Mr. Speaker, before this section is adopted I should like to make a few suggestions with regard to certain amendments and I think improvements which might be made in the bill now before the house.
I have participated in public and political discussions in Canada for nearly fifty years, and upon every occasion I have endeavoured to urge that in our relations with our great neighbours to the south we on our part should
Export Act-Mr. Cahan
endeavour to be neighbourly. I do not agree with the suggestion sometimes made in this house that the United States has been a good neighbour to us, because I think many times officials of the United States have been very aggressive and irritating in dealing with Canada in those international matters which affect both countries. In spite of that fact, as a weaker nation and I think on the whole a nation with a better disposition and better manners, we should endeavour to cooperate, in so far as we can with due regard to our self respect and national dignity, in preventing friction along the border.
The Prime Minister referred to the principle of this bill as being expressed in the terms of the explanatory note, where it states that the purpose of the bill is to authorize officials of the Dominion of Canada to do so and so. The impression left upon the country-I think perhaps unfortunately-was that the bill was not an absolute prohibition, but was a prohibition within the discretion of the officials of the government. Further, in the Prime Minister's address he referred to the bill as proposing to refuse releases of liquor known to be destined to the United States, and to refrain from granting clearances to ships carrying intoxicating liquors when those liquors are known to be destined to the United States. I think those who read the Prime Minister's speech must be under an entire misapprehension as to the real purport and effect of this legislation.
When the Minister of Justice, on behalf of Canada, executed the agreement, or convention, or treaty of 1924 between the United States and Canada for the punpose of suppressing smuggling operations along the international boundary between the Dominion of Canada and the United States, no doubt he was either serious in his desire to carry out that alleged intention of the treaty, or else he had a quiet, sardonic grin when he was signing that treaty, because its clear implication is that it is perfectly lawful, as between Canada and the United States, to transport and export liquors destined for the United States, providing that we do so openly in ships clearing for American ports and not by ships which clear for distant foreign ports when the size and quality of the ships would create the suspicion that they could not reach the distant port in some other country. This treaty recognized as perfectly legal the distillation of liquors in Canladla, the brewing of beers and the fermenting of wines, and recognized also as perfectly legal on * the part of Canada the transhipment and exportation of these liquors to the United States so long as
we did it openly and gave the United States notice of the clearing of the ship and the nature of the cargo.
Now matters have changed. The Prime Minister is persuaded that the United States is sincerely and honestly endeavouring bo prevent smuggling. I noticed that one of the journals of the day suggested that this measure should be entitled "a bill to ease the conscience of the Prime Minister and to allay his undue emotions with respect to the crimes being committed on the border," but I do not take that view. Personally, from what I have seen and heard, I believe that the Prime Minister has been put under great strain and stress by the officials of the United States in order to induce him to introduce this measure to the house.
Subtopic: EXPORT ACT AMENDMENT
Sub-subtopic: REFUSAL OF RELEASES AND CLEARANCES TO COUNTRIES WHERE IMPORTATION OF LIQUOR FORBIDDEN