William THOBURN

THOBURN, William

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Lanark North (Ontario)
Birth Date
April 14, 1847
Deceased Date
January 23, 1928
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thoburn_(politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=e6ff10cd-b633-4ffa-baba-3be20ae91f85&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
woollens manufacturer

Parliamentary Career

October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
CON
  Lanark North (Ontario)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Lanark North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 26)


July 23, 1917

Mr. THOBURN:

There seems to be a consensus of opinion against this Bill. But, as with most Bills, there are two sides to the question involved. Most of the argument that I have heard this afternoon has been in favour of the agricultural committees; I want to say a word on behalf of the employees of the manufacturers. I think that if a vote were taken among the men employed in the manufacturing concerns of Canada, they would express themselves as largely in favour of this Bill. From my own practical experience, I am satisfied that the change would be a great benefit. Hon. gentleman may be surprised when I tell them that under present conditions the factories sometimes change their working hours in order to suit the hours of light and in order to prevent lighting up both morning and evening. In the spring they change the time one way, say half an hour; and in the fall they change it the other way. But another reason why the majority of men and women employed in the manufacturing industries are in favour of this legislation is that they all look forward to the evening as a time of pleasure. As it is now, by the time these people get home from their work, get cleaned up and do what they have to do about the house, they have not much time for pleasure. A man who has a garden, for

instance, always looks forward to the evening -as the time when he will do necessary work in the garden. I am satisfied that most of these men would rather go to work earlier in the morning and have that extra hour in the evening.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL.
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July 23, 1917

Mr. THOBURN:

It is all very well to say that, but most of these men find it all they can do to get up in the morning, get their breakfast and get to work in time. If daylight saving were adopted, they would have the advantage of that extra hour in the morning, and they would get to work just as conveniently as they do now. I believe that they would prefer going to work an hour earlier in the morning for the sake of getting the extra hour in the evening.

Progress reported.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL.
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July 20, 1917

Mr. THOBURN:

It will work out all right.

-Confidentially I may say that my own salary warrant is $214 per month, out of which I pay three assistants. I have had girls in my employ, who are now in the Civil Service. Those in this post office are just as intelligent and industrious and work longer hours. I give full time to the work myself.

$214 per month means $2,568 per year, and allowing, say, $1,200 salary for himself, there is the enormous sum of $1,368 to pay three assistants. So I think I was justified in saying that the poorest paid officials of the Government are in the Post Office Department. There is no doubt as to the truth of what this postmaster says with reference to the increased work devolving upon them on account of the rural mail and parcel post. They get little or nothing from the sale of postage stamps for parcel post as the parcels are all sent from the cities into the towns and villages. They have to handle all the parcels and get no extra revenue. The same thing applies to the mail going out into the rural districts. It has increased very materially. If there is any department of the Government that needs special care it is the post offices in towns, villages and rural districts.

I have been repeatedly asked, but have been unable to explain, the difference in postage on a parcel to a Canadian soldier in England and in France. The rate from Canada to England is the same as the ordinary parcel post rate before the war, 12 cents per pound. To the Canadian soldier in France or Belgium, the postage on a three-pound parcel is 24 cents. The same parcel to a soldier in England would cost 36 cents. Can the Postmaster General explain why the rate to England is exactly 50 per cent higher than to France or Belgium?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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July 20, 1917

Mr. THOBURN:

I will come to that a little later on. (Reading):

It was quite right that the scale should be modified to make adjustments for the war

stamp addition to revenue, but the rule-of-thumb way they jumped at the thing was inexcusable. Confidentially, I may say-

-and this is the part to which I want to draw the attention of the Acting Postmaster General-

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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July 20, 1917

Mr. THOBURN:

I have a communication from a postmaster in the county I have the honour to represent, which I would like to place before the committee. The member for St. Antoine division (Sir Herbert Ames) drew attention to the small salaries paid the city postmasters. This communication deals with the very small salaries paid to postmasters in towns and villages, and if the statements made are correct, I think the poorest paid officials in the employ of the Government are the postmasters in the towns, villages and rural municipalities. This communication is headed, "Compensation of Country Postmasters." It says:

After Confederation the scale of commission on which postmasters' salaries was fixed

-was torty per cent on first $800 of postal revenue, and twenty-five per cent on amount of revenue in excess of $800.

Some years ago (probably ten or fifteen) it was felt that this scale ought to be made more favourable to the postmasters, so a new scale was adopted under which the postmaster received fifty per cent on first one- thousand dollars of postal revenue and thirty per cent on ^ amount of revenue in excess of $1,000. This scale was used, without any suggestion that the postmasters were being overpaid, until the introduction of the war tax on letters. Then the' department thought that the increased revenue by reason of war stamps would give the postmasters too much on that scale. So, some Inside Service man who finds he cannot live on his 1914 salary, figured that the proper thing was to go back to the Confederation scale of forty per cent to $800, and twenty-five per cent on excess above $800, and this has been done. Please note that the postage rates to-day (including war stamps) are still lower than at Confederation; please note that the cost of living to-day is about double what it was at Confederation; please note that the country postmaster does a much greater volume of work to-day which does not produce revenue to the credit of his office than he ever did; and please note that the scale on which the country postmaster is being paid to-day is the same as at Confederation.

I say that the country postmaster does a greater volume of work to-day which does not produce revenue to the credit of his office, than he ever did. The enormous increase in the circulation of daily newspapers of late years, and especially since extension of rural mail system, involves a burden of daily work, 310 days in the year, which does not increase his office revenue by a cent, and the extension of the parcel post system has had the effect of bringing into his office for distribution the departmental store shipments which pay their postage to the city officers ; and his work in the distribution of parcels, which produces no revenue in his office, is out of all proportion to what he collects on parcels despatched from his office.

A single illustration will show the weakness and shortsightedness of the action taken in pitchforking us back into the old Confederation scale. Take Pakenham post office as an example. I have not the exact figures, but approximately the postal revenue used to be about $1,000, which gave the postmaster a salary of $500 a year under the old higher scale. In order that he may get a salary of $500 under the present scale, he has to increase his office revenue to $1,520, and he can then meet the increased cost of living' out of the savings he has laid aside out of his salary in previous years.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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