February 9, 1909

REPORT PRESENTED.


The Forty-First Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries concerning fisheries.-Hon. L. P. Brodeur.


PRIVATE BILLS.

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 46) respecting the Crawford Bav and St. Mary's Railway Company, and to cnange its name to ' The British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Railway Company.'-Mr. W. McIntyre. Bill (No. 47) respecting the Guelph and Goderich Railway Company.-Mr) Lewis. Bill (No. 48) respecting the Montreal Terminal Railway Company.-Mr. Geoffrion. Bill (No. 49) respecting the Ottawa, Northern and Western Railway Company.-Mr. Devlin. Bill (No. 50) to incorporate La Compagnie du chemin de fer International de Rimouski. -Mr. Ross. Bill (No. 51) to incorporate the Royal Casualty and Surety Company of Canada.- Mr. H. H. McLean. Bill (No. 52) respecting the Bank of Vancouver.-Mr. Cowan. Bill (No. 53) respecting the Walkerton and Lucknow Railway Company.-Mr. Donnelly.


POST OFFICE ACT AMENDMENT.


Bill (No. 19) to amend the Post Office Act (Hon Rodolphe Lemieux) read the second time, and House went into committee thereon. On section 1-compensation for loss of registered letters-


CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

What do you mean by ' registered domestic article? '

Topic:   POST OFFICE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I will give the House a few explanations regarding this Bill. Section 9, subsection K of the Post Office Act reads as follows, in regard to the powers of the Postmaster General:

prescribe and enforce such regulations as to letters directed to be registered, as to him

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EDITION


Beem necessary, in respect to the registration of letters and other matter passing by mail, as well between places in Canada as between Canada and the United Kingdom, or any British possession, or any foreign country, and to the charge to be made for the same, not exceeding five cents per each letter or article. As every member of the House knows, it costs five cents, besides the usual postage of two cents, to register a letter. We have two classes of registered letters, the international and the domestic. Under the terms of the Postal Union Convention held at Rome in 1906, the Canadian Post Office Dep-partment agreed to become a party to the following provision: In case of the loss of a registered article, and except in cases beyond control, the sender or at the request of the sender, the addressee is entitled to an indemnity of 50 francs. All nations which adhere to the Postal Union are now responsible to the extent of 50 francs for each registered article which is lost, that is to say, the proven value of the article. What we do for international registered letters which are lost we intend to do for domestic registered letters that are lost. This regulation for indemnity for the loss of registered letters has been adopted by Great Britain and the United States of America. The regulation of the English Post Office Department for compensation for the loss of registered inland correspondence reads as follows: Subject to the rule stated below, the Postmaster General pays compensation voluntarily and as an act of grace for registered correspondence, including parcels. The fee payable over and above the postage is the ordinary registration fee for two pence, the limit of compensation being five pounds sterling. Compensation in respect of money of any kind (coin, orders, notes, cheques, stamps, Ac.) will only be given in those cases in which the money is inclosed in one of the registered letter envelopes sold by the post office and the packet is tendered for transmission by the registered letter post. My hon. friend sees that in England they indemnify to the extent of £5. We intend to indemnify to the extent of $25, as is done in the United States' postal law. Let me read the text of the postal law dealing with this indemnity: As a part of such system of registration he (the Postmaster General) may provide rules under which the sender or owners of first-class registered matter may be indemnified for loss thereof in the mails, the indemnity to be paid out of the postal revenues, but in no case to exceed $100 for any registered piece, or the actual value thereof when that is less than one hundred dollars, and for which no other compensation or reimbursement to the loser has been made; provided that the Post Office Department or its revenues shall not be liable for the loss of any other Mr. LEMIEUX. mail matter on account of its having been registered. And the United States regulations based thereon read: Indemnity shall be paid for the value of the lost domestic first-class matter not to exceed $25 in any one case in accordance with the law and the regulations of the Post Office Department. What we do to indemnify the sender or in respect of the addressee, as the case may be, of an international registered letter, we should at least do in the case of our own domestic letters, and we shall follow the regulations in that respect adopted by two of the most progressive countries, England and the United States. Let me now give to the House a few statistics of interest in connection with this matter. The estimated number of registered letters (not including other registered articles) posted in Canada during the five fiscal years, is as follows: 1903- 4 5,980,000 1904- 5 6,594,5001905- 6 7,475,0001906- 7 8,338,6671907- 8 9,078,000 The number of registered letters posted to the department as lost through various causes during the course of post in Canada during the same five fiscal years is as follows: 1903- 4 1161904- 5 1151905- 6 1041906- 7 1001907- 8 208 What would have been the liability of the department for the last two fiscal years if the powers I am now asking parliament for had been conferred on the Postmaster General? It would have been as follows: 1906- 7 $ 381 33 1907- 8 2,184 78 That is the proven value of the letters lost because we would not pay the $25 for each letter lost. We would pay according to the proven value of the loss. If a letter lost contained only ten dollars, we would only pay that amount. In certain countries I believe, however, they pay up the amount fixed by statute. Last year (1907-8) we would have been called on to pay $2,184.72, but $1,621.22 of this amount was due to the fact that a postal car was wrecked and totally consumed by fire near Moorhead on November 14, 1908.


IND
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The amount claimed is larger, but still it is remarkable how very little is claimed, if we take into consideration the vast amount of registered mail matter which passes through the mails. I

have not the figures, but they are not large and of course fictitious claims have been made on the department.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The amount which a letter contained up to $25 is paid in full, and above $25, only that sum is paid?

Topic:   EDITION
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Yes. This has worked verv well in the United States and England, and really we have been a little backwards in this connection. We ought to have adopted that last year, but waited until we saw how it worked out in other countries.

Topic:   EDITION
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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Will the hon. minister give some idea of the amount to be set apart for this work?

Topic:   EDITION
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

We claim that under these regulations more care will be taken by the officials and the department to trace lost letters. In fact, it will be almost impossible to lose a registered letter. Of course a car or a steamer may be wrecked, but, taking the estimates of previous years, the amount will be very small. There will be more care taken and the department will make more money, because many more people will register their letters when they know the department is liable for each registered letter to the extent of $25.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

Will there be any change in the form of receipt given for a registered letter? Will the amount the letter is said to contain he stated on the receipt?

Topic:   EDITION
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Yes. At present we have only the five-cent stamp, which shows that a letter is registered and there is no declaration by the party that it contains money. In the future, under the regulations to be framed, the amount in the letter will have to be stated if it is feasible.

Topic:   EDITION
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

There is no provision in the Act for ascertaining the amount at the time of registration.

Topic:   EDITION
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February 9, 1909