May 23, 1941


Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 76, to amend the Customs Tariff. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


EXCESS PROFITS TAX ACT


Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 78, to amend the Excess Profits Tax Act, 1940. He said: The bills with respect to the Special War Revenue Act and the Succession Duties Act I cannot introduce until the next sitting of the house. I have not had time to examine them. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.



The house in committee of supply, Mr. Vien in the chair.


POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT


Z-i-1. Departmental administration, $552,180.


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

Will the minister explain the increase and at this point make a general statement?

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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. W. P. MULOCK (Postmaster General) :

I propose to do so. In presenting the post office estimates for the consideration of the committee, I wish to point out that the requirements for 1941-42 show an increase of $1,923,942.50, or approximately 4-96 per cent over the appropriation in the main estimates for 1940-41. However, the appropriation granted for 1940-41 proved insufficient, and supplementary estimates totalling $782,777 were voted by parliament some weeks ago. If this additional appropriation is taken into account, the increase in the amount requested for 1941-42 is only 2-88 per cent. It is also desirable to direct the attention of the committee to the postal revenue for the year 1940-41, and I may be permitted to quote figures as regards gross receipts, which constitute the standard for measuring increased volume of mail.

Gross revenue for 1940-41, subject to final verification, shows an increase of over $3,649,900 compared with 1939-40, or an increase of 8-25 per cent. As pointed out on more than one occasion by my predecessors, increases in postal revenue must necessarily be reflected in increased expenditures under such headings as salaries of post office staffs to handle mail, printing and stationery and other supplies used in postal work, as well as conveyance of mail by railway and steamboat. Further, in times like the present, the department must expect to pay higher prices for mail services which have to be readvertised. It does not seem unreasonable that the Post Office Department should require an increase of less than three per cent in appropriation in view of the increase of more than eight per cent in gross revenue in 1940-41.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Under departmental

administration, it is not very often that opposition members have an opportunity of expressing appreciation of some actions of a minister, but I am in the happy position to-day of being able to compliment the minister to some extent.

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?

Frederick Clayton Casselman

Mr. CASSELMAN:

Are there any rural routes to be cancelled?

Supply-Post Office

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am going to speak

of Toronto. There may be a lot of trouble about rural routes, but I am pleased to compliment the minister upon the effort he made during the last Christmas rush in that city to eliminate partisanship from appointments.

Last Christmas I asked the minister privately to endeavour to eliminate politics or partisanship from appointments of temporary "Christmas rush" clerks in Toronto, and I am pleased to say that he went further than any other Postmaster General I have had to do with in that regard. I am not going to make any complaint; I simply wish to compliment him, and I hope that next Christmas he will go still further and eliminate partisanship altogether. That is all I have to say about that.

In my part of the city, with which the minister is well acquainted, we have had Saturday afternoon deliveries in the past. I am not asking that this be done under present circumstances, when it is necessary to eliminate needless expenditures. We are not, however, getting such deliveries now. nor am I advocating it except to business men on St. Clair avenue. I believe I brought this matter up once before. If the business men and merchants on St. Clair avenue are not getting Saturday afternoon delivery- and that would apply to Davenport, King street and other main streets-they should get such deliveries, if possible.

We have some fine branch offices in Toronto, while others may not be up to the standard the minister would like. On warm days in summer and cold days in winter I have wondered whether proper conveniences are provided for the posties. Most of them have to go down in the basement to do their work and are more or less congested, and other conveniences are perhaps not as satisfactory as they should be. As the minister knows, in Toronto-and I suppose the same thing applies elsewhere-many of them have very long routes. The one who comes to my house has an exceptionally long route. It is not an easy job; they have to work hard and they do a good job. I think everyone is pleased with what the posties in Toronto do, and no doubt that applies to other cities. Therefore I hope that when the department is making a survey of postal stations, the improvement of conditions for the posties themselves will be kept in mind.

I have been wondering about the salary paid to a man like the Toronto director, and I suppose the same applies to the Montreal director. Mr. A. M. Gibson in Toronto has a most responsible position and does his work 14873-195*

exceptionally well. The whole city is proud of him. The salary paid him is altogether out of keeping with what a man should receive who has charge of what I assume is the most prosperous postal centre in Canada, is it not?

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LIB
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

The same thing would apply to the director in Montreal. Their salaries are far too low for those two responsible positions. No business of any magnitude would pay to such men, having so much under their charge, such low salaries as those two gentlemen are paid. Perhaps I should not bring this matter up, no one has spoken to me about it, but looking over the report of the auditor general, I notice these two small salaries. I am not so familiar with the situation in Winnipeg and Vancouver.

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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

I wish to thank the hon. member for Davenport for his kind remarks in reference to myself. I was very much surprised, but I appreciate them perhaps even more for that reason.

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Frederick Clayton Casselman

Mr. CASSELMAN:

The Christmas spirit.

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LIB
?

Frederick Clayton Casselman

Mr. CASSELMAN:

Last Christmas.

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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

Perhaps the hon. member believes in early shopping.

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NAT
LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

As the hon. member mentioned Christmas employees, no doubt he will be pleased to know that we had 1,072 returned soldiers employed in Toronto last Christmas, the largest number of returned men, I think, that had ever received employment at that time of the year.

In connection with the supplementary estimates, the hon. member for Cumberland asked as to the possibility of Saturday afternoon deliveries. I explained to him that it was an expensive proposition, running into several hundred thousand dollars. I have here a statement showing that at the volume of business of a year ago, by discontinuance of the Saturday afternoon delivery an amount approximating $300,000 a year was saved. In the Post Office Department it is an important matter whether we make money or have to go to the Minister of Finance and ask for more.

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May 23, 1941