Mr. MacKENZIE (Lambton-Kent):
I am surprised at the remarks of the hon. member for Moose Jaw. They only demonstrate once more his peculiar viewpoint that if something does not appeal to his riding it is no good for the rest of the country. He talks about this service being uneconomical and referred particularly to Ontario, but I think he will find that rural mail in Ontario is paid much better pro rata for the amount of work done than in western Canada. He wants rural
mail done away with entirely because people do not read papers any more; the people in the country do not need to be well informed, or he does not want them to be well informed, and therefore there is no reason for rural mail delivery! But when the question was put to him about mail delivery in Moose Jaw it was quite all right that Moose Jaw should have mail delivery.
Then he found fault with the tender system because the tenderers set the price themselves. If that were true of everybody in the country we would have a funny state of affairs here.
Rural mail carriers should also be done away with, he said, because there is not much rubber and gasoline to carry on the service. That is true of almost every line of business. Therefore I say, "sufficient to the day is the evil thereof". People employed in government service as a rule are paid fairly well, or they should be. There are perhaps one or two exceptions. The civil servants in the lower grades are not getting paid enough, but as a general rule people doing government service are paid fairly well. The rural mail carrier is one exception. On the whole the rural mail carrier gives splendid service. To be sure, they are on the tender system, and there is no justice or fairness in that because contracts which were made three or four years ago have to be renewed on the old basis although the cost of operations has risen very considerably within that time. The contracts that have been awarded recently, in this last year, have been, I am glad to say, probably 20 per cent higher than the old contracts. The officials of the Post Office Department are well aware of the plight of the rural mail carriers which has been brought before the officials of the department many times in the past. I myself have sat in with four or five different delegations which have visited the officials, and the department has promised to work out something that will put the rural mail carriers on a more fair and equitable basis, because they appreciate the splendid service that these carriers are giving throughout the dominion. This question has also been before the civil service commission and different departments, but I think it is now time that the Post Office Department came forward with some concrete system to give a fairer rate of remuneration to the rural mail carriers and put the work on a mQre equitable basis.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS