May 23, 1951

PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

The minister has said that this is not unusual. Will ne give another instance where legislation goes beyond dominion officials and is binding upon provincial officials?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

Subsection 3 of section 2 of the Customs Act reads:

The rates and duties of customs imposed by this act or the Customs Tariff or any other law relating to the customs, as well as the rates and duties of customs heretofore imposed by any customs act or Customs Tariff or any law relating to the customs enacted and in force at any time since the first day of July, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, shall be binding, and are declared and shall be deemed to have been always binding upon and payable by His Majesty, in respect of any goods which may be hereafter or have been heretofore imported by or for His Majesty, whether in the right of His Majesty's government of Canada or His Majesty's government of any province of Canada-

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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Section agreed to. On section 2-Detention.


PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I should

like to know something more about the acts which are referred to. The explanatory note reads:

The proposed subsection is new. A number of acts not administered by the Department of

Customs Act

National Revenue nevertheless contain clauses prohibiting under certain conditions import and', in some cases, export of goods of various classes. A customs officer while often directed by the act concerned to give effect to these prohibitions is under the section as it stands directed to release the goods immediately on payment of duty. The amendment will provide statutory authority for existing practice.

I should like reference made at any rate to some of the acts concerned, and I should also like an explanation of the statement that the amendment will provide statutory authority for existing practice. What has been the existing practice and what authority was there for it?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

As is indicated by the explanatory note, there are acts which permit importation or exportation of certain goods conditional upon their meeting specific standards or requirements laid down by other acts such as the Food and Drugs Act, the Fisheries Act, the Animal Contagious Diseases Act, the Seeds Act, the Fruit, Vegetables and Honey Act, and others. In such cases the government department responsible for the act enforced by our officers is the logical final authority as to whether or not the goods in question comply with the specific conditions or terms of entry. To refer such cases to the competent authority requires the temporary detention of the goods, and all the new section does is to provide the statutory authority for that detention.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

What authority has ther been in the past?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

It is doubtful whether there was any authority. This would save the importer a great deal of trouble and perhaps expense if after his goods were declared they had to be seized and the duty assessed by another branch of the government which could act under its act, for instance, the Food and Drugs Act.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I think I can see the reason for it, but what I am interested in is this. I should like to know a little more about it. The minister said a minute ago that it is doubtful whether there has been any authority. How long has that been in existence, and what kind of things have been done without authority? Have people's goods been detained without any authority of any kind, and how does the point arise now?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

The point arises because of the fact that the act says at the present time that on the importer paying his duty the goods must be released immediately. We contend that it would be advisable to detain the goods until such time as we have received information from the other departments concerned as to whether that type of goods should be admitted to the country.

Customs Act

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Then do I understand correctly that the act has said that when the charges are paid the goods should be released?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

That is right.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

But notwithstanding that you have been detaining goods in certain cases because you thought, for the purposes of the other acts, it was the wiser course to follow. Is that correct?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

We try to co-ordinate one department with the other, and in some of the acts governing the importation of goods it says that they shall be held for examination.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

We have grown accustomed to orders in council, but is this a case where you did not even bother to have an order in council? Were these just minister's orders?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

It is stipulated in these other acts. For instance, the Animal Contagious Diseases Act specifically states that animals imported into this country must have a clearance from the authorities of the Department of Agriculture, which administers the act, before we are allowed to release them, even if the duty has been paid.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

But you

evidently feel that does not cover you because you are now passing this new legislation. I am just interested in knowing-and I think it is worth knowing as we pass

to what extent power is just taken in your stride, so to speak. We have often made complaints about orders in council but this seems to be a case where, as I said a moment ago, there was no authority of any kind, not even an order in council.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

There is a conflict of authority that we want to get away from. Our act as it stands says that goods shall be released immediately upon the payment of duty. Some of these other acts say that they shall be detained until there is a clearance from the particular department. In order to remove that conflict or repugnance, if you want to call it that, we are attempting to remove that difficulty by amending this section.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I do not

imagine it is worth pursuing the matter very much further. I am interested to know why the minister speaks about a conflict of authority. I would not regard this as conflict

of authority. I would regard it as absence of authority, but I suppose we ought to be thankful that the minister is at last getting the power to do legally what he has been doing illegally.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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Section agreed to. On section 3-Goods otherwise exempt, dutiable in certain cases.


CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Wrighi:

I should like to ask the minister a question with respect to this clause. It has to do with the collection of duty on goods brought into Canada for use by the armed forces or the government and their resale later. The effect of it is that, where a resale of goods is made to parties who are not entitled to import without paying duties, the duties shall be paid in full. Let us take a piece of equipment which is imported into this country and is used for two or three years. Is the duty payable on the depreciated value of the goods or on the cost value? I ask this question because I have been given to understand that a considerable amount of equipment was imported into Canada in this manner during the last war, and that when it came to pay the duty it was cheaper to ditch the equipment or throw it in a gully than to pay the duty, although there was still a lot of use in the equipment. Do the customs duties have to be paid on the original value or on the depreciated value of the equipment?

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO CLARIFY ACT AND TO FACILITATE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
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May 23, 1951