July 25, 1942

NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

That is in New

Westminster.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I defy my hon. friend or any other hon. member to challenge anything that is wrong with New Westminster.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I do not know what the hon. member for New Westminster has to be so indignant about.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I am not indignant. I was answering the other hon. member.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I have the floor. The point is that on September 27, 1940, a letter was addressed by J. H. Hunter, district superintendent, to George C. Avery, with reference to this matter. I will not read the whole letter, which refers to various applicants for the position and, among others, makes mention of the man who received the appointment, William Frederick Hargarten, and another man named Fisher, who happened to be in the post office at the time of the death of the prior incumbent, and who was the acting postmaster for four months.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

I should like to know whether the hon. member objects to the appointment of the present postmaster on any ground, or whether he thinks someone else should have had the appointment. If so, I would ask that he read the whole letter.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I will read the whole letter.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

I should like to know the point the hon. gentleman is trying to make.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I know nothing about the circumstances in Humboldt constituency, nor do I know anything about William Frederick Hargarten whom I have never met. I do not know any of the other applicants for the position, but, as the Postmaster General knows, this matter has received a great deal of attention and has created quite a bit of consternation in northern Saskatchewan. I was making my first objection on the ground that apparently this was the manner in which these jobs are filled, by recommendation of the sitting member or of the defeated Liberal candidate. As a matter of fact, the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson) has a return which indicates that the same is true in connection with rural routes. There is no question about that.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

I beg your pardon, not rural routes.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

That is a new one; let us have that one.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

A return was brought down in the house-

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

I would ask the hon. member to be kind enough, when he is dealing with the matter, to tell us how long this subject was under investigation before Mr. Hargarten was appointed, whether he was appointed hastily, or whether the matter was very carefully looked into and whether some considerable time had elapsed before the appointment was made.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

There was not a considerable length of time before the appointment was made, but I will say the appointment was made some time in December, 1940, and the putting into effect of it, or the order which would allow the man to take over the post office was held up until March of this year. Is that what the Postmaster General has in mind? There were representations by certain organizations in northern Saskatchewan, such as veterans' associations and so on. I do not want to discuss the merits of the appointment or of this man in particular, nor do I want to cast aspersions upon him. This matter has caused me a considerable amount of difficulty, and I know it has occasioned the Postmaster General much difficulty also. I will come to that later.

The first point I was making was that this was the continuation of a policy to which I object, and I am entitled as a member, whether I support the government or sit on the opposition side, to rise and protest on that

Supply-Post Office

basis. The letter to which I refer sets out the various persons who had applied for the job, and the point I was coming to was that the district superintendent at Saskatoon seemed to think that the person in the post office at the time of the death of the prior incumbent was qualified for the position. That is the only point, and I will read the paragraph with reference to it. This man's name is Fisher. I quote:

Mr. Fisher seems to have given excellent service, both during the past years as assistant to the late postmaster, and as acting postmaster during the last four months. He is stated to be of a quiet, obliging disposition, steady and reliable in his habits. He was too young for service in the war of 1914-18, and, although the youngest of the applicants, seems likely to be the one whose appointment to the postmastership would give most general satisfaction through the district. It *would be looked upon as a well merited promotion for him.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

Was the other man a returned man?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

No. The man who was

appointed was not a returned man. I think I am fair in saying that there was no returned man who was sufficiently qualified to take over the job. There was one man whom the Canadian Legion and the various veterans' organizations recommended, but he did not have sufficient educational qualifications to assume the post. The man who actually got it was William Hargarten, sixty-one years of age. That was his age when he received the appointment, and I was going to ask the Postmaster General a question about that, because I understood that the appointee had to be sixty or under to obtain the position. At any rate, I understand that that was the rule at one time.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

What was the

revenue?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I do not know, but the

salary is approximately $2,400 a year.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

How could they pass up a returned soldier? According to the act as I understand it, a returned soldier should have the position. I presume that if there was not a returned soldier in the immediate vicinity there was one in some adjacent district.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I do not know what the

regulations are in the department in that respect. I am not in a position to say. I am giving the facts as I understand them, and the fact is that there was one returned soldier from the district who was recommended by the legion, but he did not have sufficient educational qualifications. I understood that it was confined to selections from the particular district. I was rather surprised when

I read the file to find that they did not go to surrounding communities to pick a returned soldier, but apparently the practice of the department is as I have stated. However, the point I wish to make is this. The Postmaster General referred to the putting into effect of this appointment, which did not come until a year and a half or a year and a quarter after the man had been appointed to the position at Bruno. In the meantime the acting postmaster had carried on. I conducted correspondence with the Postmaster General as a result of representations made to me by veterans' organizations in Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan. In fact, one of the first communications received by the Postmaster General was a telegram from the joint council of the Canadian Legion, the Army and Navy Veterans' Association and the Canadian Corps, and as a result of the representations made at that time the matter was held up.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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July 25, 1942