May 12, 1911

CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

That would be $60 foT 312 days. I am not speaking of these little offices that are opened for the convenience of tourists in the summer time But I am not making an unreasonable request of the Postmaster General that, instead of making the minimum $50, he make it $60. That will only give a trifle of over $1 a week extra for six days' service. I think that is reasonable.

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IND

Joseph Russell

Independent

Mr. RUSSELL.

I have to leave for home in a few minutes, and before I go I would like to make one more appeal to the Postmaster General. I know7 he would like to

see me going home happy, and if he will promise to make that increase $100 a year instead of $50, and raise the minimum from $800 to $1,400, I would go home as happy as could be, and I know that there are hundreds of mail clerks throughout the country who would also be made happy. I want to say a word with reference to something that the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell) said a little while ago. It is probable he has seen some of the civil servants around Ottawa when he says they do not earn their money. But I know railway mail clerks who have to leave their homes at six o'clock in the morning and hurry off to get their trains, and who don't get back home again until ten at night. I think when a man puts in that number of hours he earns his pay pretty well.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

Does the hon. gentleman know of railway mail clerk's in Toronto who are performing a service like this every day in the w7eek? Or is it only one day, and then he lays off for a few days?

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IND

Joseph Russell

Independent

Mr. RUSSELL.

Would the hon. member expect any man to perform that service every day in the week?

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

I do not expect it. But my hon. friend is putting that forward as an argument, and one would infer .from his argument that that was the case. I know that is not the case, because no man could stand it.

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IND

Joseph Russell

Independent

Mr. RUSSELL.

If you divide the number of hours that man puts in throughout the week, he puts in over eight hours a day every day in the week. You can't expect him to go out every day and work 16 or 18 hours in the day. One word more. Won't the Postmaster General please, please grant that little request, and make that increase $100 instead of $50? Then I will sleep happy.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I am very sorry, but if I were to grant his request which he makes so vehemently, though it might give him a happy sleep, it would give me a nightmare.

' Before framing this Bill, I consulted even some of the railway mail clerk's. I had a visit the other day from one of the oldest of the mail clerks in the service, who declared himself perfectly satisfied with the provisions in the Bill. Why, Sir, some of the railway mail clerks, when they reach the maximum will be receiving the indemnity of a member of the House of Commons, with the mileage. Do not you think, Mr. Chairman, that it is going a little bevond the mark to insist that we should give them so much? I think they are well treated. I think to-morrow the railway mail clerks and the postal clerks will be satisfied. The work performed by a railway mail clerk, in my judgment, does not

compare with that of the letter carriers, yet the letter carriers receive only $2.75 a Jay.

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IND
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The letter carrier has to keep walking up and down the streets, he has sometimes to go up two flights of stairs, and wait at the door, in good weather or bad weather. I think their case is a stronger case than that of the mail clerk. I do not minimise the services rendered by the railway mail clerks, but when we give .them an increase of $200 over tfce maximum they have already had, they should be satisfied, and I think as a matter of fact they are satisfied.

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CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

The Postmaster General told us to leave this matter to his tender mercies. In so far as the Postmaster General personally is concerned, and as long as we have to have the government opposite I am quite willing that he should hold that position. Like many other hon. members on this side of the House I was struck with the statement of the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell). I have often thought I would like to see the hon. member for Carleton standing on a good solid foundation, and making a good solid argument on some honest, fair case; I believe he could do himself justice. I. have heard him on a good many occasions when he has not had that advantage and he has always been able to put up a fair argument-I would like to have heard him a little over a year ago when we were passing $350,000 to distribute amongst the civil servants of Ottawa. I wonder where the hon. gentleman was on that occasion, and why he did not stand up and protest against it.

I am sure he would have given us some information on an occasion of that kind, that he would have done himself justice and that he would have had a good many admirers in this House. I have nothing to say against a man getting all he can get in so far as salary is concerned, but I must express my regret that in place of the resolution we have before us to-night we have not had presented to us a proposition to place the outside service, and particularly the railway mail clerks, under the Civil Service Act. It would be a great advantage not only to the Postmaster General himself but to the old country, and to those who are engaged in that service. I would also like to say a word in connection with the argument that has been made here tonight in favour of an increase in the allowance to postmasters. I have called the attention of the Postmaster General to the case of a postmaster who has been in the service for 43 years, who keeps a post office in which a daily mail is received, and who only gets $30 a year. No allowance is Mr. LEMIEUX

made for rent for the building. He may make something on the sale of postage stamps, but that cannot amount to very much, and I am glad to hear to-night that the Postmaster General is soon to take this matter into his consideration. I hope my friend the postmaster to whom I have referred will live long enough to be able to participate in the increase which the Postmaster General is going to give these officials. I trust the minister will be able to meet the views of my hon. friend from Elgin and make it $60 if he can. With regard to letter carriers, we have two letter carriers in the city of Halifax who had the misfortune during the early winter to slip and become disabled. I understand that these letter carriers have not been paid during the time they were idle.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

My hon. friend might send me'their names? Generally in these cases we pay them their time as if they had been at work provided they accompany their claim with the certificate of a doctor. The treasury board has to pass upon such claims, and the treasury board sits when it can. There is a heap of papers before the treasury board at present, and I think that these two cases are included in the recommendations which I have sent in. At all events, my hon. friend might send me their names.

