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 3 of 82)


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:

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

Mr. Speaker-

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

June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

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.

uoii-ail .

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