HC Deb 04 February 1960 vol 616 cc1197-8
3. Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

asked the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations, in view of the possible detrimental effect on United Kingdom trade with Canada, whether he will make representations to the Canadian Government to exempt letters from the United Kingdom from the effects of Canadian legislation with regard to non-transmissible mail; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alport

The Canadian postal authorities have power to stop postal facilities for individuals or firms which have been guilty of using them for such purposes as the transmission of immoral seditious or libellous letters. the running of a lottery or a fraudulent scheme, or for various other purposes which are of an undesirable character. I do not think that, in these circumstances, representations to the Canadian Government would be appropriate.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

Whilst quite appreciating the fact that the Canadian Government may wish to take certain steps against such firms, may I ask whether my hon. Friend would agree that it is really quite fantastic that reputable people in this country should not be allowed to write a letter to any person or firm in Canada except at the whim of the Canadian Government, whereas one can write a letter perfectly freely to any convicted criminal in prison? If my hon. Friend agrees with that, would he consider making a tactful suggestion to the Canadian Government that it would really be better to prosecute the firms concerned for misuse of the mail, rather than to penalise perfectly innocent people by depriving them of their right to communicate with these people and not even refunding their postage?

Mr. Alport

I fully appreciate the doggedness with which my hon. and gallant Friend has pursued this question, but all postal authorities throughout the world take the steps they think practical and proper to safeguard their postal services from abuse. The manner in which the Canadian Government have decided to safeguard their own postal services is entirely a matter for the Government and the postal authorities of that country.

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