March 16, 1926


self without representatives in the federal parliament. Those are the opinions expressed by resolutions and deputations of Toronto Liberal organizations. There is, in fact, no customs warehouse in Toronto; a lot of the goods are down at the Union station, out on the pavement and in various old rented shanties, and there is no place to house them. This is a public utility and should be operated as such. There is nothing which retards trade, both retail and wholesale, more than the inadequate way in which this public utility is operated. No concern under private ownership could live twenty-four hours if it was conducted in this manner, and treated its patrons as the citizens of Toronto have been treated. I have a table of receipts here which I will not read but which shows that Toronto contributes over 45 per cent of the total customs revenue. The late Minister of Customs and his predecessor went to Toronto and saw the actual conditions. A site was purchased from the city at about one-third of its value cfver twelve years ago. This lot was situated on the south side of Front street, and was bought in 1917 for $110,000. I venture to say that the increment to the government from that lot would amount to over $400,000 at the present time, so that as a real estate speculation they have made over $300,000 by that purchase. The new building was not erected because war broke out, but the war has been over for some years, and that excuse will no longer serve. The time for talk has passed and the time for action has arrived. The work of the customs in Toronto is spread out around the old Union station, the new station, the docks, and all along the waterfront to West Toronto, a distance of several miles. That is surely no way to conduct such a business. No regard should be taken of the way the city votes; this public utility should be operated from the commercial point of view. I do not wish to criticize the young minister, because he has done just as well in this connection as his predecessors, and he has not been very long in office. I would be the last to say anything against him, but he knows something of conditions in Toronto. He has been up there and I believe in the short time that he has been in office he has become well acquainted with those conditions. It is not a question of spending money but of giving adequate service; the people of Toronto will pay for it anyway. They have to in part. They will pay two or three million dollars which is to go to the Hudson


EDITION


Supply-Customs



Bay railway, and they will contribute revenue to provide customs houses, post offices, branch lines and so on throughout Canada. According to the free trade law of supply and demand as understood by the Progressive party, Toronto would have the greatest customs house in the country if that doctrine prevailed. But we do not want any favours; business is business, and I do not see how the government can expect to hold this large business in the key city of Canada, so far as customs is concerned, without doing something to relieve the conditions which exist there today and to give an adequate service with a proper plant.


CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

The hon. member has

made some reference to the Hudson Bay railway. I may say that there is a suffering people in the west asking for a Hudson Bay railway, and that is more necessary than a customs house in Toronto. The customs house is not necessary; we can come to it later. The item in the estimates covering the Hudson Bay railway is absolutely necessary, and should not be referred to in that way.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

Well let the provinces pay for it. It will bring out the ice crop.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

The hon. Minister of Customs stated a few moments ago that the appointment at Kingsville, Ontario was made by the Civil Service Commission. I desire to submit a letter in this connection under date of February 5. This is rather a complicated affair, and quite difficult to explain by letter.

I am forwarding herewith two official documents, the result of marks obtained on the examination, also the appointment, both signed by the secretary of the Civil Service Commission.

I carried out instructions on appointment, and ou presentation of same was informed that my duties would not begin until authorization from Minister of the Department at Ottawa had arrived.

Through some reason, the news of my appointment became known, and our friends here became active, by wire, with the result that although I was appointed on June 30, headed the examination, served approximately three years in France, was rejected on account of a charge by some political henchmen ot this district, but the enclosed letters will explain all I think to your satisfaction.

This appointment did not follow the usual procedure, and instead of going through the commission, came from the department by wire, in due time being passed through the usual channels.

Pressing the commission personally for a reason, also the department through the Windsor G.W.V.A., will enclose herewith the letters which are selfexplanatory, the charge against me by the department (manufactured for the instance), and also letters from the C.N. and C.P. Telegraph Companies, whose agent I was here. These letters are from the inspectors who personally checked my office at the time I resigned.

You can easily see what becomes of the charges of the department, against the name of a man who had served his country in the time of need; charges that had not the slightest foundation, nothing more or less than a political dodge from beginning to end.

When we fellows enlisted they did not stop to ask what our politics were.

The defeated representative of South Essex, Mr. Graham, with whom I had several interviews, the first one the day that I had been informed that the appointment was made definitely. Mr. Graham said that the Civil Service Commission was absolutely and entirely supreme. The commission and the department usually met and decided on the appointment, but if the commission made the appointment, rtcommendations or anything else from the department would take no effect.

I immediately produced the result of my marks, also the appointment, and said: "In view of the

facts already stated by you with these official documents in your hand, how do you account for another man receiving the appointment?"

Mr. Graham: "Well, the Customs Department have got busy, Mac."

Mr. McCallum: "You have just finished telling me

that this could not possibly be done."

Mr. Graham: "But of course, you understand this

is not my department?"

Mr. McCallum: "This may not be in your department, but this is your constituency, and are you aware of the fact that there- are hundreds of returned soldiers in South Essex?"

Mr. Graham then promised that he would get in touch with the department, and the Civil Servic* Commission, and see what could be done.

The next interview I had with Mr. Graham was the day that he was endorsed as Liberal candidate in South Essex.

He admitted before Lafferty, president of the Windsor G.W.V.A., and others, that according to the evidence produced from Lafferty's files, part of which I herewith enclose, there was no doubt I had been done an injustice, and on arriving at Ottawa he would immediately get in touch with the Minister of Customs and see if he could not have my name cleared of th-se charges. As usual his actions were conspicuous by their absence.

Mr. Chairman, on the 23rd of February last 1 produced all the documents in connection with the appointment of McCallum, his dismissal, and the appointment in his stead of a man from Kingsville.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I should like to bring to

the attention of the minister a condition which exists at the head of the lakes. Perhaps it hardly fits in under this item, but it is just as appropriate under this item as under any other as far as I can see, so I do not think it is out of order, Mr. Chairman.

