March 14, 1930

LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

It is the intention of the government to introduce very soon a bill to amend the Copyright Act, and that will give my hon. friend the opportunity to discuss the amendments proposed in his bill. In the meantime this bill might be allowed to stand.

Bill stands.

Topic:   COPYRIGHT ACT AMENDMENT
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EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT

REFUSAL OF RELEASES AND CLEARANCES TO COUNTRIES WHERE IMPORTATION OF LIQUOR FORBIDDEN


The house resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Mackenzie King for the second reading of Bill No. 15, to amend the Export Act.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, when the house rose at six o'clock I was directing attention to a communication sent by the American minister to the right hon. the Prime Minister under date 27th November, 1928, in which he directed the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that nothing had been done, and suggested that a conference be held at Ottawa to deal with the questions at issue. To that a reply was sent by the Under Secretary of State, on December 12, 1928. and in

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

the end a conference was held at Ottawa in January of 1929. The American delegation comprised:

Admiral F. C. Billard, Commandant United States Coast Guard, head of group; _

James M. Doran, Commissioner of prohibition, Treasury Department;

E. W. Camp, Commissioner of Customs; _

Ferdinand L. Mayer, Counsellor of American

Legation, Ottawa.

Irving N. Linnell, American Consul General at Ottawa;

Francis Colt de Wolf, Assistant to Solicitor, State Department;

Harry J. Anslinger, Liaison Officer between State and Treasury Departments;

Arthur W. Henderson, Special Assistant to the Attorney General;

Lynn W. Meekins, Commercial Attache, Ottawa;

Frank J. Murphy, Treasury Department, Technical Assistant;

Elmer J. Lewis, Treasury Department, Technical Assistant;

Miss Clara Borjes, Secretary to Delegation.

The Canadian delegation comprised:

Doctor 0. D. Skelton, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs; .

W. Stuart Edwards, Deputy Minister of

Justice; . . , ,

R. W. Breadner, Commissioner of Customs;

G. W. Taylor, Commissioner of Excise;

C.' P. Blair, Assistant Commissioner of Customs; _ . _F. W. Cowan, Chief, Customs Excise Preventive Service; .William Ide, Acting General Executive Assistant; . .

E. Hawken, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Marine;

C. H. L. Sharman, Narcotic Division, Department of Pensions and National Health:

H. L. Kennleyside, Third Secretary, Department of External Affairs.

Meetings were held at Ottawa in the early part of January, 1929. As a result of those meetings reports were made to the respective *governments, nut only hy t!he Canadian delegation but also toy the American delegation, and in the end the American Secretary of State sent to our government a copy of the precis of the proceedings as presented to his government by the American representatives. On March 15, 1929, the Prime Minister sent a letter to the American charge d'Affaires, in which he pointed out.:

As you will observe from an examination of the report, the conference devoted its attention almost exclusively to discussion of the suggestion made by the United States representatives that the Canadian government, in addition to the numerous steps already taken, which facilitate the enforcement of the United States laws against the importation of liquor and which are summarized in the report, should prohibit the export of intoxicating liquors to the United States, without making at the present time a final decision on this proposal, the Canadian government is in accord with the opinion expressed by the Canadian representatives that

the problem of enforcement facing United States officials, particularly on the Detroit and Niagara border, might in large measure be solved by a further extension of the system of furnishing information as to shipments of liquor provided by the convention of June, 1924. It will be noted from the report that instructions have been issued to Canadian customs officials to provide more detailed and exact information as to shipments, and that more recently steps have been taken to reduce the number of export docks, which will facilitate securing more complete and accurate data. To cooperate with and assist further the government of the United States in the effective enforcement of its laws, the Canadian government is prepared to permit United States officers to be stationed on the Canadian side of the border, at ports of clearance to be determined, in order to enable the United States officials themselves to transmit immediately to the appropriate authorities in the United States information to be furnished by the Canadian customs officials as clearances are obtained as to the clearance of all vessels for the United States carrying liquor cargoes.

