March 13, 1905

QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-PRESENTATION OF PETITIONS.

LIB

Duncan Ross

Liberal

Mr. DUNCAN ROSS (Yale-Cariboo).

Mr. Speaker, I have here what purports to be a petition in regard to the separate school clauses of the Autonomy Bills, and, before presenting it to the House, I desire to make an explanation.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-PRESENTATION OF PETITIONS.
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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. D. Ross) may speak to a question of privi-Mr. URIAH WILSON.

lege, otherwise it would be impossible for him to make a statement.

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LIB

Duncan Ross

Liberal

Mr. DUNCAN ROSS.

I rise to a question of privilege. This petition I received out of the House of Commons post office yesterday. It was addressed in what I believe is the handwriting of the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule). It does not state where those who signed it live or who they are.

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Hon. GEO E.@

FOSTEli. I ask whether this is a question of privilege ? It is simply a matter about receiving a petition under some kind of an envelope.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think the rule is that if a member becomes responsible for a petition that is handed to him, an explanation on his part is permissible as to the authenticity of the signatures.

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LIB

Duncan Ross

Liberal

Mr. DUNCAN ROSS.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if I am allowed to do so, I think I can show the hon. gentleman who has raised the point of order that I am in order. It is expressly stated in the authority which I have here, May's Parliamentary Procedure, that when a member has any doubt as to the authenticity of a petition, and as he is responsible for the petition which he presents to the House, he has a perfect right to make an explanation before presenting it. Now, as I said before, I am led to believe that the envelope containing the petition was addressed in the handwriting of the hon. member for East Grey. I have no idea whether those signatures are bona fide or not. They purport to be residents of my district, but I do not know whether they are or not. It is quite evident that the petition has come through Conservative hands. However, with this explanation, I will present the petition.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. J. G. TURRIFF (East Assiniboia).

Mr. Speaker, in handling a batch of petitions that have come to me, without any order and all posted in the city of Ottawa,

I would say that there are some from my own district, some from the district represented by Mr. Lake and others from the district of West Assiniboia represented by Mr. Scott. They are all on a form sent out by the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) and I would suggest that if he intends to attend to the work of our western districts he put these petitions in a more business like shape. Many of the signatures to these petitions, as far as I know, are genuine, and I have pleasure in presenting them, but I would like to have the hon. mem-

II er put the petitions in better shape.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

Since my name has been brought into question more than once regarding this matter I wish as a question of privilege to say a word in reference to it. Many of these petitions are sent to me and as I do not know the

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exact outlines of the constituencies, from the letters that accompany them, from the best information I have I send them to the member who, I believe, represents the district as I am requested to do. If an hon. member thinks they are not from his own district they must be from an adjoining one, and I would imagine that he would surely have no objection to presenting them, but if in a matter of this kind he has no respect for the wishes of his constituents and if he refuses to present them, if he will send them back to me I will be more than happy to present them. In regard to the petition presented by some hon. gentleman behind, I have it before me and I find there are one hundred and fifty names on it. In many cases the post office address is given and the letter accompanying it indicated that the petition came from his constituency. Therefore, I properly sent it to that hon. member and in so doing I did nothing wrong as far as I know. But, having done that, I would at least hope that the hon. gentleman would extend the same courtesy to his electors that I wish to extend to them when I am endeavouring to do my duty in a way which I think should not be offensive to anybody.

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Mr. II L.@

BORDEN (Carleton, Ontj. May I suggest in regard to this matter that we should have some definite ruling about it ? I do not understand that the time for presenting petitions is a time at which ques-t.ons of privilege are to be discussed. It seems to me than any hon. gentleman in this House in whose hands a petition is placed must satisfy himself as to whether or not he will present it. If he does present it he accepts all responsibility in connection with it. If he thinks the circumstances are not such as to justifiy him in presenting it that is a matter entirely for himself. If beyond and in addition to that there is any question of privilege that he wants to discuss, the proper time to do it is upon the Orders of the Day being called. Any other course will lead us into difficulties and will bring us into debate in the midst of the presentation of petitions, because, if one hon. gentleman speaks on a question of privilege, every other hon. gentleman has necessarily the same right to speak on a question that concerns him in any way. I would suggest that the rule which I think is the proper rule is the one that should be followed hereafter.

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Mr. A. N.@

WORTHINGTON (Sherbrooke),

I wish to say in regard to the petition I have just presented that although the said petition is posted in Ottawa and bears the frank of the right hon. leader of the govern-meut (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) I have every reason to believe that it is genuine and I have much pleasure in presenting it.

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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. A. A. WRIGHT (Renfrew).

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present the petition

of James Robertson, secretary of Sand Point L.O.L.-which I understand means Loyal Orange Lodge-No. 1,393. The petition is on the usual printed form, the names are all apparently written in the same handwriting. It was mailed in the House of Commons here in the city of Ottawa and addressed in a handwriting which looks very much like that of the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule).

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Mr. T. S.@

SPROULE (East Grey), I rise to a question of privilege. As my name has been mentioned in this matter by the hon. gentleman-I think very improperly, and I shall ask the ruling of Mr. Speaker on that question-I have only to say that it could not be in the handwriting of the member for Grey, because he never signed any of these petitions or wrote a word in them. I emphatically deny the charge, and I think it is a gratuitous insult to his own electors who signed the petitions.

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NEW MEMBER.

LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I have the honour to inform the House that the clerk of the House has received from the clerk of the Crown in Chancery certificate of the election and return of Alfred Thompson, Esq., for the electoral district of the Yukon Territory.

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CROWN CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY.

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Mr. H.@

GERVAIS (St. James, Montreal), moved :-

That the petition of H. G. Garland and others presented this day, praying to be allowed to lay before the House a petition asking for the incorporation of the Crown Casualty Insurance Company of Canada, notwithstanding the expiry of the time for receiving petitions for private Bills, be read and received and referred to the Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Explain.

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LIB

Honoré Hippolyte Achille Gervais

Liberal

Mr. GERYAIS.

trial delay; would only extinguish the action itself and not the right to action-the former is used as a plea in bar and the other as a plea in abatement, if I may be permitted to use the phraseology of the common law practitioner. The present motion relates to a purely formal delay such as would be extended in any court of law, whether the principles of the English common or of the French civil law prevailed. As I am arguing this case before the highest court in the land,

I should be granted this delay in order that I may have an opportunity to proceed with my case.

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March 13, 1905