This vote is to make provision for purchasing and installing a clock in the tower of the Sydney Mines public building at an estimated cost of $1,000, and repairs and improvements to the building, $1,500.
there is nothing for Baddeck. That is the shire town of Victoria and there is a public building there. There was a vote made at the same time as the other for Baddeck. but that has been dropped. Seeing the minister has been good enough to restore the other two votes, I hope he will remember Baddeck in the Supplementary Estimates. A clock would be quite an ornament to the building and a very good thing for the town.
Yarmouth Herald, of one of the issues of February last, and perhaps by reading this I can shorten the remarks I have to make on this subject: -
Building Post Offices that are not Wanted.
As an evidence or the shameful wastefulness of the present Tory Government at Ottawa and its unfairness in dealing with the necessities of the public, we may cite the case of the appropriation of $140,000 for a new post office building for Truro, $40,000 of which is in the Estimates for the present year.
As the chief architect says that the cost will be $50,000, that is probably an error.
Truro has a more up-to-date post office than has Yarmouth, and although not quite as large is adequate for the necessities of the town. Truro, not being a seaport town, of course, does not require so large accommodation for such offices as harbour-master, shipping-master and others.
To show how the people of Truro view the appropriation the News of Monday last has a letter from Mr. C. P. Blanchard, a former official, who writes:
To those who are not acquainted with exist-
ing conditions this may seem to be a necessary expenditure, but to those who are best informed in the matter it is a needless extravagance and waste of public money. Some two years ago the Government architect visited the Truro post office, and together we made a careful survey of the building and the additional requirements to make it up to date in every particular, and the decision arrived at was that an addition to the rear of the present building for a forwarding department and other improvements, to cost in all not more than $10,000, would give a post office and custom house ample for the requirements of a town such as Truro for a period of at least twenty-five years. There is no question that within a very few years we will have mail delivery by carriers, which will greatly lessen the space required in the post office for private boxes, and consequently give more space for other work if needed. There are a dozen other ways in which this appropriation can be expended which will be of greater value to the town than a new post office, the erection of which in the opinion of the writer would be entirely wrong.'
This is from a former employee of the Post Office Department.
I suppose he was dismissed by the Postmaster General (Mr. Pelletier); he is probably among the 1,200 officials whom that hon. gentleman has beheaded. The Herald goes on:
There is an absolute necessity for a new building in Yarmouth, and the delay attendant upon the matter is not only an outrage upon our people, but is a political scandal. There is no excuse for it. The authorities, from the minister down, are aware of our necessities, and there is no reason, except downright neglect or partisanship, that delays the work. How long is it to continue?
I agree entirely with the remarks of this newspaper. Last year I brought" the needs of Yarmouth to the attention of the Minister of Public Works, and he told me that he would take the matter into consideration. I waited until the Estimates came down this year, but there was not a dollar for the enlargement of the public building there, nor in the Supplementary Estimates. Yarmouth is a larger place than Truro. Our customs revenue is reaching nearly to the hundred-thousand-dollar mark. Yarmouth is destined to grow very much more in the future than in the past. The accommodation in our public building at Yarmouth is altogetiier inadequate for the po3t office requirements. There are times, especially during the holidays, when the people have to stand on the sidewalk, whatever the weather may be, and wait for their turn to get into the post office. I presented this matter to the former Admin-
istration, and I am happy to say that after examining into it they purchased a building directly south of the present building for which they paid $10,000, and when the old Government went out there was an item in the Estimates to remodel that building and enlarge the accommodation. But since the present Government came into power that building has been standing there as a monumental disgrace to the Government and an insult to the people of Yar-moutn. It is the great centre for the display of the circus and moving-picture show bills, but that is all. If the Government do not intend to enlarge the post office premises why do not they rent the building? It would rent for $1,000 or $1,200 a year, for there is a fine large store on the ground floor and there are offices on the floor above. Yet it is left vacant. I submit that a town of the importance of Yarmouth is entitled to better consideration than this by the present Government. Though for some years they have not sent a man to Parliament in accord with the party now in power, yet I hold that the people of Yarmouth are entitled to fair and decent treatment in regard to the finances of Canada. They contribute very largely and I consider that under the circumstances the Minister of Public Works should have a vote in the Supplementary Estimates to enlarge that building. I am sure that if he submitted the matter to his friends there, to the patronage committee of Yarmouth, they would recommend that that building be immediately enlarged so that the post office would have room for its work and the public would be furnished with a decent place to stand in while transacting post office business. That kind of treatment would be all right fifty years ago, or if accorded to a backwoods settlement, but Yarmouth is tsufficiently important to deserve better treatment from the present Government than it has received in connection with this matter.
I- do not rise to speak particularly about the post office at Yarmouth, as I have never had the pleasure of being in that town, but in justice to Truro I think my hon. friend might try to get what he wants without running down Truro. I have been in Truro, and I made a point to speak to the hon. Minister of Public Works with a view to securing better post office accommodation for that town. Truro is an important railway centre and divisional point, and its post office 121
accommodation is absolutely inadequate. There is no doubt that the $40,000 will be spent there, so the paper to which my hon. friend has referred is misleading the public in the matter. The former official of the department whose name my hon. friend has given, does not know what he is talking about when he says that there is to be distribution of mail by carriers in Truro, and that consequently the needs of the post office will be lessened. When you have letter carriers in a town or city you have to enlarge the post office and provide additional accommodation for them. My hon. friend can rest assured that what is being done for Truro is absolutely justifiable, and that this vote is a perfectly legitimate expenditure.
I was not running down Truro at all; I was simply placing before the Committee the views of Mr. Blanchard, a former employee of the Post Office Department there, and advocating the same treatment for Yarmouth as that which is being accorded to Truro. If the hon. Postmaster General will look at the papers in his department in connection with this matter, he will find that the chief inspector has several times reported on the inadequacy of the Yarmouth post office. I hope what I have said about the needs of Yarmouth in this regard may bring forth fruit; perhaps the Minister of Public Works may have a contingent fund out of which he can provide for the necessary expenditure. For the sum of $15,000 the present building could be enlarged. The amount needed is not very great', and I think Yarmouth is entitled to that expenditure.
necessity for providing extra accommodation in the post office at North Sydney is brought about toy the transmission of mails through that post office which should not go there at all. I refer to the mails which are sent from Halifax to St. Pierre and Miquelon. This mail is first hauled to the train at Halifax; then it goes to North Sydney, where it is taken off the train and put in the post office, remaining there, perhaps, for days at a time; then it is trucked from the post office and put upon a boat which carries it to St. Pierre. I could never understand why that mail is not put on board the boat at Halifax and carried direct to St. Pierre and Miquelon.
It does not get there any quicker by being left at North Sydney; there is no advantage to the people of St. Pierre and Miquelon; why should this mail not be sent direct to its destination, thus avoiding its being piled in the post office at North Sydney, where there is no room for it. If that were done, the extra accommodation that is to be provided for the post office at North Sydney would not be required, because the room that is now taken up by this mail would be available to the staff of the post office for other purposes. I wish to bring this matter particularly to the attention of the Postmaster General, and I hope that he may take whatever steps are necessary to do away with the trouble experienced in this regard by the officials of the post office at North Sydney.
My hon. friend, being a resident of the place, probably understands the local conditions much better than any one else here. All I can say is that the representations which he has made will be submitted through ' Hansard ' to the officer of the department who is in charge of the management and despatch of the mails. If his representations carry any weight with them, I am sure that they will receive the careful and considerate attention of those in charge.