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CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

I will be pleased to do that. It would be nothing but fair that a medical certificate should accompany any claim of the kind. I am glad to hear that the matter is under consideration. With regard to railway mail clerks, we have the statement of the Postmaster General very definitely that the government have come to the conclusion that they could not make the minimum salary more than $500. I regret that that is the case, but I will not take up the time of the committee upon the subject, as a good many arguments have been presented from this side of the House in support of the claim that this amount should be increased. Then, some rule has been made with regard to the age of postal clerks. As a matter of fact, the Postmaster General knows that there are not very many men 18 years of age in the railway mail service. Generally we find them from 20 years up. A very strong argument could be made to show why these men should receive more than $500. Five hundred dollars means $9 a week. Reference has been made to the high cost of living in the west, but the Postmaster General is arranging for reciprocity so that things will he very cheap in the west, and the west will be helped in that regard.

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CON
CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

It is not going to touch us very much down there. You are looking for cheap living in the west, and you are likely to get it. While 25 or 30 years ago a young man in Halifax could get a respectable boarding house for $3.50 or $4 a week, to-day a young man cannot get board and lodging in any respectable place in any city at less than $7 a week, therefore, we have a young man starting in the railway mail service with barely enough to pay his board. Some reference was made to young men starting in banks. There is no comparison at all, because a young man goes into a bank to learn the business. He learns how to water stock, and a great many other things, and perhaps in a short time he can go out, organize a merger, make money, and become rich, whereas the poor railway mail clerk will never make a merger unless he runs one car into another, loses his ' life, and leaves a widow and children unprovided for, because he cannot save much out of 'his $9 a week. That is the condition that the railway mail clerk faces every day, whereas the other man is exposed to no danger whatever. He has cuffs and collars, and a nice tie, and he meets nice people, and if he happens to be in the ladies branch where nobody but ladies are permitted to go he has pleasure all the day long. The banks, particularly in western Canada cannot get clerks, and they are bringing young; men out from the old country and paying their passage. The other day I had the great pleasure of travelling with fifty young Irishmen who Were coming out to - the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

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CON
CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

If there is anything good they are going to look after it. I was talking to these young men

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LIB
CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

If they get acquainted with my hon. friend he will be able to teach them something about that or about any other kind of stock. These young men had all their expenses paid, and they were starting at not less than $600 a year, and were learning a business besides. I am not an expert in physiognomy as I ought to be, I have learned most of what I know about it from looking at the faces of hon. gentlemen opposite, but I should say that these young men were from eighteen years to twenty-one years, and they were starting out in a far better position than young Canadians could start in the post office service of the country. The banks are taking our money from the east to the west and they are sending our young men after it, but they don't stay in the banks out

west, they go on farms and get rich and the first thing you know they are able to spend the winter in England. The reason you get good men in the east to fill these poisitions is that our farms are not very enticing, our manufacturing industries are not as great as we hope they will be, and our railway facilities are inadequate, especially in the maritime provinces, and there is lacking diversity of employment to keep our young men at home. We all know that the minimum of $500 is too small and that is admitted by the Postmaster General himself. But, now that he is proposing this resolution, he should urge on his colleagues to make the increase $100 a year until the maximum is reached. It does seem to me that with the knocking about a railway mail clerk gets on a train he has to be of pretty good stuff to live the fifteen years which entitles him to get the maximum under the proposal of the Postmaster General. When the Postmaster General spoke of a man getting promotion in the post office service if he had ' grit ' enough in him, I take it that he did not mean grit in the sense we generally understand it, and I say this in case some of my friends over here who are less scrupulous than I ,am may use that expression against the Postmaster General when the elections come around. In view of the surplus of $750,000 in the Post Office Department, the Postmaster General should not be niggardly with his employees, and I am confident that if he uses his persuasive powers on his colleagues he can get them to assent to our proposition that the increase should be $100 per annum and should not be limited to $50 after the first three years. I trust that the Postmaster General will make provision in the Bill that the railway mail clerks, instead of having an increase of $100 a year for the first three years only, will have an increase of $100 a year until they reach the maximum of $1,400.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

I want to congratulate the Postmaster General on increasing the salaries of the smaller officers. I had the pleasure of attending the meeting held by the postmasters. of the Dominion, and at that time, if I remember rightly, I drew the attention of the Postmaster General to the special conditions that exist in western Canada. Take my own county, for instance. It is a very large county, and we have not the advantages of good roads. It is a prairie country, and in rainy seasons the roads are very muddy, and the people who come for their mail leave the post office in a condition that it is worth almost all that the postmaster gets for the week to clean it out. I would like to impress on the Postmaster General that there is a great difference between the districts in Canada regarding the remuneration

which a postmaster ought to get. In many cases it is a great sacrifice on the part of these people to keep the post office. The remuneration of the country postmasters in the country west of the lakes really ought to be more than $50 a year, though I appreciate the action of the Postmaster General in increasing it to that amount.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Not to $50, but to $35.

Mr. BRADBURY Well, I am disappointed, because I understood that this Bill was to increase it to $50. I felt satisfied that those representing the postmasters of the Dominion had made a good case.

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May 12, 1911