GENERAL LAUPJE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he has received any representations from the Postmaster General or the Government of Canada in reference to the rate of postage charged on newspapers and periodical literature addressed to the Dominion, and whether he is aware that resolutions on this subject passed by Canadian Chambers of Commerce have been sent to Chambers of Commerce in this country; whether he is aware that such mail matter is carried between Canada and the United States at the domestic rate in force in each country; and whether he is aware that as a result the circulation of United States periodicals is increasing largely in Canada, whilst the circulation of English newspapers is greatly falling off; what is the extra cost involved in the ocean carriage of this mail matter; and whether' he can see his way to permit of such mail matter for Canada being carried at the domestic rate chargeable in Great Britain, as all expenses connected with land carriage and deliveries are borne by the Canadian Post Office Department.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN,) Worcestershire, E.
Some years ago there was an exchange of views between the then Postmaster General and the Canadian Post Office in regard to a suggestion made by that Office for a 564 reduced postage on "periodical literature" to Canada; but Her late Majesty's Government declined, on grounds of general policy, to entertain the question. The Postmaster General has no knowledge of any communication which has since passed on this subject between Canadian and British Chambers of Commerce. Of the fact that printed matter is carried between Canada and the United States at the domestic rate in each country he is aware, but not of the result in the circulation of American as compared with that of English newspapers. The annual cost of the Atlantic conveyance of all kinds of printed matter for Canada posted in the United Kingdom is about £12,000, and of this amount it is very roughtly estimated that about £7,000 is in respect of newspapers. The hon. Member asks that periodical literature and newspapers may be carried from the United Kingdom to Canada at the domestic rate. So far as periodical literature is concerned, that is already the case. Such matter is carried to Canada, and indeed to all parts of the world, at the rate of ½d. per two ounces, which is the domestic rate as regards all printed matter other than newspapers. As regards the latter, the Postmaster General can see no reason why an exception from the rate applicable to newspapers sent from the United Kingdom to other parts of the world should be made in favour of those for Canada; and a general reduction in the newspaper rate for British colonies or foreign countries would involve a serious loss of revenue.