Hon. Alcide Cote (Postmaster General):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for having given me notice of his question. I have made inquiries in the department, and I am told that the concessionary rates which were established on gift parcels to Great Britain were made possible by the reduced terminal charges granted by the British postal administration. In addition, the steamship companies also granted reduced sea conveyance charges to help establish the concessionary rates.
The discontinuance of the concessionary postage rates was not at the request of the Canadian postal administration but was the direct result of higher terminal charges which the British postal administration imposed, and which it stated were absolutely necessary. In addition, the British postal administration cancelled the reduced charges on gift parcels which had hitherto applied.
In the first instance they asked that these higher rates be made effective in October, 1951, and we were able to persuade them not to introduce the increased rates until after the Christmas season.
Certain Canadian patrons have written direct to the British post office and have been informed in effect that with the rising costs of handling, the concessionary postage rates were really subsidized ones. Apparently the United Kingdom authorities took the position that they were not warranted in subsidizing private food parcels to a favoured few, at the expense of the general taxpayer.
Subtopic: RATES ON FOOD PARCELS TO GREAT BRITAIN