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 4 of 82)


June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

I do not think it can serve any good purpose to name those gentlemen in this House. I have the files of the department before me.

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

Mr. DOUCET:

I might quote the Maria A. Howes, which cleared from Halifax on October 5, 1925, with 17,300 cases of liquor for Lima, Peru. She was back two days later, and cleared again with 17,000 cases for the same destination. Then the schooner Catherine M. Moulton cleared from Halifax for Havana on August 11, 1925, with 6,607 cases anrl 4 kegs of liquor. Four days later she cleared again for the same destination with 6,507 cases and 104 kegs. Not even an airoplane could make the trip from Halifax to Havana and be back in four days. That must have been known to the Customs officers.

Now I come to the schooner Morso, with registry at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which left Halifax for St. Pierre, Miquelon on August 13 with 2,6S2 cases and 185 kegs of liquor. In two days she cleared Halifax again; she must have made the round trip of 1,000 miles in 48 hours, allowing no time for unloading and loading. Then she cleared for Guanaija with 300 kegs of liquor in addition to her first shipment. Where did she get the liquor? Through the 260 odd vessels which cleared Halifax and St. John in 1925 you have the whole story.

Before I leave the question of liquor smuggling in Nova Scotia and the Maritime provinces generally I wish to say that there is conclusive evidence on file that these vessels never reached Nassau, Havana, the Azores, Lima, Peru, Porto Coles, Venezuela or Nicaragua, to which places they cleared. They inevitably found sale for their goods on the shores of the Maritimes or in "rum row" off the United States coast. I want to emphasize the point, Mr. Speaker, that no excise, customs or sales tax was paid on over 5,750,600 gallons of liquor shipped in the course of three years from these two Canadian ports and there are, at least, seven other ports in Canada where this is practised.

I asked a moment ago why the present Minister of Customs assumed all the responsibility in connection with the administration of customs laws; there is such a thing as adopting an heroic attitude at an uncalled for time. Members of the government were aware of the fact that smuggling of liquor had been going on. Members of this House will remember that in the spring of 1925 there was a coal strike in Cape Breton, and that in response to a plea for help the militia were sent to Glace Bay. In June, 1925, a seizure of liquor was made in the quarters of the Royal Canadian Dragoons at Glace Bay. That liquor was transported there in two motor cars from the motor boat Kiora, which boat had landed the liquor from a vessel outside the three mile limit. The House may ask ;f a prosecution was made then, and my answer is no. Why? Because the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Macdonald) intervened and said, "You cannot prosecute these men."

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

June 23, 1926

Mr. DOUCET:

I said "his schooner," because if you look at Lloyd's register you will see that the W. C. Kennedy was registered in the hon. gentleman's name. Furthermore the captain of the vessel said that he was hired and his wages were paid by the hon member; but he had to take orders from the supercargo. Now the cargo was valued at $35,000 and the vessel at $20,000, and it was in the hands of the customs officers. The question may be asked now: What steps were taken to secure that seizure in the interests of the department? The answer is no steps whatsoever. The master of the schooner made three different affidavits to suit the needs of the occasion. These three affidavits, varying with each other in quite a degree, are to be found on the file. Counsel for the owners of the cargo and the schooner made a claim that the strait of Northumberland were not territorial waters, consequently the department would not hold the seizure and did not think of getting the opinion of the Department of Justice. Furthermore although the Department of Marine and Fisheries maintained that under the treaties that had been entered into those waters were considered as Canadian waters, they submitted to the claim advanced by counsel for the defendant without asking for an opinion from the Department of Justice. They ignored the affidavit made by the master of the ship before he had been in touch with his fellows on shore; they ignored the report made by the captain of their own cruiser; they released the vessel on the payment of $400; they returned the cargo of liquor which had been sent to Quebec back to Halifax to be loaded on another rum-running schooner going out of Halifax; and they refunded the sum of $400 which had been -made as a deposit in the first instance. I understand the Minister of Marine and Fisheries is to speak in this debate, and I want him to answer this

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Doucet

question for the benefit of myself and my constituents: if the waters of the strait of Northumberland are considered territorial waters for the purpose of deep sea fishing, how can they be anything else but Canadian waters for the purpose of preventing the smuggling of goods into Canada? The men whom I represent in this House claim, and rightly so, that if the waters of the strait of Northumberland, outside of the three-mile limit, are to be considered as international waters for the rum-running schooners of the Lunenburg crowd they can also be considered international waters in the interests of the lobster fishermen.

Now I come to the motorboat Jeanne d'Arc. This was an open boat 40 feet long and unregistered. She left St. Pierre et Miquelon and took a clearance for Nassau in the Bahamas, a distance of at least 2.000 miles, in the fall of 1923. On September 19 she was seized within three miles of the shores of Prince Edward Island. Her cargo of contraband liquors was transferred to the schooner Margaret, taken to the port of Quebec, and placed in the custom house there. On December 17, 1923, a telegram was sent by the department to put the Je.anne d'Arc in winter quarters. A copy of that telegram is on the file. On December 19 an additional telegram was sent arranging for a release and not to proceed with the order of placing the vessel in winter quarters. There is absolutely nothing on the files to show why the department changed its mind between December 17 and December 19. There is a memorandum on the file stating that a letter from the Hon. A. B. Copp for the Minister of Customs and Excise was attached, but that letter is not to be found on the file. At that time there was a by-election on in the county of Kent, the boat being owned in Buctouc'ne. The owners of that boat, who ordinarily are very active partisans, refrained from taking part in the election. There were two members of the government in that county and a gentleman who became a minister of the crown later on. Shortly after these men had made a pilgrimage throughout the country, the owners of the boat Jeanne d'Arc became enthusiastic supporters of the government, and the question is how could they change their minds overnight? The telegram of the 19th December shows the reason why. The vessel and the cargo being released, some excuse must be found. What excuse did they invoke to release the vessel three miles from the shore? They asked the captain of the cruiser a question, and they found the vessel was 5,770 yards from shore. If they had used a nautical mile in their calculations, it would

have meant more than 6,000 yards. But someone acquainted with mathematical problems in the department used the land mile and they found that 5,770 yards would be sufficient to get her outside the three land mile limit. Just as though you would proceed to measure molasses by a yardstick instead of measuring by the gallon measure, they used the land mile instead of the nautical mile; on that basis they found she was outside the three-mile limit, and they released the vessel. The question now is, how is it that they do not enforce the customs laws of this country?

