May 30, 1928

CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

I do not think the minister disposes of the matter simply by saying that he will make some sort of inquiry. Injustice has been done, and it becomes the government to see that it is rectified.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

That has not yet been admitted.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

I am saying that injustice was done, ad I say that the government must make some recompense.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

"Must" is a strong word.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

Must is not one bit too strong a word to use when injustice is perpetrated by any officer of this government

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Once you have established the injustice, I quite admit that, but it has not yet been established to my satisfaction.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

You failed to establish your charge, and it is incumbent upon you to put the man back in as good a position as he was in before you made the charge.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I made no charge.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

Your officers made a charge. What is the use of quibbling?

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

This boat was seized before I came into the department.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

That does not make any difference. The office is hereditary. I am not holding the minister personally, but the government, responsible.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Be reasonable.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

I would like to ask the minister what he is doing in the matter of carrying out the recommendations of the several committees and other bodies that were appointed to investigate the customs department a year or so ago, and which recommended reducing the number of customs offices throughout the Dominion. What line can the minister give us on the policy that he proposes to follow in closing up a number of the ports throughout Canada?

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

There were some four ot five different reports made by various organizations and committees with regard to customs, and I think almost all of them recommended the closing of some of the ports in Canada. We have nominally something over seven hundred ports, that is including outports and preventive stations. The word "port" is a misnomer in connection with some of these offices. In seventy-three of them no revenue whatever is collected, absolutely none, and in something like two hundred and sixty of them less than S500 is collected. Some capital was made out of the fact that in comparison with the United States we were away out of proportion in the number of ports throughout the country. We are; that is perfectly true, but the conditions are not exactly parallel. In the United States they have a number of stations, as they call them, in which they do make collection of revenue, but which are not classified as ports at all.

The reasons given for closing the ports are two: One is in order to save expense; the other is in order to obtain proper appraisals. It is represented, and quite rightly so, I think, that in the smaller ports it is quite impossible to have appraisers who are sufficiently skilled to make proper appraisals. The answer to that is that the frauds that were exposed during the various investigations invariably occurred in the larger ports, ports which we would not close in any case, and the remedy there is that we should have a better system of appraisals and a better staff of appraisers in these large ports. That is one of the difficulties with which we have to contend now, and that was one of the reasons why the bill was passed in the House of Commons this session, which I think will enable the department to get a better appraisal system and a better appraisal service. As a matter of fact, in about one hundred ports in this country about 96 per cent of the total customs revenue is collected. In the other six hundred ports appraisals are not much of a factor because the importations are very small. It seems to me, then, that it becomes a matter for consideration whether these small ports should be closed in order to save a very moderate expenditure, oir whether they should be maintained for the convenience of the public. It seems to me that it comes down to a decision on that point. I also think, Mr. Chairman, that the convenience of the public is a factor that should be considered.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Now, various suggestions

have been made. One, made I think by

Supply-National Revenue

Messrs. Clarkson, Gordon and Dilworth, was that the amount of revenue should be taken into consideration, and ports with a revenue of less than fifty thousand dollars a year should be closed. If that were done it would create a somewhat serious situation. I have here a list of ports with the revenues attaching to them. If we closed all ports with a revenue of less than fifty thousand dollars, we would have to close such places as Amherst, Glace Bay, Sorel, St. Mary's, Georgetown, Hanover, Kincardine, Perth, Listowel, Barrie-my hon. friend from Barrie is not in his seat-Newmarket, Swift Current, York-town, Carleton Place, Renfrew, Bracebridge, Grimsby, Orangeville, Banff,-to which my hon. friend the leader of the oposition (Mr. Bennett) objected the other day-Sydney Mines, Clinton, Wingham, Kamloops, Amprior, and a host of others which I need not mention here. It might be advisable to close some of these ports. It might also be thought advisable to close for importation purposes some of the smaller ports, leaving them open for such services as might be rendered in the clearing of vessels or for preventive purposes. As a matter of fact, many of the ports, especially in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are really preventive stations rather than ports for the receipt of customs duties. Most of these ports are on the border. Now I think it is the desire of parliament that we keep the most careful supervision of importations from the United States. Then we have a great many ports, as I have stated, in the maritime provinces-a tremendously long coast line, a good deal more extensive than that of the United States itself. In fact, in the maritime provinces we have one hundred ports or more with revenues less than the expenditures involved in their maintenance. That would seem to be, as the lawyers say, a prima facie case for their closing; but it does not necessarily follow, because for the convenience of the public vessels have to be entered and cleared, and, as I have said, these ports do a great deal of preventive work, and they are also necessary for the promotion of the fishing industry. In western Canada we have great distances in sparsely settled country. In some instances our people are living very close to the international line but far from a customs port. On the American side there may be a town just across the border, and quite naturally and legitimately our people go over there, and it is hardly reasonable to expect them to go forty or fifty miles to reach a port of entry.

It is not easy to decide which ports should remain open and which should be closed. We did gather our inspectors together some

months ago in order to canvas the whole situation and try to arrive at some tentative decision as to what ports might be closed. The tentative list comprises some two hundred or more ports that we think might be closed, but we have not made a final decision. As a matter of fact, while the house is in session it has been very difficult to deal with matters of this kind, but this question will ibe taken up again as soon as parliament prorogues. Hon. members are familiar with the situation in their own constituencies, and I credit them with a desire to help put the Department of National Revenue on a proper basis. I invite them-not only those on this side, but on the other side as well-to suggest to me right now if they like, or by letter or otherwise, the ports in their own ridings-not in the other fellow's-which they would like to see closed.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

Will you take our advice?

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

In conclusion I may say

that when the matter is receiving consideration all these factors will have to be very carefully gone into before a definite decision is made.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Perhaps the minister

can now give us some particulars of the regulation put into effect last fall under which magazines then on the free list became dutiable.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

The ruling was made by the customs board-over which, by the way, the minister has no control whatever-on *n appeal by certain parties whose names I do not recall. The board ruled that certain publications, which the ordinary layman would call magazines, were really only works of fiction. I think that ruling was quite correct. They were of the opinion that a magazine to come strictly within that designation should have a series of articles, varied in their nature, comprising current literature, reviews, essays, perhaps some poetry and illustrations, and usually a certain amount of advertising. The board of customs therefore ruled that those so-called magazines which contained absolutely nothing but fiction, and much of it not very valuable as literature, were not strictly within the technical meaning of the word, "magazines" and were rather novels. An appeal was taken to the governor in council, and the ruling was sustained.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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May 30, 1928