Hon. ERNEST BERTRAND (Postmaster General):
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to inform the house of what I consider to be an important milestone in the progressive development of the Canadian postal service. Everyone no doubt has seen the recent speculation in the press concerning the inauguration of what is known as "all-up" mail service. All-up mail service is an arrangement whereby letter mail, whether prepaid at air mail rates or not, is accorded air conveyance within Canada, if its delivery to the public can thereby be expedited.
I am glad to announce that we have reached a satisfactory conclusion to our extended negotiations with Trans-Canada Air Lines and that it is hoped to inaugurate all-up service over its network on or about the first of July, 1948, on an experimental basis to ascertain whether such service can be maintained in Canada at reasonable cost and with the desired degree of efficiency.
It is our intention, beginning on that day, to route by air, whenever it is advantageous to do so, all letter mail bearing four-cent Canadian postage for delivery to any place in Canada. We shall, of course, also continue to carry all mail by air which is prepaid at air mail rates of postage.
Any letters weighing more than one ounce, that is, letters which require more than four cents postage, will be transmitted by air only if they are prepaid at air-mail postage rates; otherwise they will be sent by surface transportation as at present. It was considered advisable to set a limit of one ounce on letters which will go by air because there are many unknown factors involved in the scheme.
An ordinary envelope, 94 inches by 44 inches, weighs about a quarter of an ounce with one sheet; with two sheets it weighs under half an ounce; with seven sheets the weight is under one ounce. A smaller envelope, 64 inches by 3f inches, with two sheets weighs about a quarter of an ounce; with five sheets, slightly over half an ounce; and with nine sheets, under one ounce. So that more than ninety per cent of all letters will not have to be prepaid at seven cents.
We hope to be in a far better position to decide after the experimental period is over what further extensions could be made without endangering the success of the project.
That is, generally speaking, the scope of the significant step which we propose taking on the first of July this year. We hope to be able to extend the same scheme to all other feeder lines which now carry air mail only, but we have not as yet completed our consideration in this regard. I shall defer my remarks on that matter to a later date.
I would like to mention that we also propose to introduce various improvements and extensions in the case of mail services in the rural areas. We appreciate that rural areas may not feel the benefit of the all-up mail service to the same degree as the more populated centres. We therefore propose to continue the extension of service to the rural population, a thing we always keep in mind in the Post Office Department.
Subtopic: CARRYING OP MAILS BY AIR-IMPROVEMENT AND EXTENSION OF RURAL SERVICES