May 13, 1955

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION


Mr. Rene N. Jutras (Provencher) presented the first report of the standing committee on agriculture and colonization, and moved that the report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


MARINE AND FISHERIES

CONCURRENCE IN FIRST


Mr. T. G. W. Ashbourne (Grand Falls-White Bay-Labrador) presented the first report of the standing committee on marine and fisheries, and moved that the report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


ADOPTION OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION REPORT

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Finance):

Hon. members will recall that Mr. Speaker presented to the house two days ago a report of the civil service commission with respect to four members of the staff. I now beg leave to move that the report be adopted.

Topic:   ADOPTION OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION REPORT
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Motion agreed to.


POSTAL SERVICE

ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS


On the orders of the day:


PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Esquimalt-Saanich):

May

I direct a question to the Minister of National Defence, notice of which I have sent him. Has the minister's attention been called to an article in the Vancouver Sun, alleging that goods are being smuggled into Canada from the Far East through the army mails? Can the minister also say what exemptions from customs duties are granted to service personnel?

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS
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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. R. O. Campney (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to thank the hon. member for having given me notice of his question. The hon. member for

50433-236J

Vancouver East (Mr. Winch) also gave me notice of a similar question. I have seen a copy of the rather, to me at least, astonishing article to which the hon. member has referred.

In reply, I would like to say that it has been our policy to investigate immediately and thoroughly any report of alleged irregularities of whatever kind, and from whatever source, even though, as I indicated to the house in the answer which I made to a question on April 18, many of these reports are later found to be either without foundation or greatly exaggerated.

With regard to the specific matter to which my hon. friend has referred, I may say that the report of rumoured abuses in the army postal service in Vancouver came to my attention early this week. While I was not given any actual evidence of the truth of these rumours, I nevertheless immediately ordered an investigation, which is at present in progress. So far nothing has come to light to indicate that there is any truth in these rumours.

As hon. members well know, postal investigations are most effectively carried through when the parties involved are unaware of the inquiry, and I can only hope that the effectiveness of this particular inquiry will not be prejudiced by what appears to be a particularly highly coloured and as yet unsubstantiated newspaper story.

With regard to the hon. member's second question, I understand that if a soldier has served abroad less than a year he may bring back $100 worth of goods free of duty. If he has served for a year or longer there is no limit on the amount he can bring back, but it must have been purchased at least six months prior to his returning to Canada. This applies no matter where the service abroad has been, whether in the United States, the Far East or Germany. I think it is covered by items 703(b) and (c) of the tariff act.

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. S. Harkness (Calgary North):

May

I ask the minister a supplementary question. Has he any information as to the nature of the goods alleged to have been smuggled and do they include narcotics and things of that sort?

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS
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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

I have no detailed knowledge as to what goods are alleged to be involved.

Inquiries of the Ministry The article to which reference has been made contains the only reference to narcotics which I have seen.

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Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS
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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. F. G. J. Hahn (New Westminster):

should like to direct a question to the Acting Postmaster General, notice of which I have not sent him. In view of the reply made a few moments ago by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Campney) with regard to tampering with the mails, is the Acting Postmaster General prepared to indicate that the Post Office Department will carry on an investigation?

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Acting Postmaster General):

I think I will let my colleague carry on his investigation.

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   ALLEGED SMUGGLING FROM FAR EAST THROUGH ARMY MAILS
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NATIONAL REVENUE

ALLEGED RELEASE OF INFORMATION

May 13, 1955