Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinton):
Mr. Speaker, yesterday's Globe and Mail carries on the first page an article under this caption, "Denied Use of Mails: Leaside Lions under ban for Conducting Raffle". The article is brief and I shall read it:
Postal authorities have denied the Leaside Lions club and a member, Jack Wyler, use of the mails as the result of a number of tickets for a raffle being sent to club members by mail.
Club president William Priestly said last night the ban was to be in effect until after the raffle has been held on June 6 at the annual Lions carnival. The prize is a car.
Mr. Wyler was chairman of the raffle committee, Mr. Priestly said. The tickets were being distributed by mail to club members for sale to the public, he explained.
"All of Mr. Wyler's personal mail including his pay cheques have been withheld from delivery to his home," said Mr. Priestly. Semi-monthly bulletins of the Leaside Lions club have had to be delivered by hand.
Mr. Priestly said the club received notification of the ban on the use of the mail service in a letter from a district postal inspector. The ban has been in effect for three weeks.
He said the club had signified in writing to the post office that no further infractions of regulations would occur.
After the discussion that has been held in this house in recent weeks in regard to the arbitrary banning by the postal authorities of the use of the mails to certain citizens, I am sure that this latest episode will be viewed by members with real concern. I hope so.
Let me explain, sir, the purpose of the Lions club is carrying on this raffle. The Lions club is doing welfare work, and the purpose of raising money at this fair, by this raffle and other means, is to provide funds for carrying on welfare work, including aid to Winnipeg; that is one of the purposes for which this particular raffle was being conducted. The persons concerned are all thoroughly reputable citizens. Not one of them is getting a cent out of it for himself. The organization is a highly respected organization, and is getting nothing out of the raffle for the benefit of the members. This represents a part of their effort to contribute to worthy welfare objects. The tickets which
were going in the mail, and which led to this arbitrary and high-handed action on the part of the post office authorities, were not going to the public. They were going from the chairman of the particular committee in charge of the raffle to the club members. I think, sir, in the face of this action, the members of the house will realize that this arbitrary and abusive power on the part of the postal authorities has gotten to the point where a stop must be put to it. If the postal authorities are going to start interfering with organizations of this type, where there can be no question whatever of an attempt to defraud the public, then the House of Commons should certainly put its foot down, and put it down soon.
What is the next step in the situation, sir? Today's Globe and Mail carries this further information in an article which says:
Both the club and a member, Jack M. Wieler, were placed on the denied mail list by the post office after it was discovered the club had been sending raffle tickets through the mail to members for distribution. Mr. Wieler is chairman of a club committee which is raffling a motor car.
Mr. Priestly estimated that 1,500 raffle tickets were sent out through the mail by the club. "The executive did not know that it was an illegal act," he said.
Last night members of the Lions club were out selling tickets for the raffle on Bayview avenue. On Saturday members will again conduct street sales and the money collected that day will be donated to the Winnipeg flood fund.
The raffle will be held June 10 at the annual club carnival. Postal officials in Ottawa have stated the ban would not be lifted until either the raffle is held or cancelled.
Members of the club have described the action of the post office as unfair and ridiculous. Mayor G. T. Manes said: "I can't understand why the government would clamp down on a charitable organization." The proceeds of the raffle, it was stated, will go to welfare work only.
Mr. Manes is a past president of the Leaside Lions. The town clerk, Richard V. Burgess, also a club member, commented that if service clubs were going to be stepped on like that it would stop all charitable activities.
But, sir, the action on the part of the postal authorities has not been confined to the club's mail. It has been extended to Mr. Wieler's personal mail.
Subtopic: DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS