March 14, 1930

CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

No, no.

Export Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

Topic:   EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

-how far the government could count upon the support of this House of Commons in the policy which it was about to adopt.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

There was no invitation in the words the hon. Minister of National Revenue uttered on that occasion.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend says there was no invitation from the minister asking for an expression of view of the kind from members of the house. I have a copy of the speech delivered by the minister on May 21.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

What page?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I will give my hon. friend the page. The date is May 21, 1929, and the words with which the minister concluded his remarks to this house appear on page 2706 of Hansard (unrevised), as follows:

Personally-and I think I may again speak for the government in this-I have received with considerable sympathy and every consideration the protests of those who are opposed to the exportation of liquor, but I sincerely believe that under all the circumstances as related by myself this afternoon and evening, and with all the measures already taken, the government has done fairly well, and has perhaps gone far enough. But the door is not closed; the government is always prepared to give further consideration as developments may justify it. I feel, however, that before we take any further action there should be more convincing proof that our neighbours are sincerely doing all they can to help themselves. In the meantime the government desires and welcomes a frank discussion by members of all parties of a difficult and vexing problem, in order to enable it to arrive at new conclusions or to be confirmed in the position that so far has been taken.

I do not see how an invitation could have been given more cordially.

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Subtopic:   REFUSAL OF RELEASES AND CLEARANCES TO COUNTIES WHERE IMPORTATION OF LIQUOR FORBIDDEN
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

There is no reference made to clearances.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not see how it could have been given more generally than it was.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

There was no reference made to the stopping of clearances.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The whole

speech had reference to what the government had sought to do up to that time to prevent international smuggling.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It was an expression of indignation on the part of this government at the attitude of the United States.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Export Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

their law on the international frontier; that they are genuinely in earnest in regard to the matter, and for that reason we are prepared to take the further step which to-day we are asking the house to take.

That step would have been taken last summer if it could have been taken then. As long ago as August of last year we sought for authority by order in council to prohibit the granting of clearances. After my hon. friend made his speech; after public opinion had expressed itself in this country and after the United States had taken note of what had been said and had given evidence of its intention to do more on its own behalf, we were then and there prepared, if we had had the power to do so, by order in council to prohibit the clearance of vessels. But we ascertained, on referring the matter to the Department of Justice, that we could not proceed in that way and that legislation would be necessary. I made a public pronouncement to that effect at the time. We have therefore taken the first opportunity of bringing forward as the first measure of the government at this session, the bill that is before the house at the present time.

One of the most experienced men in public life in Canada, one who for a time held the position of acting leader of the Conservative party, is the Right Hon. Sir George Foster. Sir George Foster has had a very long and a very wide experience in public affairs, and particularly in international affairs, and I am inclined to attach much weight to what he has to say on a matter of this character. Interviewed a few days ago, Sir George Foster is reported in the Ottawa Citizen of March 12, 1930, as having spoken as follows-and this is apropos of the reasons why in matters of this kind it is wise to proceed step by step:

"These things have a way of ripening, if you give them time," Sir George replied in answer to a question if he felt the move to be long overdue. "It has given us time to consider the question, and it has probably led the United States to stiffen up its enforcement of prohibition. No nation likes to have its neighbour carrying on a business against its laws, least of all when the motive is to make a little money out of it, and thus the feeling diplomatically between the United States and Canada will doubtless improve."

I think in that statement we have in a word approval of the course which the government has adopted of allowing public opinion in this country to ripen before going the lengths which we are proposing to go to-day.

What are the arguments that can be put forward against this measure? The one thing that is being said-and I suppose we shall

hear it over and over again from hon. gentile-men opposite-is that this step is being taken at the dictation of the United States.

Topic:   EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I thought some of my friends opposite would interject "hear, hear". May I say to my hon. friends opposite that as I shall show in a moment, this step is not being taken at the dictation of anybody except, in so far as its action may be called dictation, by the House of Commons. The government is taking this step because it feels that it should not countenance on the part of customs or excise officials, any procedure, however legal or innocent, that might cause it to appear that the government is facilitating by its own officials the nefarious work of rum runners and smugglers. As I have said, it is a purely Canadian measure intended to safeguard the moraile of our own public services and to enable us to do our own duty as we see it towards our neighbour.

While it is true that there has been no dictation from the United States, is of course equally true that representations have been made by the United States as to why a measure of this kind should be enacted. In other words, the United States has proceeded with respect to its representations concerning rum running from Canadian territory in precisely the same way as it proceeded in its representations to Great Britain with respect to rum running from the Britain Isles. I have already referred to the representations that were placed before the imperial conference in 1923, representations that had been made by the United States minister in London to the Marquis Curzon, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, and brought by him, as I have described, before the conference. May I read the paragraph in the report of the conference stating its conclusions in the matter? It will be found in the summary of report of the proceedings of the Imperial conference of 1923. At page 12 of the report as issued by the King's printer at Ottawa, appears the following paragraph:

During the session of the conference, the question of the regulation of the liquor traffic off the American coasts and of the measures to be taken to avoid a serious conflict either of public opinion or of official action was seriously debated. The conference arrived at the conclusion that, while affirming and safeguarding as a cardinal feature of British policy the principle of the three-mile limit, it was yet both desirable and practicable to meet the American request for an extension of the right of search beyond this limit for the above purpose, and negotiations were at once opened

Export Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

with the United States government for the conclusion of an experimental agreement with this object in view.

What we are attempting at the moment is in a way, a direct parallel of what was done by the Imperial conference, and the reasons for the action we are proposing are identical. What the conference was concerned about was the measures to be taken to avoid a serious conflict either of public opinion or of official action. Who in Canada will say that as between this country and the United States to-day there is not the possibility of serious conflict of public opinion or of official action, and who will say that it is not in the interests of both countries that measures should be taken to prevent any such conflict developing? Who will say it is not both desirable and practicable-to use again the words of the Imperial conference report-to meet the American request in the case of Canada where it is similar to the request made to the British Empire as a whole and acceded to by the Empire as a whole with respect to rum running from the Atlantic? That is the position we take to-day in asking parliament to adopt the legislation now before the house.

Topic:   EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   REFUSAL OF RELEASES AND CLEARANCES TO COUNTIES WHERE IMPORTATION OF LIQUOR FORBIDDEN
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Have the British Isles

stopped clearances to the United States?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I will answer my hon. friend's question a little later. I am not, I suppose, at liberty to disclose all that took place at the Imperial conference in the consideration of this matter, but it has always been definitely understood in connection with the proceedings of the conference that while certain proceedings were confidential, any delegate to the conference would be at liberty, on his return, to inform his own parliament of the reasons which governed any action the conference might take. I purpose, therefore, to mention to the house the reasons which led the Imperial conference to accept the report of the sub-committee of the conference of which Lord Curzon was chairman, and which resulted in the enactment and ratification of the treaty to which I have referred.

Briefly, there were three. The committee thought it desirable, first of all, on moral grounds. I have heard it said that it is not the business of this parliament to be concerned with questions of morality, national or otherwise. I cannot agree with that point of view. I believe that a country above everything else is concerned with the moral standards of its people and of its laws, and with the enforcement of those laws. I remember very well the forceful presentation 2419-39

which Lord Curzon made to the committee. He said that no country could afford to be indifferent to the moral sentiment of a great nation where that sentiment had found expression in legislation and had thus become part of that nation's law. He emphasized the fact that it mattered very little whether we thought they were right or wrong, whether they were properly administering their law or not. The fact that was significant in international relations was that where a country, owing to the views of the great majority of its people, had put itself on record as to its attitude with respect to a great moral question, its views were entitled to and should receive the respect of other nations. I think that is sound reasoning. I think it is as sound in Canada as it is in Great Britain.

The second reason advanced was with a view to maintaining improved, relations with the United States of America. Do I need to argue the wisdom of a course like that in this parliament, to plead that it is not a national wrong for us to seek to improve relations with the United States? The silence at the moment is expressive.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The silence is behind the right hon. gentleman.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

One would

think to listen to some of the discussions one hears that any attempt to improve relations with our neighbour was a move in the wrong direction. I am inclined to believe that it is one of the first duties of government to do what can be done to maintain _ and further friendly relations with all countries.

