation between Charlottetown and Pictou instead of Improving has made matters worse than when the mails were carried by the winter boats via Georgetown. When brought by the latter route, mails, with only an occasional exception, were received in Summerside on day of arrival, now they reach here by noon of the following day. Inquiry relative to the matter shows that the Princess, now carrying the mails, arrives in Charlottetown about 7.15 p.m., and that the mails are assorted about 9 (why there is so much delay in assorting we are not informed). The train for the west leaves Charlottetown at 4.10, and if held for the mails would not arrive here before midnight. It appears that there is no remedy for this grievance but to ' grin and bear it ' until tbe direct route between Point du Cbene and Summerside is open, which it is hoped will be in a day or two. It is unfortunate, however, that such a condition could exist with two boats available for the carrying of mails, and it looks as if the claims of the province outside of the city of Chai-lotte-town are not given the consideration they should have. That a mail received at Charlottetown early in the evening should not be received at Alberton and Tignish before the following night is scarcely consistent with twentieth century methods. The summer mail via Point du Chene and Summerside arrives at the latter port much iater than 7.10, and is immediately forwarded east and west by special trains. We think that a like consideration for the re3t of the province should be observed when the mails arrive at Charlottetown, and we hope that hereafter a different system will be adopted, and the present cause of complaint and dissatisfaction will not be repeated. Since the above was written a communication to tbe board of trade here from Mr. Brecken, post office inspector, states that the assorting of the mails coming from the Princess is done at Charlottetown, and requires two hours. Where have the mail clerks gone? Why should Prince county and the rest of the province outside of Charlottetown be obliged to wait twenty-four hours or so on account of there being no mail clerk on board the Princess as there is on the iNforthumberland in summer, and in winter on the Stanley and Minto. Letters or newspapers mailed in Montreal on the 9th are received at Summerside at noon on the 12th, and at Tignish about 7 o'clock in the evening. This can and ought to be remedied at once by having a mail clerk on board the Princess, and either holding the 4.10 train until arrival of the boat, or putting on a special. The interests of the whole western part of the province demand this. Now, that is from a Liberal organ, ana it shows that the dissatisfaction is not confined to one section of the people in the western part of the island, but is widespread throughout that portion of the province. I think there must he very grave fault in the management of the Post Office Department when these tilings must be brought up periodically in this House. I think it is a mere parody upon administration. when we must come here and in this House continually harp upon this matter of securing fair treatment, when the facilities are always at hand to give us a fair service. I trust the department will take the matter up at once and see to it. that the people of the western part of the island receive better attention.
Before making any observations on tbe transportation question
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).
Would tlie lion, gentleman allow me to bring to tlie attention of the House a matter which I should have spoken of on the Orders of
the Day being called. We have had no meeting of the Public Accounts Committee this week. A meeting is called for tomorrow, but it is for Hi o'clock, so that all the time at the service of the committee for this week will be one hour. I have more than once pointed out to the hon. leader of the government (lit. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) that it is extremely desirable, in fact I think it is necessary that we should have two regular meetings of the committee every week and that they should begin not later than 11 o'clock. We consented to give up one meeting last week or the week before to suit the convenience of the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte). On that occasion it was promised, as I understand, that an additional meeting should be called in view of this concession. Not only has not that promise been carried out, but, as I have already pointed out, we have only one meeting this week, and that one to begin at 12 o'clock.
Subtopic: PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.
I understand that three committees are called to meet to-morrow, Banking and Commerce, Private Bills, and Public Accounts. I do not see how it is possible to call the Public Accounts Committee at an earlier hour under such circumstances.
Subtopic: PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.
Mr. JAMES CLANCY (Bothwell).
I think the right hon. First Minister will concede that the Public Accounts Committee should not be put last upon the list. The Minister of Public Works promised that we should have au earlier meeting. He will remember tlie occasion on which that statement was made. Of course, it was made privately. He assured us that, in consequence of taking a day from us, he would give us another meeting, so that the number of meetings should not be lessened.
Subtopic: PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.
MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Before saying a few words upon the question which occupied the attention of the House yesterday, the important question of transportation, I desire to say, in reply to my hon. friend for East Prince (Mr. Lefurgey), that the difficulties, either real or imaginary, which he has brought to the attention of the House, have been very much magnified by him. They are due to the fact that matters are in a transition state from the winter to the summer service. The difficulty is due to the fact that Point Du Cliene harbour is not clear of ice, and that the summer boat, though it tried, was unable to get in. Summerside harbour was in a similar condition, but I sent the Stanley and, as there was depth of water in the harbour to take her in, she broke the ice outside and entered the harbour. But the Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
Stanley could not enter Point Du Cliene harbour because there was not sufficient depth of water. Therefore, as my hon. friend will see, there cannot be the usual daily trip from Summerside to Point Du Cliene until the ice leaves Point Du Chene harbour. The matter concerning the Post Office Department to which the hon. gentleman lias referred, I will bring to the attention of the Postmaster General. But the hon. gentleman knows very well-there is no use in trying to impose upon the House-that never since Prince Edward Island was an island have the mail services been so satisfactory as they have been this winter. Every day the mail went over, except about ten days when both boats were frozen in the ice; and everybody is loud in praise of the manner in which the Post Office Department has managed the service during this year and the manner in which the winter communication has been maintained.
Subtopic: MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
How many days was the hon. gentleman (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) himself detained in the ice ?
Subtopic: MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.