March 18, 1926

LIST OF OFFICES AND SUB-OFFICES IN ONTARIO FROM WHICH VESSELS ARRIVE AND DEPART


Ports Outports Preventive Stations Amherstburg Kingsville Leamington West Dock North Dock Belleville Bridgeburg Brockville Chatham Erieau Point Pelee Cobourg Collingwood Tilbury Meaford Cornwall Aultsville Deseronto Fort Frances Rainy River Fort William Ivy Lea Kincardine Southampton Dunnville Kenora Port Maitland Midland Penetanguishene PortsmouthMorrisburg Napanee Iroquois Bath Niagara Falls (nil)... Chippawa North Bay (nil) Niagara Queenston Moose Factory Smith's Falls Ottawa Owen Sound Wiarton Parry Sound Byng Inlet Picton Port Arthur Port Hope Port McNicoll Depot Harbour Key.Harbour Cardinal Maitland LIST OF OFFICES AND SUB-OFFICES IN ONTARIO FROM WHICH VESSELS ARRIVE AND DEPART- Concluded Ports Outports Preventive Stations Sault Ste. Marie Point Edward Blind River Bruce Mines Cockburn Island.... Stag Island Burnt Island. Killamey Manitowing Michipicoten Harb.. Providence Bay Richard's Landing Meldrum Bay Spanish Mills St. Catharines (nil).. St. Thomas (nil) Tillsonburg (nil) Port Dalhousie Thor old Port Stanley Port Burwell Trenton Wallaceburg Whitby Sandwich Walkerville


LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOTVIN:

After this laudable effort to make progress, I suppose this item will now be allowed to pass.

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LIB

William Duff (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Carried.

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CON

Ernest Frederick Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton):

Copies of several of the letters I notice are marked "confidential." Is that quite in order? Would the minister want them to be quoted in any way?

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOTVIN:

All reports passing between

the Civil Service Commission and the department are marked and considered as confidential; but I can see no objection to these being used.

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CON

Ernest Frederick Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton):

Or comments made upon them?

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

I know of no reason why

they should not be used and commented upon. The word "confidential" merely appears on the copies because they happen to be exact copies of the originals, but it was not placed there for the purpose of preventing my hon. friend from using them in any way he sees fit.

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?

Peter Robert McGibbon

Mr. McGEBBON:

Before the minister

leaves that subject, I should like to bring to his attention the inconvenience that Canadian citizens often have to suffer when returning from a visit to the United States. I would call his attention particularly to the action of his officials at Bridgeburg. In the last year or two I have had to 4 p.m. bring to the notice of the department a number of occasions when Canadian citizens have been detained in a

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rather high-handed and ruthless manner by the officials and put to a great deal of inconvenience. Perhaps he will inform the committee what instructions his officials have in that regard?

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

I can assure my hon. friend that the officers of the Department of Customs have always been instructed by the officers of the department here to treat not only home-coming Canadians but persons from all countries entering Canada with the utmost possible courtesy. It is quite possible -I am not disputing what my hon. friend says-that there has been a lack of courtesy and perhaps actual rudeness on the part of some of our officers. Two cases of that nature, and only two, have been reported to me since I took charge of the department. An investigation was made, a disciplinary warning was given to the officers concerned and the inspector communicated with the persons who had complained of discourtesy and made the required apologies. If my hon. friend can give me the name of any officer who has failed in his duty in this respect, I shall be only too glad to investigate. It is possible, however, that the blame is not entirely on the officers of my department. In one or two other cases reported, officers of the Immigration department had lacked tact and courtesy. If my hon. friend will either himself or through any of his friends give me specific cases, I promise that they shall receive prompt and thorough investigation.

Mr. MeGIBBON: Mr. Chairman, I simply bring this matter to the attention of the minister because on a number of occasions I have had to bring to the attention of the department complaints by home-coming Canadians, who, although they carried letters of identification in order to avoid that very trouble, were detained, some of them for hours, some of them for days, and treated in a rather rude manner. The minister will find those letters in the department.