Any further suggestions which would make for increased speed, accuracy, or precision in the conveyance of information to the appropriate United States officials will be sympathetically considered.

That was signed by the right hon. Prime Minister as Secretary of State for External Affairs. In due course the United States made reiply indicating that in the opinion of the government of that country such a proposal was not acceptable. The reply was dated April 20, 1929. It is important to remember three paragraphs in that despatch, which is No. 349, from Mr. Phillips to the right hon. Prime Minister:

I now have the honour, under instructions of my government, to inform you that it is the view of its competent authorities that the proposed arrangement would not be a solution of the problem.

Article 1 of the convention of June 6, 1924, between the United States and Canada for the suppression of smuggling operations provides for the exchange of information between the appropriate officers of the respective governments concerning clearances of vessels to any ports when there is ground to suspect that the cargo is intended for smuggling into the territory ot either country. Such information has been promptly furnished by the Canadian officials to the designated American authorities, except in a very few cases which were speedily adjusted by the Canadian government as soon as its attention was called to the matter. But the necessary information to identify the vessels engaged in liquor smuggling has not been available because the data furnished to the Canadian authorities and transmitted -to the American officials, were in most cases fictitious.

Canadian officials have faithfully discharged their duties under the Convention, and there is no reason to believe that the information would be more accurate or more helpful if transmitted through American officials stationed on the Canadian side of the border.

While the government of the United States appreciates the gracious offer of the Canadian

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

government to permit American officials to transmit information of this kind from Canadian soil, it remains convinced that the only effective means of dealing with the smuggling problem along the border is the conclusion of a treat}' amending the convention of June G, 1924, to the end that clearance be denied to shipments of commodities from either country when their importation is prohibited in the other.

As I have said, that was signed by Mr. Phillips, the American minister.

It will be observed that the date of that communication is April 20, 1929. It summarized the conclusions arrived at by the American government after the conference had been held in this city, at which conference the views of Canada and the United States respectively were canvassed by all parties interested with great care and precision. The precis supplied by the Canadian government to the responsible ministers indicated with some fullness of detail just what took place, and the American Secretary of State, Mr. Kellogg, sent to his minister here the complete report made by the United States delegation. We have before us, therefore, the precis of not only our own representatives but also of those of the United States.

I again ask this government, as I have done so frequently, why it is that with that report before it on April 20, 1929, it did not then avail itself of the offer made by the United States to frame a new convention or treaty prohibiting not only clearances by sea, but the smuggling of any commodities by air, sea or land into Canada that were prohibited by our law. In the same sense, similar arrangements would be made with the United States. Parliament was in session, and the matter came before this house.

Topic:   EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Subsequently.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It came before parliament at that very session, and it will be found that the discussion that took place last session, to which the Prime Minister adverted this afternoon, was raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods-worth). The discussion was precipitated on the motion to go into supply. On that occasion, instead of moving a vote of want of confidence, the hon. member discussed the matter with great frankness. The hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman) followed; the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) spoke also, and the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Euler) made the defence, or shall I say the statement, on behalf of the government.

I was rather amazed at certain observations made this afternoon by the right hon.

Prime Minister in connection with the Minister of National Revenue speaking for the government. The principles of cabinet solidarity of course prevail. When the Minister of National Revenue spoke last year in the house he represented the government, and what he said bound the government of the day because it was a statement made .by the minister on a question of policy. As has been pointed out by text writers in recent years, nothing is more important than the principle of the solidarity of the cabinet and the position occupied by each minister of the administration, for it is recognized that when a minister speaks he speaks for the cabinet, and all the cabinet is bound by his observations. There is no more striking illustration of the soundness of that view than in the letter which was addressed by the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier to Mr. Tarte on the occasion of his resignation. The principle of cabinet solidarity is one that strikes at the very root of responsible government. When the minister spoke from his place last year, there were most vociferous cheers on the part of the government supporters behind him- loud and prolonged cheers-when he proclaimed that the Americans had neglected to observe the duty cast upon them by the laws of their own country, namely the duty of enforcing the prohibitory laws of the United States. He said that Canada did not propose to assume the responsibility of carrying American legislation into effect, and hon. gentlemen will recall the cheers with which those observations were received.

