July 29, 1942

NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Perhaps we can continue this next year when the agriculutral estimates are before the committee. I do not think this comes under post office. Is there any door-to-door delivery 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.

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 asking that that be done away with?

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 do not say that, no. You are not going to run up against the same trouble with door-to-door deliveries that you will with rural mail service. Many rural mail carriers are having difficulty in getting tires; they are finding that there is not enough money in their contracts for them to carry on. You are going to have to cut out a lot of them anyway. Conditions have been changing in this country in the last few years. My farm is nine miles from the post office, and there is no difficulty about getting the mail and never has been. Many of the farmers in our part of the country have to go that distance for their mail. I am not talking about the farmers in Ontario who may have to go a half a mile or a mile for their mail. The farms in Ontario are much smaller than those in our part of the country, and distances are not as great. This rural mail business has been a matter of political push for some time. It is a system of mass patronage. I am going to suggest to the Postmaster General that he cut out the whole thing as soon as possible and get rid of an expensive and unnecessary service in this country.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

The hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross), our esteemed colleague, is one of the brightest members of the house. He is qualified to hold several of the portfolios, but not that of the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock). The hon. member is a farmer, but he is a gentleman farmer. He does not seem to know that in some parts of the country there are farmers who have no motor cars, who still use the old horse and buggy. The mail is carried express, but it is not railway express, and it is a great convenience to all the owners of rural mail boxes along the way. There are provinces which are a little behind the great province of Ontario; they do not have electricity all through the back country. Therefore it is a trouble for the farmers to keep batteries for their radios, and many of them do without.

As has been mentioned by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and others, there is a great scarcity of labour on the farm. It

Supply-Post Office

would be difficult for many farmers to go nine miles, the distance mentioned by the hon. member for Moose Jaw, to the post office to get their mail. As I say, many of these farmers do not have motor cars or radios, and if they want to get news of their children who are in the army or know what is happening in the world they must get their daily newspapers. The farmers in my province get up early; they work from the rising of the sun to dusk. They do not work only from spring to the end of summer; their work goes on all year. Their horses may be worked all day, and it would be pretty hard to drive them to the post office and then perhaps arrive after it was closed.

I do not see why rural mail deliveries should be dispensed with, especially when we consider the facilities that are made available to people who live in cities. There are five daily air mail services between Ottawa and Toronto, between Ottawa and Montreal and between Montreal and Toronto. We are told that the revenue which is considerable covers the expense, but it is pretty hard to prove that that is the fact. These services are carried on at tremendous cost to the country. Several departments, especially the war departments, use the air mail more than their franking privileges, and this means that money comes out of one pocket of the government to go into another. If we compare our farmers with the urban population, we must say that Virgil, who lived 2,000 years ago, was wrong when he said, "O fortunatos nimium agricolas," "0 happy people."

The city people are more fortunate than the majority of farmers when it comes to the delivery of mail. The hon. member for Moose Jaw has made a wonderful proposition. He had all the figures at his finger-tips and gave them to us, but it is a long time since there were representations from the rural mail carriers. I remember that the old superintendent was very angry at some people who were at the head of that movement, and quite properly so, because among those who were corresponding with the members there were, I admit, some promoters or fakers who were working mostly for themselves and not for the mail carriers. But when we think of the farmers in the back country who are anxious to get the news, the newspapers and their mail, and letters from their children who may be scattered here and there, I think we shall all agree that it is a good thing to provide them with these facilities and to help the farmer not only at the time of an agricultural fair. It is a great comfort to a

farmer, after a long day's work in the fields, to sit quietly at home smoking his pipe and reading the newspaper he has found in the mail box near his home. Therefore I hope the minister will not follow the interesting but untimely advice of the hon. member for Moose Jaw but will think of the old-timers on the farm. The minister is a farmer himself and just as good a farmer-perhaps not better-as the hon. member for Moose Jaw. He knows that what I am telling him is true, and therefore I appeal to him now kindly to forget what the hon. member for Moose Jaw has said, and think rather of his own experience, of the satisfaction he himself derives from receiving newspapers and letters on his farm in the country. I know he enjoys that and appreciates that other farmers enjoy it too. Of course, I know he does not live in the back country, but only in the back country of the great city of Toronto; but let him think of those poor farmers who live far away from the city and need some of the small comforts of life and the pleasure which letters and newspapers give. I see the minister is smiling. I am sure he will leave these mail contracts in force.

