ask you to renew, if you have not already done so, the notices issued in a circular letter, two or three years ago, to all small contractors, to urge mail carriers not to have anything to do with this man who is at the head of an organization which the Post Office Department does not recognize. I believe that is all the minister can do under the circumstances. After that, should the carriers want, as we sometimes say, to let themselves be fooled by this Mr. MacKinnon, let them suffer the consequences of their foolishness.
Mr. Chairman, the honourable Postmaster General has spoken of the dismissals that have occurred in the province of Quebec. I do not intend to delay the house discussing this particular subject, but I do wish to point out that at the time his predecessor, the honourable Louis-Philippe Pelletier was appointed Postmaster General, the powers that be ordered the dismissal of so many postmasters, that one need not be surprised that there should have been to some extent certain reprisals when the Liberal party assumed office in 1921. Now, should the reprisals be kept up ever lastingly, this thing will never end.
Reference was made a moment ago to dismissals that took place upon the representations of members. I noted among others that of a postmaster whom I was instrumental in appointing and who afterwards canvassed against me with the use of liquor which he dispensed in the post office. The situation being as it was, I deemed it my duty to ask for his dismissal. I do not think the department has any record on the matter, but they had my word. I supplied the honourable Postmaster General with full explanations and outlined the whole case.
Another thing that impresses me in connection with the suggestion I submitted a moment ago to the honourable Postmaster General1-and I thank him for having so favourably received what I did say-I wish to say that in the province of Quebec the
Conservative members did not behave too badly in connection with the post offioes since there were only 78 dismissals-according to the return secured by my honourable colleague from Drummond-Arthabaska (Mr. Gi-rouard)'-in counties represented in the house by Conservative members. On the other hand, 160 dismissals were made at the request of defeated candidates.
Those gentlemen seem to look upon these demands for dismissals as a form of sport.
That is -why I wish to complete the suggestion I made, a short while ago, to the hon. Postmaster General, and request him that all complaints against postmasters be made by affidavit; that two or three affidavits at least, be required from responsible and disinterested persons. The defeated candidates have a perfect right to request the dismissal of postmasters, however, in such cases, their requests should be supported by an affidavit. This would result in giving a fighting chance to postmasters and a reason for the hon. Postmaster General to act. A member would be entitled ,to request the dismissal of a postmaster, and even the department would be required to conform itself to the complaints lodged by the member. I think this suggestion is but a fair one towards my colleagues who, to-day, support the government. If they continue to behave as they have done since the beginning-I am referring simply to the members who are in the house-things will rum smoothly. I must congratulate the hon. member for Chateauguay-Humtingdon. I do not know what has transpired since, however, when the report was published there hiad been no dismissals in his county. I think he has given proof of broadmindedness. I shall, perhaps, have an opportunity of discussing with him another subject, when the dairy industry question comes up, however, to use an English proverb " I give the devil his due."
Previous to referring to the de Sully affair, I would like to inquire from the hon. Postmaster General, whether he has any objection to appointing a commissioner who would take the oath, in connection with the St. Eusebe de Cabano inquiry', or whether he intends to send a commissioner to hold the inquiry, without being sworn in, and have him, later on, sworn in.
idea who will be the commissioner holding the inquiry at St. Eusebe de Cabano; it is not the practice to have commissioners sworn in. It is likely that the person who will hold the inquiry will not need to take the oath to dispense justice. I like to follow the precedent established.
So far as I am concerned, I never established such a precedent. I must frankly confess that I was unaware whether they were sworn in or not, however, I never established the principle that they should not be. I was unaware of the fact, and never gave it a thought.
I should like to obtain some information from the Postmaster General in connection with a subject which was referred to me some time ago. It especially concerns the staff of the Quebec post office. I suppose what takes place in Quebec also happens in all post offices. I am informed that the employees of the Quebec post office have to submit to two tests yearly. In other departments, employees must undergo one entrance examination, after that they are not further troubled. However, it seems that in the post office they have to undergo two tests a year, one on the Postal Guide and another in 'connection with the assortment of mail. I w'as further informed that lately, the employees at Quebec were threatened with a cut in their salaries if they did not pass successfully the two yearly tests. I do not know exactly what truth there is in such information, however, I understand that civil servants' salaries are fixed by act of parliament and that the various chiefs of departments or even the minister directing the department, have no right to reduce the salaries of employees. Can the hon. Postmaster General inform me whether this is a fact or not?
With reference to the same subject, might I request the hon. Postmaster General to show some consideration for the old civil servants of his department. It is contended that it is quite a task for these old employees to undergo with success these yearly tests. For instance, those who have reached SO years are not gifted with the memory they had when younger. In consideration of their long years of service, I think they should be, at least, exempted from one of these tests, and only be required to pass the Postal Guide test. Moreover, I am told to obtain the yearly statutory increase, it is but necessary to pass
the Postal Guide test. Lately, in Quebec, they have become much stricter and in order to obtain the statutory increase, one must undergo both tests, namely the Postal Guide and the one connected with the assortment of mail. I have been informed of this fact.
In reply to the hon. member for Bellechasse, I must state that I have never heard that any employee was threatened with the loss of his position for refusing to pass the test. They might have been told, perhaps, that they would receive no increase.
As to the tests, the post office employees have to undergo it yearly. Those who have 20 or 25 years service and are 50 years old, have still a better knowledge of the subject matter they are examined upon than the younger employees. As regards suggestion of the hon. member with reference to being lenient towards certain employees, I shall take note of it and communicate with those in charge of the post office at Quebec.
I was shown a letter that I have not with me. If I remember well, it was written by the postmaster, at Quebec, to an employee and was couched in the following terms or thereabouts I quote from memory: "Sir, you have neglected to present yourself for the mail assortment test. You had better conform yourself to instructions received, otherwise your salary will be reduced." I do not think that the head official of a service has the right to threaten an employee with a cut in salary, as salary classification is fixed by statute.
I wish to thank the hon. Postmaster General for his encouraging words with reference to old employees. I would request him to specially look after those who have 20 or 25 years service and have reached the age of 50. This test in connection with mail assortment is rather a memory or mechanical affair. When a man has reached a certain age such a test is of a nature to embarrass him much more so than when he was a young man.
To follow up the few remarks which I addressed to the hon. Postmaster General in the course of this sitting, I simply wish to point out to him the fact that the visit in my county of my genial friend the hon. Solicitor General, in the course of the provincial election, coincided exactly writh the change of postmaster at St. Pascal. I am aware that representations were made to the hon Postmaster General. It was not unknown that the the Solicitor General knew how to reach the ear of the Post-
master General. Again-it affords me pleasure to repeat it
I have a high esteem for the Postmaster General and I am quite convinced that, above all, he bears no ill feeling towards anyone. He is too much of a countryman to harbour such thoughts. I think that, coming from my lips, he will not take exception to this term. But, perhaps, he allows himself to be too much solicited by the Solicitor General.
When the Solicitor General visited my riding in the course of the provincial election, he was accompanied bjr an escort. He had taken the precaution to especially bring with him loud speakers to be well heard by a meeting numbering 230 people. His main success was exactly to have the postmaster at St. Pascal replaced.