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Subtopic:   REFUSAL OF RELEASES AND CLEARANCES TO COUNTRIES WHERE IMPORTATION OF LIQUOR FORBIDDEN
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LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

And the support of the opposition.

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

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. member for

Pontiac says "with the support of the opposition ", If he will read the speech of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) he will find it difficult to reconcile with the statement he has just made. At any rate, that was the position taken at that time. The Minister of National Revenue pointed out that he had made a visit to Detroit and had observed the operations of the law in a manner which indicated that it was being entirely disregarded by the people of the United States. Perhaps hon. gentlemen will recall that within a very few days that statement was challenged, and was later denied in the United States congress. Perhaps they will also recall that in the course of the discussion that took place in this city it was indicated that the reason why the provisions' of the treaty were not effective for the purpose of suppressing smuggling was that the information given by those who cleared their ships was not in accordance with the facts,.

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

and the clearances being false the information supplied to the American authorities was false also and therefore of no benefit.

I propose in a moment to read into the record a few observations made by members of the delegation that came to Ottawa which will indicate the inefficiency of existing laws, and the reasons why they were inefficient. To my mind that is rather important. The statement made by the Minister of National Revenue that afternoon was relied upon by the Prime Minister as holding out a hope for what? As holding out the hope that the Canadian people might express themselves so freely that the government would know what policy to pursue. Is that the right hon. gentleman's idea of government? Is that the idea that the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan) for instance, has as to government? "Wait a while; wait and see; ascertain whether public opinion leans this way or that. If it leans this way I am with it; if it leans the other way I am against it." Is that the conception of government held by the right hon. Prime Minister? Is that his view of responsibility, especially having regard to the fact, sir, that at that critical moment he had in the back of his head, something that was not known to us, the realization of the danger to the national life of Canada.

I commend to those who speak so readily of representative institutions and responsible government under democracy the fine leadership given by an attitude of that kind towards a great international question. I commend it to the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Glen) with whom I have so much in common. He must, with his attitude of mind toward public problems, feel proud and happy with leadership that, realizing a danger to our country, remains silent and quiescent, waiting to see which way public opinion wiil lead. That is leadership that follows, but which does not lead. There the matter ended.

There is not in the papers as produced a singlle line, not a communication, from either the minister of the United States or the Department of State from the date of that letter of Mr. Phillips. I would like to inquire what the verbal representations were that indicated this imminent danger to the body politic.

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CON

Edmond Baird Ryckman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RYCKMAN:

Lord Curzon's ghost.

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

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Banquo's ghost, I imagine it was in this instance.

Has any member of this house ever heard of a country being in danger in consequence of its relations to another, which danger was not indicated by a despatch? Go back to the days of the Venezuela trouble, go back

to the days when Sir John Macdonald was having trouble in connection with canal tolls, and you will find in the records of the British foreign office details of everything that took place. We have not a single word from April, 1929, to indicate that a situation had arisen which was in any sense different from that indicated in that despatch. Does the house think that the Prime Minister has any warrant for making this cry of danger when our minister at Washington has not placed upon the record any despatch with relation to the situation? So far as I have been able to study diplomatic usages and understand anything of them, there never ha; been in the history of nations, even at the critical moment when war between the great powers of Europe was hanging in the balance, a time when despatches have not been exchanged between the nations concerned. Yet, from April 1929 to date there is not a single line, not a single word which would indicate, on the one hand, that the United States was not satisfied with the attitude we had taken and that hostilities were pending, or, on the other hand, that Canada was making any extraordinary effort to deal with the situation in any different sense than it had previously. The right hon. the Prime Minister said that the United States had made added efforts to enforce the law. Where is the evidence of it? Is it upon these records? It is not. Who said it? Who told someone to tell somebody else? This is the new diplomacy. Where are the despatches which deal with these matters. Moreover, this house was not caled to transact business until February 20, and I ask the house if the speech from the throne contained any reference to this matter.

