February 28, 1905

CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. B. AMES (Montreal, St. Antoine).

Mr. Speaker, before the House goes into supply I wish to raise a question in reference to what certainly seems to me to be an abuse of the franking privilege. A number of my constituents and a number of constituents of other members of this House have, within the last few days, received, franked free through the mails, advertising material from a Montreal house engaged in the sale of dental goods called ' The Franco-American Dental Institute,' manufacturers of and dealers in dental supplies. I have received from various-gentlemen letters from St. Thomas, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, in fact all parts of tl'e Dominion, from dentists and other persons engaged in similar lines of business, saying that this advertising material which is purely commercial, has been sent to practically all the dentists throughout these two older provinces. This matter was brought to my attention by a business man in Monti eal, in a similar line of wholesale business, who complains that one of his competitors is taking advantage of His Majesty's mails and securing the free distribution of a large quantity of advertising material for purely commercial purposes, and I was informed by one of these gentlemen that if necessary he would produce witnesses to describe what they had themselves seen of tile preparation of this advertising material in a business house in the city of Montreal.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Where were they mailed from ?

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

The letters were apparently al! prepared in the city of Montreal and were then evidently brought here and franked.

Mr. LANCASTER, How were they franked ?

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

They were all franked in the same way. I would like to send these over to the Postmaster General in order that he may himself see the franks to which I refer.

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?

Hon. W. S.@

Mr. Speaker, I quite agree with the hon. gentleman (Mr. Ames), who has brought this matter to the attention of the House, that the use of the frank for such a purpose as this is certainly contrary to the meaning and the spirit of the Act which allows the franking privilege to members. It 16 not the first time that the franking privilege has been abused ; it is not the first time that I have had occasion on the floor oi the House to call attention to abuses of various kinds. How to prevent these abuses is another thing. In regard to this particular question I have myself received complaints-only to-day, however-and I made inquiry of one of the gentlemen. I find that a number of names or initials have been used. The envelopes which the hon. gentleman has sent to me all bear the initials Mr. FIELDING.

of one member, but other frankings have taken place with the initials of various members, as far as I am able to discover, without the authority of the owner. Nevertheless the practice has grown up in this House of having the initials stamped, and the franks put on by a stamp have been accepted in the post office. Stamps can be obtained or copied and this system affords a very easy way for persons to make this unwarranted use of the franking privilege. Last year my deputy called my attention to the matter and recommended to me that in future we should require the members to sign their names.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

And if this is the wish of the House I am quite prepared to adopt it.

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LIB
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

My hon. friend (Mr. Logan) suggests that the signing of the full name would be to laborious. I am quite prepared to adopt whatever regulation appears to recommend itself to the good judgment of this House. The old system of using a stamp, I think, ought to be abolished. I would draw the inference from the present expression of poinion that the House desires me to prescribe a rule that the frank shall be signed either the full signature or the initials.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

The initials.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I am quite prepared to adopt such a regulation. If I can take the opinion of the House in an informal way I would say that the initials have it.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

If I am right therefore, in assuming that it is the wish of this House that in future we shall not accept franking by a stamp, then I will require the initials. I draw that conclusion and will act accordingly.

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An hon. MEMBER.

How about the departments ?

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

The departments frank under the terms of an Order in Council of a good many years' standing. It may be necessary, in view of this expression of opinion from the House, for the government to reconsider that Order in Council. The Order in Council has been in force for about 15 years, having been passed I think, in 1891.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

What the hon. gentleman says applies simply to our own post office.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I am now speaking of our own post office, and I understand that it is assented to by this House that we shall discontinue the use of the

stamp and require the initials of the members. To that extent the change will come into effect at once.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

There is just one remark that fell from the lips of the Postmaster General to which 1 would draw attention. He stated that in this particular instance these stamps have been used without the authority of the owners thereof. I would like to know whether the use of such a stamp without the authority of the owner is not a grave breach, if not of law, certainly of courtesy to this House, and I would like to ask if any steps are being taken to punish the people who are using stamps without authority ?

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

And to collect the postage.

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Sir WILLIAM MU LOOK@

No person is more anxious to protect the revenue of the Post Office Department than myself, but the bon. gentleman will bear in mind that this only occurs, as a rule, about the commencement of each parliament.

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February 28, 1905