April 30, 1929


Section agreed to. Sections two and three agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT


The house in committee of supply, Mr. Johnston in the chair. Post Office Salaries and allowances, $17,295,464.40. Mail service, including mail service by air, $16,305,000. Miscellaneous, including Lucien Pacaud, secretary of the High Commissioner's office, as the representative of the Canadian government on the Pacific Cable Board, at $1,500; and $5,000 for the payment of compassionate allowances to employees injured while in the performance of their duties, or to dependents of employees killed while on duty, such payments to be made only on the specific authority of the governor in council, $1,176,175. Yukon territory, $150,000-Total, $34,926,639.40.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

A few days ago I ventured to direct the attention of the house to the fact that I had heard grave and disquieting rumours as to the administration of post office affairs in the New Brunswick district, I regarded the matter as of sufficient importance to suggest that the files dealing with the administration of affairs in that district in recent years be made available, and the hon. the Postmaster General (Mr. Veniot) having made such files available, it now becomes my duty to present to the house the facts as disclosed therein. I do so for the moment without any comment as to what the inferences to be drawn from them may be, and I leave it to the house and the country to determine whether or not a department which is administered as that department is should have the confidence of this country or of this house. The matters with which I have to deal concern the administration of the department in the district office. The office in New Brunswick is under the control of a single superintendent, Mr. Woods, and there are two inspectors, Mr. Emerson, the senior, and Mr. Griffith, the junior. As was indicated the other day at times relations between the inspectors have not been harmonious, for reasons which I shall indicate as I proceed to unfold the case to the house, but one of the difficulties came about in connection with shortages in one or two of the offices under the control of the district superintendent.

There is a small post office at Dupey's Corner, the postmaster of which receives about $144 a year; on investigation it was indicated that a shortage of $907.06 existed at this post office. The investigation of this

office wa8 entrusted to the junior inspector, Mr. Griffith, and in consequence of the investigation which he made under instructions from Mr. Atwater, one of the chief inspectors at Ottawa, he made a report which indicated, as I have said, a deficit of S907.06. In order that there may be no misapprehension in respect to these various matters I am afraid I must ask the indulgence of the house as I place upon Hansard the record as indicated by the file.

Office of District Superintendent of Postal Service.

St. John, N.B. August 2, 1926.

H. E. Atwater, Esq.,

Chief Inspector,

Inspection Branch,

Ottawa.

Dear Sir,

On account of complaints from the financial branch that the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, N.B., was delaying his remittances to the bank and also had not taken into account two error notices, the above-named office was visited and inspected by Inspector Griffith of this district on July 29th. At the completion of the inspection it was ascertained there was a deficiency of $907.06.

The postmaster was not present when the office was inspected but arrived home in the afternoon and Mr. Griffith collected from him the amount of $61.45 which brings the actual shortage down to $845.61. Duplicate and triplicate receipts and bank draft for $61.45 are herewith attached.

The first irregularity reported against this office was from the financial branch with reference to an alleged remittance of $170.00 per registered letter No. 377 entered in the postmaster's cash account on January 31st, 1926. After much correspondence the postmaster explained that he was of the opinion that this remittance had been destroyed by his four-year old child who accidently put same in the fire. The postmaster explained he was unable to pay this amount at once but made arrangements to send in $20.00 per month. To date he has made three payments of $20.00 each in May, June and July respectively. This leaves a balance of $110.00 in connection with this irregularity.

A further letter from the financial branch stated that an error notice, number not given, was forwarded to the postmaster in December, last, with reference to a remittance of $60.00 claimed at item 16 in the postmaster's cash account of the 30th November, forwarded under No. 353.

Another report was in connection with error notice No. 5899 for $10.00 to correct an error in the postmaster's return for the 31st of January 1926.

Another report was received regarding a deposit of $180.00 entered in the postmaster's cash account of June 8th alleged to have been forwarded to the Bank of Montreal on that date under registered number 463.

Supply-Post Office

In the postmaster's account of July 22nd he claimed $608.57 worth of postal notes on hand. When the office was inspected on July 29th he had $173.51 worth of notes on hand.

The postmaster was instructed to make up his cash account to July 29th, inclusive, and forward same to the department, entering the amounts above stated on the debit side. Copy of financial statement is attached herewith.

Also attached you will find a translated copy of the postmaster's statement given to Mr. Griffith. It will be noted that he admits using post office funds for his own business, his method being to hold remittances and forward same after he had sold money orders, stamps and postal notes; also by claiming a larger amount of postal notes on hand than he had when the accounts were forwarded.

It will also be noted that the postmaster volunteers to make good this amount by monthly payments of $40.00. He was informed by the inspector that it was not likely the department would entertain this proposition and that he would be expected to forward the amount of the shortage without delay in order to avoid more serious consequences. The seriousness of his actions was drawn to his attention by the inspection officer and also in a letter from the district superintendent under date of July 31st.

The money order business of this office was closed out on July 29th and the money order books, postal notes, and equipment were removed. The office was 1 ft in the care of Mr. Hebert with a stamp credit of $25.00.

If agreeable to the department it is the intention to have an inspector again visit this office in the course of a few days to make a strong endeavour to collect the amount of the shortage.

Yours truly,

(Sgd.) H. W. Woods,

District Superintendent.

That was the report made to the office at Ottawa with respect to the conditions existing in that post office. That report was acknowledged by the chief accountant on August 23, 1926, by letter which is also under my hand. It is directed to the district superintendent, and is as follows;

With reference to your letter of the 2nd instant, addressed to the chief inspector regarding the shortage in the accounts of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, I beg to say that the department is willing to consider the question of allowing the postmaster time to make the amount of his deficit good but before taking this up and endeavouring to fix an amount that should be paid each month I should like to be advised as to the postmaster's ability to fulfil any engagement in which he may enter. It is presumed that he has some business other than that of running the post office. Will you please let me know what is the nature of this business and whether its present standing is sufficient to guarantee the postmaster eventually making good all the shortage. What sureties, if any, can the postmaster give for the execution of any agreement in this connection?

That letter was signed by the chief accountant, and in due course a reply was sent from

Supply-Post Office

the district superintendent at St. John under date of November O, 1926, as follows:

In reply to your letter of the 6th inst. regarding the balance due by the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, and the assurance given that he would make good the sum of $200 by the 1st November, and at least $40 a month thereafter, would inform you that nothing further has been heard from this postmaster.

It is the intention of Inspector Griffith to visit this office within the next few days when a report will be made to the department.

Yours truly,

(Sgd.) H. W. Woods,

District Superintendent.

At that time, as I have indicated, after crediting the amounts paid and deducting the salary and commission for October, amounting to $21, the balance due was $850.93. Then on September 9, 1926, a further letter was sent by the district superintendent, Mr. Woods, to the chief accountant of the financial branch, Mr. Austin Bill:

In reply to your letter of the 3rd instant, JAO/JMH, asking for a reply to your letter of the 23rd ult. regarding the shortage in accounts of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, N.B.-I beg to say that Inspector W. F. Griffith is expected to see the postmaster of Dupey's Corner some day this week and will give full information on his return to the office.

On December 1, 1926, Mr. Griffith wrote to Mr. Austin Bill and the letter, although marked personal, is now upon the file. I think, in the language of the editorial which appeared in tihe Winnipeg Free Press the other day, it will be admitted that no document is personal which deals with public business, as is the case here. This letter proceeds:,

With further reference to our conversation re shortage in accounts of the postmaster of Dupey s Corner, N.B. I beg to inform you I visited this office last week and while it was 11 ot possible to see Mr. Magee to ascertain whether or not he would endorse the notes for the postmaster I can personally assure you that there will be no doubt about the monthly payments as promised by the postmaster, and I would respectfully suggest that you concur in the arrangements set forth in official communication from the district superintendent's office of this date.

That letter is signed by Mr. Griffith and refers to a conversation he had in Ottawa with Mr. Austin Bill, chief accountant of the financial branch. On the same day a letter was sent, signed by the district superintendent and bearing under the signature the initial "G." It reads as follows:

With further reference to my memo of the 9th ult. and previous correspondence regarding balance due by the postmaster of Dupey's Corner N.B.. I beg to inform you Inspector Griffith visited Dupey's Corner last week and received from the postmaster the sum of $150 on account of the shortage.

The postmaster promised to pay at least $50 more by the 15th of December, and will complete the balance in twelve monthly payments.

The inspector is positively sure that the postmaster will be able to make the payments as promised, and it is respectfully recommended that the department concur in the recommendation.

Attached please find duplicate and triplicate receipts and bank draft for $150, as per above.

That letter was written by Mr. Woods, the district superintendent. It will be observed that in the letter written on the same day by Inspector Griffith he refers to Mr. McGee. Mr. McGee was not, so far as the correspondence indicates, in any way connected with the postal service and just why it was suggested that he should sign a note or give a guarantee for the default or deficiency in the Dupey's Comer office does not appear. I merely mention that in passing; otherwise, it might be thought that he was in some way connected with the office.

On December 3, 1926, two days later, the chief accountant at Ottawa directed a communication to Mr. Griffith, the inspector at St. John, reading as follows:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 1st inst. regarding the collection of the amount due the department by the postmaster at Dupey's Corner.

The matter has been taken up writh the Deputy Postmaster General who has directed me to say that the offer of the postmaster to pay $50 a month can be accepted if the department has your personal guarantee that the payments will be duly and promptly made, or if a written endorsement of the postmaster's promise can be obtained in the form of a promissory note from Mr. McGee.

I would point out that it is necessary to have such assurance of payment as the postmaster has, both in the preparation of his accounts and in carrying out the promise already made not given the department reason to have great confidence in him.

I would point out that the suggestion of a personal guarantee to be given by Mr. Griffith comes from the chief accountant after Mr. Griffith had visited Ottawa and had discussed with him the deficiency at Dupey's Corner.

On December 11, 1926, Mr. Griffith wrote to Mr. Bill, the chief accountant at Ottawa, in these terms:

Replying to your AB-JMH of the 3rd instant with further reference to the collection of the amount due the department by the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, I beg to inform you that I personally guarantee that the payments will be duly and properly made; that is. at the rate of $50 a month, not later than the 15th day of each month.

That note is marked " personal." It is quite true that it is now upon the files but just why a personal note should be written by a post office inspector at St. John, N.B., to

Supply-Post Office

the financial department of the post office at Ottawa, guaranteeing a deficiency or default in the accounts at Dupey's Corner post office in Westmorland county, does not appear.

