May 12, 1911

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I stated a moment ago that I was considering the question. It would not come under this Bill, because the postmasters do not come under the Civil Service Act.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Perhaps it will suit my purpose to leave the question open, as it will give the Postmaster General an opportunity to deal with that phase of it which I am bringing to his attention. In addition to what I have said, a postmaster who keeps an office in an isolated situation in the province of Manitoba often has to entertain his neighbours who come to get their mail about meal time.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I may say to my hon. friend that since I had that interview with the Association of Postmasters, and the members of the House, I have started to prepare a scale which the House may know of before the session is over.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. BRADBURY.

The postmasters also brought before the Postmaster General the question of supplies for the country post offices. That is a very small request. There are more supplies wasted here during the session than would perhaps supply half the post offices in Canada. I think the minister should provide supplies of that kind to the post offices, especially those that deal with registered letters, and things of that kind.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Air. EDWARDS.

I regret that I cannot see my way clear to add to the floral tributes which haye been handed to the Postmaster General to-night, because I do not think the Post Office Department has any right to have a surplus of three-quarters of a million. I do not think there is any credit due to the head of that department for having such a surplus. Every cent of it comes directly out of the people, and should go back to the people in more efficient mail service. Therefore, I do not feel like throwing bouquets so long as there are people in my constituency, as the Postmaster General knows very well there are, who have to travel 5, 6, 7 or 8 miles for their mail. When the Postmaster General Mr. BRADBURY

raises the salaries of the country postmasters I will throw .my bouquets, but it is a little soon to do it now. The country people of Ontario are not getting a fair share of the post office revenue, and so long as that state of things exists, and people have to go down on their knees and beg facilities which should he granted to them, without a moment's hesitation, and when there is a large surplus in the treasury, every member who represents a rural constituency should rise and make his protest.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. SEXSAIITH.

I agree with my hon. friend from Frontenac that while we have a surplus of three-quarters of a million dollars many of the rural parts of Ontario are getting very poor service. In my riding there are places where there is a mail only every other day, and other places where there is a mail only twice a week. I made application for a daily mail, and I had good reason to believe that the hon. Postmaster General, was going to grant it, but apparently there was not revenue enough to pay for the service, and we did not get 'it. If we are establishing rural mail delivery in many places, there are. many others which are badly neglected; and if we have the money, there is no reason why 'we should not give the people better mail service. Another subject which my hon. friend from Elgin (Air. Crothers) spoke of was the poorly paid postmasters in the rural .parts of Ontario. $50 is absolutely nothing. In many offices, it will not pay to sweep them out. The minister says that while $35 is the minimum, the postmaster has a commission on the stamps he sells. But many of these offices where 'they serve many people with their mails, have a very small sale of stamps. In my county there are a couple of offices which are four miles from the village and which, while they handle the mails of four or five father offices for the accommodation of the people, have a very small sale of Stamps because the people buy them in the village. I think $60 surely should be the .minimum paid for any post office in the country. There is no reason why we should ask any one to keep a room for the postal accommodation of the people for less than that.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

I am sure the Postmaster General can see that the best way out of the difficulty with the country postmasters is to increase rural free mail delivery. I am sure he will take into consideration the increase from $800 up to $1,400 at possibly $100 per year until the limit is reached if the Civil Service Act will allow it. Would he say when we are likely to have the railway mail clerks and those in the city post offices come under the Civil Service Act? Judging from the remarks of the hon. member for Carleton (Air. Carvell) and the

minister himself, I would conclude that there are plenty of applicants; and if these applicants come under the Civil Service Commission, I am satisfied that the Postmaster General will be rid of a great deal of trouble anl have no difficulty in obtaining employees.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I could not tell exactly when the outside service in the larger post offices, such as Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec and Winnipeg will come under the Civil Service Act. In my judgment we should bring them under it as early as possible, and that is the view shared 'by other members of the government and of the House. But there are difficulties in the way which will have to be overcome. I hope that within a year or so I shall be able to nut these large offices under the operation of the Civil Service Act.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Edward Kidd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. KIDD.

I quite agree with the hon. member for Frontenac, that when we have such a large surplus we should change in many places our mail delivery, and have the mails delivered twice a week or three times a week instead of once. There is nothing to boast of in a large surplus when we have such inefficient service, especially in the rural districts. Really $35 a year is scarcely sufficient to pay for cleaning out the post office room. The amount should be at least $100 or $2 a week. I have an application from the county of Carleton for a small section of rural mail delivery Which I trust the minister will take into consideration and deal with favourably.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. HENDERSON.

