I will attend to that to-morrow.
Mr. II. WILSON (Lennox).
I wish to call attention to the fact that it has been arranged that the binder twine men shall come before the Committee on Agriculture and Colonization on Wednesday to give evidence, and unless it has permission to meet during the sittings of the House, it will be unable to hold a meeting.
Mr. A. E. KEMP (East Toronto).
I have been waiting a whole week to finish up a little matter before the Public Accounts Committee. I am informed that the chairman is away in western Ontario stumping in the interest of the party of which he is an ardent supporter, and 'consequently we can have no meeting this week. It is very unfortunate that the chairman did not stay here and attend to his duties.
It is not fair to the chairman to have it put in that way, that no meeting of the committee could be held because of the absence of the chairman. If members are obliged to leave, the work of the House must go on. The hon. member for Guys-borougli distinctly told me before he left that he understood that there was no desire on the part of hon. members opposite to have a meeting this week.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
What the Minister of Finance says simply shows the truth of the observation I made, that some one should be designated to act in the ab-
sence of the chairman to whom the members of the committee could go. My hon. friend from East Toronto (Mr. Kemp) was probably away when the chairman left. While certain members of this side of the House might say they did not desire a meeting, some others might desire a meeting. Would at not be a simple matter to arrange that if the chairman is absent, a deputy chairman shall be appointed to act in his place ? It is not likely both will be away, and if they should 'be, we can have a third one. Let us have, in matters of this kind, the simplest and most elementary business methods, such as are employed ini all corporations throughout the country, and avoid little disputes and differences that would disgrace the proceedings of any business corporation. I dislike to have to speak about this thing so often, and, I trust that the Minister of Finance, or whoever is responsible, will see that we need not have occasion to make similar complaints again.
There would have been no difficulty if the hon. member for Toronto had been good enough to intimate his wish to have a meeting of the committee. There would have been means for calling it together, as there is no lack of machinery.
The chairman had left the city.
Mr. W. SCOTT (West Assiniboia).
I do not wish to offer opposition to the motion of the Prime Minister, but I think this is a proper time to draw the attention of the House to the almost absolute lack of opportunity for dealing with legislation introduced by private members. I have a Bill standing in my name on public orders, which it is quite evident I shall not be able to proceed with. For reasons beyond my control, it was impossible for me to be present at the beginning of the session, but I took the very earliest opportunity, after my arrival, to introduce a Bill for the purpose of remedying what is a very serious grievance in the territories. Tne object of the Bill is to compel railway companies to construct proper fire guards and thus prevent the starting of prairie fires, which every year do a great amount of damage. I do not believe that I missed any occasion when there seemed to bo reasonable hope that the Bill would be reached, but so far it has not been reached, ahd cannot now be reached. Were there any reason to hope that a delay of the present motion would result In my Bill being reached, I would be disposed to ask that the motion be not passed now, but even were we to set two months with a private members' day each week, the Bill would not likely be reached. It seems to me that those who control the business of this House show considerable lack of interest in the legislation proposed by private members. On government days
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
the sessions of the House last as late as 1.30 a.m., and on the average last to midnight or 12.30 o'clock, but on private members' days, the House is usually adjourned at an early hour. On the last private members' day the House sat until 1 a.m., and as regards that day there is no complaint, but on the previous private members' day it adjourned at 11 p.m., 9,45 p.m., 9.25 and 10.55. I am a very young member of this House and hesitate to offer suggestions as to the conduct of members, but it does seem to me that some amendments of the rule would be advantageous to the conduct of business in the public interest. I think that public Bills and orders should be put on an equal footing with notices of motion. For instance on one private members day, notices of motion might have precedence, and on the next public Bills and orders. At present experience shows that it is impossible for public Bills and orders to be reached. To show that the grievance I complain of is not an insignificant one, I might mention a few of the prairie fires started from railway trains during last year
The hon. gentleman is not permitted, on a motion such as that before the House, to discuss a Bill which is on the Order paper.
I have no intention of discussing the Bill, but may I not be allowed to state some reasons why the motion before the House should or should not pass.
The hon. gentleman may refer to the fact that he has a very important Bill on the Order paper, but he should not proceed to discuss the merits of the Bill itself.
It is quite competent for hon. members to ventilate any grievance on the motion to go into supply, and I think my hon. friend would do better to wait for that motion.
I do not intend speaking on the Bill which stands in my name on the Order paper, but am simply endeavouring to urge some reasons which may appeal to hon. members as reasons why this House should, or perhaps should not, be held in session two or three weeks longer and this particular motion should or perhaps should not be adopted at present.
The suggestion made by the hon. the Minister of the Interior is the one which the hon. gentleman should accept under the circumstances. It would be much more regular for him to deal with the grievance he complains of when the motion is made to go into Committee of Supply.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
It seems to me that the hon. gentleman is also perfectly in order in showing the grounds why the mp-
tion before the House should not pass, until the government has made provision for the discussion of a particular measure.
Mr. T. O. DAVIS (Saskatchewan).
In the earlier days of this session, we had several private members' days when the House had adjourned in the afternoon because we had nothing to do. It seems to me that a great deal of time has been taken up with private members' days when the legislation proposed by the private members was not ready. Now other members than the gentlemen who have proposed these measures have their rights. If we keep the House sitting until October, somebody will be late with a Bill and will want more time. There are members who are anxious to get home, and there is no reason why we should be delayed all summer because some members have not their Bills before the House.
Mr. WM. ROCHE (Marquette).
The First Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has not given the leader of the opposition an answer as to the disposition he proposed to make of the Bill introduced by the hon. member for St. Antoine, Montreal (Mr. Roddick). That is a very important measure, and one that has been before the House for three successive sessions. It went through Committee of the Whole three or four weeks ago, and it was at the Prime Minister's own suggestion that it was laid over, with the express stipulation that it would be proceeded with this session. I kuow that the hon. member who introduced the Bill is very anxious to have it proceeded with. It affects the medical profession throughout the whole country, and also the public generally, and it would be too bad to have it laid over. If he cannot extend the same courtesy to the hon. member for St. Antoine, Montreal, as he did to the hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster), with his Cattle Guard Bill, it would probably be better to have another private members' day.
I do not think the House will be disposed to have another private members' day merely for one Bill.
I informed the hon. member for St. Antoine, Montreal, that I would endeavour to give him a day for the discusison of his Bill. 1 cannot say anything more at the present time. I will investigate further, and, if the business of the House permits,
I will see to it that a day is allowed when this Bill can be taken up.
Let the government take the Bill up and put it through.