Was it of such transcendent importance that the Prime Minister should stand here this afternoon and cry out about facing the future, the dark and dismal future, if this house did not approve of this legislation? It was of such importance he said but he could not refer to it in the speech from the throne. It was not worth while to tell the Canadian people and the members of parliament about this great, vital matter. If the words uttered this afternoon appear exactly as I heard them, and I think I heard them correctly, there never has been made in this parliament a statement which indicated a greater danger to this Dominion. And yet there is not a word of corroboration upon the written record of strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.

With all frankness I say that I decline to be made fearful by the observations of the right hon. gentleman. I decline to believe

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

that this great and friendly power is secretly endeavouring to terrorize the Canadian people. That belief would not do that country justice, and I decline to believe that they are sitting behind closed doors devising some secret scheme whereby, if we do not do something, they are going to do something to us. I require some evidence in formal despatches. Such evidence will be found in the despatches in connection with any other matter of an international character. The records in the foreign offices of the different countries show clearly what took place between the middle of June and the outbreak of the war in August. This is a matter to which I think any house of commons, properly constituted, would at least take exception.

Had we not the right to know the seriousness of this matter as declared by the Prime Minister? Had we not the right to know it in the speech from the throne, and if conditions were as serious as the observations of the Prime Minister indicate, then why was not parliament called together at once to deal with it? After the election of 1926, parliament was called in the fall by the Prime Minister to deal with governor general's warrants. In the face of what was said this afternoon, was it not worth while to tell the people of Canada in the speech from the throne this year of the serious situation?

I asked the right hon. the Prime Minister, if there is nothing further in the way of despatches, and he has said very frankly that there was not, and if there is no record, the sooner our minister at Washington put this in shape so that parliament may know just what the representations made by the United States Secretary of State to Canada were, the better it will be for our diplomatic service and the better it will be for the country. We have a right to know. We have no right to be dragooned into action because the Prime Minister says that he entertains views as indicated. If we take action, let us take it because we as Canadians think it should be taken, not because we are fearful that if we do not do it, somebody will do something to us.

Before we proceed further, let us analyze the position taken by our delegates at the conference in Ottawa, and see what attitude was taken by the Americans on that occasion. Admiral Billard has had considerable experience. Those who know speak of the United States coastguard as being one of the greatest services in the world. The men are very highly trained. I daresay that most hon. members like myself saw a recent article in one of the magazines outlining the conditions

under which men become members of that service and the training they receive before undertaking their duties and responsibilities. This report indicates that the United States took the view from the beginning of the conference, as Admiral Billard clearly stated, as Mr. Doran stated and Mr. Camp stated, that the treaty of 1924 had been of no value whatever. In fact I shall read presently what Mr. Camp said, that makes it an amazing thing that with so strong a statement before them, the representatives of our country took the view stated. But at page 7 of that report we read:

The only solution of the problem therefore appeared to be to ask the Canadian authorities to stop the traffic from the Canadian side. In proposing this action the United States representatives stated that they were not asking Canada to assume responsibility for the enforcement of United States laws. The proposal merely meant that each country should refuse to allow its instrumentalities to be used by per sons engaged in breaking the laws of the other country. This remedy could be afforded by treaty amendment to the following effect, or by corresponding legislative or administrative action.

Once more may I direct the attention of the house to the language of the proposed amendment to the treaty:

The high contracting parties agree that clearances of shipments of merchandise by water, air or land from any of the ports of either country to a port of entrance of the other country shall be denied if such shipment comprises articles the introduction of which is prohibited or restricted for whatever cause in the country to which such shipment is destined, provided, however, that such clearance shall not be denied on shipments of restrictive merchandise when there has been complete compliance with the conditions of the law of both countries.

That was the proposal of the United States in 1929. It will be observed that, unlike the bill, it was reciprocal in its character; unlike the bill it referred to clearances of shipments of merchandise by water, air or land; unlike the bill it did not in any sense deal with liquor alone, but it dealt with all forms of merchandise.

