June 28, 1904

CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

While we are on this item, I would like to say a word or two on the general question of the service at the post offices in the country, and particularly at the post office of the incorporated village of Grimsby in the county of Lincoln. The Postmaster General may remember that complaints were made to him early in the year, and that these complaints are of considerable standing, and last session I spoke in regard to the scant accommodation for the public at that post office. The village of Grimsby is a centre where an efficient mail service is required more, perhaps, than in most parts of the country. It is most important that the residents should be given facilities to get their mail delivered and sent out promptly. Especially during the fruit season, they must get many reports and other matters by mail that especially affect the business they are carrying on of shipping perishable fruits. Complaints were made to the Postmaster General which, I am advised by my constituents, have not resulted in any improvement.

I am not suggesting at present that the Postmaster General has not done all he can to get the postmaster at Grimsby to effect an improvement. I would draw the attention of the Postmaster General to a letter written to him by Mr. James Doran. Mr. Doran is a man of great prominence in the locality, and one very highly respected by everybody. And, if it is a testimonial of character in the eyes of the Postmaster General, I may say that Mr. Doran is a very prominent Liberal. He contested the countv of Lincoln for the local legislature in 1898. He is one of a family that have been very staunch supporters of the Liberal party in the Dominion and provincial elections. His brother was an unsuccessful candidate in the city of Hamilton for this parliament a few years ago. Mr. Doran would not make these complaints to the Postmaster General, unless he felt that the interest of the village of which he is a prominent citizen required it :

Grimsby, Out., January 14th, 1904.

Hon. Sir William Mulock,

Postmaster General,

Ottawa, Ont.

Sir,-You are probably aware that when Mr. Wm. Forbes, the present postmaster here, was appointed it was urged as a reason for moving the post office from where It then was to Mr. Forbes' own premises that there would be much more accommodation for the public. We, residents of the village and locality, have waited patiently now more than four years for the accommodation and improvement, hut instead of it coming we have no such accommodation as we had before, or are entitled to, or as any other place of the same importance enjoys. Over 2,000 people use this office for their mail, and the fruit growing and other business of the locality is of a kind that suffers very much by want of proper post office arrangements.

What we all complain of is as follows :

1. The whole space for the public in the office is a passage, with the street door at the end, about four and a half feet wide running past the letter boxes and ending at the postmaster's private quarters, and is utterly inadequate for the needs of the people, numbers of whom can be seen every day standing on the street because there is no room Inside.

2. We cannot buy postage stamps or post cards, or get any mail handed out, until after

eight in the morning, although a mail goes to *the west at half past jeven a.m., and in the evening although the mail from the east gets in at six o'clock it is not distributed until after the mail from the west, which is due one-half an hour later, but is generally an hour or more late, and although such lateness is at the time known to the postmaster, and people have to wait notwithstanding the want of accommodation because no matter at what hour the mail is distributed the wicket is finally closed for the night at 7.30 in any event, and only those having lock boxes can get mail until 8 p.m.

There are other complaints, but these are the principal ones.

I think your inspector ought to make a visit here on some Saturday evening about six o'clock and wait for an hour or two, and he would see how'' things are for himself, unless the postmaster, knowing he was expected made some special arrangements for the occasion.

There is so much complaining about these matters, and has been now for a long time, by the people that I have now been asked to write you about it, and have thought best to do so.

Hoping that a substantial improvement for the people will be brought about without much delay, and thus prevent any other action being necessary, I am.

Yours faithfully,

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
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JAMES DORAN.


