March 1, 1957

CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to make a few comments on the estimates of this successful and efficient publicly-owned and publicly-operated public service. I trust hon. members opposite will appreciate that statement. The minister no doubt has noticed that during the last year I have not had occasion to bother him at all, and I will give him the reason. I still think of him chiefly as the Minister of Veterans Affairs and on that account I have placed a "do not disturb" sign on his door so that he will have ample opportunity to study the Legion brief, which I know he is doing now, in an effort to decide what increase he is going to give in war veterans allowances, disability pensions, and so on.

However, having saved the minister those interruptions that might otherwise have been occasioned by the member for Kootenay West, I have had occasion to bring many inquiries and some complaints to the attention of the parliamentary assistant. I want to express my appreciation of his courtesy and of his promptitude in dealing with all matters that I have had to bring to his attention. It does not apply to all parliamentary assistants. I wrote a letter to one parliamentary assistant on January 23 and I have not received a reply yet, but I understand he will be back in a month or two.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Perhaps the post office did not give it to him.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I say this, and I say it in all fairness. I give credit to those who do a job and I am a bit ornery with those who in my opinion do not. The parliamentary assistant is a real parliamentary assistant: he assists the minister; he assists the officials; he assists the members and he assists the government when it gets into hot water. I think he performs his duties very well indeed.

I have two or three things I wish to raise at this time, but I must say the format of the report of the Postmaster General is an excellent one. It is very readable and very clear. I thought I would express my opinion in that respect because I find it very easy to read, and the information contained therein is assembled in such a way that you can get an over-all picture of the operations of the department.

Having said that, Mr. Chairman, I wish to say a few words about letter carriers. Before doing that I do want to support the remarks made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North with respect to this group's appreciation of the loyalty of the staffs of the department. That is generally recognized, although it is very apparent it is not yet recognized by the government in improvements in some of the salaries of some classes; therefore, I heartily endorse the remarks made by the hon. member for York-Scar-borough, and he may well have made a certain point, in expressing thanks to the minister, with respect to necessary increases in the salaries of some of the lower categories of the employees of the postal service. I want to mention particularly the letter carriers because I think the work of the letter carriers is very important and often receives very little recognition. I do hope the department will keep in close touch with the local situations so far as letter carriers are concerned, and I am speaking with particular knowledge of my own constituency, to make certain that their routes and their working conditions are satisfactory.

It is very necessary that senior officials check on those conditions, particularly in a country such as ours where officials living at some distance may make decisions without a clear picture of the hilliness of the routes and the grades to be tramped up and down, and so on. I know that the letter carriers in Nelson and Trail perform a very good service; but I also know that, on account of the very steep streets and the steep grades they have to climb on occasion, in some cases 200 steps at once, these problems have to be faced as local problems and not on the basis of, say, conditions that exist in Ottawa or in similar places.

I want to mention the need in our district for a mail bag between Revelstoke and Nakusp. I have mentioned it before. Various organizations have brought this to my attention and I brought their representations to the attention of the department for a number of years. Then, the district organizations suddenly thought that they would ask for a mail service from Vernon over the Monashee pass across the Arrow lakes and north to Nakusp. The department investigated the possibilities in that connection and found that it was not economic and practical. I want to congratulate the parliamentary assistant on that matter. There was a lot of support for this idea in the district, and if he had simply written me a letter to say that the department does not consider that a satisfactory arrangement could be made for such a route there would

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have been a great deal of protest and misunderstanding; but the parliamentary assistant did what I think is an excellent thing. He wrote me quite a lengthy letter and explained all the economic factors concerned as well as the physical factors and the circumstances surrounding and pointed out why it was not practical for the department to institute that proposed mail route. I made certain that that letter became public information, and the department's decision has been accepted with good nature and good will because there is always a majority of sensible people in any district who, when the facts are presented to them, recognize them. I think that is a very good practice indeed. However, that brings us back to the necessity of a mail route, or at least the transportation of a mail bag between Revelstoke and Nakusp. We think it is required and justified. Millions of dollars' worth of production is going on on the upper and lower Arrow lakes and a great deal of expansion in the lumber, logging and timber industries. It so happens that our provincial government offices for many purposes are established in Revelstoke. As I have said before, if we want to mail a letter to the lands office or to the office dealing with water rights, and things of that sort, it has to go 100 miles south to Nelson, then over the Kettle valley route to Calgary and back from Calgary to Revelstoke, and the answer has to take a similar route in the reverse direction. That is a considerable handicap to carrying on business satisfactorily in the district, and I do urge the department to give further consideration to this request.

