Alexandre Joseph DOUCET

DOUCET, Alexandre Joseph

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Kent (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
November 1, 1880
Deceased Date
July 28, 1951
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Joseph_Doucet
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=7c80f771-ca25-4628-8355-ae46ed1f9087&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

December 20, 1923 - September 5, 1925
CON
  Kent (New Brunswick)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Kent (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 82)


June 23, 1926

Mr. A. J. DOUCET (Kent, N.B.):

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO
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June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

I accept the explanation of the right hon. gentleman. It is satisfactory to me. It meant the same thing, and in fact it was the same thing. I hold no brief for that commission, but I want to say that the files and the evidence produced before the committee clearly show that every man who was neglectful in his duties was appointed to the force before the Civil Service Commission appointed men to the outside service. Furthermore, every promotion made by the Civil Service Commission was recommended by the department itself before the promotion went through. The inspector of the port of Montreal was recommended as 100 per cent efficient, 100 per cent capable, and by whom? By officers of the department; and if he did not get a reclassification last year, was it the fault of the department? We have in evidence, Mr. Speaker, that the deputy minister harassed the commission for six months to give this man Clerk a reclassification, and the reclassifioation would have gone through if it had not been objected to by the chairman of that commission. It is useless to try to blame the Civil Service Commission for the negligence in the customs service. Do hon. gentlemen want any further proof? You remember, Mr. Speaker, when the vote for $350,000 passed this House last session, the plea was made by the Prime Minister himself. If we refer to page 3778 of last year's Hansard, we will see that he said that it is most important that steps should be taken to protect the revenue of this country. There was a loss in revenue of possibly fifty to a hundred million dollars per year owing to the conditions that existed, and the Minister of Customs himself said, "You cannot get efficient officers by applying to the Civil Service Commission. These men must be appointed outside of that commission altogether." With what result? The records of sixty-seven special men were placed before the committee, and I am going to quote a few of them this evening for the purpose of showing that they got poorer results than they would have obtained if they had asked the commission to make the appointments.

In the fall of 1924 there were some 123 cans of alcohol seized at St. Leonard in the county of Madawaska, New Brunswick. That

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Doucet

alcohol was placed in the customs house for safe keeping. The man in charge of that warehouse left the place about thirty minutes after midnight on the 21st of December and went to a pool room where he played cards until about six o'clock in the morning. When he returned he found that the place had been broken open, the alcohol was gone and he had no excuse to offer. That is in substance the report given by the inspector of customs stationed at Woodstock, New Brunswick. The man, as would be expected, was retired; but when it came to the appointment of a special preventive officer in October last, the same man was appointed at a salary of $1,200 a year.

I come to the case of a man at Chester, Nova Scotia, a man who was fined in October 1922 for having sixteen gallons of smuggled rum in his possession. The files of the department show that he was appointed as a special preventive officer on the recommendation of the member for the constituency, and when the chief of the preventive service said: "Why, this man is a noted smuggler," this member, (Mjr. Duff), wired back, "collect" as per usual, stating: "He is a good mian."

I come to the case of three men appointed in the county of Gloucester in the month of October. One of them is eighty-four years of age.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO
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June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

His name is on the list

certified by the department and produced before the Customs inquiry committee.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO
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June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

I expect the hon. member

to ask a sensible question. This liquor was unloaded from the vessel operating in "rum row"; landed by one of the fastest motor boats in that district and transported to the barracks, and neither the owners of the motor boat, the motor cars or the officers connected with the landing of that liquor were prosecuted, be* cause a minister of the crown, a member of this present government, intervened and prevented prosecution.

I come now, Mr. Speaker, to a motor boat known as the Cozy, of 10 tons, not registered. She left St. Pierre, Miquelon, on July 22, 1925, with 250 cases of whiskey; she arrived at Main-a-dieu, Cape Breton, on the morning of the 25th with nothing on board. There was no report inward and no report outward; she remained in Main-a-dieu until July 30, and was seized in Halifax on August 5, the date to which my hon. friend was referring. She was seized for having unloaded liquor on the shores of Cape Breton without making a report inward or outward. One of the friends of the government in Halifax wired the department and the present Minister of Customs .pleased the boat, or authorized a refund of the fine which had been paid on August 28th, and the fine was thereupon returned.

lNow I come to the schooner Rising Sun, wmch left Canso on September 23, 1925, with

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Doucet

a clearance for Nassau. I hope hon. mem. bers know the direction which would be taken in going from Canso to Nassau, but this schooner was in Charlottetown on September 26 and cleared again from Charlottetown for Nasau with 770 cases of liquor. She was hovering around the shores of the Northumberland strait, making no report to the customs and arrived at the out port of Canso on October 1 in ballast, empty. This schooner was seized and one of the sailors made an affidavit confirming every suspicion of the officers in that territory, but would you be surprised to learn that while the officers of the preventive service were making a close scrutiny of the district to get additional evidence the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) wired the department to release the vessel, and she was released before the officers of the department working on the ground had a chance to report to their chief.