The chief accountant acknowledged receipt of that letter, and in order that there may be no misunderstanding I am going to quote it. This letter is dated January 29, 1927, and reads as follows:

With reference to your letter of the 11th December, W.F.G./E., relating to the collection of the amount due to the Post Office department by the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, in which you advised that you would personally guarantee that the payments would be duly and properly made at the rate of $50 a month and not later than the 15th day of each month, as no payment has been received this month I shall be pleased if you will advise me concerning this matter.

A reply to that letter was sent by Mr. Griffith on February 7, 1927, reading as follows:

I beg to acknowledge receipt fo your personal letter number JAO-JMH of the 29th ult., with reference to the collection of the amount due the Post Office department by the postmaster at Dupey's Corner. My absence from the office was the cause of same not being replied to sooner.

I may say that the postmaster has been sick in bed this last month or more, and was unable to make his payment in January. I am arranging to go down there some time next week and can assure you that a double payment will be forthcoming before the end of the present month.

I expect to be in Ottawa the early part of next week and will drop in and discuss this matter more fully with you.

Then we have a letter directed by the Deputy Postmaster General to his superior officer, namely, the Postmaster General, the present incumbent of that office. That communication is dated February 25, 1927, and reads as follows:

With reference to the attached letter from the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, N.B., to the Postmaster General, he is informed that on the inspection of the post office on the 29th July last there was established a shortage of $907.06, which was later reduced by adjustments to $874.93.

I might observe that the letter written by the postmaster at Dupey's Corner to the Postmaster General is not attached to this file but it is referred to in this letter of the Deputy Postmaster General to his chief. The letter continues:

The first payment received from him was $150 collected by Inspector Griffith and forwarded to the department on the 1st December. At that time the postmaster promised to make up the balance by a payment of $50 on the 15th December and monthly payments thereafter of the same amount. Inspector Griffith having recommended that this offer be accepted, he was advised that some 78594-131J

further assurance of payment should be given. Mr. Griffith replied that he would personally guarantee that the payments would be duly and properly made not later than the I5th day of each month. [DOT]

As no further payments had been received uip to the 29th January Mr. Griffith was asked on that date to advise the department concerning the matter. He wrote on the 7th February that he expected to be in Ottawa the following week and would discuss the matter fully then. In an interview with the chief accountant Mr. Griffith said that he would see the postmaster personally on his return to New Brunswick and arrange for a double payment before the end of February.

In anticipation of this payment no further action has been taken by the department in the case.

That was a communication from the Deputy Postmaster General to his chief, who is now the incumbent of the office of Postmaster General. On March 23, 1927, the chief accountant at Ottawa wrote a further communication to the district superintendent, reading as follows:

When Postal Inspector Griffith was in Ottawa some weeks ago he stated that on his return to Now Brunswick he would arrange for a double payment on account of the shortage in the Dupey's Corner account before the end of February. No word has been

received from you in this connection. I shall be pleased to be advised as to the progress made.

Mr. Woods, the district superintendent, replied to that letter on March 2, 1927, as follows:

Receipt is acknowledged of the chief accountant's letter AB-JMH of the 23rd inst., with reference to the statement made by Postal Inspector Griffith when he was in Ottawa some weeks ago that when he returned to New Brunswick he would arrange for a double payment on account of the shortage in the Dupey's Corner account before the end of February.

The district superintendent begs to say that until the receipt of this letter he was not aware that the inspector had made this promise, and that on the return to headquarters of the inspector, who is now on field duty, the matter will be brought to his attention with the hope that the same may be adjusted to the satisfaction of the department.

That was the position on March 25, 1927. On April 14, 1927, a little less than a month later, the chief accountant at Ottawa again wrote to the district superintendent in these terms:

With reference to your letter of the 25th ult., HWW/M., in which you advised that Postal Inspector Griffith was on field duty and the question of the shortage in the Dupey's Corner accounts would be brought to his attention upon his return, as nothing further has been received relating to this matter I shall be pleased if you will advise me concerning the arrangements made as soon as possible.

Supply-Post Office

On April 19, a few days later, the district superintendent replied to the chief accountant as follows:

Replying to your memo of the 14th instant, number JAO-JMH and previous correspondence, I beg to inform you that Inspector Griffith visited Dupey's Corner in connection with the shortage in the accounts of the postmaster of that office, and reports that owing to the illness of the postmaster, he was unable to make the payments as promised. It was arranged, however, that the sum of $150 will be forwarded to the department not later than May 5.

While the payments have not been made as promptly as promised, the inspector guarantees the department that the amount will be paid in full, and that the department will suffer no monetary loss.

To that letter the chief accountant wrote as follows on the 12th May:

With reference to your letter of the 19th ult., and previous correspondence, in which you inform me that owing to the illness of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner the promised payments have not been made but that arrangements had been made that the sum of $150 would be forwarded to the department not later than the 5th May, as no payment has been received I shall be pleased if you will advise me by return mail as to what action has been taken.

To that communication seven days later, namely, on the 19th May, 1927, District Superintendent Woods wrote as follows:

Replying to your letter of the 12th instant, JAO/JMH, referring to previous correspondence in regard to the indebtedness of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, N.B.

I beg to say that no payment has been received from this postmaster at this office, and on questioning Inspector Griffith, who has been dealing with this matter, he advises me that he has not heard from the postmaster since his report of the postmaster's illness on April 19th, and arrangements are being made to have the inspector again visit him at an early date.

On the 9th June the chief accountant again wrote the district superintendent as follows:

With reference to your letter of the 19th May-HWW/M-in which you advise that arrangements had been made to have an inspector visit Dupey's Corner at an early date with a view to collecting the shortage, as nothing further has been received in this division relating to this case I shall be pleased if you will advise me as to what action was taken.

I might inform you that after the salary has been applied to date the balance due is $608.93.

To that letter District Superintendent Woods sent this reply on the 17th June:

With further reference to the matter of shortage in the accounts of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, and in reply to your letter of the 9th inst, asking to be advised as to what action has been taken in this matter.

I beg to say that as stated in my letter of the 19th May, arrangements were being made to have Inspector Griffith visit Dupey's Corner at an early date.

[Mr. Bennett.J

Unfortunately, however, the inspector has not found it convenient to do so, and on the 13th inst. I made a personal visit and interviewed the postmaster, and received information from him, if corect wrould show that he has not been given full credit for all moneys that he has paid the inspector.

The inspector has not been in the office nor reported^ to me since the 6th instant, and I am awaiting his return to the office in order to get his explanation. As soon as this is received a full report will be made to the department.

I would ask you, therefore, to consider this confidential, and to hold the matter in abeyance until you further hear from me.

That letter was placed on the official file although the district superintendent marked it "confidential" and directed it to the chief accountant. I believe, in placing it upon the public file, the officer pursued the correct course. On the 20th June the chief accountant wrote to District Superintendent Woods in these words:

1 am in receipt of your letter of the 17th inst. marked "confidential" regarding the shortage in the acounts of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner. Of course, you will realize that if there is anything serious in the transactions between the postmaser and one of your inspectors the matter cannot be kept from the heads of the departments. On the other hand. I am glad for the sake of the inspector referred to that it is not necessary to place your letter on file as it may cast reflections on him which are not justified by the unsupported word of a postmaster who has been grievously at fault in accounting for post office cash.

I note that you say that the inspector has not been in the office nor reported to you since the 6th inst. I would suggest that this is a matter on which a special report should be made to the department and not embodied in a "confidential" communication to one of the officials.

It was for that reason, I assume, that the letter was subsequently placed on the official file. I now come to a letter written on the same date, the 20th June, 1927, a very important communication. It was originally marked "confidential." It is dated ait St. John and signed by District Superintendent Woods. It is addressed to the chief accountant of the Post Office Department at Ottawa, and reads as follows:

Referring further to the matter of shortage in the accounts of the postmaster of Dupey's Corner, and to my confidential letter of June 17 in which it was stated that I made a personal visit and interviewed the postmaster, and received information from him, if correct, would show that he has not been given full credit for all moneys that he had paid the inspector.

By referring to report from this office of August 2. 1926. WFG/S, it will be noted that Sir. W. F. Griffith, inspector of postal service, visited Dupey's Corner office on July 29, and at the close of his inspection he found that the postmaster was $907.06 short. After the in-

Supply-Post Office

spection there was collected from the postmaster $61.45, which was deposited in the Bank of Montreal, Saint John, on August 3.

This reduced the indebtedness to $845.61.

According to our files the postmaster has paid nothing since, with the exception of $150 on December 1, which was placed to the Receiver General's credit in the Bank of Montreal on that date, as per deposit slip No. 2516.

Inspector Griffith, who was specially assigned this case, and who according to his letter of December 11 to the chief accountant, in response to one addressed to the inspector dated December 3, gave his personal guarantee that the payments promised by the postmaster would be duly made. Since then he has frequently been reminded of the indebtedness of the postmaster, and always gave assurance that the postmaster was all right and that he would see that the amount was collected, and on April 19, 1927, he reported that he had visited Dupey's Corner, but owing to the illness of the postmaster he was unable to make the payments as promised.

As I have not been satisfied with the course that the inspector has been pursuing in this case, and considering it strange that he would guarantee the postmaster's account, I decided to visit the office personally. This I did on the 13th inst., and in my conversation with the postmaster I concluded that there was something irregular going on.

The postmaster produced the following receipts, which I have now in my possession, for money paid to the inspector on account of the Post Office Department: -

Date of inspection:

July 29 $50

August 23 40

September 30 50

Besides this he stated, and verified the statement by entries in his registration book, that he sent to Mr. Griffith to his home the following amounts:

Nov. 8-registered letter No. 526... $200 Dec. 2-registered letter No. 545.... 40

These registers have been traced and found that they were delivered by letter carrier to Mr. Griffith's house and signed for by Mrs. Griffith.

The $50 mentioned as being received on the 29th July I feel confident is part of the $61.45 that was deposited to the Receiver General's credit on August 3. This would mean that if the postmaster's statement was found to be correct there should be placed to his credit $330, instead of $150 as per bank receipt No. 2516, December 1, 1926.

On acount of the inspector's absense from the office I was unable to question him in regard to these discrepancies until this morning.

When asked how many payments the postmaster had made to him he replied that there were three, namely:

Or a total of .. .. $150

and while he was unable to give the dates that he received these amounts he stated that from time to time he got the first until he received the third there would be about six weeks elapse.

He was then asked if the postmaster had made a payment at any one time of $200, and after hesitating a moment he replied "Yes", and stated he received it by registered letter. He was asked if he had received from the postmaster any other registered letter, but said "No". He was then told that the postmaster had stated to me that he had also sent by registered letter $40. The inspector then stated that he had no recollection of receiving this. He was asked if the $200 that he received from the postmaster by registered letter was on Post Office account, and he said "Yes". He was then asked why there was no record on the Dupey's Corner file of these amounts, and he stated that as he had become accountable for the amount due by the postmaster that he was holding them until the amount would make a fairly decent payment in order to make a good showing for the postmaster.