There is a steamer, the S.S. Lardeau, which is operated by the provincial government and which runs between Arrow Head and Nakusp daily with the exception of Tuesdays. Tuesdays are reserved for explosives, gasoline and fuel for lumber equipment and things of that sort, although I do not know whether they would carry mail on those days as well. It is up to the department; but anyway, mail can be carried without any question on five days in the week. There is a bus which runs daily from Revelstoke to Arrow Head and meets the steamer every morning at eight o'clock. It is a passenger bus. Therefore, I cannot see where there would be a great deal of expense in having a bag of mail put on the bus at Revelstoke, put on the steamer and then taken off at Nakusp. Any mail for the district south of Nakusp could be distributed by the Nakusp post office and, of course, by the mail contractor who serves the district between Nakusp and Edgewood. I do urge further consideration

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of that request because the present situation is causing a lot of inconvenience to business in the area.

Now, I just wish to say a word or two about stamps. I cannot resist looking at stamps and I notice that the department has recently issued some stamps which depict certain popular sports in Canada. One was published last year dealing with hockey and I think it was an excellent stamp. I hold in my hand four more, one dealing with, I am not sure whether it is fishing or canoeing. As a matter of fact, the stamp would indicate neither. There is one on swimming, one on hunting and one on skiing. The stamps the department issued to commemorate the late Sir Robert Borden and the late Lord Bennett are excellent. I think most of the stamps which deal with persons are excellent. When it comes to subjects of this type the stamps seem to be formal and they seem almost early Victorian so far as the engraving is concerned. I understand that these stamps are issued with the idea of illustrating popular sports in Canada. I think it would be better if the department said they were symbolic of popular sports in Canada and then left the rest to a person's imagination. I have four questions I should like to have the minister answer.

Has he ever seen anyone in Canada paddling a canoe and fishing in the manner shown on the stamp indicating a fishing expedition?

Has he ever seen any female swimming in Canada in the attitude indicated on this stamp and in water with waves of this regular nature?

Has he ever seen anyone shoot at a bird in this fashion, with a bird dog pointing as indicated?

Has he ever seen anyone skiing on a hill with a 45 per cent slope holding one pole on the snow and the other one in the air?

I do not think these stamps truly illustrate popular sports in Canada. As I say, they may be symbolic of popular sports in Canada and there may be much more in the stamps than we see on the surface.

Having said that, may I say now that this is the centenary of the death of David Thompson, who died in 1857. He was the first white man to visit the Kootenay country and I think he was the first white man to realize its great beauty, its natural resources and its possibilities. This centenary is being celebrated this year by British Columbia as a whole and more particularly by the residents of east and west Kootenay districts, the majority of whom I have the honour to represent.

[Mr. Herridge.l

We all know that David Thompson was one of Canada's greatest explorers, one of its great naturalists, and without doubt its greatest geographer. I am sure that if the department can immortalize a billy goat it should be quite willing to immortalize David Thompson by the issuance of a stamp. I was pleased to discover less than ten minutes ago that the department proposes to issue a commemorative stamp this year to commemorate the anniversary of this great Canadian. I know a great number of people in British Columbia will be pleased. Those who are particularly interested in history, members of historical associations and bodies of that sort, and others who take a particular interest in the intangibles of life will be pleased to know that the department is about to issue this stamp.

