October 13, 1903

L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. EDWARD LIACKETT (West Prince).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I desire to call the attention of the Postmaster General to a statement which appears in the editorial column of the Charlottetown ' Patriot,' of the 9th instant:

Topic:   RURAL MAIL DELIVERY.
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RURAL MAIL DELIVERY.


As soon as the consolidated school Is established at Hazelbrook, we understand it is the intention of the government to inaugurate a rural mail delivery service in that part of Prince Ed-> ward Island. Mr. D. A. MacKinnon, M.P., brought this matter to the notice of the department and suggested that the mails could he carried by the same vans to the houses, when conveying the pupils to and from school. In this way the service could be performed very economically and satisfactorily. Thus a rural mail delivery will have Its initial movement in this province. In the event of its proving a success the system could be extended to other parts of the country. I desire to ask the bon., Minister if there is any truth in, that statement, and, if, while he is considering the question of mail delivery in Prince Edward Island, he will establish mail delivery in the city of Charlottetown, the town of Summerside and other urban centres, instead of commencing in a rural district.


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The POSTMASTER GENERAL (Hon. Sir William Mulock).

The hon. member for Queen's (Mr. McKinnon) has, from time to

time, pressed upon me the advisability of establishing rural mail deliveries. But, up to this moment, the department has arrived at no conclusion upon the subject. I may say that many other members have made similar demands, in fact, they are constant-lg being made from all parts of this Dominion. But this is a subject of very serious moment, one that the government could not undertake except after the most careful consideration ; and, for my part, I think that Canada is not ripe for any such movement. I am quite satisfied that the people of Canada would not bear the cost that such a service would involve. It is at present beyond the resources of the people of Canada to attempt to establish a rural mail delivery over a country so sparsely inhabited as ours and as large as all Europe, for Europe even with its four hundred millions of people, has not yet, to any great extent, adopted the system.

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INSPECTION ACT AMENDMENT-GRAIN INSPECTION EAST OP MANITOBA DISTRICT.


House went into Committee to consider the following proposed resolutions : .Resolved, that it Is expedient to amend the General Inspection Act, and to provide for the appointment of weigh-masters for the weighing of grain in any inspection district east of the inspection district of Manitoba, and for their remuneration by fees or otherwise.-The Minister of Trade and Commerce.


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The MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE (Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright).

I would say to the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) that this resolution is introduced merely for the purpose of submitting a Bill which I have here in detail. The object of the measure is to extend the inspection law applying to grain in tl'e district of Manitoba to the country east of Manitoba. Of course, every discussion can be had on the Bill that can be had on the resolution. If hon. gentlemen wish to discuss the resolution I will withdraw it, as I do not want to interfere with the business to be proposed by my hon. friend the Postmaster General.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

What territory does the Bill include ?

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The MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE.

Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The right lion, gentleman (Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cart-wrigt) informs me that there is some other matter which the government desires to go on with, and I agree that it would be convenient to reserve any discussion with regal'd to the measure now proposed until the Bill is introduced. I do not think there is any objection, if it meets the approval of my hon. friends on this side.

Resolution reported, read the first and second time, and agreed to.

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK,

The MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 266), further to amend the General Inspection Act.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


CIVIL SERVICE ACT AMENDMENTS.


House in Committee on Bill (No. 237) to amend the Civil Service Act.-The Postmaster General. On section 1,


CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I would like to call the attention of the Postmaster General to another officer who, I think, might well be provided for under this section. There are provisions here for three of our deputy heads, the Deputy Minister of Justice, the Deputy Minister of Finance and the Deputy Minister of Railways and Canals. There is a provision by which their salaries may be increased to $5,000, in certain events. The Deputy Minister of Justice, when appointed, must have had ten years' service at the bar. I can hardly imagine any man obtaining the position of Deputy Minister of Justice if he had served less than ten years at the bar, it would be very unusual ; and it looks to me as if this were rather a means of enabling this gentleman, and in tlie same manner these other two gentlemen, to get an exceptional allowance. Now I do not object, but I wish to bring forward the case of another official, the Auditor General. I am aware that there has been friction between the gentleman who holds that position and some of the other departments, but it seems to me that we should deal with the office, and that there should be no distinction made between the salary of a deputy minister of one of the departments and the salary of the Auditor General, at all events to' the disadvantage of the Auditor General. I do not think there is any deputy head in the whole service whose position is so important and so valuable to the country as that of the Auditor General. I cannot imagine that there is any sufficient reason why there should be any distinction between the salaries of the deputy heads I have named and that of an officer so important in the interests of the whole Dominion as the Auditor General. As I said before, I know there has been friction between the present incumbent of that office and other departments, probably I might more correctly say with the deputy heads of other departments. Well, I can only say that I doubt whether you will ever have an Auditor General, who attempts to do his duty, who will not have friction with the various departments. It is inevitable that it should be so. He is (lie criti-ciser, he is to a certain extent a fault-finder, and every time lie attempts to scrutinize the acts of the department he will meet with resistance ; if he persists there will

be more than resistance, there will be opposition. Now those of us who have read the correspondence in the Auditor General's Report know that he has come into conflict with deputy heads on matters that were likely to cause serious friction between them. Under those circumstances 1 think it is the duty of the government, instead of giving exceptional treatment to the deputy heads which will put him in a somewhat unfair position as regards rank, that they should protect the department of the Auditor General, whatever view they may take of the gentleman who occupies that office for the moment. 1 therefore suggest to the hon. the Postmaster General that it would be only proper, now that the salaries are being dealt with, to make provision in this section for the department of the Auditor General. lie is not a deputy head, he has not by statute the rank of deputy head, and he is apparently to be left out simply because lie has not D. H. after his name.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I appreciate what my hon. friend has said as to its being the duty of the government , to strengthen the hands of the Auditor General, to stand by him in the proper discharge of his duties, and to give proper weight and dignity to his high and responsible position I do not controvert anything the hon. gentleman has said as to the salary that should attach to the office, and if to-day I am not able to include his name in this list, it is not because of any decision to the contrary, either by the government or in my own mind. It may be that his case was not presented when the-cases of the deputy heads were under consideration. This Bill has grown, it has assumed proportions In excess of those that were contemplated when I introduced it. Therefore if the Auditor General is not being included with the others who are being given extra salaries, it is not because of any adverse conclusion we have come to, and no inference of that kind should be entertained. Perhaps my hon. friend would be good enough not to press the subject at this late date In the session. I think I can say on behalf of the government that, notwithstanding the supposed friction that has been referred to, the Auditor General enjoys the confidence and respect of the government, and we would be quite as ready as any hon. gentleman in the House to recognize his claims, both for increased emoluments and for support at the hands of the government in the discharge of his very embarrassing and responsible duties. Leaving the matter over for future consideration will not in any wise prejudice his claim. If we do not include him to-day it is simply because his case has not been under consideration. The Bill has grown, as I say, new clauses have been introduced from time to time. Under the circumstances this case might very properly come up for consideration at a later date.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I should be quite content with that decision, speaking for myself. But I would be better pleased if the Postmaster General would say that the case will be taken into consideration at an early date rather than at some future date. Some future date might be very far away. If it be that the Auditor General's case lias been overlooked, I hope the hon. gentleman will promise the House that it will be taken up at an early date, for consideration at all events. I am very glad to hear that the Auditor General has the confidence of the government. I believe the Auditor General has the confidence of the whole country and I am glad to hear now that the government do not disagree with the country in regard to him.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

In asking that the matter be not pressed at this point, it was not for the purpose of shelving it indefinitely, but simply out of regard for the manifest desire of hon. members for an early prorogation. I wished to avoid anything that might interfere with that much desired end.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

I see that the clause in regard to a civil engineer says that he must be a civil engineer of ten years' standing. What is the qualification of a civil engineer under that clause ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

The title of ' civil engineer ' may be acquired, I suppose without one having the diploma of an educational institution, but I think the construction that would be placed upon these words ' civil engineer ' in this case would be that they would apply to some person who had acquired the legal status of a civil engineer in a technical sense.

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CON

October 13, 1903