While the inspector has not yet admitted that he received the $40 that the postmaster says he sent on December 2, by register 545, I am quite convinced that he did receive this amount, and assuming this acording to my information there should be placed to the credit of the postmaster the following amounts:

August 23 $ 40

Spetember 30 50

November 8 200

December 2 40

Or a total of $330

instead of $150, or a balance due from Mr. Griffith of $180.

It will be noted that the inspector received on or about November 9. $200, and that he did not place the $150 to the postmaster's credit until December 1, which would go to show that the reason he gave for not turning these amounts over when he received them is not a very substantial one.

Going into this matter a little closer I find that in a letter dictated by Mr. Griffith to the financial superintendent on December 1 he stated that he had visited Dupey's Corner last week, and received from the postmaster the sum of $150. In checking up his journal of proceedings for November I see that he refers to a trip to Dupey's Corner on November 15, leaving there that same day.

The postmaster advised me that he had not made any payment at any time of $150 to Mr. Griffith. It can, therefore, be assumed that he made incorrect statements in his letter of December 1.

Again in his letter to the chief accountant of April 19, he states that he had visited Dupey's Corner, and that owing to the illness of the postmaster he was unable to make the payments as promised. The postmaster said that he did not visit the office during the month of April, and there is no mention of his being at Dupey's Corner in his journal of proceedings for the month of April.

Mr. Griffith has just called upon me, and has delivered to me on account of the shortage of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, $180, and the same will be deposited in the Bank of Montreal, Saint John, this date.

That is the letter, as I have said, of the district superintendent, under date of June

Supply-Post Office

20, 1927. Following that, a letter was sent by District Superintendent Woods to the acting financial superintendent, reading as follows:

Referring to previous correspondence concerning the indebtedness of the postmaster at Dupey's Corner, I beg to report that the sum of $180 has to-day been deposited in the Bank of Montreal, Saint John, towards such indebtedness, and herewith are duplicate and triplicate receipts and bank draft for same.

Then followed on the 23rd of June, 1927, a letter addressed to Mr. Coolican, the assistant deputy postmaster general, and this becomes important, Mr. Chairman, in view of subsequent communications that I shall read. It is directed by the acting financial superintendent, Mr. Atwater, to Mr. Coolican, the assistant deputy postmaster general, and reads as follows:

Re Dupey's Corner, N.B., we find that original shortage was $844. and that at the present time we are still short about $469. The office only has a revenue of $144 yearly, and why the postmaster was ever allowed to go on as he did, I do not know as I believe the matter was taken up by Mr. Glover a year ago.

Instructions have been sent to the district superintendent to-day to inform the postmaster that he must make an immediate settlement of the balance, the reason being given that he has failed to keep his agreement to pay $40 monthly.

There appear to Ire certain very disturbing factors in connection with the payments that have already been made, and probably they will be reported on by the district superintendent.

That letter was dated the 23rd day of June, 1927. On the 24th of June, 1927, the next day, the acting financial superintendent, Mr. Atwater, wrote to District Superintendent Woods a letter which although marked personal is upon the file, and lest it be that a precis of it would not be satisfactory I venture to trespass upon the time of the house by reading it:

My attention has been called by the chief accountant to a very serious ease in connection with the shortage at Dupey's Corner, N.B.

I find that out of the original shortage of $844, there still remains $469 owing the department, although it is nearly one year since the shortage was first brought under investigation. Yon will receive an official communication asking you to have this balance collected immediately.

Will you be good enough to see that personal attention is given to the matter, and that steps will be taken immediately to call upon the postmaster at Dupey's Corner to make good the balance of this amount without further delay. It cannot be expected that so large a sum of public money misappropriated by a postmaster can be left indefinitely for the postmaster to make good as he sees fit. The postmaster should have been placed under arrest when the shortage was first discovered if he failed to make it good. We have numerous cases, not nearly so seriou, one of them hap-

pened a few days ago, in which postmasters in other districts are promptly placed under arrest if they do not make good the shortage at once.

I do not know why the postmaster was allowed so much freedom, but it is quite evident that the case has been treated with a benevolence towards the postmaster, which is not usual. As the shortage took place a year ago, I am not aware of all of the facts, but in any case it is requested that this matter be adjusted without further delay.

To that communication District Superintendent Woods, on the 29th day of June, 1927, directed a reply, addressed to Mr. Atwater, the acting financial superintendent, reading as follows-and this letter becomes rather important in view of what subsequently transpired :

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 24th instant, 1-66 with reference to the serious case in connection with the shortage at Dupey's Corner, N.B.

The official notification to which you refer asking me to have the balance due by the postmaster collected immediately has also been received, and the postmaster under registered cover has been advised that it will Ire necessary for him to have the amount due, namely. $469.43, in my hands not later than July 5th.

You will remember that the chief accountant after consulting with the Deputy Postmaster General wrote a letter dated December 3rd to Mr. W. F. Griffith stating that the offer of the postmaster to pay $50 per month would be accepted if the department had his, Mr. Griffith's, personal guarantee that the payments would be duly and promptly made.

In response to this letter Mr. Griffith wrote on December 11th personally guaranteeing the account.

Will this demand made on the postmaster annul the guarantee given by Mr. Griffith, or will his guarantee still hold good?

I note that you say the postmaster should have been placed under arrest when the shortage was first discovered if he failed to make it good.

On July 31 the postmaster was written to and it was pointed out to him the seriousness of his position, and a number of sections were quoted from the Post Office Act among which was the following:

"Every officer of or connected with the post office who converts to his own use in any way whatsoever, or by way of investment in any kind of property or merchandise or lends with or without interest, any portion of the public moneys entrusted to him for safe-keeping, transfer, disbursement, or for any other purpose, shall be deemed to have stolen so much of the said moneys as is taken, converted, invested, used or lent, and is guilty of an indictable offence."

He was told that the matter was being referred to the Post Office Department at Ottawa, and was advised that I was of the opinion that the department would not accept the offer that he made to the inspector.

A report dictated by Inspector Griffith was sent to you as chief inspector on August 2 giving information as to the shortage of the postmaster.

Supply-Post Office

While this report did not recommend that criminal proceedings be taken against the postmaster, I may say that I was somewhat surprised when I did not receive authority from the department to do so, and I am at a loss to know why the postmaster was allowed so much freedom, and quite agree with you that he has been treated in a benevolent way.

It may be that the inspector's sympathy for him was made known to the department, but no early record of this is on file at this office, although a letter from the chief accountant dated November 6 refers to a conversation that took place with Mr. Griffith on October 14. which gave the chief accountant assurance that the postmaster would make good the sum of $200 by the 1st November, and at least $40 per month thereafter. Previous to this conversation the inspector had already collected from the postmaster $90 for which he had not given the postmaster credit. $40 of it was paid the inspector on August 23, and $50 of it on September 30.

It is quite evident that the inspector did not mention these payments to the chief accountant.

It is a sorry state of affairs when the action of trusted officials is such that their reliability is questioned, and it is regrettable that Mr. Griffith should so far forget his duties as an inspector as he has in this case.

I have my doubts as to the ability of the postmaster to meet this payment for I saw on my visit indications of poverty and distress, and the farm on which he lives belongs to his father and it is mortgaged up to its full value, namely, $1,400. However, he has been advised of the department's demands and you will be further informed in regard to the matter in a few days.

I am taking it for granted that you do not wish an arrest to be made until authority is received from the department.

On the 5th of July, 1927, District Superintendent Woods addressed a letter to the chief accountant, Mr. Austin Bill, reading as follows:

With reference to previous correspondence regarding the shortage in the accounts of Mr. Edouard R. Hebert, postmaster at Dupey's Corner, N.B., and in response to your letter of the 22nd ultimo, asking that the postmaster be called upon for an immediate settlement of the balance due, namely, $469.43.

The postmaster was written to on June 28 and advised that it would be necessary for him to have the amount of the shortage in my hands not later than July 5, and the following letter has been received from his father, Raymond F. Hebert:

"In answer to your letter to my son Edward, postmaster of Dupuis Corner, re shortage in his account, I must say that I had the occasion to meet the hon. Postmaster General yesterday and referred the matter to him and asked him to extend the time for one month to enable me to raise a part of the money and would make arrangement for the balance.

The hon. minister promised me to either write or phone you to-day.

Hoping you will grant me the extension of time, I am, sir, with thanks,

Yours very truly,

Raymond F. Hebert."

I am acknowledging the receipt of this letter and advising Mr. Hebert that the matter has been referred to the department.

I may say that up to the present I have had no communication either by letter or phone with the hon. Postmaster General regarding the matter.

You will observe, Mr. Chairman, that that letter is dated July 5, 1927, and on the day preceding, according to the statement made by the postmaster, he had interviewed the Postmaster General with respect to this prosecution and requested that he be given an extension of time to make good his shorts age of cash.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

Peter John Veniot (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

I think the hon. gentleman is making a mistake; it was the father.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I thank my hon. friend. It was the father of the postmaster. On July 9 the acting financial superintendent wrote a letter to the general superintendent of postal service, Mr. T. P. Coolican, reading as follows:

Referring to letter of the 23rd ultimo, in regard to Dupey's Corners, I am enclosing copy of report from the district superintendent at St. John.

I have sent a copy of this report to the Deputy Postmaster General.

The financial branch is following up the case as regards the collection of the shortage.

The district superintendent has been notified to have this amount collected without further delay.

The question of any action as regards Inspector Griffith in connection with this case is, of course, not a matter for the financial branch.

On July 9, the same day, the following memorandum appears to have been prepared by Mr. Atwater, t'he acting financial superintendent :

Memorandum for Deputy Postmaster General.

Please find attached copy of report from the district superintendent of postal service at St. John, in regard to collection of instalments paid by the postmaster at Dupey's Corners on a shortage in official cash at that office.

The district superintendent has been instructed to take immediate steps to collect the balance due by the postmaster, without further delay. This will be followed up.

In the meantime, the matter is submitted in connection with the regrettable action taken by Inspector Griffith.

Copy of a letter to Mr. Woods, dated the 23rd June, is also attached.

Copy of this report is also being sent to the general superintendent of postal service.

On July 14, five days later, there appears on the file this memorandum:

Mr. Gaboury.

When this difficulty occurred at Dupuis Corners Mr. Griffith personally informed me of arrangement made to get it straightened and I approved of his giving time to postmaster to settle and when all was paid we would dismiss him. I did not think it necessary to

Supply-Post Office

make the arrangement a matter of record. Griffith guaranteed payment. The postmaster's father saw me a short time ago and I told him if the amount was settled within next four months we would not prosecute and 1 know nothing about amount received by Mr. Griffith. Leave matters stand for a while.