I simply rise to say that I heartily endorse an increase for the small offices. I quite understand that the Postmaster General has in his mind to do something for these offices and purposes at an early date bringing the minimum up to $50. This country is big enough and rich enough to pay that. There is no reason why people living in the country should keep their houses open for the accommodation of their neighbours for the small sum of $50 and, perhaps, the minister's generosity will add something to that. I leave it in his hands and have no doubt he will be as fair as he can. With regard to railway mail clerks, they are, perhaps, entitled to more consideration than any other class in the service, owing to the more hazardous nature of their employment. I believe the Postmaster General has that idea fairly in his mind and is keeping that in view in arranging their salaries. With regard to the letter carriers, they are a class whom we do not have in my county, beyond a few rural mail deliveries which I believe are working very successfully. I am sorry that that system has not been further extended, but still I have no hesitation in expressing my opinion that the mail carriers are fairly

well paid. We hear a great' deal about the increased cost of living, particularly in the west, but it would be more accurate to speak of the increased extravagance of the people, and if we did that we would not have so many applications for increases in salary. The increased cost of living was one of those things that came about the time the Liberals came into power and a great deal is made of it. I trust that the Postmaster General will do justice, particularly to the smaller post offices; but there is a middle class of post offices in towns with a population of 1,200 or 2,000. In these the public are much more exacting than they were 20 or 25 years ago. For instance, if a postmaster were now to lock up the post office and go to dinner, as they used to do, the Postmaster General 'would probably receive a wire complaining of that, so that the postmaster is obliged to employ more help and more efficient help and he needs more revenue to do that. I hope the Postmaster General will do his best to assist this class of postmasters.

Mr. LEA1IEUX. Hear, hear.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Austin Levi Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. FRASER.

The rural mail delivery system can be operated most properly and successfully in Prince Edward Island because that province is much more thickly settled in proportion to its area than any other in Canada, and I hope if this system is generally inaugurated we will have our full share of it. I also think the salaries to the rural postmasters are too small, the minimum should be increased from $35 to $50.

Resolution reported, read the second time, and agreed to.

Air. LEA1IEUX moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 216) to amend the Post Office Act.

Topic:   S927 COMMONS
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


CIVIL SERVICE ACT AA1ENDA1ENT.


House in committee on the following proposed resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to amend the Civil Service Act by: (a) changing the classification of the clerks in the city post offices, offices of the post office inspectors, office of superintendent of railway mail service, and in the money order and exchange offices by abolishing the stampers and sorters class and fourth class clerkships, and substituting therefor third class clerkships, ranging from $500 to $1,000, and divided into two classes known as third class 'A' and 'B'; (b) abolishing the junior and senior second class clerkships and substituting therefor classes 'A' and 'B' of the second class, and increasing the maximum of the class formerly known as junior second, and now known 1 as class 'B,' to $1,200, and increasing the maxi-



mum of class 'A/ corresponding with the former senior class, to $1,400; (c) dividing the first class clerkships into divisions 'A' and 'B' with maximum salaries of $1,800 and $1,000, respectively, and increasing the minimum of the first class clerkships from $1,200 to $1,400, and creating a new class of clerks, to be known as chief clerks in the city post offices, subject to certain restrictions ; (d) improving the position of office superintendents in city post offices, and changing what was formerly a fixed salary of $1,800 to a mininfum of $1,800 and a maximum of $2,500; (e) providing for the employment of temporary clerks in the above-named offices for a period of not more than one year, at a fixed salary of $500, and temporary helpers to meet the exigencies of the service, at a salary not exceeding $2.50 a day; (f) increasing the salaries of certain inspectors, assistant inspectors and superintendents of railway mail service in recognition of years of service.-Mr. Lemieux.


LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

We have discussed the two resolutions concurrently, but one is to amend the Civil Service Act, and the other to amend the Post Office Act.

Resolution reported, read the second time and agreed to.

Mr. LEMIEUX moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 217) to amend the Civil Service Act.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT AA1ENDA1ENT.
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time. On motion of Mr. Fielding, House adjourned at 11.47 p.m.



Monday, May 15, 1911.


May 12, 1911