July 29, 1942

LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

I can get that list for the hon. member, but he will understand that I do not have it at the moment.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink

Items agreed to. 2J,7. Air and land mail services, $12,957,363.


NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I have just a word

to say with respect to rural mail carriers.

I believe that in October or November last an increase of some 5 per cent was given those who carry the rural mail. I have had

Supply-Post Office

a number of complaints, as I think most hon. members of the committee have, from rural mail carriers generally in connection with the higher cost of living that now obtains throughout the country. Speaking from memory, I believe the figures show that since war broke out, the cost of living has gone up some 15 per cent. Many of these rural mail carriers, for reasons well known to most hon. members so that perhaps I need not dwell upon them at this time, not only were working at a rate which would barely give them a living return, but in many instances were paid at an even lower rate. The question of who was responsible for that is another matter, with which I have no intention of dealing at the moment. Certainly, however, at this time the rural mail carriers throughout Canada are confronted with a situation which is well-nigh intolerable. Not only did they have a low rate before the cost of living increased; they have a higher operating cost now, and the two together have placed many rural mail carriers in a position where they are no longer able to carry on.

Perhaps in his reply the minister will say that in connection with a large number of rural mail contracts which perhaps normally would not expire for a year or two, the rural mail carriers have had to give them up and ask that tenders be invited again. Therefore I would ask the minister one question. First of all, I favour a different system of awarding rural mail contracts, and I know the minister must have given serious consideration to this suggestion. If that is not possible in the opinion of the department at the moment, I submit that at least the rural mail carriers should be given a substantial bonus to take care of the increased cost of living and the increased cost of operating. Is the minister prepared to give sympathetic consideration and attention to these points?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw) :

I should like to

have a word or two to say on this matter of rural mail delivery before the minister replies. I do not suppose a suggestion such as I am about to offer has ever before been made in this house. Generally everyone who rises in this chamber and speaks about rural mail delivery asks for more rural mail routes, or more money to be paid to rural mail carriers. At one time there might have been great necessity for rural mail delivery in this country, but certainly to-day that necessity has disappeared, at least in large part. It

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seems to me that if rural mail delivery were justified in Canada, it would be in the sparsely settled parts of the country rather than in those parts which are more heavily settled. I have taken the trouble to look up the figures with regard to the cost of rural mail delivery in Canada, and I find that the total cost last year was about $2,966,000. Of that total, some $1,507,000 was spent in Ontario, or a little more than half the total for the entire dominion. I find that in the four western provinces, which are more sparsely settled and which should need this sort of service if it were needed anywhere, only some $377,000 was spent. I find that there are four postal districts in Ontario, at Toronto, Ottawa, London and North Bay. I find that in the Toronto district some $408,000 was spent for rural mail delivery; in the Ottawa district, some $445,000, and in the London district, some $588,000. In other words, rural mail delivery in each of these three districts cost more than it did in the four western provinces together.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Is the hon. member's

point that the people are paid too much in Ontario?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

No. My point

is that we are continuing a service which has become almost unnecessary in this country. Why do I say that? In these heavily populated areas the post offices are close together; there are good roads by which to reach them, and with the news one gets over the radio and the number of people who pass the farm day after day on their way to the post office, there is no real reason why we should have rural mail delivery at all. In addition, we are going to find that in the very near future we shall have to stop this service because we shall not be able to get tires for the automobiles used for rural mail delivery; we shall not be able to get gasoline to operate them, and the mailmen cannot go back to the horse and buggy because you cannot get the buggy and there are not enough horses in this part of the country.

This same question comes up each year and is debated. Rural mail carriers and organizations of rural mail carriers send letters to every hon. member asking that they be taken into the civil service; that they be made permanent, although the system is that they tender for the contract and set their own price. After having got the price set by cutting it down below somebody else, they come along and say that the price is not enough; that they want more. This goes on year after

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year when the estimates of the Postmaster General come up for discussion. I have some rural mail routes in my constituency-not many I will adimit-but-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Hear, hear.

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw)): My hon. friend says "hear, hear," but I imagine he has not done what I have in regard to this matter. When 1 came here seventeen years ago I went to the Post Office Department and said, "You will do me a great favour if you will never allow another rural mail route in my constituency." There has never been one put in since. Just a few days ago I got a letter from the Post Office Department, the type that often comes through, informing me that a contract for a rural mail route would be up for tender on a certain date. I replied to the Post Office Department asking that they make an investigation to see if it would not be possible to cut out the rural mail routes in my constituency. I do not believe in them. What is the use of having rural mail routes out of one or two towns in a constituency and none out of the others?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Are you on a rural mail route?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

No, I am not.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

That is the answer.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

No, it is not; I live in the city.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Do all city people want them taken off?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

When I want my mail at the farm I go and1 get it, like all the other farmers in that district.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

You are never there.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Yes, I am often there.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Do you ever farm?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Yes, I have farmed, and my hon. friend does not need to say anything about that. He does not know the difference between a farm and a block in the city.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I imagine I know a great deal more about farming than my hon. friend. I have done everything that needs to be done on the farm. My hon. friend lives in Moose Jaw.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Yes, I admit that; everybody knows it. I do not see anything wrong with it.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I wager I can shock two sheaves to my hon. friend's one.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink

July 29, 1942