If I am not interrupting, I can give the estimated rentals for Toronto. This statement shows the yearly rental value including heating, lighting and cleaning of space occupied by the Post Office Department in public buildings throughout Canada, together with yearly cost of space in rented buildings, including all services. I am not sure that I have all the Toronto buildings; I do not think I have them all in one place. There is the Toronto general post office, apparently the rental value put on that is $14,000; Toronto terminal A, $185,247; station C, $3,285; station D, $2,210; station F, $5,680; station G, $7,370.
I must say that the figures are very fair. Those are fair rentals. I am glad the minister is now establishing a system of carrying on the post office in a businesslike way. I shall give the Postmaster General credit for the fact that he has given us more information to-night than we have ever received before, and if he keeps on improving he will do better yet.
I can see some good even in the hon. member for York North, although he trimmed us badly and stole all the jobs from us. He has some good qualities. However, that is getting away from the subject under discussion. A proper accounting system should be kept so that we might know the gross earnings and net profit of the post office, as in the case of any other business. This could easily be done.
I wish to confirm what the hon. members for Davenport and Parkdale have said, not saying that patronage has never been exercised, but surely it is going too far when, for purposes of patronage, employees for post office service in Toronto during Christmas time, and even now, are hired from outside the city. Surely there are enough unemployed in Toronto, without bringing men in from outside. This is carrying patronage too far. There is a limit to how far the game should be played.
I do not like to interrupt the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) but I cannot help thinking how interesting it is to find my hon. friends to my right objecting so strongly to patronage. It appears to me that there is always an objection to patronage on the part of hon. members in that section to the left of the Speaker.
The hon. member's objection is not to patronage in principle but to the way it is carried on. In fact, if patronage were confined to the constituency of the hon. member it would not be so bad, but it is when someone from outside intervenes that patronage is bad, in whatever way it is carried on. I think the present Postmaster General has been good in comparison with his predecessors, but I wish he could eliminate patronage entirely. It would save him a great deal of trouble if he did. The number of jobs given by a member at Christmas time may amount to a dozen or a hundred as the case may be. If the opportunity were given to me of handing out patronage I would not want to take it. I do not think it is right that any member of this house should exercise patronage at all. The hiring of employees should be left entirely to the discretion of the officials of the various departments of the government, and members of parliament of whatever stripe should not interfere. After all, we expect these departments of the government to be run efficiently, and there cannot be efficiency if members of parliament keep interfering with the administration. The best thing that could happen, from the standpoint both of members of parliament and of efficiency of administration, would be for the officials of the departments themselves to have complete control of the men and women employed under them. I know the condition complained of has existed for a number of years. I believe the Post Office Department during the regime of the present Postmaster General has been freer from this fault than in former years.
Toronto has always been a bad spot. Possibly, if the members from Toronto would get together and appeal to the Postmaster General, he might see that the abuses which apparently were prevalent during the last period when temporary employees were hired, dio not occur again. To-night I would appeal to the Postmaster General to see to it that in future years, when extra help is required for the postal service of this country during the Christmas rush, help is hired from the regular employment agencies or other agencies of a similar kind.