At this point may I make an observation, because I intend to deal with it later a little more fully: when a country of 110,000,600 people offers reciprocal benefits to this country by water, air or land, and asks us to agree, it may well be that within a very short time this country will prohibit the entrance into Canada of various commodities now produced in the United States of America; and had this offer been accepted we would have had a reciprocal treaty dealing with the matter. According to international law

we can legislate only for Canada, and not the United States. The better way by which to establish a contract between another country and our own is by a treaty or convention. That the United States delegates offered; that we declined to accept. It was not a case of accepting or refusing at the moment, but a matter of expression of opinions, and we expressed an adverse view ito that expressed by the American delegates.

It was made clear, however, in subsequent discussions that in addition to refusal of clearances, the United States representatives considered it would be necessary, in order to check the flow, for the Canadian authorities to take steps to prevent the release from distilleries of duty-paid spirits for export to the United States. .

This bill does that. As I shall presently point out, it deals with two matters, one a customs matter and the other an export matter, and in the latter instance the bill meets the requirements that the United States say should be provided in order to prevent the flow of liquor into their country.

The report indicates further that the United States has made a somewhat similar agreement with Cuba and Mexico, and other countries had taken steps to meet their views by a multilateral treaty signed in August, 1925. The Baltic States, Germany, Denmark, Esthonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the free city of Danzig, and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, agreed with one another to prohibit vessels of less than 100 tons register from transporting alcoholic liquors from the territory of the one to the territory of the other and in addition provided for information being supplied in terms similar to the agreement between Canada and the United States. The representations made with respect to the quantity of liquor that was imported into the United States from Canada is indicated on page 11 of the report signed by our delegates:

A recent unofficial estimate by Major Chester P. Mills, formerly in charge of prohibition enforcement in New York city, was to the effect that 98 per cent of the supply in the United States was produced within its own borders. Precision in such estimates was from the nature of things impossible, but even assuming that the Canadian supply vras double the estimate, it still remained a minor factor, so far as quantity was concerned.

It was indicated that our labels were copied and liquor sold as Canadian liquor which was in fact spirits made in the United States and which had injurious effects on their own people.

Attention was also called by the Canadian representatives to the frequency of shipments in daylight along the Detroit and Niagara frontiers within sight of both shores. Photo-2419-40

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

graphs had been taken showing ^ boats with liquor cargoes crossing the river in open daylight.

Hon. members will remember that this was in 1929. Then the steps taken by Canada were indicated, as was mentioned by the Prime Minister this afternoon, especially with respect to changing our laws concerning export houses and limiting the number of export shipping docks along the frontier. Then we have the report made by the members of the United States delegation to their government indicating clearly the strong views entertained by the Americans because Admiral Billard, in closing, left with our delegation an expression of opinion which he said was something for thought. He said:

In the entire history of the world there have never been more friendly neighbour nations than Canada and the United States.

He went further. He said:

Realizing the special conditions, your government was good enough to conclude a smuggling treaty with the United States on June 6, 1924, which treaty, it was hoped, would stop smuggling activities across the international frontier. This treaty, as we all know, has not accomplished the purpose for which it was designed.

He gave particulars of the reasons for his views and once more quoted the language of the proposed amendment to the existing convention. He also mentioned that the value of the whisky exported to the United States from Canada had increased from $12,000,000 in 1927 to $18,000,000 in 1928, and as most hon. members know, while the entire quantity of liquor shipped to the United States in 1929 for the twelve months ended January last has decreased, the quantity of certain forms of spirits increased a little over the figures mentioned by Admiral Billard for 1928. He made this statement, and I quote again:

I may say it would appear that some people feel that in proposing such an amendment to your government the United States is asking Canada to do something new and unusual and, in effect, to assume responsibility for the enforcement of American laws. I am_ sure that you gentlemen understand that nothing can be further from the facts. All that this amendment purports to provide is that Canada and the United States will refuse to allow their instrumentalities to be used by persons engaged in breaking the laws of one or the other of the two countries.

