I am convinced, although
I am not boasting about it, that my remarks this evening will make much more impression on my friends on this side than if the hon. member had himself spoken.
With reference to the conditions in the port of Montreal and the province of Quebec since 1922, the attention of the commercial interests of the countiy was focussed upon that section. On the 13th of January, 1922, the ex-Mmister of Customs caused the detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stationed at Lacolle to be removed from there, thus making easy the way of the transgressor in defrauding the public revenue. On the 25th of March, 1922, the same Minister had the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment removed from Philipsburg, Quebec, thereby opening the highway crossing the international boundary, providing an opportunity for the smuggler to import contraband goods into this country. On the 6th of May,' 1924, the same Minister of Customs instructed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force in Montreal to do nothing but report to Bisaillon. On the 24th of October, 1924, the same gentleman, occupying the position of Minister of Customs and Excise, removed all authority as customs and excise officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted
Customs Inquiry-Mr. Doucet
Police force at Montreal. Do you know, Sir, that the removal of Chief Inspector Busby from his inspectorship of the division of Montreal and the substitution of an inefficient and incapable successor, made the way much easier for wholesale corruption of the public service? Notorious cases arose in this district. Let me cite the Keith-Vaughan-Harrison case, referred to by my hon. friend from Vancouver North (Mr. Donaghy) this afternoon; the famous S. S. "Borden" drug case, the famous barge "Tremblay" case, and again the Denise Larde silk smuggling case into the port of Quebec. There were very many cases of this kind, and the commercial interests of the Dominion were affected. They centralized on the Commercial Protective Association, and they asked that special men be sent to Montreal to investigate. And let me say that the steps taken by the Finance department in sending men to inspect the port of Montreal, and the information gathered thereby, were the basis upon which this inquiry was conducted. The fact, again, that the counsel chosen for the committee had intimate knowledge of the way smugglers were carrying on their nefarious traffic in this section gave him firsthand knowledge as to how to proceed with the inquiry. That he was a clever gentleman and that his work was done in an efficient manner no one will deny, and that he was likewise appointed by this government is admitted by all. Then I ask, Mr. Speaker, how is it that the inquiry was focussed at first on Montreal, to the detriment of that city? Respectable citizens of Montreal and respectable citizens of the whole province of Quebec have welcomed this inquiry, and the facts revealed by it will be the means of cleaning out the smuggling gang operating in that section, will give a fair chance to the legitimate business interests of the province to conduct business, and will also bring additional revenue to the treasury of this Dominion.
During the first addresses made on the charges preferred by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) on the 2nd of February last, and referred to, it is true in a very small degree, by the hon. member for Vancouver North this afternoon, the Civil Service Commission was practically accused of having made a poor selection of the Customs officers in that section. I hold no brief for the Civil Service Commission, but the revelations made by that committee were such that two of the commissioners were asked by the Prime Minister to tender their resignations.
Topic: CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic: REPORT OP SPECIAL COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE AND AMENDMENTS THERETO