W-MCP7-1.043 TO T.B. MCQUESTEN FROM C. ELLISON KAUMEYER.
Jan 4 1946
To: T.B. McQuesten. 69 James Street South, Hamilton, Ontario.
From: C.E. Kaumeyer.
Hon. T.B. McQuesten, K.C.
Norman V. Leslie
A.J. Haines, M.P.P.
Will Alban Cannon
Alex J. Porter
NIAGARA FALLS BRIDGE COMMISSION
U.S.A. - CANADA
January 4, 1946.
C. Elllison Kaumeyer
Secretary treasurer and General Manager
Dear Mr. McQuesten:
I wish to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your letter of December 29 enclosing sheet from the Hamilton Spectator with a letter to the Editor on "Discourtesy of Customs Officials" at Queenston-Lewiston[.]1 I have never heard of anything quite as bad as this case taking place on the Rainbow Bridge.
I will clip this article and retain it for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of the Committee which the Prime Minister proposes to appoint in connection with expediting the passage of tourists, vehicles and merchandise across the Canadian-United States Border if and when they are appointed.
This same officer referred to in the article no doubt has been stationed at Ranbow Bridge on various occasions as it is customary for the Customs and Immigrattion on both sides of the Border to rotate their men.
Thanking you for forwarding this clipping and with kindest regards, I remain,
Yours very truly,
C. Ellison Kaumeyer
T.B. McQuesten, Esquire, K.C.,
69 James Street South,
1 Discourtesy of Customs Officials at Border
[December 26, 1945]
To the Editor: A discourteous and officious bureaucrat is a poisonous person, and it is particularly regrettable that one should be found in the Canadian customs at Lewiston on the United States border.
I was returning from a business trip in Rochester last Wednesday with a friend of mine and his wife. Neither my friend nor I had made purchases while in the United States, but my friend's wife had visited her sister in Rochester and had been given three little toys worth a dollar each, and a small child's dress that her sister's little girl had grown out of.
On arrival at the Canadian customs, a sour-looking individual opened our car door and asked us if we had anything to declare. We replied that we had nothing but a few toys that had been given to us as Christmas presents. After subjecting our car to a thorough search, this official told us to bring our things into the customs office. As we were entering the office the officer quite unexpectedly seized my friend's arm and turned back the cuff of his glove to see if it had an American price tag on it. He then piled the three toys up on the counter with the little print dress (which he insisted that we pay duty on) and, after making elaborate mathematical calculations announced that we owed $2.68.
The only money that my friend had was a $50 bill, which he produced. The official said that he wouldn't take it as it was too big. My friend explained that it was the only money that he had. Without saying anything futhere, the official walked out to the car, looked inside, came back again, and, spotting my car keys under my gloves on the counter, he picked them up and put them in his pocket.
I thought he had made some mistake, and told him that they were the keys to my car. To my surprise, he announced that I wasn't going to get them back until my friend had changed his $50 bill. This ridiculous impasse I was fortunately able to resolve by producing a ten-dollar bill, which was the smallest I had. This again, we were told, was too large, and only after much delay managed to get him to change it.
The whole affair left a bad taste in our mouths, and, if it is typical of the treatment people receive on entering Canada from the United States, something ought to be done about it. In strong contrast to this was the courtesy with which we were received into the United States by the American customs officers.