GENERAL ARTICLES

STATE PRINTING

GRANT DEXTER April 1 1934
GENERAL ARTICLES

STATE PRINTING

GRANT DEXTER April 1 1934

STATE PRINTING

GRANT DEXTER

ARE YOU on a Government mailing list?

If not, you are passing up a wealth of informa-

tion.

In these times, when taxes are high and pay cuts are not exceptional, there is a disposition to blame the Government. But before you do so, consider what the country does for you.

True, Ottawa is the nerve centre of a Dominion service overmanned and honeycombed with nonessential and duplicatory activities. 'Three departments do dredging. They do it with such fervor that Mr. Bennett, a few years ago,

remarked (not forgetting one Government dredge that, for a generation or two, has been sitting high and dry atop a

causeway at Port Nelson) that dredging has become more lucrative than the famed pearl-diving of old. A dozen or

more departments do their own photographic work and blue-printing. The Capital has more Government binderies

per square foot than Printing House Square, London, England. Surveying is actively in progress in several

departments, and so forth.

But while these examples of waste and duplication may bring sadness to taxpayers, there is just a chance that the average citizen does not know that the Government runs

one of the largest publishing businesses on the continent, and that there is scarcely any phase of human activity— from choosing a trade or profession, to erecting, heating, humidifying a home, caring for the health, raising a family,

cookery, building sound teeth, matters of diet, planting a garden, growing a lawn—upon which you cannot obtain expert advice by applying to the suitable department or to the King’s Printer.

This publishing business keeps a small army of civil servants at work. Among them, as the list of titles shows, are playwrights.

Not only does the Government go in for State advice in a large and comprehensive way, but the Government publishes a newspaper of sorts, a bulletin of marine news, and no end of haphazard matter suitable to fill in small comers of newspapers.

Your Government’s printing bill, each year, runs to the staggering average total of $2,400,000. Indeed, in 1930, 9,001,874 copies of various publications were printed, running to the vast total of 377,280,554 printed pages. In 1931 there were 10,464,933 copies, aggregating 377,542,503 pages —an all-time record. In 1932, the last year for which the figures are available, the totals were 10,325,468 copies and 327,600,533 pages. That works out at a book apiece for every man, woman and child in the country.

How to Spend Money

AT E'IRST GLANCE, the explanation would seem to be

^ that the Government prints essential matter such as Hansard, the statutes, the Canada Gazette, Bureau of Statistics reports, and the numerous publications which are demonstrably essential to the business of government. This explanation, however, is not accurate. The Government goes much further in the publishing business.

“The Care of Milk in the Home”—62,300 copies running to 996,800 pages.

"An Argument in the Kitchen,” a playlet for children in one act—10,000 copies running to 160,000 pages.

“How to Choose and Cook Beef”—50,000 copies, 2,600,000 pages.

“Canadian Onions for Canadians”—50,000 copies, 300,000 pages.

“Saturday Evening Programme”—500 copies, 18,000 pages.

“The Canadian Mother’s Book”—30,000 copies, 6,840,000 pages.

“Howto Manage Housework in Canada”—5,000

copies, 240,(XX) pages, "How We Cook in Canada”—5,000 copies, 260,000 pages.

“How to Make an Outpost Home in Canada”— 5.000 copies, 100,OCX) pages, "Jams, Jellies and Pickles”—25,000 copies, 500,000 pages.

“Why and How to Use Cheese”—15,000 copies, 240,000 pages. There is a companion volume on milk running to

25.000 copies and 800,000 pages.

“Household Insects and Their Control”—20,000 copies,

1.840.000 pages.

“Turfs for Sports Use”—3,000 copies, 48,000 pages. “Seasonable Hints” — a periodical running last year to 1,541,510 copies, and 24,649,600 pages.

“Effect of Moisture Content and Storage on the Heating Value of Sawdust”—5,000 copies, 80,000 pages.

“Keep the Family Well”—35,000 copies, 1,680,000 pages. “Keep Him Well”—35,000 copies, 190,000 pages.

“How to Build Sound Teeth”—15,000 copies, 240,000 pages.