These are all the remarks I wish to make at this time, but I do want the minister to answer me fully on the stamp question when he replies.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. Mclvor:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate that it is the duty of the opposition to criticize the government or to show where the government might improve its service. I am not contending that the Postmaster General and his officials are absolutely perfect, because they are human beings; but it has been my experience that I receive replies to my letters from the Post Office Department by return mail. I have had two outstanding experiences with the post office this past year.

A man took a contract for the carrying of mail to and from the C.N.R. and the C.P.R. stations. It was found later that he was getting no more than a labourer's wages. All I had to do was to write to the director of operations and now that mail carrier in Fort William is well satisfied with the result.

The C.P.R. changed its rail services west of Fort William with the result that country towns along that line were not getting their mail once a day. I did what I thought I should do and I expect that that matter will be cleaned up.

There is just one thing I would like the minister to do. Retired mail carriers still belong to the big family of the post office and I would like the minister to support the Minister of Finance in having the pensions of these retired letter carriers brought up to what they ought to be. I hope to be speaking on this matter on Monday. I know one man who was played out after carrying the mails for 35 years. His pension was so small that he had to do without many comforts. Today he and his wife are living on $83 a month. My main reason in rising at this time is to ask the Postmaster General to take care of the older members of his family and see that they get a living pension.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lennard:

Mr. Chairman, in rising to take part in this mutual admiration debate that is taking place this afternoon, I do so to make just one suggestion and that is that when the department institutes a new letter carrier service it should not do it in the late fall, as was done in the Aldershot-Burlington district in Ontario. This created a great deal of confusion and dissatisfaction. The change occurred just about the time of the heavy Christmas rush and many cards and other pieces of mail were never delivered. They were returned because the recipients could not be found and that created hardship in many cases for people who normally received Christmas cards from friends and relatives. I hope the department will pay some attention to this suggestion because this is not the time to institute a service of that kind.

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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to associate myself with those who have extended complimentary remarks to the Postmaster General, the parliamentary assistant and the officials of the department. I want to say that I have received excellent cooperation in connection with responses to any communications I have addressed to the department, or in connection with any problems I have brought to the attention of the department. We may not always have seen eye to eye, but we generally reached a point of discussion where each party knew where they stood.

The hon. member for York-Scarborough has indicated a problem which exists in many fast-growing ridings. The population increase in my riding has been well over

20,000 and this has necessitated setting up many new letter carrier routes. There has been the accompanying problem of obtaining the necessary letter carriers. In many cases the number of households requiring service has increased from 330 or 350, as the case may be, to well over 500 in a short period of time, sometimes within weeks. The result has been that letter carriers have been overburdened and overtaxed with the mail they had to deliver and it has been practically impossible to keep up with the time.

However, part of the difficulty was well described by the hon. member for York-Scarborough when he suggested that the salaries were not quite in keeping with those paid to workers in other industries in Canada. In this connection I recall an instance last Christmas when we had all this additional help. At that time the men who took over the routes decided that the job was just too trying. Most people do not realize how difficult the task of a letter carrier is-getting around to the various homes and having to

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combat not only the elements, but dogs and irate householders as well. We had occasion to find that in some instances the mail was not delivered on certain routes. That was not the fault of the officials; it was because of the fact that the salaries offered were not in keeping with the rates paid outside this employment, with the result that it was not possible to get men who were prepared to do that work during the Christmas rush.

All in all, we found that the mail was well taken care of. There was, however, a recent incident, which I drew to the minister's attention in the house the other day, with respect to the delivery of mail in the Fraser valley following a slide of some kind in the mountains as a result of which mail was not delivered for a day. I expect that possibly the minister has more information on this matter, and that he may give to me either privately or in the house itself at some later time.

I would like to know what means are provided to take care of the mail when the truck bringing it is held up at Mount Hope with the result that many thousands of people in the lower reaches of the Fraser valley are not served. That is one of the things we must provide for.