P. J. Veniot.

That, Mr. Chairman, you will observe is dated July 14, 1927. It indicates at least one thing clearly in these words:

When this difficulty occurred at Dupuis Corners Mr. Griffith personally informed me of arrangement made to get it straightened and I approved of his giving time to postmaster to settle and when all was paid we would dismiss him.

Then follow these words:

Griffith guaranteed payment.

I submit, Mr. Chairman, without drawing any inference at this stage with respect to this correspondence, that that memorandum abundantly establishes the reason why they suggested a guarantee should be given by Griffith himself. The real reason why Griffith gave a guarantee in respect to this matter-

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

Peter John Veniot (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

I do not think my hon.

friend wishes to be unfair, but if he will look back he will find that this occurred in June or July, 1926, when I was not Postmaster General, and that Mr. Griffith had given his guarantee before 1927. So when it is stated that I saw Mr. Griffith, and so on, it refers only to the first time I became aware of the case.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. Postmaster

General is quite right in saying the difficulty in the office at Dupey's Corners occurred at a time prior to his accession to office; but he overlooks the fact that it was in September, 1926, that we first have any reference to a guarantee being given by Griffith. Further, the minister's own signature to the memorandum of July 14, 1927, makes it clear that when his attention was directed to the difficulty at Dupey's Corners he discussed it with Griffith, with the result that I have just read from the memorandum.

Now, we find next that on the strength of that memorandum of July 14, 1927, Mr. L. J. Gaboury initialled this memorandum to Mr. Atwater:

Please close this case. P.M.G. instructions to me. L.J.G.

So whatever may have been his knowledge at the inception of this trouble, it is perfectly clear that by July 14, 1927, the minister had apprised himself of the situation, and that Mr. Gaboury had taken the action to which I have referred under instructions given by the minister. Let me follow it further. On

August 19, 1927, Mr. Atwater made this memorandum for the Acting Deputy Postmaster General:

After instructions were sent to the district superintendent St. John, on the 23rd June, 1927, to take immediate steps to collect the balance of a shortage owing by the postmaster at Dupey's Corners, a report was sent in dated June 29, by the district superintendent, indicating that certain moneys had been turned over to inspector Griffith by the postmaster, Dupey's Corners, which had not been turned in to the department by the inspector until a considerable time after.

This matter was brought to the attention of the Deputy Postmaster General on the 9th July, but in accordance with instructions given by the Postmaster General at that time, it has been allowed to stand for the present.

Now, mark you, sir, that is the memorandum from Mr. Atwater, the acting financial superintendent, to the Deputy Postmaster General of Canada. It proceeds:

Since that time the ease has come up in connection with the theft of mail matter at Shediae post office.

To which I shall presently refer.

The culprit in this case is a young man by the name of Leger, who was apprehended.

There is a dispute between Inspector Griffith and Leger in regard to the amount turned over to Griffith by Leger. It appears that district superintendent Woods questioned Leger in this matter, and a copy of Inspector Griffith's statement to the inspection service is attached.

There is no definite evidence that Inspector Griffith received any amount more than he accounted for from Leger, although he does not dispute the possibility.

In view of the fact that District Superintendent Woods has considered it necessary, having regard to the cases mentioned, to refuse his recommendation of Inspector Griffith's yearly increase, it would seem advisable that this matter should be definitely cleared up and the actual facts ascertained.

Since the department is aware that there is considerable personal animosity between District Superintendent Woods and Inspector Griffith, it would be very unwise to accept the statement^ of either one without independent investigation.

It is therefore suggested that as soon as the acting chief inspector, Mr. Fortier, returns to duty he should be instructed, subject to the Postmaster General's approval, to go to St. John and investigate these cases to ascertain what are the actual facts.

I shall not now refer to the Shediae case, which I shall deal with as a separate matter. Nor shall I refer for the moment to the recommendations made by Superintendent Woods with respect to Inspector Griffith; I shall deal with that also as a separate count in the indictment against the Postmaster General. Then follows a letter, written by the district superintendent to the chief accountant, Mr. Atwater, dated September 17, 1927:

Referring further to the indebtedness of the postmaster at Dupey's Corners, N.B., I beg to

Supply-Post Office

report that a further amount of $75 has been collected from the postmaster, and the same has been deposited in the Bank of Montreal. St. John, towards his indebtedness, and you will find herewith duplicate and triplicate receipts and bank draft for same.

Then we have on September 17 a report dealing with the situation in its entirety, signed by the district superintendent:

Enclosed herewith you will find copy of a memorandum sent to the chief accountant advising him that $75 has been placed in the Bank of Montreal, St. John, N.B., as a further payment from the postmaster at Dupey s Corners on account of shortage found in the postmaster's accounts as per reports from this office WFG/S, dated August 2, 1926.

Not receiving any reply to my letter addressed to the chief accountant of July 5, in which a copy of a letter from Raymond F. Hebert, father of the postmaster, was quoted, which was to the effect that Mr. Hebert had been in conversation with the hon. Postmaster General with a view of having the time of the settlement of his son's case extended, I made a visit to Dupey's Corners on the evening of the 15th inst., and saw the postmasteT, who advised me that he did not have any money, but he thought that his father had come for me.

I then called upon Mr. Hebert, Senior, who lives about ten miles distant from Dupey's Corners, and received from him the $75 mentioned above. Mr. Hebert advised me that it would be impossible for him to make any further payment on this account before spring.

In my conversation with him he stated that his son had told him that he was of the opinion there was $80 more that should have been placed to his credit than what has been. He was told that he must be mistaken in this, as the postmaster had not told me anything about it. but was advised that if the postmaster had any evidence that would show he had paid more than what was put to his credit to let me know at once.

Then followed a communication from the chief accountant to the district superintendent, merely acknowledging the receipt of the money and dealing with what was proposed to be done with respect to verifying the alleged facts touching the $80. I shall not take up the time of the house reading that. On October 6th, 1927, a letter was written to the financial superintendent by the district superintendent at St. John in the following words:

In reply to departmental memo of September 23, AB/JMH, relative to the shortage of the Dupey's Corner post office, and suggesting that an inspecting officer interview Mr. Hebert, sr., and have full investigation made of the claim that another $80 had been paid in for which credit had not been given, the financial superintendent is advised that Inspector Peck visited Dupey's Corner on the 4th inst. and interviewed Mr. Hebert, sr., as well as the postmaster, Edouard Hebert. .

Upon questioning Mr. Hebert, sr., it was found that the extra amount which he thought had been paid was $50 instead of $80. He obtained this information from his son, as the son had informed him that he had made a payment of that amount at the time the office was inspected and the shortage discovered. He was shown that credit fpr this amount had been duly given opposite item 30 on the inspection report, and investigation shows that the amounts paid by him correspond in total with the credits given him up to the present time. The correct balance now due from him is $375.93, as per statement attached to the above-mentioned memo.

The inspector pointed out to both Mr. Hebert, sr., and the postmaster, the great leniency that had been shown them by the department, and pressed them very hard for another payment at this time. This they both stated was absolutely out of the question, and from observation made by the inspector, he is convinced that such is the case.

Mr. Hebert, sr., is undoubtedly doing his best to pay off the shortage, although he cannot promise to pay anything before spring, and it is thought that this duty will devolve entirely upon him, as the son has all he can do to make a living. The latter has a family of six in very poor circumstances, and great hardship would be entailed upon them if he were arrested, and nothing would be gained towards a speedier payment, as there is no security to offer for a loan, and the promises made by Mr. Hebert, which are thought to be sincere, offer the only means for the department to recuperate its loss.

I fancy the word was not "recuperate" in the original but that is the way the copy reads. On the 22nd day of November, 1927, a letter was written by the district superintendent of St. John directed to the Postmaster General.

Dear Mr. Minister,-

I nm in receipt of a letter from Mr. Raymond F. Hebert. Shediac, N.B., in regard to the misappropriation of post office funds by his son, Mr. E. R. Hebert, postmaster of Dupey s Corner, N.B., in which he expresses a willingness to make good the amount of the balance of the misappropriation, but says that he cannot pay the amount all at once. He states that his son has a large family of small children and his wife is delicate, and that it takes all he can earn to support his wife and family. He further states that he will pay $75 this coming winter and at the rate of $150 per year until the amount is paid up.

Mr. Hebert enclosed with his letter a letter that he received from you dated 31st October, which would indicate that you are satisfied to leave the settlement ot this case to the district superintendent at Saint John. _

As this case has some complications I hesitate to take the responsibility of making a settlement without first receiving direct instructions from you as to the department's wishes in the matter with authority to act.

Yours very truly,

H. W. Woods, District Superintendent.

The letter referred to as being directed.by the minister to Mr. Hebert was not attached to the file; it is not on the file. Now, the reply to that letter is found in a communication directed to the district superintendent.

Supply-Post Office

Mr. Woods, by the acting financial superintendent, Mr. Atwater, under date December 1, 1927:

Keferring to your communication addressed to the Postmaster General under date of the 22nd instant, you are authorized to make a settlement with the postmaster at Dupeys Corners for the payment of balance of the amount due the department on account of shortage in post office cash.

If the settlement suggested in your letter is the best that can be obtained in the circumstances, this may be allowed, but in permitting the postmaster to make good the amount in this way, the department must obtain adequate security that the amount will be paid.

Will you be good enough to immediately take up with the postmaster the question of security that is to be furnished by him, or by his father, who is making good the amount, to guarantee payment.

No promise of settlement can be made until the department is satisfied in regard to the security given.

To that letter Mr. Woods, the district superintendent, wrote a communication under date December 14, 1927, addressed to the financial superintendent, and although marked confidential it appears on the file. As it deals with purely public business, I assume it was put on the file for the purpose of being read. It reads:

Pursuant to directions contained in departmental memorandum of December 1st, authorizing a settlement with the late postmaster of the above office in accordance with suggestions made from this office under date of November 22nd, the superintendent is advised as follows:

On the 12th instant Inspector H. B Peck interviewed Mr. Raymond Hebert, (father of the late postmaster) at Shediac who made the re*orred to in above-mentioned letter. Mr. Hebert stated that his property which lie valued at $1,800 had a mortgage against it of $1,400. This the inspector verified by consulting with the attorney who transacts Mr. Hebert's business and he also stated that there was no one at Shediac who would join Mr. Hebert in becoming responsible for the amount m question. All the security Mr. Herbert could offer was his own notes. When informed that this was not sufficient and being asked if he had not some relative to assist him he replied that he had a brother who was a priest at Buctouche and to whom he did not wish to apply for assistance and who knew nothing of the matter.

