Mr. Chairman, I have only a few words I would like to say at this time concerning this item, and they have to do with the mail carrier service in the rural areas in the interior of British Columbia. In view of the fact that there was a substantial surplus in the Post Office Department last year I feel there should be a review of the situation that arises in many rural post offices where mail has to be carried from the post office to the railway trains or other distributing points.
I mentioned this to the minister a year or so ago when he was first given the portfolio, and I think he is quite aware of the necessity for doing something to alleviate the situation that exists in some of these rural areas. I do not think it is reasonable that the post office department should show a large surplus every year. A little experimentation along the lines of giving slightly improved service in these rural areas would be well worth while even if the Post Office Department showed a deficit for a year.
The most recent case I have in mind is one which I think is under investigation by
the Post Office Department at this time. I am referring to the situation that obtains at Dunster, in my own riding, and there are others which arise from time to time.
I would hope the Post Office Department would consider doing a little more in the way of increasing the remuneration paid to the people who carry mail, particularly taking into consideration the prevailing wage scale in the area where the work is performed. This is a factor which I fully realize is difficult to overcome in many instances where you have a high wage scale prevailing in one part of the country and a low wage scale prevailing in another. Under these circumstances it is difficult to have a uniform policy that is going to apply across Canada. However, I think a closer look should be given to the matter to see if the service can be improved somewhat at the rural points.