However, I would say that apart from this the service has been excellent. It is true that within the last day or so I have had certain matters drawn to my attention which require, I think, some consideration not only on a local basis but, perhaps, on a broader scale. The first concerns the New Westminster post office. I have written to the minister about this, but I know he has not had time to answer my letter because I only wrote it yesterday, not realizing that his estimates were being considered today. However, in his reply, he may be able to answer the inquiries of many of us concerning the fact that the opening of the mail receptacle for parcels at that new post office measures only eight inches by ten inches. If this is the regular custom, and is incorporated into the architectural structure of post offices by the Department of Public Works, I would not complain, but I find there are many merchants in that area, particulrly those who sell men's and ladies' wear, who know the postage rate charged on suits and dresses, or whatever it may be, when packed in the cartons they regularly use. These people find, on going to the post office after hours-and their mail is usually sent out after hours- that the opening in the parcels box is too small for these particular parcels, with the result that they must make a special trip to the post office the following day in order to mail them out. I am wondering whether

Supply-Post Office it could not be arranged, possibly, to construct another opening of larger size in another part of the building, especially since construction of the second half of this post office has only just begun.

There is another question of a local nature which I would like to draw to the minister's attention because the present position seems to be unsatisfactory. It is with respect to the inclusion of the South Westminster post office in the greater metropolitan area. If I might make a comparison, taking the city of Ottawa as an example, I would say that that section of the city on the other side of the railway 'line of the Bank street bridge crossing the Rideau canal might be represented as the South Westminster area. That area is, of course, included in the Ottawa area. In my own area South Westminster post office is right in the centre of a district which enjoys a four-cent letter rate, but because South Westminster has a separate post office, though a small one, they have to buy a five-cent stamp. Householders all about the area get mail coming to them from Vancouver and the surrounding districts on the four-cent rate; even rural routes send mail to them on the four-cent rate, but they have to pay one cent more because they are not included in the metropolitan area. I think that situation deserves study, and when the minister becomes familiar with the picture I have outlined I am sure something will be done about it.

The hon. member for Kootenay West, in the fine manner in which he usually presents his material, drew attention to the need for a stamp to celebrate the centenary, suggesting that it should be symbolic rather than a true picture. I do not disagree with him at all, but in respect to the gentleman on skis leaning at a 45-degree angle I may say that I am sure he has not seen me ski or he would have seen me in many more awkward positions than that.

However, I would suggest that in considering a proper stamp for the centenary in British Columbia, consideration might be given to having one which would depict the newly-selected floral emblem of our province, the dogwood. Certainly, we are very proud and happy to have an official floral emblem, and I think it would show up beautifully on any one of these stamps and would be something very desirable so far as the centenary is concerned.

Before I sit down there is another question which I do not wish to discuss at any length at this time, but which I might just mention. It has been drawn to the attention of the house already by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam. I would simply ask the

minister to make some statement of the position of the parcel post carriers in the metropolitan area, particularly as they are included in the New Westminster area.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Hugh Alexander MacKenzie

Liberal

Mr. MacKenzie:

I do not know whether I had better join in with the other hon. members in promoting this mutual admiration society for the postal service throughout Canada.

It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, strange that practically all who have spoken so far have been telling in no uncertain way of the great public service which the Post Office Department is giving to the citizens of this country. I only wish to join in that tribute. As some hon. members have already pointed out, in the the majority of cases the Department of Public Works provides the premises which the post office occupies. I think that is true of all post offices where revenue exceeds $3,000 a year. I think it is generally conceded that if you can demonstrate to the Department of Public Works the need of better postal accommodation and the Post Office Department approves you can be sure that your request for better postal accommodation will receive every consideration. I think that is very commendable indeed in government departments.

A few years ago the Post Office Act was amended so that rural mail carriers' contracts could be reviewed and adjustments in pay recommended and given without calling for public tenders. When that change was first brought up in the house there was a great deal of concern, particularly among opposition members, that this might develop into political patronage and there would be political abuses in that regard. I think it is pretty well agreed that has not taken place.

Rural mail carriers' contracts are four year contracts and costs of operation have changed so drastically from time to time that if carriers had four year contracts that could not be reviewed the result would be that toward the end of the four years they would be operating at a great loss. The department has made adjustments from time to time that have proven most satisfactory.