The inspector suggested that he be given a letter of introduction to Rev. Phil. Hebert, the brother above referred to, notifying him that the matter would be laid before him with the intention of obtaining his signature to joint notes covering the amount due. This Mr. Hebert finally assented to and the inspector first obtaining the signature of Raymond Hebert to the notes covering the amount proceeded to Buctouche and after explaining the whole matter to the Rev. Phil. Hebert, the latter also signed the notes which are herewith enclosed.

. The superintendent is assured that the above is the best settlement that could be effected and is undoubtedly considered adequate security for payment of the, shortage.

'The several parties were given to understand that the settlement as made was contingent upon its acceptance by the department and in no case was it to be binding nor did the department relinquish its right to take such further action as might be deemed advisable in the event of any or all of the notes not being met at maturity.

That closes the incident, except for a letter written by Mr. Atwater, the acting financial superintendent, under date December 19, 1927, in which he says:

Please find enclosed five notes in favour of the Postmaster General, to cover balance of shortage, not yet made good, by the postmaster, Dupey's Corner.

These notes have been signed by the postmaster's father, who is making good the amount, and Mr. Hebert's brother, who is parish priest at Buctouche, and who has consented to jointly sign the notes, as security for the department.

It is requested that steps be taken to have these notes brought forward at proper intervals, for settlement.

Steps should also be taken to withdraw the total amount from guarantee fund, to recoup revenue, and as each note is settled, the amount can be returned to guarantee fund.

That closes the incident so far as the records before us indicate. We now come to what may be described as the Shediac incident in connection with the administration of the office by Mr. Griffith. The record of that incident is not lengthy but it must be dealt with frankly. Before I deal with that however it may be convenient to deal with the case connected with the reports made by the district superintendent, Mr. Woods, to the chief inspector regarding the administration of the office by Inspector Griffith. As the committee is no doubt aware, it is the custom of the department to submit to the district superintendent annually an efficiency report, and on that efficiency report the ratings are made in relation to increases in salaries. In this instance we have before us two documents with the relevant exhibits dealing with the increase in salary to Mr. Inspector Griffith. I think perhaps it is well, without taking up too much time, to direct attention to the application made for the 1927 revision. The 1927 revision was for an increase in salary of $180 to take place April 1, 1927. District Superintendent Woods reported for instance a 90 per cent rating in regard to the quantity of Mr. Griffith's work; as to quality of work and industry, he gave a rating of 80 per cent; he rated at 90 per cent his intelligence, resourcefulness, initiative and ability to carry on work without supervision, his ability to carry out instruc-

Supply-Post Office

tions, and his knowledge of the work of the branch. He placed at 80 his tact in meeting the public and in dealing with other employees, and at 80 his willingness to cooperate; his fairness toward assistants and his conduct in his relations with superiors was placed at 70; his physical fitness was placed at 90, punctuality at 80, ability to plan and supervise work and to instruct and direct others at 90; his judgment and ability to accept and carry responsibility at 80, and his success in charge of staff is placed at 90.

On the reverse of the sheet, however, the district superintendent was asked whether or not he could recommend that the inspector be given his salary increase, in these words: 26. In case the employee is not at his maximum,

If not. state why. In view of the irregularities of Inspector Griffith as per report from this office of June 20th, 1927, regarding shortage in the accounts of the P.M. Dupey's Corner; also report of the 13th July, 1927, dealing with claim of Mr. Edwad T. Leger of Shediac that he had paid the inspector money which was not placed to his credit, the district superintendent cannot recommend Mr. Griffith for increased salary.

That was the recommendation made by the superintendent of the New Brunswick division in 1927. He made the same report in 1928, but then we find a most amazing letter on this file. This letter is signed by P. T. Coolican, Assistant Deputy Postmaster General; it is dated August 27, 1927, and headed " Memorandum for Inspection Service." The letter proceeds:

The Postmaster General instructs that Mr. Griffith's annual increase be proceeded with, notwithstanding the report by District Superintendent Woods.

The Postmaster General advises that he knows all the details of the case-hence, the above instructions.

As I have said, that memorandum was signed by the Assistant Deputy Postmaster General, and when the matter came up for further consideration in 1928 Mr. Woods, the district superintendent, then referred to the instances which I have mentioned with the result that he did not recommend the increase. It is not until September of 1928, when Mr. Woods wrote Mr. Fortier, that we have a further memorandum in the following words:

Referring to your communication of the 17th instant, enclosing form 24 G, in connection with the annual increase of salary of Mr. W. F. Griffith, inspector of postal service, St. John district, and particularly to your remarks as regards cases reported on June 20th and July 13th, 1927, on acount of which you say you cannot recommend Mr. Griffith for an increase

in salary, I desire to inform you that these eases have been inquired into personally, by the' Postmaster General and the Assistant Deputy Postmaster General when the matter was brought to their attention last year, and the explanations given by Inspector Griffith have been considered satisfactory, so under the circumstances, these cases are considered closed, and further mention of them need not be made in any further reports of the conduct or efficiency of Inspector Griffith.

I trust that this committee will realize just what those words mean, Mr. Chairman. At this moment I do not propose to comment upon them; I merely direct the attention of this house and the country to what has been done in this matter; I leave hon. members to be the judges. Personally I am drawing no inferences from these facts; I am leaving them as they appear.

With respect to the Shediac matter, which perhaps might have been taken sooner, but which I can deal with chiefly without encumbering Hansard with the complete record, the fact is that there was a shortage of $334 in the Shediac post office and it was contended by the Legers, who had to pay that amount, that they had not received credit for all the money they had given Mr. Griffith. That is the instance referred to by District Superintendent Woods and by the Assistant Deputy Postmaster General who, under the instructions of the Postmaster General, treated the matter as one not to be mentioned or heard of again. On July 13, 1927, the district superintendent placed the Shediac matter fully before the acting chief inspector in these words:

In compliance with the acting chief inspector's memorandum Insp. 68413 of June 22nd, which enclosed official cheque No. 879 for $29 representing the balance of the sum of $334 collected from J. Leger, sr., Shediac, N.B.. to make good the losses of registered mail matter due to the depredations of his son.

A cheque for $29 payable to J. Leger, sr., was forwarded to the postmaster at Shediac, with a request that it be handed to Mr. Leger taking from him receipt for the same.

This cheque was duly received by the postmaster, and when he presented it to Mr. Leger it was not accepted by him because it should have been made payable to Edouard T. Leger instead of J. Leger, sr., and also that it was for an amount less than the difference between the amount that Mr. Leger paid and that for which he was given credit.

By referring to report from this office WFG/E. of June 22nd, 1925, it will be noted on page 2, paragraph 2, that postal inspector Mr. W. F. Griffith stated that he had received from Mr. Edward Leger a total amount of $300, and in a memorandum from the district office dated September 1st, 1925, there was enclosed duplicate and triplicate receipts from the Bank of Montreal for $334, which showed that $34 had reached this office besides the $300 above referred to.

Supply-Post Office

In a statement furnished by Mr. Leger to the postmaster at Shediac on the 9th inst. he claimed to have paid the following amounts to Inspector Griffith:-

A total of $349 00

As this showed that there was $15 missing a visit was made to Shediac by the district superintendent on the 12th inst., and a declaration was received from Edouard T. Leger, which reads as follows:-

"I, Edouard T. Leger, of Shediac, in the county of Westmorland, do solemnly declare that due to certain losses from registered mail matter on account of depredations committed by my son, Alban Leger, I paid the Post Office Department indemnity to the amount of three hundred and forty-nine dollars ($349) as follows, that is to say, on or about June 19th, 1925, I paid to W. F. Griffith, inspector of postal service, one hundred dollars ($100); on or about June 22nd, I paid to Mr. J. V. Bourque, postmaster. Shediac, N.B. two hundred dollars ($200); on or about August 20th, 1925, I paid to Mr. W. F. Griffith on the train between Moncton and Shediac thirty-four dollars ($34), and some time in the month of October, 1925, Mr. W. F. Griffith called at my home and told me it would be necessary for me to pay fifteen dollars ($15) more, and this amount was given him in my presence by my wife, Delphine Leger."

Besides this, the following declaration was made by Mde. Delphine Leger:-

"I am the wife of Edouard T. Leger, and that some time in the month of October, 1925, I, on request of my husband, and in his presence paid to Mr. W. F. Griffith fifteen dollars ($15):"

In the conversation held with Mr. Leger he stated that he received no receipts from the inspector for any of the money that he had paid.

On this date Inspector Griffith was questioned as to the amount of money that he received from Mr. Leger, and he stated that as this case dated back to two years ago he couldn't remember exactly what amounts he did receive. He was shown his report of June 22nd, 1925, and also a list that had been made out of the abstractions against the Shediac post office, which totalled $334, and besides this the original receipt for the deposit of that amount made on Sept. 1st. As this covered the only record that is on the file of money received Mr. Griffith said he presumed that the $334 is all that he had received. The only moneys, however, that he was positive in receiving was the $300 that is mentioned in his report of June 22nd, 1925.

He \yas asked if he had met Mr. Leger on the train or at his own home, and he stated that he had remembered seeing him at Moncton station, but could not remember whether he got money from him there or not, but was quite positive, however, that he did not receive any money from Leger at Leger's home, with the exception of the $100 that was paid on June 19th.

At this juncture the inspector was told that as there appeared to be a discrepancy between his statement and that of Mr. Leger's, it would be necessary for him to give a written statement of his knowledge of the matter. To this [Mr. Bennett.)

he objected and refused to give any statement until he saw Mr. Leger. This did not meet with approval, and he was told that it was absolutely necessary for him to give a written statement, and after some more conversation the stenographer was called and the following is a statement signed by him:-

"I cannot say positively what moneys I collected from Mr. Leger.

I have positive recollection of receiving $309 in three amounts of $100 each; $100 cash and $200 money orders issued at Shediac post office payable to me at Saint John."

I do remember going to Moncton, I think on two different occasions."

"I went once to the C.N.R. shops, Moncton. The second time I went to Moncton I saw him at the station, shook hands with him, and saw him get on board the train for Shediac, but I do not remember whether I got money from him or not at that time."

"The time that I met Mr. Leger at the station is the last time that I saw him."

"The first payment that I received from Leger was paid me in his own home, and this is the only money that he paid me in his own house to my recollection."

"I have never received any money from Mr. Leger's wife, to my recollection."

"(sgd.) Wm. F. Griffith."

It was not until after the inspector gave his written statement that he was told that the district superintendent had seen and gotten declarations from Mr. Leger and his wife, and he showed much annoyance and accused the district superintendent of playing a mean, and underhanded trick.

