No Bill relating to trade, or the alteration of the laws concerning trade, is to be brought into this House, until the. proposition shall have been first considered in a Committee of the Whole House, and agreed unto by the House.
If it is a Bill in restraint of trade it will have to be preceded by a resolution, unless the House consents to the introduction of the Bill with the understanding that a resolution will be introduced later.
I do not wish to cause any misunderstanding. The measure is not a measure in restraint of trade in any way, and the Bill provides clearly that there shall be no charges against the consolidated revenue fund by any of its provisions. I could quite understand that in the measure contained a clause whereby there was to be any charge against the\ revenues of this country it would be necessary to introduce it by a resolution. As far as restraining or regulating trade is concerned, it fixes the weight of a certain article. I would like to know from the minister if, when the weight of a barrel of apples was fixed by this House, that legislation was initiated by a resolution of the House.
I cannot say, but I think it was. Certainly if it was not it was contrary to the rules of the House. Bourinot says:
Rule 41 of the Rules of the House provides that no Bill relating to trade or an alteration of the laws concerning trade is to be brought into the House until the proposition has been considered in a Committee of the Whole House.
Then, later on it says:
Both in the English and Canadian Commons the rule, just cited, has been held to apply to trade generally, as well as to any particular trade, if directly affected by a Bill. It has also been decided that to bring a Bill under the rule it should properly propose to regulate trade as a subject-matter.
Under these circumstances, it seems to me that the Bill ought to be preceded by a resolution. I am not taking this objection for the purpose of blocking the Bill, but simply for the purpose of having it proceeded with regularly. The hon. leader of the opposition is quite right in saying that Bills have been introduced, probably on
several occasions, which, it has been afterwards found ought to have been .preceded by a resolution, and then the resolution has been proposed and put through the committee, and afterwards the Bill proceeded with.
Of course, I do not need to argue that two wrongs make a right; but if the hon. member for North Simooe is wrong on this occasion, the Minister of Agriculture was wrong yesterday. He introduced a Bill, and in the latter part of his explanation said:
The last clause defines the weight of a barrel of potatoes when potatoes are sold by the barrel.
I am quite sure that Bill was not preceded by a resolution.
Of course, it is for the House to say whether the rules are to he observed or not. Strict adherence to the rules is always advisable, and if I have to rule on the question of this Bill, my ruling will be that it will have to be preceded by a resolution.
It is always preferable to conform to the rule, and it may be that my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture will have to revise his own Bill and have it preceded by a resolution. But I would observe that the Bill of the hon. member for North Simooe seems to be objectionable in another respect, not on its merits, but as being under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial legislature. The weight of bread is generally regulated by municipal authority, and it is^ very questionable if we have jurisdiction in the matter.