I believe I have discussed at sufficient length the activities of the liquor fleet of Nova Scotia and the Maritime provinces, aided by the government in every respect. They granted clearances for the foreign ports when they knew the boat would never reach there. They granted a clearance to a port in South America where the trip would take about four months, but the boat was back in forty-eight hours and the liquor was landed on Canadian shores by motor boats. The ministers of the crown intervened and no prosecution resulted. The people of the Social Service Council of Canada asked the Prime Minister and the government to provide swift running motor boats for the purpose of watching the bays and inlets of Nova Scotia, and when the boat called the Rambler was seized in the fall of 1924, the speediest motor boat to be found on that shore, the preventive service wanted to get it for its own service. But because one rum-runner of Sydney wanted the boat for his own purposes in rum-running, and because his request was supported by the chief Liberal whip at that time, Mr. Kyte, representing Richmond, Cape Breton, the minister, in the month of January, 1926, said, "We can not handle the Rambler; sell it at once to the man in Sydney; make a sale without any loss of time."

The hon. member for Vancouver North this afternoon cited a number of cases. He failed to cite or forgot to cite the case of the famous Denise Larde case in which a seizure took place in the port of Quebec, but the goods were subsequently released without penalty, by the Department on a payment of $1,500, when the duty and sales tax amounted to $2,567.29. Why my hon. friend never referred to it, I know not. Is it because the man who was instrumental in bringing this revenue into the treasury was subsequently dismissed? And was it because he had arrested this party that an order issued from Ottawa a few days later that no arrests were to be made before reporting the cases to Ottawa?

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Doucet

I ask you, Sir, how can smuggling be prevented in this Dominion? When you find a notorious smuggler you cannot hold him, you cannot arrest him, you cannot stop him from going on his way until such time as you telephone to Ottawa or send a letter and wait three days for a reply. The facts brought out in the inquiry have shown conclusively to the public that there has been a lack of supervision in safeguarding the interests of this Dominion and the public treasury. The fact that all this violation of the law was known to every member of the cabinet, that this was going on aided and abetted and helped in some instances by members of the government, is shown conclusively by the evidence given in that inquiry. When appeals were made by responsible and even by distinguished persons of this Dominion asking fcr relief, the appeals fell on deaf ears. The Social Service Council of Nova Scotia asked the Department of Customs, and on the 22nd January, 192,5, asked the Prime Minister of this Dominion, to remedy the situation which had such a demoralizing effect on that section of the country, which was ruining the population, and was making it impossible to enforce the prohibition laws of the provinces in question, with the result that the public revenues were being cheated out of millions of dollars annually. That, Sir, was eighteen months ago, and were it not for the inquiry proposed as a result of the charges made in this house by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) on the 2nd of February last, no steps would yet have been taken by the department to clean up this state of affairs.

In the month of September a distinguished member of the clergy of the diocese cf Gaspe wrote to the Minister of Justice complaining of the illegal importation of liquor into that section of the province. The minister referred that letter to the Acting Minister of Customs and Excise, but with what effect I do not know because the same conditions continued.

I have throughout this debate endeavoured not to resort to cases such as those referred to by the hon. member for Vancouver North He would refuse to vote to bring names up in this House and then he would refer to those names after refusing to vote for the motion. He violated a gentleman's agreement with members of the committee not to expose certain information mentioned in the Duncan report. In the evidence and exhibits certain matters were referred to which had nothing to do with the customs and members of the committee decided, and I believe wisely and well, not to make them public. The hon. member, however, violated a gentleman's

agreement in bringing that matter belore the House and challenging the hon. member for Vancouver Centre to say why the Hon. Jacques Bureau had not been brought before the. inquiry. Did I wish to resort to citing case after case, I could do so I submit to the intelligence of members of the House that the case of the hon. member for North Sim-coe (Mr. Boys) is on a par with that of the hon. member for Charlevoix-Sagueaay (Mr. Casgrain), chief whip of the Litieral party, who appeared before the department on behalf of the owner of the barge Tremblay.

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

Mr. DOUCET:

If my hon. friend has anything to say about August of that year he

can say it.

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

June 21, 1926

9. In the course of the present week.

10. Cannot estimate cost. This is governed by weather conditions.

11. No.

12. No.

13. Conditions unavoidable.

14. No.

15. Under supervision Asst. General Superintendent of Telegraphs.

16. No tug engaged. Department of Marine and Fisheries' boat will be used.

1. What is the name of the postmaster at Maniwaki, Quebec ?

2. Was Mr. N. Lacoursiere the postmaster in that locality ?

3. Has he been dismissed, and was there an inquiry?

4. Does the fact of changing the site of a post office constitute a reason for dismissal?

5. If another postmaster has been appointed, who asked for and recommended the new postmaster?

6. Was the new postmaster recommended and appointed by the Civil Service Commission?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   POSTMASTER AT MANIWAKI
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