As to this the district superintendent has no comments and he refrains from making any recommendation in this case, but is of the opinion that the total amount that the inspector received from Mr. Leger is $349 instead of $334, leaving a balance due from Mr. Griffith of $15.

That is the communication which Mr. Woods sent the department at Ottawa. On July 18, 1927, and this date is rather important in view of the memorandum signed by the hon. Postmaster General himself, the following letter was written by Mr. Griffith to H. Fortier, the acting chief inspector:

On Wednesday of last week just before I was leaving the office the district superintendent called me and asked me to make a statement immediately about a case that I was dealing with during the summer of 1925, that is, the stealing of letters at Shediac post office by a young man by the name of Leger.

Naturally it is pretty hard for a person to remember everything that happened within two years and not having the file to refresh one's memory. However, I made a statement as near as possible from memory and after doing so the district superintendent produced a lot of papers from his desk and started to read affidavits foul different people. I then took a tumble that he had evidently been down to Shediac, and I asked him what he was driving at or what he meant. He informed me that in the settlement of the case the department had returned some money to Mr. Leger, and he, Leger, took exception to the amount.

Supply-Post Office

It seems there is a difference of $15 between what I have on record and what Leger claims he paid.

A11 I know about the matter is that when I was there I was paid $100, and within a day or two I received two money orders for $100 each, making $300 in all. This covered the total amount of losses at that time re-portecW

Some time afterwards other cases cropped up and instructions were received in each case to have the money collected from Mr. Leger. On receipt of those cases from the enquiry section I have a distinct recollection of going to Moncton twice and I know I collected $34 from him but cannot give the exact date.

It seems that some time later there was another case of $15 turned up and I went to Moncton to see Mr. Leger. I remember meeting him just as the train was pulling out for Shediac. It is most probable from what Leger ar.d his wife say that he did not have the money on him at the time and that I did go into Shediac later and received the $15 from him, but I certainly have no recollection of same at present. But there is one thing certain-Leger and his wife are honest people and if they are positive they paid this additional $15 I certainly would not dispute their statement, but I would be surprised if I received any money and I did not give them a receipt for same.

Now I have had no opportunity to see Mr. Leger since, in fact from the actions of the district superintendent I thought perhaps it would be better not to go near him.

With reference to this matter I may say I will make no move until I receive orders from the department.

As before stated, if Mr. and Mrs. Leger have any proof of paying me the above amount I will be only too pleased to either return it to them or forward it to the department, as directed.

The next communication is a letter dated July 20, 1927, from the district superintendent, Mr. Woods, to Mr. Fortier, in which he says:

Referring further to the acting chief inspector's memorandum of June 22nd, insp. 68413, authorizing a refund of $29 to be paid J. Leger, senior, Shediac. N.B., to make good the losses from registered mail matter due to the depredations of his son.

The district superintendent begs to call attention to his report of July 13, in which it was pointed out that the refund is due Edouard T. Leger instead of J. Leger, senior.

Will the acting chief inspector please authorize the paying of this amount to Edouard T. Leger, and also give instructions as to whether the claim of Mr. Leger for a further amount of $15 which he says that he paid to Inspector Mr. W. F. Griffith, shall be entertained or not.

On July 22, two days later, the letter was acknowledged in the following language:

Mr. Leger's claim for a further amount of $15 is receiving attention and the district superintendent will be further advised.

This $29 was paid to Edouard T. Leger, who acknowledged by receipt which is upon the file. On July 30, the following letter was sent by the district superintendent:

With further reference to the matter of refund to Mr. Edouard T. Leger, Shediac, N.B.,

in connection with losses from registered mail matter due to the depredations of his son.

Enclosed herewith please find receipts from Mr. Leger for $29, authorized to be paid him, as per the acting chief inspector's memorandum 68413 dated July 22nd.

The next letter, dated August 1, certainly throws a rather lurid light upon the administration of the department, and I use that language without being in any sense offensive. It reads:

Memorandum for the Assistant Deputy Postmaster General.

This file has reference to the collection of $334 from Edouard Leger, sr., Shediac, N.B.. to make good the losses of registered mail matter, due to the depredations of his son.

In a statement furnished by Mr. Leger to the postmaster at Shediac on July 9, he claims to have paid the following amounts to Inspector Griffith:

a total of $349.

Inspector Griffith has not accounted for $15 of this amount, and, as a refund has to be made to Mr. Leger, there is a shortage of $15, which must be made good.

Mr. Griffith, in dealing with this matter in a memorandum dated July 18, claims that he has no recollection of having received a payment of $15 from Mr. Leger, and he states that, if Leger and his wife are positive they paid liim (Griffith) $15, he will not dispute their statement. He concludes his communication, however, by saying if Mr. and Mrs. Leger have any proof of paying him the amount in question he will be only too pleased to return it to them, or forward it to the department. ,

It is desired to point out that, in the Dupey's Corner case, various sums were paid to Mr. Griffith, which were not immediately accounted for.

It would seem that Inspector Griffith should be instructed to forward immediately the sum of $15 to the department so that same may be paid over to Mr. Leger, and the matter adjusted.

(Sgd.) Cantwell

H. Fortier,

for Acting Chief Inspector. Observe these words:

The P.M.G. mentioned this case to me before his departure for the east. Return this memo to me on P.M.G.'s return.

Initialled P.T.C.,

August 9, 1927.

We assume those to be the initials of Mr. P. T. Coolican.

Then the following memorandum, dated September 16, 1927, is placed upon the file: This case was discussed with the general superintendent a few days ago who intimated that action in so far as the inspection service is concerned might be allowed to stand as. this matter was receiving the personal attention of the Postmaster General.

(Sgd.) Cantwell.

Supply-Post Office

Let us now proceed to the next count to which I referred the other day, the insubordination in the administration of the office at St. John, N.B. This is a matter which vitally affects the public service and the seriousness of it arises from what took place prior to this year. I am going to read from the files and not make a precis of the case lest there be trouble hereafter as to the correctness and fullness of these statements.

Early this year it became apparent that it was necessary to look into the mail service in connection with the new Canadian National ships sailing to and from the West Indies. The Postmaster General said the other day that as Mr. Woods had not been feeling very well he thought that he would be a desirable person to look into the administration in connection with the mail service between the West Indies and St. John and Halifax. On January 2, 1929, District Superintendent

Woods addressed the following note to Mr. Coolican, the general superintendent of postal service:

No doubt you are already aware a trip has been arranged for me to the West Indies, and I expect to leave Halifax on the ss. Lady Drake on January 11th, returning to St. John on February 24th.

During my absence it is my intention to leave Inspector, Mr. John Emerson, in charge of the office.

Trusting that this may meet with your approval and with very best wishes for the new year, I remain.

Yours very truly,

H. W. Woods.

District Superintendent.

About the same day there is a direction from P. T. Coolican, addressed to Miss Theriault, as follows:

Please show to P.M.G. The usual thing is to have the senior inspector take charge during the absence of the district superintendent. In St. John this would be Emerson but the minister may have some views on the matter.

These views are expressed in a memorandum dated January 9, 1929, signed by P. T. Coolican, as follows:

Memorandum for the Chief Inspector With reference to the attached application from the district superintendent, St. John, for leave of absence starting on January 11th, the Postmaster General instructs that Inspector Griffith be placed in charge during the district superintendent's absence.

As Mr. Woods leaves on the 11th, it will be necessary to wire him.

I will not go one step farther than I would if I were a crown prosecutor opening a case to a jury. Without making any comments which in any sense are inferences, I would point out to the house and to the country that the man the Postmaster General

instructed should be placed in charge was the junior inspector when his deputy points out that it was usual for the senior to be placed in charge. And he also does it with the knowledge that Griffith had embezzled $150 which was an offence under section 98 of the Post Office Act, which section has been read into this record. That is the position and that cannot be controverted. All I have to do at this time is simply to ask this question: Why? Why is a man who is admittedly an embezzler placed over men during the absence of his chief when the ordinary rule is that the senior inspector should be placed in charge, against whom, as I am reminded by an hon. member, there is not a single black mark. Under date of January 9, I find the following instructions given by wire directed to Mr. Griffith at his residence, 115 Lansdowne avenue, St. John, New Brunswick, and signed Fortier, chief inspector:

Instructions putting you in charge during Woods' absence going forward to-day.

Then follows the letter dated 9th January: Dear Mr. Griffith,

I have to inform you that during the absence of Mr. H. W. Woods, from the 11th instant to the 24th February, next, you are to be in charge of the St. John district office. The district superintendent has been advised accordingly.

On the same date Mr. Coolican, general superintendent of postal service, directed to Mr. Woods, district superintendent, a notice intimating that the same appointment had been made. Thereupon, on the 10th January, 1929, that is the day following, Mr. John Emerson, senior inspector of postal service of New Brunswick, against whom there is not a single black mark, wrote this letter to Mr. Griffith:

I beg to advise you that a letter has been received from the department addressed to H. W. Woods, district superintendent of postal service, advising that during his absence the office is to be left in your charge.

That is, the senior inspector does his duty by thus advising the junior inspector of his appointment over his head. Mr. Griffith writes to Mr. Coolican on the 11th January in these words:

Dear Mr. Coolican,

1 beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 9th inst. with the information that I was to be placed in charge of the Saint John district office during the absence of Mr. H. W. Woods, district superintendent, and stating that the district superintendent had also been notified.

Herewith for your information please find copy of notification received by me signed by Mr. John Emerson, inspector postal service, although Mr. Woods was in his office yesterday afternoon.

Supply-Post Office

According to instructions I assumed charge of the office this a.m., and enquired of Inspector Emerson and principal clerk of the office service section, Miss Howard, asking for the official letter regarding my being placed in charge. Miss Howard stated she had never seen it, and Inspector Emerson stated that Mr. Woods must have taken it with him. I would respectfully suggest that you forward another letter, so that the copy may be placed in the order books for the information of those concerned.

In other words, it will be observed that the junior inspector, thus placed in charge, was not willing to accept the intimation from his senior that the superintendent had sent the letter because the original was not in his hands. Thereupon Mr. Coolican, the general superintendent, sent a copy of this letter to Mr. Griffith on the 14th January, 1929. It was two days before that when Mr. John Emerson, senior inspector of postal service at New Brunswick, wrote to Mr. Coolican a letter which, although it is marked " personal " but dealing with public business, is on the files that have been produced. That letter reads:

Dear Sir,

Referring to the absence of District Superintendent H. W. Woods for a period of six or seven weeks on a trip to the West Indies, and to your letter of the 9th instant instructing that the Saint John postal district was to be under the supervision of Mr. W. F. Griffith, inspector of postal service, I beg to draw your attention to the following facts:

As you are aware, I am the senior inspector of the Saint John postal district, having been appointed to that position on July 1, 1917. W. F. Griffith was appointed an inspector on the first of October, 1925.

