May 24, 1950

POST OFFICE

DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS

PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

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.

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Is my hon. friend suggesting that just because a thing is done for a charitable institution that should excuse its being done, even though the law says it is illegal?

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

If the Minister of Agriculture will be patient for a moment, he will hear what I have to say about the clear distinction in the law between the cases that were described by the Postmaster General and these cases. In my submission there is no authority for the post office people to do what they have done here. The action was not confined to the mails of the club.

Postal Service

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Six o'clock.

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I thought hon. members wanted to dispose of this motion now-

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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?

An hon. Member:

We have wasted three days now; we might as well use another day.

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I shall try to be brief about it. The article in the Globe and Mail states:

All Mr. Wieler's personal mail including his pay cheques are returned to the dead letter office.

The executive of the club has assured the post office in writing that no further infractions of regulations will take place.

Chief constable Russell Spanton said the Leaside police department had sanctioned the draw each year. "It is an understood matter," the chief said.

A draw is an illegal lottery if the prizes offered individually exceed $50, Inspector Albert Lee, head of the Toronto police morality squad, said yesterday.

The Minister of Agriculture has raised a point. He said: If this is illegal, how can you draw-

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Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mitchell:

I rise to a point of order. It is now three minutes after six. All during this debate this afternoon the members of the other place have been discussing reform of the House of Commons. After listening to some of the drivel this afternoon, I do not object to it.

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Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Beaudoin):

Unless the hon. member has unanimous consent he cannot continue.

Topic:   POST OFFICE
Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I thought I was co-operating with the government in trying to abbreviate my remarks and bring them to a conclusion today.

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Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

May I intervene? I have been waiting for two days to try to get two departments in. I have listened to many speeches, good ones and bad ones. This one is no worse than some of the others. If the hon. member can conclude in two minutes he should be permitted to go on. I should like to try to get these departments in. I am appealing to the house. I have been waiting four months to try to get some departments in.

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Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

The words of the minister are most encouraging. I tried to start last night and to be very brief about it, and I tried to get on earlier today and to be very brief about it.

Sir, the question I raise is whether the postal authorities can distinguish between one kind of illegal act and another. The Post Office Act draws a clear distinction between the different kinds of illegal acts. The language of section 7 (d) reads in this way. The Postmaster General has certain powers in these words:

. . . and for marking on the covering of letters, circulars or other mailable matter suspected to concern

Postal Service

illegal lotteries, so-called gift concerts, or other illegal enterprises of like character, offering prizes, or concerning schemes devised or intended to deceive or defraud the public, for the purpose of obtaining money under false pretences,' whether such letters, circulars or other mailable matter are addressed to or received by mail from places within or without Canada . . .

It may be one thing to suspect brokers of intention to defraud; but there is not the slightest evidence in this case, nor can there be the slightest suspicion, that those to whom the use of the mails has been banned here had any intention whatever of deceiving or defrauding the public. Regulation 204, passed under that act, is in the same language. The reference to illegal lotteries is confined, sir, to those in the language used, "concerning schemes devised or intended to deceive or defraud the public, for the purpose of obtaining money under false pretences." There can be no suggestion whatsoever that there was anything of that kind involved here. There are courts to deal with illegal lotteries. The police and the courts in the Toronto area and in Leaside are quite competent to deal with this matter without having arbitrary intervention on the part of the postal authorities in an arbitrary abuse of power. I say this sort of thing must stop.

Motion (Mr. Fournier, Hull) agreed to, and the house went into committee, Mr. Beaudoin in the chair.

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Subtopic:   DENIAL OF THE USE OF MAILS
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DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR


150. Departmental administration, $540,260. Item stands. LEGISLATION ' 172. General administration, $327,378. Item stands. Progress reported.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Tomorrow we will take up Bill No. 153, to amend the Aeronautics Act. Then we will go into committee of supply and take up the estimates of the Department of Transport. We will take up the estimates of the Department of Veterans Affairs if we conclude transport.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
PC
LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

One bill.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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May 24, 1950