Mr. BCflVIN: If their right to enter Canada was questioned in spite of the letters of identification which they carried, they were undoubtedly detained by the officers of the Department of Immigration. AVe have no control whatever over those officers, but I will bring the matter to the attention of the Acting Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Stewart). There is no more excuse for the immigration officers than there would be for customs officers to be discourteous to home-coming Canadians.

[Mr. McGibbon.I

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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

Mr. Chairman, as I notice the Minister of Customs is very anxious to save money, I wonder if he has ever thought of the feasibility of combining the immigration and customs officials at the port of AVindsor? AVe have there two different sets of officers, under two different departments, doing work that could easily be done by the same men. I do not want to see these men put out of employment, but it seems to me that in course of time, instead of appointing new men under two different departments, the work could be combined and done' quite effectively by one set of men. That would also save a lot of trouble to the people passing backwards and forwards between Detroit and AVindsor, many thousands of whom are crossing every day. I was just wondering whether this had ever been thought of, because it does seem to me that is one place where something could be saved.

There is another thing that strikes me particularly with regard to that port, where we have a very large customs entry. I am told, and I believe I am credibly informed, that when an officer at that particular port requires even a whisk, it is necessary for him to send in a requisition to the department at Ottawa, and wait perhaps two or three weeks for authorization to buy a small article of that kind. I think a small amount of petty cash should be kept on hand at the local office for this purpose, .to save the time of the officers filling in requisitions for small articles of this kind.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

Answering the last question first, I might tell my hon. friend that the custom which he complains of is one that has existed almost from time immemorial in connection with all customs ports. It has always been necessary for the officers requiring supplies to send in their requisitions to the department at Ottawa, and either have the supplies forwarded to them from Ottawa or obtain authorization to purchase. The suggestion made by my hon. friend is well worthy of consideration, and it will be considered not as regards supplies of value or importance, but for the petty articles such as whisks, hammers, brooms, and other supplies,, that may be required. I think a small cash allowance could be given to the local officers for this purpose.

We have often seriously considered the combination of the servioes of customs and-immigration but it has been found practically impossible to do this at the larger ports. The duties of the two sets of officers are entirely different. Their responsibilities are entirely different, and their training requires to>

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be entirely different. It is true that the practice has been adopted and this economy effected at very small frontier ports where very few people cross the boundary, and where there is only a small quantity of goods to be examined. There are some small ports where part of the officer's salary is paid by one department and part by the other. The officer reports to both departments. It has been found impossible so far, in connection with the larger ports, to combine the officers doing the two different kinds of work in the same department.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

I thought it was the well established view of the department that that should be done as far as possible. I remember a case in the province of New Brunswick not very long ago where an official of the Immigration department was let out on the ground that his sendees could be performed by an officer of the Customs department. I have in mind the port of McAdam, which is quite an important port of entry on the frontier between New Brunswick and Maine, where there are two sets of officers, and where I fancy the work of the immigration officers occupies only a little time morning and evening when the trains are coming across the frontier. I do not see any reason why in the course of time these two positions should not be more or less amalgamated and the same officers perform both services. The customs work at that point is no doubt more important than the work of the immigration officers, but a very considerable saving could be effected there, and I hope the minister will take that into consideration.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

The matter will receive further consideration when the session is over; of course, it will be impossible to consider it at the present time. The information my hon. friend has just given to the House is absolutely correct. The officer in question was removed and his duties were assigned to the officer representing the Department of Customs at that port. This action confirms to a certain extent the statement I made a moment ago regarding the smaller ports where one officer was charged with doing both customs and immigration work.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