“Athlete’s Foot”—20,000 copies, 160,000 pages. “Information for Young Women about Sex Hygiene”— 2,500 copies, 20,000 pages.

“Maternal Care”—25.000 copies, 900,000 pages.

“How to Take Care of Mother”—7,500 copies, 210,000 pages.

“How to Take Care of Children”—7,000 copies, 308,000 pages.

“How to Take Care of Father and the Family”—6,(XX) copies, 216,000 pages.

“How to Build the Canadian House”—2,500 copies,

“How to Make the Canadian Home”—2,000 copies,

104.000 pages.

“Canadians Need Milk”—5,000 copies, 70,000 pages. “How to Take Care of Household Waste”—2,000 copies,

24.000 pages. •

Duplication

HPHE GOVERNMENT, obviously, runs a very compreE hensive publishing business for the benefit of the people at large. There are three volumes instructing people how to use milk. Two deal with cookery; three with home building. Several volumes are devoted to domestic economics, and there is a sizable library on health topics. Athlete’s Continued from page 32

Continued from page 16 -

foot, even, does not escape the Government printing presses. Tireless scribes at Ottawa, in dashing off reading matter about how to take care of father, mother and the family, how to build sound teeth, how to build a house and get after insects, apparently overlook the possibility of cutting down governmental expenditures and giving the taxpayer a break.

The duplication in the titles is accounted for by the fact that more than one depart -! ment of government maintains special staffs ¡to deal with the same subjects. But the duplication is much greater when it is considered that equally authoritative information on most of these subjects is disseminated by scores of other organizations. Much of the health work is done, and more efficiently, by the provinces—which, under our constitution, are responsible for public health. Nearly every life insurance company issues reading material of this kind. Literally hundreds of companies issue recipe books.

But the list of volumes printed at Ottawa is only the beginning of the public expenditure on printing. Many departments get ’ out publications of their own.

For example, there is a Government newspaper written and published by the Immigration Department. A typical issue gave the population of the National Parks, and carried a long report of the Pacific Science Congress at Vancouver. The Fisheries Department publishes The Fisheries News Bulletin. It recently announced that rainbow trout “promised well” in Nova Scotia.

It may seem incredible, but the Government actually spends hard cash printing material of this kind—all of which, if it is worth printing, has been published already in every daily and weekly newspaper in the country.

The Government has turned out a vast library on the mosquito. One Government publication reads: “An Investigation into

the Question of the Early Putrefaction of Eviscerated Fish in Which the Gills Have Been Left.”

But the prize series of Government publications is issued by the Labor department under the caption. “Studies in Occupation.” One volume deals with bricklaying. The chapters are headed, “The Nature of the Work,” “The Materials,” “The Tools.” and “The Operations.” One would scarcely have thought that more need be said, but the author spread himself in each chapter, running up a sizable bill for the taxpayer.

Another volume is called “Carpentry” and begins: “Have you stopped to think ! about the importance of the carpenter’s ! work?”

But the best of the series is the one entitled “Stenography.” It begins: “The position i of secretary is not new. As early as the ¡year 50 B. C., we read of Cicero having a ; secretary named Tiro.” The book continues:

■ “At the present time there are two distinct ¡types of secretaries,” and so forth. The writer notes that the word secretary is derived from the Latin secretus, and he tells the beginner how to start in, how to get promoted.

What They Print

¡■DUT IF the standard list of “works” -L' published at Ottawa at the public expense is calculated to arouse astonishment, j the current information shovelled out by the various departments will cause acute dismay. Several departments give “information” services which consist of daily or weekly printed sheets or mimeographed pages. The "information” is all-embracing and occasionally is positively exciting.

“The Dominion Entomological branch reports that during winter months the gladiolus corm can be easily treated for ! gladiolus thrip.”

“Celery originally was used as an herb in European kitchens.”

“In the latter part of the eighteenth

century, Spain had a monopoly on the production of fine wool.”

“Early in spring is the best time to transplant most kinds of trees and shrubs.” “Fowl paralysis is considered to be a disease of young birds.”

“Permanent pastures are extensively grown on rolling lands.”