He gave instances and illustrations as to what had happened and then came to the point to which I direct the attention of the house as being of great importance. The people of the United States were not unmindful of what we had been doing in Canada through parliament and the royal commission. So it will be found in the report made to his

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

government that Admiral Billard directed attention to the fact that his delegation had relied upon the report of the parliamentary committee and also on the report of the royal commission. The report of the royal commission he quotes in terms as well as the report of the committee and he asks, not unfairly, it seems to me, why some action had not been taken in that regard. This of course, as might be expected, is done with diplomatic care. It will be found at page 6 of the report and to that I shall again refer presently. Some of the gentlemen who spoke on behalf of the United States indicated clearly that the result of the treaty of 1924 had been wholly unsatisfactory and they gave the reasons why. There is one paragraph I should like to point to in particular. This is what Mr. Anslinger stated as reported on page 11:

There is not one instance where a seizure had been made as the result of information furnished by the Canadian authorities because of its fictitious nature.

That is the result of the treaty in operation. The reason he gave for it was that the information furnished was in practically every instance fictitious, and therefore it did not become of any value at all. The attitude of our delegation as reported to the United States government might be summarized in this way: Mr. Hawken, Mr. Breadner, Mr. Stuart Edwards, Mr. Cowan, head of the preventive service, indicated first of all that if the American views were met Canada might seem to be taking some responsibility with respect to the enforcement of American laws and this they thought we should not do; secondly, that in any event the liquor would get into the United States by indirect methods instead of by the direct methods then followed, and that there would be many points from which it would be sent rather than from the limited number from which it was then going. They indicated that they felt the question of expense might be involved and that it might place upon us an increased burden of financial responsibility. This summarizes very shortly the position taken by the representatives of the Canadian government. They felt especially that there might be great difficulties because of the fact that as Mr. George Taylor put it, it would result in decentralization whereas now the traffic is centralized, which enables the American authorities to centralize their efforts since they know where the liquor is coming from. That point was met by frank discussion.

There was one other position referred to by the delegation which I think the government must consider, and I shall presently invite the attention of the government to the provisions

of the statute. Mr. Cowan felt that if you proceeded to deal with it in the way suggested, our people would be involved in searching cargoes to ascertain whether or not the ship's manifest correctly indicated the cargo. In other words, he said that it would put upon us the intolerable burden of searching each ship to ascertain whether the cargo did or did not contain articles the importation of which was prohibited by the United States. That position I think will be clearly met when the bill is in committee by indicating the desirability of providing that the ship's manifest shall be the indication of its cargo, and that it will be impossible for us to give any guarantee whether or not smuggling in the cargo is going an. I should like to quote the words of Admiral Billard as the conference closed. He said:

I would like to leave a thought witil you as we are adjourning. The discussions have been most interesting. I am going to ask yon to take this thought away with you-that we shall not be like the chap who could not see the forest on account of the trees. Our purpose is fundamental. It is not whether, under a certain program, certain practices are carried out. It is a matter of a great, friendly power that has been assisting us in this work right along-of a great, friendly power now sanctioning the importation into its neighbour's territory of an article strictly prohibited by that neighbour. There has been just a bit of inconsistency in the matter.

Some of you have brought out the lack of legal obligation on the part of Canada to help us, others have brought out most gratifyingly a disposition to help as you have helped. I just wish to leave this thought with you-of two great neighbours, friendly, with mutual interests, and a situation whereunder you sanction the importation of an article into a sister country, the admission of which is absolutely prohibited.

That was the position taken by Admiral Billard, and he said that no remedy short of a refusal to give clearances would bring about the desired result.

Now let us ask ourselves what the Prime Minister meant this afternoon when he said that he did not propose that the instrumentalities of government, namely, the customs officials of this country, should become parties to these illegal transactions and be compelled to do that which in all conscience they should not do, namely, sign their names to papers which they knew to be false and give the support of their signatures to statements which they knew to be untrue.