I would like to ask a

question which perhaps does not come under this particular item; but I am sorry I was not here when the estimates were before the House a day or so ago, with reference to the preventive service in the bay of Fundy. What boats are employed there, how large are they, and is it the intention of the government to augment this service. The reason I ask is that one day in 14011-106i

the month of October last I had the duty to perform of going to the island of Grand Manan to assist in the happy return of my hon. friend the member for Charlotte (Mr. Grimmer), and on our way out, I was in the pilot house of the steamboat, and the captain pointed out to me three boats in the distance which he said, and I have no doubt he was correct, were rum runners which had been located there for several weeks, plying their illicit traffic with the people on shore without let or hindrance by any officer of this government.' I had it in mind at the time to communicate with the department, but under the stress of the election I did not do so. I would point out to the minister that practically during the whole of the summer and autumn season of 1925 bootleggers were in the bay of Fundy plying their illicit traffic, delivering their goods, taking the money of the people, and so far as those from whom I inquired knew, there had not been a single vessel or boat of the customs preventive service in the bay of Fundy waters during that whole period. These people were not in any way interferred with, and they were in those waters till the autumn gales came on. Now that is something that should not continue. Possibly this statement of facts, or what have been detailed to me as facts, will enable the department to give some consideration and attention to that sheet of water next year, for certainly something ought to be done there. I happen to know, not from personal knowledge, but from information that has reached me, that there is a considerable volume of illicit liquor smuggling on the bay of Fundy coast, and no doubt the revenues of this country have in that way been deprived of very large sums of money. Some of this liquor is destined for conveyance to the neighbouring state of Maine, some of it is for local consumption, but I imagine that the most of it is for export, because we are rather a sober people down in that part of the country. I hope the minister will give this matter his attention, and that in the spring season now opening this situation will be looked into and this evil remedied.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

When these estimates were

last 'before the committee, I myself stated that we were not satisfied with the preventive service that we now have on the coasts of the three Maritime provinces. The nearest boat we have to the bay of Fundy is one mentioned in the list which I gave to the hon. member for West York on page 1634 of Hansard. Patrol Boat G, with headquarters at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. It is impossible for that boat to carry on a patrol service in the bay df Fundy as it should be carried on but I promise the hon. gentleman that the

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service will be improved' during the present season. I would go further and tell him that if he has any information which might lead to the conviction of the men involved, in addition to the information he has just given to the House, I should; be glad' to receive it confidentially. If that information can bring about a prosecution it is not yet too late to institute proceedings. .

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER:

SWbat special instructions

are given to the customs officers at the various ports. on the Atlantic coast of the Maritimes in regard to smuggling operations? Are there any Special instructions beyond those contained in the general clauses of the Customs Act?

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

The preventive officersin fact all the officers of the department having power to make seizures-are given instructions in advance to Seize and detain goods they may catch persons in the act of smuggling, goods which may have been smuggled into Canada. In addition to the generail instructions concerning the seizure of goods which must be reported to Ottawa, special instructions were issued by the department on July 3, 1625, after the Customs Act was amended last session. The memorandum reads as follows:

There is printed herewith copy of an act to amend the Customs Act assented to by iparilitament on the 2?th of June, 1925. This act provides for the repeal of sections 206 and 219 of the Customs Act, and the substitution 'therefor of new sections bearing the same numbers wherein provision is made for 'imposing heavier fines and imprisonment (for the offences of smuggling and of keeping or selling goods unlawfully imported, wiith further provision making it an indictable offence to smuggle goods or keep or sell unlawfully imported goods of the value of $200 or over. In respect of the latter offences you are instructed that in all cases where you are satisfied the goods were smuggled for personal use and not ifor business use and it is a first offence, not to commence any proceedings Iby way o

That means that the deputy minister with the authorization of the then acting minister, sent instructions to all collectors in the country that whenever smuggling, or keeping smuggled goods of a value of more than $200 for commercial purposes came to their attention they were to prosecute before the courts at onoe without communicating with headquarters at Ottawa.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER:

Let me .put this case to

the minister. Suppose a customs official is advised that a ship is in the harbour with liquor on board which is intended to be landed, and in view of that information he went elsewhere looking for liquor to be

landed at another cove some miles away where there was no liquor and none expected to be landed. It was not certain that the landing was to be made at the latter spot; on the contrary the officer knew it was not expected there. If such facts as these were 'brought to the attention of the1, minister would he consider the advisability of dismissing the officer for acting in such a manner?

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

If the name of the officer

and the circumstances are given to me the 'matter will be investigated at once. Should *the facts prove to be as stated 'by my hon. friend, I have no hesitation in saying that the officer will be dismissed at once.

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March 18, 1926