April 6, 1957

PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

Perhaps it would be helpful if I read an extract from the proceedings of last year. It is reasonably brief. We were discussing at the time the all-up mail service. One member of the committee, the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam, was questioning whether it was necessary to have an all-up mail service.

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

I remember that.

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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

At

that time the following discussion took place:

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CCF

Erhart Regier

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

Mr. Regier:

... I wondered how many millions of dollars we might estimate it has cost us. Mr. McLeod asked whether the one cent increase was enough to offset that additional cost. I think it is rather a vital point, whether, it may be, we could consider returning to the 4 cent rate, and have an airmail rate as well, although I am not advocating it.

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?

Arthur-Joseph Lapointe

Hon. Mr. Lapointe:

I see your point: but you will recall that at one of the previous meetings it was stated that we were proceeding at the present time to do some cost ascertainment and that we expected a report on that would be ready by September. I think that the figures would be available at that time and we would probably be able to give them to you, but at the present time we have not got them.

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CCF

Erhart Regier

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

Mr. Regier:

You mean a year from now, when the estimates are down, you could?

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Arthur-Joseph Lapointe

Hon. Mr. Lapointe:

Yes, definitely.

I am just asking the minister to fulfil his commitment.

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

I am sorry, but I am told that we cannot separate the cost of the first-class matter under eight ounces that goes by air from the cost of what goes by train. Our cost ascertainment figures do not show this information. We pay Trans-Canada Air Lines a flat amount for so many ton miles of mail carried, but we cannot break it down to the individual cost of letters.

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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

will not pursue that matter.

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

I regret that I do not have that information.

[Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace) .1

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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

However, it does make it rather difficult for some of us when we try to investigate the operations of the Post Office Department. We ask questions, are told by the minister that they will be answered next year, spend considerable time following up these matters and keeping track of them so we can get the answers next year, and then the minister rises and says he is sorry but he does not have the information. I think it would be helpful if the minister would follow the minutes of proceedings and evidence of last year's committee and see what commitments he made.

The department has been doing some experimenting with the operation of its own trucking systems within metropolitan areas rather than letting contracts, as was done previously. What has been the experience of the department in that connection? Can we be given comparative cost figures for centres such as Windsor and Ottawa, where I believe the system has been in operation for some little time?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

I am informed that it is only in Windsor that the department has been experimenting with the use of its own trucks. Parcel post delivery was being done in Ottawa by our own trucks and that was given up. As far as Windsor is concerned, we are still experimenting because the conditions under which we operate are changing and it is difficult for us to give a definite answer with respect to whether it would be to the advantage of the department. Such factors as the maintenance of trucks, salaries, accommodation in which to put the trucks, garage services and so on, vary from place to place. That has happened in Windsor, and it is very difficult for us to arrive at a definite answer.

Personally I have not yet been convinced that it would be an economical method of operation, and I do not envisage the Post Office Department operating a truck service and becoming a transport company throughout Canada, because my limited experience of trucking indicates that it is a very complex business and has to be operated with great efficiency in order to be profitable.

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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

Since certain experimentation has been carried on in Windsor I think it would be interesting for the committee to have figures covering what the cost was under the contract system in the last year in which service was provided in that way and the cost in the first year in which the department operated its own trucks.

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LIB
PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

Does the department have the figures?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

Yes. I will be glad to

provide them to my hon. friend.

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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

should like the minister to confirm what I am about to say. At this point we have no statistical or factual information whatsoever that the minister can give us other than his own opinion about the matter. The minister is not in a position to give the committee any further information on this matter so the committee may inform itself. Is that correct?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

Our studies are not completed to the point where definite statistical information can be provided about which we would be sure.

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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Noire Dame de Grace):

Is Windsor the only place at which this experiment is being carried on at the present time?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Postmaster General; Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

Yes, Mr. Chairman.

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April 6, 1957