There has been considerable discussion this afternoon about the commemorative stamps produced by the Post Office Department, and there is something I wish to bring to the attention of the minister and his officials. I have done so previously through correspondence. Almost one hundred years ago oil was first discovered on the North American continent in the county of Lambton near a small town called Oil Springs almost in the centre of Lambton county. I think this fact has been pretty well accepted by research people in the United States and Canada.

The Canadian Oil Company has purchased the property where oil was first discovered and is planning to erect a museum there in commemoration of the discovery. I suggest to the Post Office Department that no better way could be found to bring this historic event to the attention of Canadians than to produce a commemorative stamp in honour of the first discovery of oil 100 years ago. I believe a centennial celebration is to be held there next year, and I again urge the Post Office Department to give every consideration to the production of a commemorative stamp for next year.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Joseph Warner Murphy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Murphy (Lambion West):

Mr. Chairman, I should like to take a couple of minutes of the time of the committee. I am not going to go into any detail but I have received some complaints about very slow delivery of mail sent from Sarnia to Toronto and even within Sarnia itself. However, we cannot expect perfection and I am sure the departmental officials will do everything they possibly can to see that the most efficient mail delivery service possible is made available to the people of Canada. They have a right to expect that and I think it is only fair to make that statement.

I have had complaints from people in Sarnia that they have mailed letters for delivery in Sarnia and that it has taken more than the usual length of time for delivery, but it may have been just one of those things that happen. I am not going to condemn the minister severely for that because, as I say, you cannot expect perfection. As I am sure the minister knows, within recent years Sarnia has taken in a great deal of property surrounding the old city of Sarnia, and I am going to ask the minister to tell us when he replies whether all the city of Sarnia is covered by mail delivery.

I am very glad that the hon. member for Lambton-Kent has spoken regarding the desirability of having a commemorative stamp to celebrate a very important event not only for Canada but for this continent. As he has so ably said, the Canadian Oil Company, which, incidentally, is the only oil company solely owned in Canada, had its start at Petrolia in the riding of the hon. member for Lambton-Kent. It so happens that we each represent part of Lambton county and, as the minister and many of his staff no doubt know, there has been considerable controversy between the authorities in our country and those in the United States regarding where oil was first discovered on this continent. I know the hon. member for Lambton-Kent will agree with me that the research that has been undertaken establishes beyond the shadow of a doubt that the first discovery of oil on this

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continent was in the riding of the member for Lambton-Kent, and as he represents part of Lambton and I represent the other part we want to make it a Lambton affair instead of more or less a local affair.

I am sure the minister will appreciate, as does every member of the house, what the oil industry means to Canada and to the world at large. I am not going to say anything about the stamps that have been created in the past. There is a reason for all these things. But I do urge with all sincerity that in view of the importance of the oil industry, not only to Canada and the United States but to the world in general, we take this opportunity not only to recognize the importance of the oil industry but also to let it be known that it is the view of Canadians as the result of intensive research that oil was first discovered on this continent m the riding of the member for Lambton-Kent near a little place called Oil Springs.

I have in my hand a resolution from the Sarnia city council. I am sure the member for Lambton-Kent has the same resolution. I also have many more from each municipality within the county of Lambton. It is not our intention to take up a great deal of time or to bother the minister with a hundred and one resolutions. I hope the representations that the member for Lambton-Kent and I have made today will be sufficient, so that Canada will be recognized by this commemorative stamp as being the first country on this continent where oil was discovered I hope the minister will take this into consideration.

(Translation):

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Philippe Valois

Liberal

Mr. Valois:

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gives a population of 21,048 for the constituency of Two Mountains. In 1956, the figures were 26,595, an increase of 5,547 or of more than 25 per cent. Now 95 per cent of that increase has precisely taken place in the St. Eustache and St. Eustache sur le Lac districts which have become, in effect, suburbs of Montreal. Mail delivery service there has already proven inadequate and I feel that, even if some improvements were considered, to take care of the situation and which might eventually answer the needs of the present population, very soon, perhaps within a year, they would prove definitely inadequate, because of the rate of increase of the population. Very soon we might have to reassess the problem and look for another solution. It is for that reason that in that area where we have, in round figures, approximately 3,000 householders, I believe that the department would be justified in providing for a letter carrier service. This, as I have already pointed out, would be justified by the increase in the population and the fact that at St. Eustache sur le Lac mail delivery service has become increasingly necessary.

