March 25, 1968 (27th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

Ralph Bronson Cowan

Liberal

Mr. Cowan:

In answer to the hon. member for Springfield may I say that in the five years I have been talking about the patented water lots and casting aspersions on their title no one has as yet dared to proceed with commercial development on them. I will not live forever, although I presume I might be reelected. However, the Minister of Transport, being a young man and a healthy specimen I would hope will survive me and would do something about this. He is engaged in a scrap right now. If he does not come out the winner, at least the others will know they have been in a fight.
While I am on my feet there is another matter which may not exactly come under the heading of vote 5c. It is, however, a matter which I should like to bring to the attention
March 25, 1968

of the minister. I have in my hand a letter from the Bell Telephone Company of Canada written and signed by a vice president. During the last several months, each month I have been receiving a bill from the Bell Telephone Company of Canada which has been quite amusing to me. It is the only type of bill-I have received five-I have ever received that shows me owing zero.
I was interested when I received a bill from the Bell Telephone Company with five cents postage on it stating that I owed nothing. It came from Montreal. The following month I got a bill showing I owed nothing and there was postage on the envelope. Then I had a third, a fourth and a fifth. The fourth one came with a four cent stamp and I have referred the matter to the Postmaster General. He is looking into it. I wrote to the Bell Telephone Company asking why they send invoices to people who do not owe anything. When I was in active business we saved our money by not sending out bills to people who did not owe us anything. I have a letter here signed by a vice president. The minister will be interested in this paragraph:
When this machine method of government irregular billing was arranged with the Administrative Telecommunications Agency of the Department of Transport it was mutually agreed that "nil" accounts would be rendered to inform members monthly that no long distance calls were made and that there was no balance outstanding.
I should like to ask the minister whether the administrative telecommunications agency of the Department of Transport has such a low opinion of the mental processes of the members of parliament that it feels they must be notified each month that they do not owe an account, so that they will be able to discover that they do not owe an account.
[DOT] (9:00 p.m.)
Of all the things I have read, this is certainly one of the most entertaining I have seen for a long time. It states:
-it was mutually agreed that "nil" accounts would be rendered to inform members monthly that no long distance calls were made and that there was no balance outstanding.
I don't know why the Chateau Champlain in Montreal, the Nova Scotian hotel in Halifax or the Fort Garry hotel in Winnipeg do not write me monthly to tell me that I do not owe them anything. There are certainly enough people who write when one does owe something. In any event the Department of Transport has asked the Bell Telephone Company to send out an account each month to 265 members of parliament to inform them that no 27053-506*
Supply-Transport
long distance calls were made and that there is no account outstanding. This seems to me to border on the ridiculous. Surely this can be corrected.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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