June 10, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


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


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Secretary of State for External Affairs) moved:

That it is expedient that parliament do approve of the convention of 1936 for the suppression of the illicit traffic in dangerous drugs (Geneva, June 26, 1936), signed on behalf of Canada by the plenipotentiary named therein, and that this house do approve of the same.
He said: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday, the subject-matter of t' e convention was considered by the house at the time the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Power) introduced his bill with respect to opium and narcotic drugs. That was in February of this year. The bill was to implement any obligation on the part of Canada which might be incurred under the terms of the convention. Its main purpose is to make more severe the penalties which have existed in the past with respect to illicit trafficking in opium and other drugs.
The convention was drawn up by the international conference for the suppression of the illicit traffic in dangerous drugs which met in Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations. The objectives of the conference were, first, to secure international cooperation in stiffening penalties for breaches of legislation implementing the earlier opium con-

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ventions of 1912, 1925 and 1931, and, secondly, to strengthen police efforts to repress the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs.
The draft before the conference was the result of two years' preparatory work initiated by the opium advisory committee. A first draft had been submitted to all governments signatory to the opium conventions in 1934. Their observations and criticisms were taken into consideration in preparing a revised draft which was circulated in 1935. It was only after this thorough canvass of the competent national authorities had established the expediency of endeavouring to draw up an international convention that the decision to hold the special conference was taken.
The Canadian government was represented at this conference by Colonel C. H. L. Shar-man, chief of the narcotics division, Department of Pensions and National Health, who is also the Canadian representative on the opium advisory committee and who had taken an active part in the preparatory discussions of the draft convention.
The convention requires ratification. It will enter into force ninety days after the secretary general of the league has received the ratifications or accessions of ten states.
It has been signed on behalf of thirty-two countries and ratification has been completed, up to date, by India, China and Belgium.
When parliament has approved the convention the governor in council will authorize ratification.
I do not know that I need say much more. If hon. members wish to know the main provisions of the convention I can give them by quoting one or -two of its articles. The convention itself has been distributed among hon. members, and that may not, therefore, be necessary.

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