March 3, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


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


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

Resolved by the House of Commons,-That
it is expedient that parliament do approve of the treaty for the suppression of smuggling operations along the international boundary between the Dominion of Canada and the United States, and assisting in the arrest and prosecution of persons violating the narcotic laws of either government and for kindred purposes, which was signed at Washington on the sixth day of June, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-four, and which was signed on behalf of His Majesty in respect of Canada by the plenipotentiary therein named, and that this House do approve of the same.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the resolution is
to secure from the House of Commons, and subsequently from the Senate, of Canada approval of a treaty in the nature of international co-operation which has been entered into between Canada and the United States for the suppression of smuggling across the international boundary, and also to assist in the arrest and prosecution of persons violating the narcotic laws of either government.
This treaty has been negotiated and signed in accordance with the procedure laid down at the Imperial Conference of 1923. Hon. members of the House may recall that in the fall of 1923 a conference was held here at
Canada-U.S. Smuggling Treaty
Ottawa between officials of the United States government and officials of the Canadian government who have to do with the administration of the customs and excise laws of the two countries. It was felt that if a conference could be held at which the officials of the two countries might be brought into immediate and personal touch with each other, it might be possible to draft regulations, subsequently to be embodied in a treaty, which would be helpful to both the United States and Canada in the suppression of smuggling into either country. As I have mentioned, the officials of the United States government came to Ottawa for the purpose of conferring with our officials here. As a result of that conference a report was presented to the governments of the two countries, which subsequently became a matter of further negotiation between ministers of the two governments, and a treaty was drafted. It was signed at Washington on June 6th of last year, signed on behalf of the United States by Mr. Secretary Hughes, and on behalf of Canada by the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) who received from His Majesty the King full powers enabling him in respect of Canada to sign on His Majesty's behalf. The treaty, so far as the United States is concerned, was_ submitted to the United States Senate for advice and consent of ratification last year, and the advice and consent of ratification on behalf of the Senate was obtained on December 12, 1924. What the government is seeking at the moment is approval by this House of the treaty as a preliminary to ratification on the part of Canada. When ratification by Canada has been obtained exchange of ratifications between the two countries will be made and the treaty will then become law.
The provisions of the treaty relate in the first place, to the exchange of information between the officials of the two governments with respect to clearances of vessels, or the transportation of cargoes, shipments or loads of dutiable articles across the international boundary. The treaty provides that where the officials of the United States government or of the Canadian government request the officials of the other country for information with respect to such clearances of vessels, transportation of shipments of articles across the international frontier, that information shall be given.
It provides further that where there is reason to believe in respect to clearances of vessels to any ports smuggling is about to take place wfith respect of any articles which are prohibited entry into either of the countries, the officers of the country from which
these articles are about to be exported shall give information to the officers of the other country to assist in preventing these smuggling operations.
A further clause provides that where it appears, from the size or tonnage or general character of any vessel about to clear from a port either of the United States or Canada to some port named that it would be impossible for the vessel to reach the destination named, clearance shall be denied by the custom officers to any such vessel if carrying cargo consisting of articles the importation of which into the territory of Canada or of the United States is prohibited. I may say that this is a restriction which our Department of Customs is now enforcing as a departmental regulation. This treaty if it pases, will make the regulation a matter of international obligation.
There is a similar clause in the treaty with respect to the names and activities of persons known or suspected to be engaged in violation of the narcotic laws of Canada or the United States, the underlying idea being that the officials of both countries are interested in doing all they can to suppress the narcotic evil; it is therefore provided that they shall co-operate and assist one another by exchanging information wherever they have reason to believe that an effort is being made to violate the narcotic laws of either country.
There, is a Clause in the treaty which provides for the return to the owners in either country of property that has been stolen and taken across the border and there seized by customs officials of the other country. It has happened very often of late that articles, automobiles especially, have been stolen in one country and taken across the border to the other, in order that the offenders may the more readily escape punishment, and often to permit of the disposal of the article on the other side. It has been found in some cases that the owners of the articles have suffered in consequence through there not being an adequate requirement under which the stolen article shall be returned to its owner. The provision in the treaty will assist bona fide owners to recover stolen property in circumstances of the kind.

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