March 1, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


Hugh Alexander MacKenzie


Mr. MacKenzie:

I do not know whether I had better join in with the other hon. members in promoting this mutual admiration society for the postal service throughout Canada.
It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, strange that practically all who have spoken so far have been telling in no uncertain way of the great public service which the Post Office Department is giving to the citizens of this country. I only wish to join in that tribute. As some hon. members have already pointed out, in the the majority of cases the Department of Public Works provides the premises which the post office occupies. I think that is true of all post offices where revenue exceeds $3,000 a year. I think it is generally conceded that if you can demonstrate to the Department of Public Works the need of better postal accommodation and the Post Office Department approves you can be sure that your request for better postal accommodation will receive every consideration. I think that is very commendable indeed in government departments.
A few years ago the Post Office Act was amended so that rural mail carriers' contracts could be reviewed and adjustments in pay recommended and given without calling for public tenders. When that change was first brought up in the house there was a great deal of concern, particularly among opposition members, that this might develop into political patronage and there would be political abuses in that regard. I think it is pretty well agreed that has not taken place.
Rural mail carriers' contracts are four year contracts and costs of operation have changed so drastically from time to time that if carriers had four year contracts that could not be reviewed the result would be that toward the end of the four years they would be operating at a great loss. The department has made adjustments from time to time that have proven most satisfactory.
There has been considerable discussion this afternoon about the commemorative stamps produced by the Post Office Department, and there is something I wish to bring to the attention of the minister and his officials. I have done so previously through correspondence. Almost one hundred years ago oil was first discovered on the North American continent in the county of Lambton near a small town called Oil Springs almost in the centre of Lambton county. I think this fact has been pretty well accepted by research people in the United States and Canada.

The Canadian Oil Company has purchased the property where oil was first discovered and is planning to erect a museum there in commemoration of the discovery. I suggest to the Post Office Department that no better way could be found to bring this historic event to the attention of Canadians than to produce a commemorative stamp in honour of the first discovery of oil 100 years ago. I believe a centennial celebration is to be held there next year, and I again urge the Post Office Department to give every consideration to the production of a commemorative stamp for next year.

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