During former absences of Mr. Woods, I have always been in charge of this district, and I would especially draw your attention to the fact that during the strike in June 1924, I was in charge for a period of 10 or 11 weeks; also during Mr. Woods' illness in the spring of 1928, I was in charge from February until May.

In view of the fact that the district superintendent notified you by letter on the 2nd inst., that he was leaving me, the senior inspector, in charge, I would respectfully ask on what grounds I have been passed over and one who is my junior in the service given charge of the district.

I may say that I deeply resent the action of the department and intend to see that my rights are recognized.

Trusting to hear from you at the earliest possible date, I remain,

Yours respectfully.

Then the assistant deputy on the 14th January wrote to Mr. Emerson as follows:

Replying to yours of January 12 I beg to say that you will receive a further reply to your letter as soon as I have taken the matter up with the Deputy Postmaster General.

In the meantime the matter was further considered by Mr. Emerson, and on the 2nd February, 1929, he wrote this formal letter which, though long, I feel I am bound in justice to the postal service, one of the most important branches of the public service in Canada, to read to the committee.

St. John, N.B. February 2, 1929.

L. J. Gaboury,

Deputy Postmaster General,

Ottawa.

Referring to the absence of District Superintendent H. W. Woods, during his trip to the West Indies, and the authority contained in a letter to Mr. Woods, dated 9th January from the general superintendent of postal service, advising that during his absence the office was to be in charge of Mr. W. F. Griffith, inspector of postal service.-In connection with this ruling of the department, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that on the 2nd of January the district superintendent, H. W. Woods, notified Mr. Coolican that during his absence it was his intention to leave Inspector John Emerson in charge of the office.

On the 12th ult. I wrote a personal letter to Mr. P. T. Coolican, Assistant Deputy Postmaster General, protesting against the action of the department in passing me over and placing W. F. Griffith, my junior, in the service in charge of the Saint John postal district and I have patiently waited for an official reply to this letter, from the department, but up to the present have not received same.

In connection with this action of the department I wish to refer for your attention a letter which I received from you bearing date of the 18th July, 1924. bearing your personal signature and reading as follows:

"I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, in regard to the circumstance under which you assumed charge of the district since the absence of the district superintendent on account of illness.

I have made a note of your remarks in regard to the telegrams exchanged with the department. and. in reply I beg to reiterate the statements already made as to the procedure to be followed in selecting an officer in charge during the absence of the district superintendent from duty. When a district superintendent is absent for any reason, the senior inspector of postal service is to take charge automatically. If the senior inspector is absent for any reason, instructions as to the officer who is to assume charge of the district are to be obtained from the department, and no official is to assume charge until departmental instructions are received."

You will note from that, that according to your ruling on the date mentioned that when a district superintendent is absent for any reason the senior inspector of postal service is to take charge automatically and I, therefore claim it was my right to assume charge of the Saint John district in the absence of the district superintendent, even without being especially designated by the district superintendent that I was to do so.

As the records of the department will show I have been in the service since the first of July, 1890. I was appointed an inspector on the first of July, 1917.

20S4

Supply-Post Office

W. F. Griffith, entered the Saint John postal district as a transfer helper about 1908 and his appointment as an inspector dates from the first October, 1925.

On the morning of the 10th January, previous to Mr. Woods leaving the office he gave me the following list of cases which had been given to Inspector Griffith and which will be found on their respective files not attended to.

Upham R.R. No. 1.

Letter dated December 5, 1928, re report of R. M. Clark, E. W. Hammond as to unsuitability of mail car 3427.

Memoranda of August 13 and 30 re proposed Milledgeville R.R. No. 1.

Letter dated December 5, 1928, re frequent supervision and handling of mails at the Saint John station, not replied to.

Chief superintendent railway mail service, file No. 22490. re increase of rates for conveyance of mails. June 22.

Chief superintendent railway mail service, file No. 26845-15' apartment postal car.

Chief superintendent railway mail service memorandum June 29, classifying R.P.O's into two grades, viz: "A" and "B".

Complaint of Mr. J. M. Woodman, general superintendent C.P.R. re transferring mails at MeAdam, letter to inspector, December 14.

Complaint made by Doctor Yiolette relative to the mail service, St. Bazil.

Re postmastership of Norton station, request of deputy dated November 22, that inspector interview applicants. Reminder sent January 4, 1929.

Re loss of parcels posted by the T. Eaton Company, at Toronto addressed for delivery in the maritime provinces. File No. 69928.

Re memoramdum of mail service branch, referring to report 79B asking for an extension of Anagance, R.R. No. 1, August 14 and August 24.

Re petition regarding proposed Hampton station R.R. No. 1 dated August 25.

Re designation head-end of full postal car.

Re memorandum mail service branch, Peel R.R. No. 1 of November 27.

The district superintendent also left me a note, showing that W. F. Griffith had not been in the office between the 6th and 22nd day of December inclusive, neither had he made any report in connection with his doings, to the district superintendent during that time.

The district superintendent went to Fredericton on the 23rd of December and did not return until the 2nd January. During this period I was in charge of the office and W. F. Griffith was in the office on the 26th December from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

December 27-all day.

December 28-from 1 p.m. to 4.30.

December 29-not in the office.

December 31-not in the office.

January 2-not in the office.

January 3-not in the office.

January 4-not in the office.

January 5-not in the office.

It will be seen from the list left by the district superintendent that inspector Griffith has not been in the habit of making prompt reports in regard to any matter that has been handed over to him for attention. As a sample I would draw your attention to the fact that on the 11th May,'1927, an application was made for the establishment of a rural route at Petit-codiae to supersede the present Dobsons Corner and Petitcodiac mail service and notwithstand-IMr. Bennett.]

ing the fact that the district superintendent and the department at Ottawa made many efforts to have Inspector Griffith complete a report on the matter, the said report was not sent to the department until August 7, 1928, viz:-a period of fifteen months from the time of the receipt of the request from the department until same had been attended to by the inspector in whose hands the matter had been placed.

It will be noted in the list left with me that it refers to a letter from yourself, dated November 22nd, that Inspector Griffith interview applicants for the office of postmastership of Norton Station. This was handed over to Mr. Griffith and a reminder sent to him on January 4, 1929, but up to the present no report has been made to the department.

I would draw your attention to the fact that upon W. F. Griffith's apointment to that of inspector his duties were aligned by the department to the inspectorship in charge of the railway mail service of the Saint John postal district. These duties included inspection of all baggage car services of the province and also all water services.

This man has been in charge of the railway mail service for a period of three years and one-half and during that time he has made no reports to the department as far as I know, on-

Baggage car on trains 251. 252. 37, 38, C.N.R., between Campbellton and St. Leonard.

C.P.R. trains Nos. 373, 171, 172, 174 between Debec and Houlton, Maine.

C.P.R. trains Nos. 185, 186, between Fort Fairfield and Aroostock Junction.

Trains 47. 48. Fredericton and Centreville.

Trains 191. 192, Fredericton and Woodstock, Gibson branch.

Trains 27, 237, 28, 238, Newcastle and Fredericton, C.N.R.

Fredericton Junction and Fredericton, baggage car service. Nos. 119, 105, 111, 109, 107, 106. 108, 110, 112.

New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company, Fredericton and Grand Lake, Norton and Fredericton.

C.P.R. Pinder and Southampton, Nos. 195, 194.

C.P.R. trains Nos. 162, 164, St. Andrews and Watt Junction.

N.B.S. Saint John and St. Stephen Nos. 115. 116.

Water service, between Grand Manan Island and the mainland.

Between Chatham-Hardwicke.

Between Saint John and Black's Harbour.

This statement can be easily verified by looking up the records in the office of the chief superintendent of railway mail service, Ottawa.

I would, therefore, respectfully ask whether in view of the facts that the department has been fully advised by the district superintendent of postal service as to the lack of official attention to duty of the inspector now in charge of the office, and also that the said district superintendent has refused to recommend his increases at least on two occasions, you, as Deputy Postmaster General and active head of the post office department, consider that the record of this man. W. F. Griffith, justifies the placing of him in charge of the Saint John postal district over the head of a senior inspector, who has on numerous occasions carried on the work of the office to the best of his ability, during the illness and absences of the said district superintendent.

Supply-Post Office

I believe I am within my rights in asking at least, a departmental acknowledgment of this letter, and also information on what grounds I have been passed over and a junior given charge.

I may say that I am sending a copy of this letter to P. T. Coolican, Esq., Assistant Deputy Postmaster General.

Trusting to hear from you at as early a date as possible, I am, sir,

Yours respectfully,

That was signed by John Emerson, the senior inspector at St. John.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

He was not complaining of not being in charge of the office.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He was reciting the circumstances under which the former order was no longer being made effective and a junior placed in charge.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

He was not complaining of an injustice.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He certainly was.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We next find this memorandum dated February 4, 1929, and I ask that this house carefully consider this memorandum :

J. Emerson,

St. John

Assistant Deputy,

February 4, 1929 Postmaster General

That is the head of it. It goes on:

P.M.G. says O.K. He will not alter his instructions.

(Signed) Gaboury.

I wonder if the full significance of that is understood. There is a man who is admittedly an embezzler-under the statutes, a thief.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No, $180 in the one case and $15 in the other. The section of the statute has already been read. He converted this money to his own use, and the Post Office Act says that this is theft. The Postmaster General admits that he knew of it, and in face of that knowledge and the complaint made by the senior inspector Emerson of the treatment he received, Mr. Gaboury makes this notation:

P.M.G. says O.K. He will not alter his instructions. .

I will not make any comments on that now.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Res ipsa loquitur. In

face of the fact that on the 4th of February the minister had put his imprimatur on Mr. Griffith's position, on the 26th day of February, twenty-two days later, Mr. Griffith writes Mr. Coolican as follows:

With further reference to my temporary appointment in charge of the district office from January 11 until February 24 during absence of the district superintendent as per your memo of January 9, I beg to inform you that the district superintendent, Mr. H. W. Woods, arrived in Saint John yesterday morning from his trip to the West Indies about 8.30 a.m.

I have been unofficially informed that he was in communication with the principal clerk of the office service section, Miss Howard, but on being asked if she had any information regarding him, she stated she did not know anything about him. On making ino.uiry at Fredericton this a.m. I learned that the district superintendent is now at home there. Officially I have no information of any kind, and in lieu of other instructions from you I will remain in charge of the district office until the district superintendent returns to duty.