Now, Mr. Speaker, during the whole of the inquiry when we discussed this question *f ocean going vessels the question of territorial waters was always to the fore. That was brought about because for at least thirty-five years to the knowledge of the officers of the department who testified at that inquiry, what is known as the strait of Northumberland, the Baie des Chaleurs, and the gulf of St. Lawrence, inside of Cabot strait, were known to be Canadian waters and recognized as such, and every seizure made inside Cabot strait was recognized by the department who were sustained in that position by the courts in every case of appeal. In the month of June, 1923, we find that the schooner W. C. Kennedy, owned by the W. C. Kennedy Company of Lunenburg-which by the way was not known by the postmaster of Lunenburg when a registered letter was sent there by the department after the seizure, but whose secretary, apparently, is one Mr. Adams, who is also secretary for the Lunenburg Outfitting Company-left St. Pierre et Miquelon with 994 cases of liquor. She reached Halifax and remained there ten days waiting for orders. She cleared from Halifax on June 18, 1923, and took a clearance for Nassau in the Bahamas. She was next reported in the strait of Northumberland, seven miles off Pictou island, on June 26. That, as hon. gentlemen know, is in the opposite direction to the course for Nassau. The vessel was seized by the customs cruiser Margaret, and before the master had a chance to communicate with his fellows on shore, he replied to questions by Captain Alfred Lacouvee, of the Margaret. He stated it was true that he had a clearance for Nassau, but 'he had been told by the supercargo to lie off Pictou

and there take orders from the supercargo who had gone by land to make the necessary arrangements for the landing of the cargo. He further testified that when the seizure took place he had only 806 cases of liquor on board. He said that after leaving Halifax he had unloaded 188 cases of liquor in open motorboats outside of the three-mile limit on the Dartmouth shore. The schooner was seized, the cargo transferred to the steamer Margaret, and taken to Quebec. But, Sir, the hon member for the eonstitutency of Lunenburg, (Mr. Duff), realized that there was a possibility that by invoking the territorial water question he might have his schooner released.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO
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June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

I know it will be pleasant to hon. gentlemen opposite if I do not dwell too long upon the various questions that arose during the customs inquiry which lasted some four and a half months. When the Minister of Customs and Excise (Mr. Boivin) spoke at Sherbrooke on March 21 last and said that this inquiry would cost the country something like a half a million dollars, with no good results, it was the opinion of the members of the committee that the hon. minister had erred somewhat. He admitted that yesterday, and for his admission we are grateful. He said yesterday, Mr. Speaker, that politics had crept into the inquiry during the first few weeks. If politics were brought in I ask who was responsible? The first clash that came in the committee was when we asked on March 3 that the Duncan report be placed in evidence, and that Inspector Duncan himself be called into the witness box -to testify as to the accuracy of that report. Tiie first division in the committee occurred then, and had it not been for the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett), the hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Bell), the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) and myself voting together to have the Duncan report placed in evidence, thus securing a majority, that report would not have been produced. Listening to the arguments of the hon. member for North Vancouver this afternoon one would imagine his party were entitled to all the credit for conducting this inquiry because forsooth they had produced the Duncan report. Do hon. members of this House realize that on April 21 we made a motion to have the Duncan report included in the evidence? The chairman of the committee then invoked, as he had a right to do, a rule which had not been invoked during a period of six or eight weeks. He asked that notice of motion be given and that the question be deferred for decision until the following Tuesday. It was not until the hon. member for Peace River

supported our motion that the supporters of the government yielded to our wishes.

Now, Sir, I turn to other phases of the question Certain rumours are afloat, and in view of that fact I am not surprised at the question that was directed to me before I had even begun my speech. I can foresee by the rumours to-day that if the questions of conscription, the war with Turkey, and all the other familiar election cries of the past cannot be resorted to, one issue that will be raised at the next election will be that this committee focussed its searchlight only upon the port of Montreal in the province of Quebec. Let me say that if the committee focussed its searchlight upon the port of Montreal there are very many reasons for that First of all, Montreal is the largest port in this Dominion. In the next place it is the second largest port on the North American continent. Furthermore, Montreal is the fifth largest city on the continent; it is the metropolis of the Dominion, it is the chief manufacturing centre, and owing to its geographical position it serves approximately seventy-five per cent of the country's population.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO
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