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.