Mr. Griffith on the 1st day of March wrote to Mr. Coolican as follows:

For your information I may say that the district superintendent, Mr. H. W. Woods, returned to duty this morning, and from this date I will be performing the duties of inspector of postal service.

The last letter is from Mr. Woods when he returned to duty. On the 4th day of March, Mr. Woods, the district superinendent, who had been absent for his health, wrote to Mr. Coolican, the general superintendent, in these words:

Sir:

Once again I find it necessary to advise the department of the insubordination of Mr. W. F. Griffith, inspector of postal service, connected with the district office at Saint John.

It will be remembered that authority dated January 9 was issued by the department to place Inspector Griffith in charge of the district office during my absence on a trip to the West Indies. This authority was received on the afternoon of January 10 by Mr. John Emerson, senior inspector, who had taken charge of the office from noon that day.

I observe that it was from noon that day, although Mr. Griffith had complained that Mr. Woods had not communicated to him the instructions that he was to take charge, being in the office that afternoon, and would not accept the intimation from Mr. Emerson who sent him a copy of the notice that he was put in charge, but asked for another copy because he had not received one from Mr. Woods himself. Passing that by, the letter continues:

Mr. Emerson reached me by telephone as soon as possible after the authority was received, advising me of its contents.

Arrangements were made for the carrying out of the order and I left for Halifax that evening. _

On my return to Saint John on Monday, February 25, I proceeded to Fredericton with-

Supply-Post Office

out calling at the office. From there I notified Mr. Griffith that I would be on hand to take charge on the morning of March first and asking him to let me have a memo of any changes of importance that had taken place during my absence.

I reached the post office building about 8.30 a.m. Friday. Not having keys with me that would open the door of the private office, I was obliged to wait in the other rooms until Mr. Griffith arrived.

At about 8.50 he reached the office and came into the inspector's room where I was. I asked him to open the door leading from the inspector's room into the private office and he told me he had no bey. I said he must have a key to the private office as he had been using it for the past six weeks and he cried out in a loud voice that I was a "liar," and in the short conversation that took place in this room, he not only called me a "liar" but a "dirty cur" and a "quibbler."

Knowing from past experience how prone he is of making protest of what he said and did not say. I invited him to step out into the staff office in order that those who were there might be witnesses to the choice language he was using, and in a most defiant and boldfaced manner he followed me out, and in the presence and . _aring of a number of the staff he used language to me that is rarely heard outside of a di _.iken brawl.

His attention was called to the strong language he was using and in a loud voice he declared he was making it strong so that I could understand it.

There was no provocation for his outburst of temper, but he has once more proved that he is unfit for any position of trust where honesty and restraint are required.

Shortly after he became attached to the district office and for some length of time he occasionally used to bluster and show signs of insubordination, but after I found it necessary to question him one day in June, 1927, in regard to funds paid him by a postmaster which had not been accounted for, he ceased to exhibit these signs openly. His flagrant disregard of the regulations of the department has been quite generally known, with the result that it has had an influence on some of the other members of the staff.

Had this influence not been so strong, it is believed that principal clerk J. V. Shea of the inquiry section, would have hesitated to withdraw charges in the police court of Saint John in connection with the Wm. A. Mclllwraith case, as per report of November 14, 1928.

I refrained from suspending Mr. Griffith at the time as I wished to do nothing in a hasty manner, and I felt that the punishment he so richly deserves would come to him sufficiently early, by leaving the ease in the hands of the department.

I wish, however, to say that in so far as my personal honour is concerned it makes no difference to me what name this man calls me, and I do not ask for any apology from him, but if my opinion were asked as to what disciplinary action should be taken because of the effect of his disgraceful actions, I would hesitate between two opinions-suspension or dismissal, but one or the other should be administered.

This, as I say, was written by Mr. Woods to Mr. Coolican at Ottawa, and a copy was sent to Mr. Gaboury, the Deputy Postmaster

General. A letter of March 9, 1929, now appears on the file. It is marked, " personal and confidential," and is from Mr. Coolican to Mr. Woods. It reads as follows:

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your report of March 4. re insubordination of Inspector Griffith.

I will take the matter up with the Deputy Postmaster General and advise you of the decision as soon as possible.

Mr. Gaboury wrote to Mr. Woods on March 5 in these terms-

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

He telephoned him first.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I am coming to that.

This is the letter:

Confirming telephone conversation at 9.50 this morning, I beg to advise you that the Postmaster General has instructed that when you are absent from office, even temporarily, the office must be left in charge of Mr. Griffith. The Postmaster General issued these instructions during your recent absence, and they must be lived up to.

I did not want to wire you for reasons which you will readily understand, and I wish you would please acknowledge this letter as well as the telephone conversation.

I am glad to hear that you are well again and that your trip was beneficial. I am sending your account through to-day and same will be attended to in due course.

That, as I say, was written bj' Mr. Gaboury. It will thus be observed that on March 5, on the instructions of the Postmaster General, Mr. Woods, the district superintendent, was notified that the man who had admitted that he had violated the provisions of the Post Office Act and had converted money to his own use by retaining $180 in his own hands for several months was to be placed in charge of the district office at St. John and the postal service of New Brunswick during the temporary absence of Mr. Woods on any account. Then follows this memorandum:

Memorandum, March 5, 1929.

At 9.50 this morning the undersigned telephoned to Mr. H. W. Woods, district superintendent of postal service at St. John. N.B.. that under no circumstances when he absented himself from the office, even temporarily, was the office to be left in charge of any person but Mr. Griffith. He was informed that these are the instructions of the Postmaster General and that they must be adhered to.

Mr. Woods stated he thoroughly understood the above, and the undersigned is confirming these instructions by letter, copy of which is herewith attached.

Then follows a letter from Mr. Woods, the district superintendent who, remembering that discipline is so necessary for the proper administration of the public service, wrote Mr. Gaboury:

Dear Mr. Gaboury,-

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th inst., confirming telephone conversation at 9.50 (eastern time) of that morning advising me that it W'as the wdsli of

Suppty-Post Office

the Postmster General when I am absent from the office even temporarily that the office must be left in charge of Mr. Griffith.

The conversation was a little indistinct at first, but eventually I understood it clearly, and until further advised will act accordingly.

It is noted that the Postmaster General issued these instructions during my recent absence, but I may say that they do not appear on any files of the office.

On March 9 we have written by Mr. Emerson, the senior inspector, a further letter to the Deputy Postmaster General. He now realizes that he is to be replaced by Mr. Griffith on all occasions, and he writes as follows:

Referring further to my letter of January 12 to P. T. Coolican, Esq., Assistant Deputy Postmaster General, and registered letter forwarded to you and copy forwarded to the Assistant Deputy Postmaster General on the 2nd ultimo protesting against the action of the department in placing Mr. W. F. Griffith, junior inspector of postal service in charge of the St. John postal district during the absence of the district superintendent on his trip to the West Indies when I was a senior inspector of the St. John postal district, and on all former occasions had acted in charge during sicknesses and absences of the district superintendent, I again draw your attention to the fact that 1 have never received a reply to either of these letters.

I strongly feel that this is not the proper treatment to accord one who has been in the service as long as I have. I, however, take it for granted that you have received letter in question and have informed the Postmaster General as to the contents of letters above-mentioned.

In my communication of the 2nd ultimo 1 drew your attention in a very plain manner to the fact that Inspector Griffith has not been carrying on the duties of his office in a proper manner, and I have no hesitation in stating that this man has deliberately broken all rules and regulations governing the Post Office department and civil service of Canada.

During the year 1928 the said W. F. Griffith practically made no attempt to be present at his seat in the St. John office, and it is a well-known fact that he made his home his headquarters. In this connection, if his journals of proceedings for the above-mentioned period are examined, it will be seen that he claims to have spent a great deal of the time absent from the office supervising the handling of mails at the St. John railway station.

This practice of his became so common that on the 5th December last the district superintendent forwarded a letter to him asking for an explanation as to the necessity of the frequent supervision of the handling of mails at the St. John station, to which, however, it may be said there has been no reply.

It is well-known to the travelling staff of the St. John postal district that in the latter part of 1926 there was a shortage found at the Dupey's Corners post office in the electoral district of Westmorland, N.B.; also that Inspector W. F. Griffith was allotted this case. The result of his efforts are also well known, and it is my belief that the details available in June, 1927, were forwarded to the department.

78594-132J

I may say that if this case is reopened at any time I am in a position to give some evidence, which probably is not known to the department.

For your information I may say that the disgraceful way which W. F. Griffith treated the district superintendent, Mr. H. W. Woods, by calling him a liar, cur and quibbler, on his arrival at the St. John district office on the morning of March 1, concerning which you have no doubt been informed as Mr. II. E. Atwater was in St. John at the time, has become street talk in the city of St. John, and I may say that several citizens have expressed to me their contempt for one who would so far forget himself as to treat his superior officer as he, the said W. F. Griffith, did, especially when he knew that the district superintendent was not a well man. The general expression of opinion is that an employee who would so far forget himself is not fit to occupy any position of trust and should be dismissed from the public service.

In connection with the placing of this man over me, I would ask you to advise me as to whether it is to be understood that in future on all occasions when the district superin' tendent is absent that the said W. F. Griffith is to be in charge of the district office. * l this is the intention, I hereby notify the department that I reserve the right to take whatever action I deem fit and proper to see that my rights as senior inspector of the St. John postal district are recognized.

I am forwarding a copy of this communication under registered cover to Mr. P. T. Coolican. Assistant Deputy Postmaster General.

In closing I may say that I very much re gret the necessity for writing letters to the department, but you can readily understand that in this matter I have no other means of stating my views.

Trusting that you will advise me as to the receipt of this letter, I remain,

Yours respectfully,

On the 12th Mr. Gaboury, the Deputy Post master General, replied to Mr. Emerson as follows:

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 9th inst., received under registered cover No. 132, in regard to Mr. Griffith being put in charge of the office during the temporary absence of Mr. Woods, the district superintendent.

I did not reply to your letter of the 2nd ultimo, but acting on the instructions of the Postmaster General, notified Mr. Woods that in future during any absence from the office Mr. Griffith was to be put in charge. I am transferring your letter to the Postmaster General for whatever action he may see fit to take. As you are aware, I could not under any circumstances take the lead in this question, as it is a matter which rests entirely with the honourable the Postmaster General. When I notified Mr. Woods by telephone, and confirmed the conversation by an official letter on the same day, I thought this would cover your letter of the 2nd ultimo. I regret not having replied to your letter, and wish to say that so far as the Deputy Postmaster General is concerned there is no other course to follow, and therefore I am handing your letter over to the Postmaster General.

Supply-Post Office

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink

April 30, 1929