May 30, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)


I should like to ask the minister a question about the position of air transport in northern Canada, what is commonly known as our bush flying, which has really been the outstanding development in aviation in Canada since the war, and which, as the minister knows, has meant so much to the country as a whole. I understand that by reason of the rates paid under the air mail contracts, these flying companies in northern Canada are having a great deal of difficulty. The difficulty seems to be that the post office allows underbidding. For instance, if one company has an air mail contract, when the contract expires new tenders are also called from other companies. That may or may not be right, at any rate there is a good deal of complaint. So far as the Trans-Canada Air Lines are concerned, provision is made in their act that any deficit in operation-should be covered by the postal rates, at least after a certain period. I do not remember offhand at what date that provision cornea-into effect, but provision is made for the deficit to be paid out of the post office funds: I believe in the United States special arrangements have been made within the last year for the setting of fair air mail rates based on the service rendered rather than on competitive contracts. Would the minister explain the situation and let us know whether it might not help to have an inquiry into the whole situation, or whether the board of transport commissioners might not be given jurisdiction to decide what is a fair air mail rate
Supply-Transport-Harbours Board
for a particular route? The Postmaster General said the other day that one contract had been referred to the board of transport commissioners, but I understand there is no provision for doing that in any statute. The situation is of enough importance to Canada to make it desirable that it be cleared up.

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