We are compelled to ask this question because the hon. gentleman has been in the habit of disregarding the law and it is gratifying to find that he has been finally induced to comply with it. It might be as well now to call attention to a campaign sheet which he, like his other colleagues, has embodied In his report. In a table giving the expenditure and revenue. he starts with what he is pleased to call a deficit in 1896 and shows a surplus for 1903 of $395,268. The hon. gentleman knows that he has no such surplus. He knows that the surplus! he has is $292,664. Why did the hon. gentleman select 1896 as the year of comparison ?
The report has been published in its present form for years. That form was adopted several years ago, in 1897. The late government went out of office before the report for that year had been signed by the then minister, and it was for me to sign it and present it to parliament. I did not sign it until the accounts had been audited and then I signed. The financial results set forth in that report, so certified, is the beginning of each annual tabulated statement. I am not discrediting previous annual statements, I am not making any comment on them one way or another, they jnay be correct or not, but the auditor did disclose an unsound system applicable I think to previous years. At all events they found a state of affairs applicable to the year 1S95-6, on which they made their findings in a report which was presented to parliament. The report therefore of 1895-6 constituted the beginning of this sheet which contains most useful information and information which I venture to say no Postmaster General hereafter will withhold. The reform here inaugurated will he continued from session to session by succeeding Postmasters General, whether the facts are to the credit or discredit of the administration of the day, just as the public accounts, showing the revenues and expenditures, the deficits and surpluses of the governments, are set
forth in a tabulated statement so that at a glance a person may obtain a correct idea as to the actual financial results of the operations of a department.
The report states that:
The total net revenue of the Post Office from all sources, excluding that from the Yukon and Atlin districts, shows an excess over the previous year of $478,001.65, and the total gross revenue exceeded that of the previous year by $523,339. The expenditure of the department, excluding that of the Yukon and Atlin districts, exceeded that of the previous year by $87,842.68.
Then at page A-4, my hon. friend will find that the total net revenue from all sources including that from the Yukon and Atlin districts shows an excess over the previous year of $478,001.65. and total gross revenue exceeds that of the previous year by $523,329. The expenses of the department, excluding that of the Yukon and Atlin districts exceeds that of the previous year by $87,842.68. The hon. gentlemen will see that the revenue from the post office in the Territories named is $31,704.76, and the expenditure from under the expenditure column is $134,318.84.
Deducting, therefore, the revenue of $31,704.76 from the expenditure of $134,318.84 leaves a deficit on the workings of the post office in the Yukon and Atlin districts of $102,614.08.
Last year my estimates were passed after the close of the fiscal year 1902-3, and I therefore gave these figures to parliament. I stated then that the financial results of the year were, speaking without giving the exact figures-they will all be found in the ' Hansard '-that we had balanced up our accounts for the year, and that including a loss on the Yukon of $102,000, the department left in the treasury for the Consolidated Revenue Fund, $292,000. That is a net clean surplus over and above all expenditures on the service, the Atlin and Yukon surpluses included ; leaving out the loss on the Yukon and Atlin services, the surplus for the year was in round numbers, $395,000. I have no doubt my hon. friend was in, the House when I stated that and that he was as gratified then as he is today at this result. My hon. friend asks why' we have, heretofore left out the Atlin and Yukon transactions. It is not excluded. It is as plain as it can be made on the face of the report itself, but for the purpose of comparison, service with service, it has heretofore been left out. The old government did not include it in the general summary because they had no Yukon and Atlin services and therefore had no Yukon and Atlin deficits.
The old post office department paid out nothing whatever for carrying it on. Any mail service they maintained was carried on without expense to the department, and therefore there could be no item in their accounts in respect to the Atlin and Yukon services. There were no post offices there and no people to speak of only a few scattered people. After the discovery of gold and the rush to the Yukon a short time after this government came into office, then for the first time it became necessary for the government to establish a service there. That service is a losing service, and to all appearances will so continue for many years to come. It was not deemed reasonable for purposes of comparison that that extra service should be included in the general account of the revenue and expenditure of the department, but for the purpose of comparing the results of the service throughout all Canada, as served under the old and the present administration, it was thought best that there should be a separate account kept for the financial results of the Atlin and Yukon services.
My hon. friend may have that view, but even now if we deduct the loss on the workings of the Yukon, or in other words amalgamate all the accounts the financial result will show a clean surplus in the treasury of $292,000 for the year ending 30th June, 1903, over all expenditure.
My hon. friend (Mr. Clancy) asked about the increases in the salaries of officials in the department. I think we adopt a very proper procedure in dealing with these annual increases. They are not made automatically but upon the report of the officers that the persons in question are deserving of these increases, and I am pleased to say that the staff of the Post Office Department is so efficient that nearly all of that staff received their increases. I am not now speaking formally but speaking with all sincerity when I say that for efficiency, fitness and industry one could not desire a better staff than the Post Office Department now enjoys, and therefore on their merits and not as a matter of course, these officers have received their increases.
I am sure the civil service will be gratified that the hon. gentleman has confidence in his own staff. He withheld their statutory increases ; he was suspicious, first as to their efficiency, next as to their fidelity. The hon. gentleman has had these doubts removed from his mind, and now he frankly states that he has a good staff. Well, they have not became suddenly efficient under the hon. gentleman. I scarcely
think that he would care to arrogate so much to himself as that. I doubt that the hon. gentleman who is modest in the extreme almost would go so far as to say that. If they were efficient when he came in what is the relative position between the faithful service from which the hon. gentleman withheld the statutory increase and the service now because the hon. gentleman tells the country that he was mistaken when he thought they were not efficient or loyal to him ? What is the position of the hon. gentleman now ? I ask the hon. gentleman if he stands in an enviable position on that question to-day. I think not. I think the hon. gentleman should have treated them as honest men and as efficient men when he came into the department, and that he should have so treated them until he learned to the contrary. I should have expected the hon. gentleman to have done that. I could not have contemplated that the hon. gentleman would have placed his staff under a ban of suspicion and that he would have acquitted them only after they had proved by experience that they were not inefficient or untrustworthy. I am glad to learn that he has been convinced and that he is now prepared to do them justice. I think there is one thing that he owes them. He owes them the sum that he withheld from them. If they were an efficient staff they were entitled to their statutory increases. But, the hon. gentleman has not had the courage to come down to the House and be quite as frank as he has been this afternoon. He should now say : I have not treated you well, you are an efficient, capable and honest service and I think I ought to reward *you. This it not a matter of grace, it is a matter of repairing a wrong that I have done you. There is just one thing more required. The hon. gentleman has made a full confession ; let him make full reparation. That kind of cheap repentance will not do the hon. gentleman very much good. The hon. gentleman ought now go before the country and say : I have withheld the statutory increases from my staff, they are a good staff and I think I shall come down to the House and ask them to justify me in making reparation although it is late. I hope the hon. gentleman will be able to grant the justice to his staff that he withheld in the past.
This subject has been discussed ad nauseum in previous sessions. The question of statutory increases has been threshed out for several years and I do not suppose my hon. friend wants me to go back and discuss matters of five or six years ago. I think it would be better to coniine ourselves to the estimate now before the committee.