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
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:
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.