If for instance a new post office building were built, that solution would nevertheless be but a temporary one. I feel that the department would be justified in providing letter carrier service in those places where the population is rapidly increasing and where there is expansion. I really do believe that the department should do so and it is because of that fact that I commend that request to the attention of the Postmaster General.

(Text):

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

Mr. Chairman, I want to jog

the minister's memory on a couple of matters concerning which I would like a reply when he is answering the general questions which have been raised.

I would like to inquire from the minister if the department has come to a decision in the matter of establishing a letter carrier service in the town of New Waterford. This has been the subject of correspondence between the department and myself during the last two years. The last I heard of it officially was that a survey was to be taken and that within the near future the department would make a decision. I hope when the minister is answering questions he will officially inform us as to what progress has been made. Of course if any arguments are necessary with respect to revenue and the population arid so forth, I am prepared to advance them. If it is not necessary for me to do so, then I can simply say that we will

be thankful and will govern ourselves accordingly.

Another matter which has been brought to my attention by branch 55 of the Canadian Legion, but which has nothing to do with Legiori affairs, relates to the establishment of proper facilities by way of a post office building in the town of Port Morien on the west side of Cape Breton island in Nova Scotia.

I have looked at the existing building a couple of times myself, and it leaves much to be desired. Representations have been made in the past with regard to improving it. Although the town is not large, with a population of perhaps between 3,000 arid 4,000 people, it is an historic town. It marks the site of the first coal mining that was done in North America. The French operated a coal mine there in 1720. Of course mining has petered out, but the basis was laid there by the French in 1720 for an international coal mining industry that now extends throughout Canada and the United States.

The town is maintained today by a well established fishing industry. There are good facilities including a small lobster factory and a small fish processing plant, and it has been slowly expanding. It has successfully swung over from a mining town into a town based on what I think can be developed into a progressive and lucrative industry dealing with the products of the sea. The request that has been made from time to time for the establishment of a public building there in the form of a post office is I think a legitimate request, because the building is necessary. It would not have to be an elaborate building, but I believe it should be one that would accommodate mail services anticipating an increase in the population there based on the expanding fishing industry. Perhaps the population will be doubled in the next teri years.

The minister is aware that the Legion is conservative and is not a demanding organization. Before recommending a project or voicing a request they invariably are absolutely certain it has merit. I simply wanted to let him know that I was calling a very good witness with respect to the desirability and the necessity of this building in referring to the request of branch 55 of the Legiori on this particular point. I shall be interested in hearing the minister's reply.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

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The people in the country districts must receive mail if they are to be contented. They should get their daily paper and their daily mail. I do not think there is much more I wish to say. In general, I have been quite well satisfied with the courtesy I have always received from the Post Office Department. I listened with interest to some of the members recommend subjects for stamps. I noticed that most of these recommendations came from British Columbia. In the newspaper the other day I did see mention of a new Canadian stamp on which there was a reproduction of a totem pole.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

It was a coin.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

It was a coin, was it?

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LIB
PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Well, British Columbia gets everything. Now they want a stamp decorated with something from British Columbia. There are other parts of Canada besides British Columbia, much as we think of British Columbia. I was just speaking to my good friend the hon. member for Cape Breton South, who reminded me that last year his constituency celebrated the centenary of Alexander Graham Bell, one of the world's greatest scientists. I would think if the department wanted to issue a memorial stamp to this outstanding citizen-

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

That has been done already.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

We are ahead of you.

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

I am glad to hear that. These are things that should appeal to the minister and to the people of Canada.

