February 9, 1909

LIB

Alfred Henry Clarke

Liberal

Mr. A. H. CLARKE.

As I understand it, if postmasters lose public money through the act of burglars, they have to bear the loss. I have known cases where postmasters have desired to give up the money order business in order to get out of the risk, the public money that they have in charge being, no doubt, an attraction to burglars.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

If postmasters have taken the necessary precautions, for instance by keeping their postal notes, money, &c., in a safe approved by the department, and by using due diligence, the Post Office Department generally recoups them any loss they may sustain in the way referred to.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

Is there to be any means of ascertaining whether the value is in the registered letter or not? Any one in business knows that sometimes a man will claim to have sent certain money by registered letter, but the receiver says that the money to the amount claimed was not enclosed.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Under the new regulation the sender will have to prove the amount before it is sent, because the department will be called upon to recoup him according to the proven value contained in the letter.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

I understand that there is a provision by which a person desiring to transmit money to a foreign country may go to a postmaster, make his deposit of money and get a receipt therefor, and that money will be paid to a person named in a foreign country. But in case the money is not delivered, what provision is there for the depositor getting it back?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The regulations concerning registered letters, as well as ordinary letters, passing between two countries, are framed by what we call the Postal Union

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

Pardon me. I do not speak of a registered letter. But suppose Mr. SPROULE.

I deposit money with the postmaster to be paid to a certain person, say in Russia?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

We have postal conventions with different countries by which we restrict our postal or money orders.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

Suppose I send $25 in that way and it is not delivered in the foreign country, how do I get my money back?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

If it is lost in Canada and the Post Office Department is proven responsible, Canada pays the money. If, on the other hand, the loss is proven against the foreign country, the foreign country pays the money.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

Is there any limitation fixed? In the two cases I refer to, over a year has elapsed since the money was sent, and the party sending it seems to have no redress, although he has made application time and again. The only answer he gets is that inquiry is being made. Is there any limit to the time within which this is to be paid?

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LIB
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

Is there any good reason why the sum should be limited to $25? It seems to me that if the whole people of Canada, through their government, undertake to perform a service for individuals and fail in the attempt and lose a sum of money, the whole people, through their government, ought to make good that loss to the individual. It may be considered advisable to limit the sum that the Postmaster General should undertake to convey from one part of the country to another; but if that sum is unlimited, if a man sends $100 through the government and it is lost, it seems to me that the government should sustain that loss and not the individual.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

I think if we changed the law and made the government responsible for the whole amount in case of loss, the people of Canada, so long as the present Postmaster General presides over the department, would have unbounded confidence in the department, and would be willing to confidde a much larger sum than $25 to the department for delivery. Why should the people be obliged to send these large sums of money through banks or express companies instead of through the government?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I may mention in this connection that I have under consideration a plan of government insurance under which the Post Office Department will take charge of larger amounts, though that plan is not yet ripe for legislation. At present, large payments are sometimes made through the Post Office Department by banks and companies, showing the confidence they have in the service, and that confidence is justified by the very few losses that have occurred. Registered letters are so well traced that banks and large corporations are sending relatively large amounts of money through the Post Office Department. If we carried larger sums we would have to provide a special system of insurance, with a rate higher than the present rate of five cents. My officials are now studying very closely a plan in this direction and perhaps next year I may take the House into my confidence on that subject.

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?

Mr HUGHES.

I need not remind the minister what came to his notice last year, of a very heavy loss that occurred between Lindsay and Dunsford. I think $500 disappeared mysteriously, and the loser could get no redress. I may also remind him of another case that the late member for Durham, Colonel Ward, brought frequently before the minister, where an officer of the department was proven to have received the money for the money order and never transmitted the money order. Is it the intention of the department to make this Bill retroactive, so that the loser in this case could get redress?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

That will not come under this Bill. I recollect Colonel Ward's case, and I examined the papers very closely at the time. Has my hon. friend read the report on that case, issued by the department?

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?

Mr HUGHES.

I have not read the report, but I have read all the evidence except the final report.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I have the evidence and at the close of last session I satisfied Col.

Ward that he should not press the matter further, because it was a special case. I need not say anything more about it.

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February 9, 1909