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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 think I said anything of the kind. I never said "statements that were false". I said that they were signing statements which from the point of view of the law as it stood were absolutely

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

correct, but which, having relation to the situation as it is in the United States, were capable of being misinterpreted.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think the right hon. gentleman is perhaps dealing with another phase. I am coming to the second phase of his observations. But the first part of his observations dealt with those cases in which we had given clearances knowing the ships would never go to the ports designated, that the officials were signing fictitious papers, which they knew in their heart and soul and conscience were not true. There is no doubt about that.

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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 did not make that statement, though.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I certainly think that that was the sense of what the right hon. gentleman said, but I am bound to accept his statement that he did not say it. I will put it this way: It was brought out clearly by the customs committee that clearances were being given to ships that never could reach the ports they were apparently destined for, and signatures were placed upon documents required by law, which signatures in point of fact were made by men who knew when they made them that they were certifying to something that could not possibly be correct. There is no doubt about that. That point has been canvassed so often that I do not need to devote any more time to it.

Now I come to the question of existing conditions, namely the signing of clearance papers to the United States by the officials who know when they clear the ship that she never will land at the port to which she is legally destined-never. Therefore, so the Prime Minister argued, our officials were being asked to become parties to the violation of the laws of another country and to do something which, although under our laws not criminal, was in morals and international comity an offence against friendly nations; I will put it as broadly as that. Now I want to ask the right hon. gentleman this: Since when did his solicitude become so keen? Why this sudden solicitude? W7hy was the solicitude not expressed in 1926, or in 1927, or in 1928, or in 1929? Why did it manifest itself only in 1930? Was the evil greater in 1930 than in 1929? W7as it greater in 1930 than in 1928? Could }rou say in any one instance that the evil had become so monstrous that it must be destroyed? Whs its magnitude any greater in 1929 than in 1928? The figures indicate clearly that whatever that evil was, it existed in 1929 as it did in 1928, and there is no great increase in the volume of liquor exports to 2419- 40$

the United States in the twelve months ending January, 1930, over the twelve months ending January, 1929. Then why this sudden change of heart? WThy then, this sudden solicitude for the instrumentalities of government? Why this desire to save them from doing this evil thing? That is the question. Is there any answer?

Further, if it was all right in 1929, why is it to become wrong in 1930 when there has been no change in the American law? W7hen the Minister of National Revenue from his place in the house last year made a statement with respect to the attitude of the Canadian People on this question, the prohibitory liquor article of the United States constitution was in effect as it is to-day. Why in February, May and June, 1929, have one view, and suddenly a new view in 1930? There is nothing upon the record to explain it. Perhaps like Saul of Tarsus, journeying down to Damascus the Prime Minister has seen a great light. That we do not know, but this we do know, that there has been no change in the law of the United States with respect to this matter, and the conditions that obtained in the United States at the time of the inquiry by the customs committee and by the royal commission are the conditions that have prevailed up to this day. There has been no change in their law, and so I ask, why this sudden solicitude? The other day the Prime Minister said that Sir Robert Borden made certain statements on one occasion because he thought an election was coming. Judging from the closing observations of the right hon. gentleman, that is the reason of his sudden solicitude. He has come to the conclusion that the balance of public opinion is against rather than for the position taken by the government last year, and so he is going to change with it.

I am going to ask the right hon. gentleman another question. It deals with a matter that, after all, is of great importance in this country. It was of such great importance in this country that it was one of the issues, perhaps obscured by other matters, that brought the Prime Minister back to power in 1926. I wonder if this house remembers the exact terms in which the customs committee made its report with respect to clearances. When paragraph 10 came before the committee for consideration the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. St.-Pere) and the hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Bell) did not agree with the terms of that recommendation of the committee.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

They did.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No, they did not agree.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

They did.

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

In order that there may be no misapprehension on that point I will read from the records, page 1 of the minutes:

Clause 10 was read and the question being put, the committee divided as follows:

Yeas, Messrs. Bennett, Donaghy, Doucet, Goodison. Kennedy and Stevens, 6. Nays, Messrs. Bell and St. Pere, 2.

Clause 10 agreed to.

