Not only was the attention of the chairman evidently directly challenged by the motion that was made, but the attention of the clerk was specifically directed to it.
I say that, because, as the members of the committee were leaving, the clerk came to me and said: * Do you really mean reported as well as printed from day to day '? To which I replied: ' I mean every word of it;
I mean it very much; see that you get it just as I put it I may say that I did so far the reason that^ I had some little experience upon committees of this kind, and I had considerable experience as to the difficulties that confront us in the Public Accounts Committee where, when the ruling is, in the opinion of the minority, unjust, we are unable to bring the matter into the light of day in the House because the majority refuse to report to the House. Therefore, advisedly, and I think, wisely, I had taken the precaution of preparing a resolution which covered the whole ground that the proceedings should be printed from day to day, and that they should be reported to the House from day to day, so that we would have an opportunity of, to some extent, controlling the action of the committee. The result of it is this, as I submit to the House, that it was manifestly impossible for the clerk inadvertently to omit the important words: reported to the House,' and equally impossible, as I know the clerk, for him to be dishonest. We are, therefore, confronted by an important inquiry, a very exceptional inquiry, one that I am glad to say has not often presented itself to this House, that is how this peculiar blunder, if you call it a blunder, occurred, by whose command, or at whose instance, or instigation, this important provision, calculated to enable us to carry on our proceedings more satisfactorily, and calculated to enable the people to know just what was being done was left out, and how it is that our intention should have been so speedily, and for the time being, so effectively blocked. The public, Mr. Speaker, is interested in this. It goes to a question which has come up in this House very frequently during recent years, namely, the procedure for getting these matters before the public, and letting the people know what is being done. It is important to the public, and it is important to me personally, and to the other members of the minority of the committee, because, by reason of what was done our way is blocked for the time being and certain important incidents that have occurred in that committee, we have not been able to discuss because there is no report before the House. Our way is barred, but I trust to effectively urge on the Prime Minister that it shall be barred no longer, and that an opportunity shall be afforded to the minority to Mr. LENNOX.
present certain matters to this House, and to the people. Resuming the thread of the incidents-in professed pursuance of the action of the committee which provided that the proceedings should be reported from day to day to the House, there .was a report presented by the committee and passed by the House in these words:
Your committee recommend that their proceedings and any evidence taken by them be printed from day to day for use of the members of the committee and that rule 72 be suspended in reference thereto.
Two important changes are made in that report. First, it entirely omits the important provision that the proceedings are to be reported to the House from day to day, and next, they have incorporated in it this qualification: That the printing is to be done for the use of the members of the committee, and not for the use of the members of the House. And so, if this plan was carried out in the way suggested the effect would be that the resolution is absolutely useless, because the committee already had power to report from time to time as they saw fit. Of course, the report provided for the printing of the proceedings and evidence from day to day, but only for the use of the members of the committee, and that does not amount to anything, because we already had better than that in the typewritten copy of the proceedings to hand every morning of what took place the day before. It does, Mr. Speaker, suggest some puzzling thoughts as to why and how this thing was done. I shall not at the moment say what my idea of it is, because the chairman of the committee will no doubt make a statement which I hope will be more satisfactory than his statement of the other day. I shall feel it my duty to analyse his former statement. The chairman said:
The report was submitted to the committee and nobody objected.
Surely this experienced chairman, the chairman of the Hodgins committee as well, a gentleman whom I think I can say without offence, but rather in compliment, above all other of their supporters the government selected for offices of this kind; surely he has not so far lost his head as well as his candour as to say that such is the fact. The facts are: At one o'clock in the afternoon the resolution was moved and the committee dispersed. At three o'clock in the afternoon the report is presented to the House. Every hon. member of the House had the right to presume, I certainly presumed that once the report was brought in it was in harmony with the action of the committee. But that has not turned out to be so. Does the hon. gentleman (Mr. Geoffrion) seriously want to pro-
pound to this House that the report was presented to the members of the committee and was not objected to? There is not one word of foundation in fact for that statement; it is absolutely incorrect. It was never submitted at any time to the members of the committee; but, of course, it is most important to establish that it was, because if it were it would to some extent estop us from complaining. Now, the second defence of the chairman of the committee is the statement that the report was prepared by the clerk. What does the hon. gentleman mean by saying that the report was prepared by the clerk? Of course, the Teport of the committee is always prepared by the clerk, but does he mean by that, that the clerk is responsible for the mutilation of this report? I venture to say that I refuse to believe it. Mr. Todd is an experienced, an efficient and painstaking official as everybody in this House knows. Could he make a mistake under the circumstances? Let us see. With the resolution before him, within' probably half an hour after it was read in the committee, twice read in his presence, impressed upon him by the subsequent conversation, a mistake on the part of the clerk is wholly inconceivable, and treachery on his part is to my mind equally inconceivable. If the chairman of the committee _ wishes to put it otherwise I will give him an opportunity now. If he does not feel that he has to shoulder not only the theoretic responsibility for this improper report by which the House was misled, but the actual responsibility as well, I will challenge him to get up in his place now and say that he had no hand in guiding the wording of that report. The third defence of the chairman of the committee is-and this is very innocent in this gentleman who has had' so little experience in matters of this kind-his third defence is to say:
I do not know what the hon. gentleman means by saying that the chairman omitted any word at all.
He does not know-what marvellous innocence-he does not know what was meant by the leader of the opposition. I hope he' has had time for reflection, and knows now. He does not know: I have endeavoured1 to make my meaning reasonably undisguised. What I mean to-day is that a most unprecedented omission has occurred in this report, and if the chairman made it accidentally he should have detected it the next day, when the wording of my resolution was read in his presence. What I mean is this: that when the matter was brought to the attention of the chairman, the other day it was time for him to get busy, and I mean that he1 shall get busy now. What I mean
to say, just as emphatically, though I hope moderately, as I can, is that if this matter is not adjusted now the government will have to hear something more about it-we will have something more to say, and it will be said. One other point. I admit that the chairman had not much' time for thought. The complaint was presented unexpectedly to him, and he wound up in this way:
I submitted the report, which was prepared by the clerk according to the order of the House, which says that the committee shall report to the House from time to time.
Here is the clerk again. We have, I think, exonerated the clerk pretty effectually. 1 think the hon. gentleman has left it so that there is no loophole in that direction. The First Minister suggested the other day that there may have been a misprint in the report. I had examined the records, and I knew that there was no mistake in the printing, so that that avenue of escape is not open. The chairman says that the report was prepared by the clerk according to the order of the House. Mr. Speaker, I will ask you if in your experience you have ever known such an extraordinary statement as this. I thought the report was to be prepared according to the resolution which I submitted, and which was carried unanimously by the committee. Does the hon. gentleman mean that what he thought he was bringing into the House was an application of the House of Commons to authorize that which the House had authorized to be done?-because that is what he would have us understand if he thought he was presenting a report which was prepared according to the order of the House. I think he will hardly argue that that is a position which he can very successfully take. The only other alternative is that the chairman, a gentleman of distinguished ability, and of special training in matters of this kind, forgets within two hours all about the resolution which was passed in his presence, which he declared carried, to which he had his attention specifically called, and when he prepares the report absolutely omits practically all the provisions that were to have been covered by the report, all the ground practically that was to be covered by that report. Referring to the order of the House,' the hon. gentleman says:
Prepared by the clerk according to the order of the House, which says that the committee shall report to the House from time to time.
The_ order of the House does not say anything of the kind. My resolution was that the committee should report from day to day, but the order of the House is 'that the committee shall be appointed to in-