June 27, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)


George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)


This discussion has thrown a little light on a matter of general public interest, namely, as to what evidence should be required and what procedure should be taken to guide the government in coming to a conclusion with regard to the dismissal of any Conservative postmaster, a great many of whom have been dismissed by that hon. gentleman. This particular postmaster appears to have been signally honoured in the procedure adopted in his case. What is called an investigation appears to have taken place. An official of the government was sent to the neighbourhood, and he did gather some idle gossip from the streets of a country village which was excited over the dismissal of a postmaster and the issue of a local municipal election. This official does not even suggest that lie took any evidence by any proceeding with -which we are familiar, but simply that he gathered a certain impression from ordinary gossip, and on that impression he came to a conclusion which he thought would meet the views of the Postmaster General. _ I might here recall to the recollection of' the hon. minister the case of one David Simpson, in the county I have the honour to represent, who was summarily dismissed without even having been honoured by an investigation of any description whatever. The office was sought by a large number of supporters of this government who failed during a number of months to agree among themselves as to which one of them should receive it. That was in fact the only question that was dis-

cussed. A great many meetings were held in the village of Wellington, where this particular postmaster held office to decide who should take his place. There was no effort made to obtain charges against him. none were ever made, except two to which I shall refer in a moment and no investigation was ever granted. But an hon. member, who represents a constituency some two hundred miles away, and who happened to be in the neighbourhood wrote to the Postmaster General a letter which contained two allegations of fact. One was that this postmaster had allowed certain cartoons, then being circulated in the last Dominion election, to be posted up in his office. But according to the best evidence we can obtain, he never allowed any such documents to be posted up in his office at all. The other charge was that the building in which he held the office, which he had caused to be erected himself for the convenience of those receiving mails, was too small to accommodate the public. Another allegation was that this same office, which was too small to accommodate the people who were coming for their mails, and who, I suppose, were throng-inf the office some ten or twelve feet deep, was ordinarily used by the postmaster as a public meeting room for the Conservative party. If one statement be contrasted with the other, we cannot fail but be struck with the absurdity of the situation. Yet without investigation that postmaster was summarily dismissed.

Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
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