Mr. Doran informs me that that letter was acknowledged by the secretary of the department, and a promise was given that the inspector would make a visit and would look into the matter. I do not say that the first letter promised any more than that the matter would be investigated. He informs me that the inspector had been there and that he told Mr. Forbes that he must provide better accommodation for the public, and Mr. Forbes agreed to do so. But Mr. Doran says that nothing has been done. It is now getting well into the fruit season in that part of the country. For some years the people have suffered for want of sufficient post office accommodation. They have to go down to the village to ship their fruit and other produce upon trains which nearly all start at the same hour, and they feel that they are entitled to get their mail matter in time to be of some use to them for that day's operation. The only accommodation for receiving the mail is a corridor 4™ feet by fifteen or twenty feet, for which the postmaster receives a rental of $120 a year, and very few people can get into that " passage-way to receive their mail. They also complain that the post office is not open to the transaction of business, the sale of stamps, the registration of letters, &c., until S o'clock in the morning, although the mail for the west, for Toronto, Hamilton, &c., leaves the post office at 7.30. There is no other mail west until 6 in the evening, this late mail connecting with the late "trains for Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, &c. The trouble seems to be that the postmaster, Mr. Forbes, thinks he can do as he likes. I ealled the attention of the Postmaster General to this matter last year, and during Mr. LANCASTER. the winter Mr. Doran, acting in the public interest, wrote the letter to the Postmaster General, complaining of the inefficient service and insufficient accommodation, they are compelled to loiter about the streets to await their turn to receive their mail and in the cold weather this of course is a hardship. The Postmaster General acted on Mr. Doran's letter and sent his inspector to investigate the complaint. The inspector, I am informed, told Mr. Forbes, the postmaster, that he would have to provide better accommodation, and Mr. Forbes, I believe, promised to increase the accommodation but said that he could not do anything in the way of building until spring and the inspector took his word. However, the summer is well advanced but nothing has been done. Had this postmaster been treated with one-quarter of the -discipline that was displayed in the case of Mr. Gallagher, postmaster of Wilton, which we discussed last night on the initiation of my friend from Lennox (Mr. Wilson), he would have been dismissed from his position. I have culled some figures from the report of the Postmaster General and I find that the revenue from the Grimsby post office if $2,862, the postmaster gets in salary and commissions $870 besides commission on box rents and he gets a rental for the use of the post office of $120. Thus the postmaster at this point receives about $1,100 and there is a revenue of nearly three times that much. On comparing it with some of the county tow'ns, I find that the town of Cayuga has a revenue of $1,631, the town of L'Original has a revenue of $1,042, and the town of Milton has a revenue of $2,648. All of these have less revenue than the village of Grimsby, which, although it is only a village, is a very important place, and a place where the people use a lot of mail matter. As I have said, the postmaster at Grimsby also gets a larger income than is received in any of these county towns. He gets $876 with box rents and a rent allowance of $120 for which he gives the very scant accommodation that I have endeavoured to describe. The postmaster at Cayuga gets $620 a year and no rent, the postmaster at L'Original, $434 a year with box rents and $40 for rental allowance and the postmaster at Milton $S60 a year with box rents and the same rent for premises as the postmaster at Grimsby, $120 a year. All these offices yield the Dominion a smaller revenue than Grimsby does and the postmasters get less salary than the postmaster at Grimsby. I trust that the hon. Postmaster General will be able to give me some assurance and through me the residents of this very important part of the very thriving county of Lincoln, the very heart of fruit growing and agriculture in its highest state of perfection, that we will be better treated by this postmaster and that he will be caused by some more stringent means to remove the complaints which have been made against him. Mr. Doran who makes these complaints knows what he is speaking about. There are no politics in the matter. The people of Grimsby on both sides of politics unite in stating that this postmaster is altogether too clever for his position. Notwithstanding the complaints made by public men and others he will not listen to them. He does not consider that he is a public servant at all. When the complaint is made to the hon. Postmaster General, the Postmaster General sends his inspector there, the inspector tells the postmaster that the complaint is well founded and requires a remedy and he trusts to the promise of the postmaster that he will provide a remedy, but, notwithstanding that, the complaint of the people is that this postmaster defies them and refuses to do anything in the hope that the agitation will die out or that probably the people will go somewhere else to mail their letters. The post office at Grimsby park is only two and a half miles away and I know that some of the fruit growers have very often gone there during the summer months because of the very satisfactory condition there in dealing with the postmaster as compared with tlic condition of the post office at Grimsby. The post office at Beamsville, which is the post office that my hon. friend had in his mind in speaking of the dismissal of a young man who was there, is four and a half miles east of Grimsby and the post office at Winona near which my hon. friend from South Wentworth (Mr. Smith) resides and where I have no doubt he gets far better accommodation than we do at Grimsby is only four and a half miles west of Grimsby. The people who patronize this post office feel that they have a right to ask the Postmaster General to see that this postmaster complies with the requirements of the public service and provides the accommodation that he ought to provide without any complaint being made. He should recognize the direction of the post office inspector sent by the Postmaster General to investigate these complaints or he should be obliged to give the accommodation which the people demand. Sir WILLIAM MULOCIv. I have just sent for the file of papers so as to understand something about the facts of this matter. I have just a moment ago received it, and perhaps while I am reading the papers over some other matter may be discussed.


CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

W7ill the Postmaster General answer later on ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

There is a great deal of inconvenience all over the country bn

the same lines as those mentioned by my hon. friend trom Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) but there is a solution of the trouble and that is by combining several businesses in one. If the government took over the telephone and telegraph business which would be combined with the post office in all the small towns and villages we would have one central office which would be open day and night no matter whether the community was a large or small one. With a combination of the telephone, telegraph and post office we would have one well paid official and we could afford to pay one man a good salary. The public service would be trebled or quadrupled in its usefulness to the people. The way to improve the post office is by combining it with the telephone and telegraph service, centralizing it and paying the officer in charge a half decent salary. Then, the public will get proper service.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

If the Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock) is not prepared to answer my hon. friend from Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster), I want to bring to his attention what I consider to be a very serious breach of duty on the part of the hon. gentleman and some of his postmasters. 'When the hon. Tostmaster General was on this side of the House he made very serious complaints against the postmasters for acting as agents for political papers. When he assumed office he cut the heads off a great many postmasters throughout the country, their only offence being that they happened to vote for a Conservative candidate. There was no other complaint, no charge and no trial, but their heads were simply cut off because they voted for Conservative candidates.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I never dismissed anybody for such an act.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

The hon. Postmaster General dismissed the postmaster at Elgin, Mr. John Dargavel, for nothing more than that

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

For voting ?

Mr. TAYLOR, Just simply for voting.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

That is incorrect.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

There was nothing more than that against him.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I met Mr. Dargavel on the platform myself.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

The hon. gentleman never met Mr. Dargavel on the platform, but he dismissed him simply for recording his vote.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I am sure that is not correct.

Mr. TAYLOR, I have made the statement and the hon. gentleman cannot contradict it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I most emphatically do.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

Well then let him bring down the papers. Last winter I was driving through my county and at every post office I found this notice :

The ' TORONTO DAILY STAR.'

One year. One dollar. One year.

Toronto's best daily.

This is the hon. gentleman's personal organ.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

No, it is not.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

Surely the hon. gentleman would not say that this paper exceeds the ' Globe.' The notice goes on :

As good as money can make it.

Subscribe with the postmaster.

No matter whether that postmaster is a Grit or Tory he has to canvass subscriptions for the hon. gentleman's organ.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

That is quite untrue.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMPLOYMENT OF ALIEN ENGINEERS.
Subtopic:   JAMES DORAN.
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June 28, 1904