Now, sir, at that time we had in parliament a statement that that report was to be adopted. When the hon. member for St. Henri (Mr. Mercier) moved the adoption of the report, it met apparently with the unanimous approval of the house. I quite agree with the Prime Minister that so far as the main report that came from that committee was concerned, on which there was a majority of the supporters of his administration-it was under their control; I will put it that way- that report met with the approval of this house. When I say that the committee was under the control of the supporters of the administration, I should add that of the nine members one was of the Progressive party. It is possible that the membership was equally divided as between Liberals and Conservatives with the Progressive member. I speak subject to correction on that point. But at any rate it met with the support of the chairman, a Liberal, and he made the report to this house, which report contained clause 10. An amendment passed by the house made it impossible, as the Prime Minister properly observed this afternoon, for him to support it because it censured his administration. Therefore he was not prepared to vote for it. But apart from that, the committee made a report after careful study of the situation, and that report was adopted by this house. There were differences of opinion with respect to certain clauses, as mentioned by the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill) this afternoon, but with respect to the report itself there was no difficulty except the difficulty to which I have just alluded. There were other votes also in the committee, but in the end the report was as I have indicated.

Now, just for a moment may I direct attention to the language of paragraph 10. This afternoon the Prime Minister indicated his high regard for this parliament, for the views that it entertained with respect to this matter, and the desirability of the government giving effect to them. Let me read these words from the report:

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 recommend that it be amended. The committee further recommend 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 accorance with the laws of that country.

"As soon as possible." I read this afternoon the promise given to the people of Canada by the Prime Minister in the advertisement published in the Toronto Globe, that when the report came from the royal commission he would see that its recommendations were implemented. Does "as soon as possible " mean four years later or not? Four years later! Aye, but it did not stop there. He asked the United States authorities to stay their hand in their endeavour to secure a conference-until when? Until after the royal commission, as indicated in the despatch he himself sent to the government of the United States, had made its report. Let us look at the language of the report made by the royal commission. And that royal commission certainly was not partisan in its personnel. It consisted of three judges, the chief justice of the King's Bench in Saskatchewan, an Ontario judge and a distinguished jurist from Quebec; all it is true, Liberals before their appointment to the bench; but that had nothing to do with their views; they were judges a'jd they heard the evidence. Their counsel was the Hon. N. W. Rowell-certainly not a Conservative, certainly not prejudiced against the administration which he was supporting. Let us see what that commission said in its report:

We also express our entire concurrence in the recommendation of the special committee of the House of Commons as contained in paragraph 10 of that committee's report. An effective method of carrying out the intent of the treaty referred to would be to prohibit clearances to vessels or vehicles of all kinds carrying a cargo of liquor to the United States, contrary to the laws of that country.

_ Such are the words of those three eminent judges. They adopted the recommendation of the select committee that asked that this matter be dealt with "as soon as possible." Further, they said that this would only give effect to the true intent of the treaty of 1924. The right hon. Prime Minister, when he was faced with the situation that the intent of the treaty was as I have indicated, sent a despatch to the American government over his own signature in which he said: this matter has also been referred to the commission, and we will wait until we see what they report. You find that the paragraph that I have quoted,

Export Act-Mr. Bennett

which is next to the closing paragraph of the report, deals with the treaty, that is, the treaty with the United States, and says:

An effective method of carrying out the intent of the treaty referred to would be to prohibit clearances to vessels or vehicles of all kinds carrying a cargo of liquor to the United States, contrary to the laws of that country.

Then, sir, if that be so, why have the government waited since 1927 until this year before taking action? What is the answer? If the government were sincere, if they were really interested in this matter, if it was of tremendous importance to Canada that they have indicated, then tell me how you construe the words " as soon as possible " to mean four years later. The royal commission approved the recommendation of the special committee that action be taken as soon as possible. If that was the true intent of the recommendation, how do the government justify this delay? It is all right for the government to wrap themselves in the mantle of righteousness, but it is not sufficient to say that that answers the question. What is the answer? Let the Minister of Railways (Mr. Crerar) go back to western Canada and tell them what the answer is.

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LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

What reference did you make to it in western Canada this year?

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March 14, 1930