I noticed what the hon. member for Red Deer had to say about his experience, and that has been my experience, too. He said whenever a new rural route was established in his district or better service was given his opponent, the defeated Liberal candidate, got all the credit. I have had the same experience. I have noticed also that when there is no improvement they say, look at that member you have; he is not much good. He could not get it for you. It seems they try to make it work both ways. I have noticed also that this does not apply only to the Post Office Department; it applies to most of the other departments. We know how politics are played in this country and I am not complaining too much about that.

I have nothing further to say. I do hope every consideration will be given to the rural areas and that, with all the requests from the urban areas, the rural areas will be kept in mind.

(Translation):

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Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Jean-Paul Deschatelets

Liberal

Mr. Deschateleis:

Mr. Chairman, I cannot remember hearing such unanimous praise

from every political party represented in this house, while attending a discussion of departmental estimates. I must say that this praise is the more deserved because the Post Office Department is certainly one of the more difficult to administer, and I am pleased to join all those who congratulated the department and its officials for the outstanding service given our citizenry by the Post Office Department.

I should like to take this opportunity to remind the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Lapointe) of something I have asked his department to consider since 1954, that is the construction of a new post office in Rose-mont. This district of the city of Montreal has had an extraordinary development, and I know that the department officials are well aware of the need for a new post office there.

I fully realize that before a decision can be taken on a matter involving considerable expenditure, several factors have to be considered, because one must not think only of the present but also of the future. Consideration must also be given to the direction in which the city is developing, but I urge the department to continue its consideration of the request I have made. However, I shall not insist upon having that post office before the next elections. I am a Liberal, and far be it from me to speculate on such a matter in view of the coming elections. I simply wish to point out the importance of my request and say that, as soon as a decision is made on this matter, the thousands of electors in my constituency will be quite happy.

I now wish to make a few comments on the officers of the Post Office Department in Montreal, especially about the postmaster, who in all circumstances, has shown not only ability but also unfailing kindness.

Obviously, it should not be assumed that we have no complaint. It is a department which bears on all the different aspects of our lives, and it is only natural that we should get complaints once in a while. As a matter of fact, these complaints have given us the opportunity to find out how the officers of the Post Office Department in Montreal- more particularly the postmaster and his colleagues-are conscious of their responsibilities because they have always thoroughly investigated these complaints and removed the cause to the satisfaction of all concerned.

I thought I had to pay them that tribute today. They are able men, and if all parties in this house pay tribute today to the employees of the Post Office Department throughout Canada, it is not only because these employees have done a good job but also because they have been fair to all.

That is the tribute, Mr. Chairman, that I wanted to pay these officers.

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Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
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CCF

Owen Lewis Jones

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

Mr. Jones:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to take this opportunity to make two suggestions to the department. On the whole today the service to the Okanagan valley is quite good, especially when you compare it with what it was two or there years ago, but I would suggest that still better service could be given that would satisfy practically all our people if more use were made of the planes from Penticton north. The delay is usually with the plane run to Penticton from Vancouver. The service from there north is pretty good, but it could be improved if more use were made of the available planes that already fly north from Penticton.

The suggestion I should like to make is really in connection with Summerland. This matter has been outstanding for years and years. Nothing has been done, and I am satisfied that nothing will be done or can be done unless the district director of postal services is directed, not asked, to meet with the principal representative bodies of the two areas, both Summerland and West Summer-land. I suggest that the board of trade, the municipal council, and so on, should be called in to thresh this thing out and come to an amicable solution so the people of this area will get decent service. Today if you address a letter to Summerland and it is meant for West Summerland there is a 24-hour delay, though it is only a few hundred yards away, because of the manner in which the postal areas are divided.

I think the municipal council and the board of trade have a solution, but the district director thinks he has another one. I believe the people who live there and who have to enjoy or suffer under this service know best. I would suggest that this man be instructed to meet with these groups and thresh out the problem that has been with them for many years. Unfortunately the municipality of West Summerland is a small area surrounded by Summerland proper, but the population lives in that small area and there is confusion once you start sending mail to people still in Summerland but on the outskirts of that municipal area. I think the problem could be solved, and I hope the minister will give instructions that an effort be made as quickly as possible to solve it.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink

March 1, 1957