May 6, 1908

POST OFFICE ACT-AMENDMENTS.


Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Postmaster General) moved for leave to introduce Mr. ALCORN. Bill (No. 162) to amend the Post Office Act. He said : The first object of this Bill is to give a one cent drop letter to cities and towns where the free delivery system exists. The second amendment refers to the appointment of a post office superintendent. According to the Act as it now stands, he must have been ten years in the service ; I also wish to amend the Act and provide for the appointment of a financial superintendent who will supervise the books in all branches of the postal service. The work of auditing and inspecting post offices all over the Dominion was given to the inspectors, but it is found, particularly in the Northwest and in sparsely settled districts of the country, that the work of the inspectors is already too large to allow them to audit thoroughly the books in each post office, especially in the large cities. I have decided to appoint a financial superintendent whose duties will be similar to those of the post office superintendent. He will have the supervision and the auditing of the books from one end of the Dominion to the other. I will give further explanations on the second reading of the Bill.


CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

When the hon. gentleman is fixing the rate on drop letters in cities at one cent, is it his intention under this Bill also to provide for a half cent rate on drop letters in towns, villages and rural districts ?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

When the time comes to discuss this Bill more fully, I will explain to the hon. gentleman that this rate of one cent in cities where the free delivery system exists will help me to give more postal facilities to the rural sections of the country. At present the large cities of the Dominion are paying for the service in the rural portions. We are only giving the cities what already exists in other places where no letter carrier system exists. The one cent rate exists in other portions of the country, provided the letters are not sent outside the locality served by the post office.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

When was the one cent rate changed ?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The one cent drop letter rate was adopted in 1875, under the Mackenzie government, and it was abolished I think in 1889.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Does this provision for a one cent drop letter apply only to cities, or to ail places where there are drop letters at present ?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The one cent drop letter will apply only to those places where the letter carrier system exists.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

We have in the town of Barrie a delivery system in what is called the old part of the town. A portion of the present town of Barrie was called at one

time Allandale, and there is a post office there. It is now all one town, and I understand that if a letter is dropped somewhere midway between Barrie and Allandale, and It happens to be carried into Barrie, though it is directed to Allandale, then the drop letter rate won't apply, it will have to be paid for the same as if sent outside the town. I think that is hardly fair. Where the whole district is practically one town within a radius of a mile, there should be only one rate.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Is there a free delivery system ?

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

There is in the old part of the town, and Allandale is in the same town.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Then the one cent rate will apply.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

At present there is no delivery in the Allandale portion of the town of Barrie, what we call the sixth ward, because when the delivery was established in Barrie. Allandale was not then a portion of the town. The population of Barrie is about 7,000.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEROERON.

Do I understand the hon. minister to say that the one cent system was abolished in 1879 ?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I am not very positive as to the date.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I think it was abolished when the new two cent rate came into operation, by Sir William Mulock in 1897. I -think the one cent rate was abolished at the same time that the two cent rate was adopted for all letters.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

In preparing this Bill has the minister taken into consideration the condition that exists in the post office at Belleville, to which I have called his attention several times ? Within the corporation limits of Bellevile there are two post offices, the principal post office for the central and business portion of the town, and another post office situated near the Grand Trunk Railway. We have not free postal delivery there. Generally, persons depositing letters in the town office for delivery to persons residing near the station post office, put on a one cent stamp, thinking that is the proper postage. A great many advertisements, circulars and things of that sort are dropped in the main office at Belleville for delivery to people near the station.

When the people go to the station post office for their mail they are met with a demand for the payment of two cents postage on a letter posted at the down town office. They pay the two cents postage, the letter being sealed, they know nothing as to what its contents may be, and then they find that it is an advertisement for dry goods or a show, or something that is of

no interest to them. It has been considered a hardship that that should exist. I have taken occasion to call the minister's attention to the fact that the delivery of letters at the station post office does not incur any materially greater expense than does the delivery at the central post office. Mails are carried from the central office to the Grand Trunk station for distribution by the railway company and in passing to the railway and back to the post office they pass the other post office door and they could collect the mail there as well. No great expense would be incurred, a great saving to the people would be effected and it seems to me, if the minister has not considered this matter, it should be considered now that an amendment is being made to the Act and that situation should be relieved. I will ask him to give it his careful consideration.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


QUESTIONS.

QUEBEC TERCENTENARY-LEGAL HOLIDAYS.

May 6, 1908