There is at the present time r.t the head of the lakes a bus line- running from Port Arthur to Duluth, a distance of something over 200 miles. That bus line has a passenger service each way daily, but for some reason, owing to a provision in the Customs Act- ' I do not know when it was -introduced- these busses cannot carry anybody on the Canadian side; that is, a man, woman or child cannot get on one of these busses at

Supply-Customs

the head of the lakes and get off before reaching the international boundary. If the bus permits such a thing to happen, it is apparently breaking a law which brings these busses under the same control as applies in the case of passenger and freight boats on the Great Lakes, which are not permitted to call from one Canadian port to another. Apparently the same law applies to the bus lines as applies to the steamship lines. I do not know of any reason in the world why that law should apply to bus lines, but such I believe is the case. The fact remains that a man, woman or child living in Fort William or Port Arthur, or a farmer out in the country, cannot get on one of these busses and go for any distance less than the 55 miles to the international boundary. If anyone wishes to make a shorter trip, he must hire a special car, if 'he has not a car of his own. It certainly seems a ridiculous proposition that these busses should be running to and fro daily and yet the farmers in the neighbourhood1 'and the citizens of Fort William and Port Arthur who have not automobiles of their own should not, be permitted to use these busses and travel any distancs they wish, twenty-five or thirty or forty miles without the bus breaking the law. I remember laying this matter before the then Minister of Customs last year or possibly two years ago. I have also written recently to the present 'Minister of Customs, but he has not had time to deal with the matter. Certainly it would appear to me to be reasonable to permit these busses to handle Canadian traffic at 'least until a Canadian bus line is established. The present bus lines are managed by American companies, and until such time as there is a Canadian bus line competing-and I would certainly favour a Canadian line-it would appear to me that the present restrictions should be wiped out and the people allowed to take advantage of these busses travelling to and fro daily.

I appeal 'here to the minister to look into this matter thoroughly and 'endeavour to have the difficulty straightened out. Just the other day I received, as I am sure my hon. friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Langworthy) did also, a resolution passed by the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, and in the past I have received various other resolutions along the same line advocating this change. It is possible there may be some slight damage done to the Canadian National Railways, which have a line to Duluth, but it is such a roundabout line that it is rot fair to ask 14011-102i

anybody to use that line unless he has no other way of going. The Canadian National Railway runs a service only three days a week to Duluth, and one has to leave at four in the afternoon and does not get into Duluth until eight o'clock next morning, changing at Fort Frances at two in the morning. The _ bus service is much more convenient, leaving at nine or ten in the morning and getting into Duluth at five or six in the afternoon, after 'a very pleasant trip along the lake shore, which by the way is one of the most beautiful automobile drives on the American continent. Last year over 5,000 American cars crossed the bridge at the international boundary and entered1 the Dominion, and this traffic is increasing very rapidly every year. I again urge the minister to look into this matter thoroughly and endeavour to straighten out this ridiculous law; or regulation which prevents the use of these bus lines by citizens of Fort William and Port Arthur and by the people in the sum unding farming country.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

Just a word in answer to

my hon. friend. I received his letter this morning, and I have already given instructions to the officers in my department to investigate and see if something cannot be done to meet his wishes. The great difficulty in connection with that bus line is the fact that they are using American busses that have not paid duty, and if we met my hon. friend's wishes we would be allowing American manufacturers to use in Canada American busses for commercial purposes without duty having been paid upon the value of the bus. There should, I think, be a provision in the law by which part of the duty might be collected in a case of this kind, but I fear that to open the door and give this particular bus line the permission requested by my hon. friend would be creating a precedent that might work havoc perhaps to many Canadian lines operating in other parts of Canada. However, I will look into the matter, and if it is possible to do so, my hon. friend's wishes will be met.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I had never heard before the argument my hon. friend has just made, but even if it is as he states, and I accept his word at once, I would point out that there is no other bus line in competition in this case. I do not think there would be enough local traffic on the Canadian side of the line to permit this bus line to pay any part of the duty, because a large proportion of the farmers in the surrounding country and of the citizens of Fort William and Port Arthur have cars of their

Supply-Customs

own, and only a very small proportion would use this bus line. I think a temporary ruling might well be made to permit this bus line to carry local traffic until such time as a Canadian bus line is established.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

May I ask the minister if in . estimating his expenditure for salaries and contingent expenses of the several ports in the Dominion, he includes in that amount moneys which are subsequently paid back to the department?

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LIB
CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

The Auditor General's report indicates that there is an amount of $22,000,000 which, though included to the credit of the Receiver General originally, was subsequently refunded by the department independently of the Receiver General as drawbacks of customs, excise refunds and similar items chargeable to revenue. I would like to ask the minister if this item gives credit for any part of that sum.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

No, this item does not give credit for any part of the drawbacks returned.

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CON
LIB
CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

I wonder if that is the case. It says in volume I of the Auditor General's report that this $22,000,000 was subsequently refunded as drawbacks of customs, excise refunds and similar items chargeable to revenue. Then I am to understand from the minister that salaries in no case are included in the amount?

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LIB
CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

And if you get a refund

from a boat company, for instance, this year for last year's payments of customs officers it is not credited in the item?

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

No amount received by any boat company or railway company appears or is credited in any way to this vote. The item referred to by my hon. friend in the Auditor General's report is the item covering customs duties drawbacks, that is to say money sptaid back by the department to those persons who have paid duty to us, but who have a -right to reclaim that duty under the drawback clause in the case of materials imported and afterwards exported in manufactured form from Canada.

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March 16, 1926