“Expriments have proved that potato beetles are more readily killed immediately after hatching than at any other time.” “The June beetle, which lives in the soil during its early stages, takes three years to complete its life cycle.”

“The color of an eggshell is no guide to the quality of its contents.”

“June beetles spend the day in the soil and fly around only at night.”

“A well-soldered, plain bottomed tin can, about eight inches in diameter and twenty inches deep, has been found by dairy farmers to be the best kind of vessel in which to hold cream.”

“Hairlessness in pigs is prevalent in districts where there is a deficiency of iodine in the soil.”

“Until recent years the Canadian communication companies were almost entirely dependent upon foreign sources for their supply of telephone top pins.”

“The strawberry weevil is a hiker. He has strong legs and can walk rapidly for long distances.”

“Alfalfa has been grown from time immemorial in Persia, and is perhaps the oldest forage plant in the world.”

“It has been established by experiment that eight weeks is the maximum time asparagus can be kept in fine condition in cold storage.”

“Alfalfa is able to live for thirty years or more under favorable conditions.”

“Of all the myriad voices with which spring speaks to mankind none is more generally beloved or more widely recognized than the return of the birds.”

“Rhubarb contains a small percentage of astringent substances or tannins, and it is probable that these are partly responsible for its characteristic flavor.”

“By using a piece of hose six or eight inches long attached to a long-necked bottle, a pig may be drenched without much danger of choking.”

“Mentioned in Exodus IX, 31. and inother books of the Bible, barley was one of the most important foods of the human race for thousands of years. Bere meal, as barley meal is called in Scotland, forms a favorite dish of porridge at the present day.” "Blackflies bite ducklings.”

“Nineteen hundred and thirty-two was another year of international economic excursions and alarums, and once more mainly a record of frustrated hopes.”

“The season of the year has arrived when treatment should be given to cattle for the destruction of warbles.”

“Bats found inhabiting the attics of summer cottages in Canada should never be destroyed because they are beneficial to the country.”

“Farmers in Upper Egypt, before the British occupation, had to pay four different classes of taxes, etc...”

Immortal Trifles

TNTERESTING? Perhaps, but are you satisfied to pay hard cash to spread this sort of information throughout the country’?

And there are other aspects of the matter. After the writing and printing costs have been paid, there is mailing. Dray loads of publications are taken to the postoffice to be dispatched to vast numbers of persons whose names are on departmental mailing lists. Moreover, copies of all publications are filed at Ottawa, and there is a sizable account each year for storage costs.

indeed, the filing of letters, documents, Continued on page 49

Continued from page 32—Starts on page 16

printed matter is one of the major activities of government. Long ago, Gladstone pointed out that government departments should write as few letters as possible. Copies of letters, he said, were preserved. Usually the letter was answered and the answer, together with a further government acknowledgment, had to be filed also. This meant more filing cabinets, more file rooms, more buildings.

As a matter of fact, the cheapest way anyone can gain immortality is by writing to the Government. Ten to one the letter will never be destroyed, and if it is a detailed synopsis of what you said, with date and address, will be kept for ever.

Departmental files, are massive affairs. And in addition to files, each department keeps a card index “record” of correspondence. It is possible to condemn and bum a file, but the card index is permanent.

Machinery for destruction of files exists. It is necessary for a board of higher officials to be appointed. This board reviews files recommended for destruction. If the board

approves, its decision is carefully set out in a report (which is filed) and the report must be initialled by the Ministerand the Deputy Minister. This machinery, however, functions very seldom. The sort of documents ! which are destroyed are of a kind which no I organization other than a government would keep in the first instance.

tor example, when Canadian soldiers were paid off after the war, the receipt for their final gratuity was signed in triplicate. For years the Government kept these receipts, the original and two copies, in a building at Ottawa. There were some 1,500.000 documents, of which 1,000,000 were valueless. Only recently were the I duplicate copies destroyed, and much red ; tape had to be unwound before the bales of j duplicate copies could finally be got rid of.

It is impossible to estimate accurately ! the annual cost to the taxpayers of printing unnecessary and often silly publications, of preserving useless documents. Printing alone runs to $2,400,000 and the grand total cost cannot be less than $5,000,000.