The third ground which was urged was that a step of the kind was desirable in the interests of British commerce. May I, without quoting what was said by Lord Curzon, paraphrase in a general way what was said by him to the conference as a whole-because again I say it presents a parallel to the situation which we are now discussing. As I recall his words they were something to the effect that the spectacle of rum running, as it is called, in which British ships were largely engaged and in which great profits were being made by British firms, was one that was far from pleasant to contemplate, and that there aroge-and perhaps not unnaturally arose- very different feelings in the United States. The United States government had committed themselves, whether wisely or unwisely, it was not for us to say, to a policy of prohibition. All our information was that that was a policy to which they proposed to adhere; it represented the settled convictions of large masses of people, and, whether it was or was

610 COMMONS

Export Act-Mr. Mackenzie King

not carried out in a fair way, at any rate it was a matter of domestic policy of a great foreign state with which we had neither the right nor the power to interfere. On the other hand, so Lord Curzon said, the spectacle which he had described could without difficulty be presented as an attempt on the part of the shipping of another state to run counter to the settled legislation and practice of the United States. If the then position continued without any relief he could but think that "a very delicate and disagreeable situation" would be produced. Fortunately, the American government had throughout adopted a line, apart from their actual conduct in searching ships, of conciliation and of desire to settle the matter on friendly terms. The British Empire shared that desire, and accordingly consideration had been given by the committee to what could be done to carry it into effect.

May I direct attention to those particular words of the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. British foreign ministers employ great caution in the choice of the words they use. Lord Curzon said, in so many words, "If the present position continues without any relief I cannot but think that a very delicate and disagreeable situation will be produced." The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Great Britain was seeking to avoid a delicate and disagreeable situation arising between the United States and Great Britain. If that was his objective, why should it not also be ours? If under the circumstances then existing a delicate situation was likely ;o arise so far as Britain was concerned, what is to be said of the situation that at any moment may arise with conditions existing as they are at present along our international frontier? That is a question which I feel cannot be weighed too carefully in this house.

I said, Mr. Speaker, that it was not at the dictation of the United States that this action was being taken by the government, but that if there were any dictation at all it was dictation by this House of Commons. Hon. members will recall that in 1926 we had an investigation by a select committee of the house into the customs service of this country, of which committee some hon. gentlemen now opposite were members. That committee brought in its report, a copy of which I have in my hand. It appears in the votes and proceedings of the House of Commons of the 18th of June, 1926. At page 444 will be found the introductory words with reference to the report of the committee:

{Mr. Mackenzie King.]

Mr: Mercier (St. Henri), from the special committee appointed to investigate the administration of the Department of Customs and Excise, presented the third and final report of the said committee, which is as follows:

The special committee appointed to investigate the administration of the Department of Customs and Excise, beg leave to present the following as their third and final report:

I shall quote only the section which deals with the question of clearances, which will be found at page 446. It reads as follows:

Doubts have been cast upon the sufficiency of existing legislation to prohibit or authorize regulations prohibiting the illegal export of intoxicating liquors to the United States. To the extent to which such legislation may be insufficient the committee recommends that it be amended. The committee further recommends that, as soon as possible, regulations be made to prohibit clearances being granted to vessels carrying liquor as cargo, sailing from a Canadian port to a United States port, such regulations to make an exception in favour of liquor being imported into the United States in accordance with the laws of that country.

That report was presented to this house while the present administration was in office, but it was not adopted until after the present administration was out of office and hon. gentlemen opposite had come into power for the few days in 1926 during which they occupied the treasury benches. In those few days certain amendments were made to this report. The report was presented to the house and its adoption along with the amendments was recommended. In the votes and proceedings of Tuesday, June 29, 1926, at page 496, will be found the following record:

And the question being put on the main motion as amended; it was agreed to. on the same division last above recorded, and is as follows:

The main motion referred to there included the paragraph which I have just read with respect to clearances.

Topic:   EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   REFUSAL OF RELEASES AND CLEARANCES TO COUNTIES WHERE IMPORTATION OF LIQUOR FORBIDDEN
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Did the hon. gentleman

vote in favour of it?

* Mr. MACKENZIE KING: No, I voted

against it because of some of the amendments, but my hon. friend, I think, voted for it. The vote is recorded here. My hon. friend will find it on pages 495 and 496 of this same issue of the votes and proceedings.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I thought the Prime Minister was assuming an appearance of virtue for having voted for it.

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March 14, 1930