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

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

The hon. member for Temiscouata and the hon. member for Peel can judge by the item itself that there is no intention to follow the very interesting and in many ways constructive suggestions of the hon. member for Moose Jaw. He drew attention to one difficulty which I think all members appreciate, that of maintaining the rural mail services particularly with motor vehicles, which in many places will have to give way to horses and buggies, and in the winter, to horses and cutters.

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:

Can they not get higher rationing?

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

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

So far as gasoline is concerned, arrangements have been made for that for some time, but you cannot do anything about tires. If the rubber is not available, it is not available.

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

Hugh Alexander MacKenzie

Liberal Progressive

Mr. MacKENZIE (Lambton-Kent):

I am surprised at the remarks of the hon. member for Moose Jaw. They only demonstrate once more his peculiar viewpoint that if something does not appeal to his riding it is no good for the rest of the country. He talks about this service being uneconomical and referred particularly to Ontario, but I think he will find that rural mail in Ontario is paid much better pro rata for the amount of work done than in western Canada. He wants rural

Supply-Post Office

mail done away with entirely because people do not read papers any more; the people in the country do not need to be well informed, or he does not want them to be well informed, and therefore there is no reason for rural mail delivery! But when the question was put to him about mail delivery in Moose Jaw it was quite all right that Moose Jaw should have mail delivery.

Then he found fault with the tender system because the tenderers set the price themselves. If that were true of everybody in the country we would have a funny state of affairs here.

Rural mail carriers should also be done away with, he said, because there is not much rubber and gasoline to carry on the service. That is true of almost every line of business. Therefore I say, "sufficient to the day is the evil thereof". People employed in government service as a rule are paid fairly well, or they should be. There are perhaps one or two exceptions. The civil servants in the lower grades are not getting paid enough, but as a general rule people doing government service are paid fairly well. The rural mail carrier is one exception. On the whole the rural mail carrier gives splendid service. To be sure, they are on the tender system, and there is no justice or fairness in that because contracts which were made three or four years ago have to be renewed on the old basis although the cost of operations has risen very considerably within that time. The contracts that have been awarded recently, in this last year, have been, I am glad to say, probably 20 per cent higher than the old contracts. The officials of the Post Office Department are well aware of the plight of the rural mail carriers which has been brought before the officials of the department many times in the past. I myself have sat in with four or five different delegations which have visited the officials, and the department has promised to work out something that will put the rural mail carriers on a more fair and equitable basis, because they appreciate the splendid service that these carriers are giving throughout the dominion. This question has also been before the civil service commission and different departments, but I think it is now time that the Post Office Department came forward with some concrete system to give a fairer rate of remuneration to the rural mail carriers and put the work on a mQre equitable basis.

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

It is eleven o'clock, Mr. Chairman.

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:

Can we not finish this item?

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

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

I have just one question to ask.

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

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I would suggest to hon. members that if it were possible to dispose of this item-there are only three items left over and we have been on the post office estimates for more than two days-

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

I have tried several times to get the floor, Mr. Chairman, and have listened to members speaking from the other side.

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

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

The question I wish to ask is the one I asked last year. What is the cost of distributing second-class mail, newspapers? The minister gave an estimate last year. I appreciate the great work which the newspapers are doing. They are doing war work. I think much of the work which is being done by our publicity bureau might be handed over to the newspapers because I realize what it costs to run a newspaper. They are having a tough time, and I think the government should help them out with publicity work. YThat was the cost of this second-class mail?

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

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

About $4,500,000.

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

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

Mr. Chairman, I draw your attention to the fact that it is eleven o'clock.

Item stands.

Progress reported.

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

It being five minutes after eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, July 30, 1942


July 29, 1942