Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
May I be permitted to observe that my hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) that this was a standing rule of the House of Commons in England long before the Nationalists were heard of, and I think moreover that it is a rule which is in line with common sense. This is a deliberative body and the discussions ought to be confined to the question which at the moment is before the House. My hon. friend says there may be occasions Mr. J. A. CURRIE.
when the opposition should fight strenuously a proposition put before it and he instanced the all-night sitting which took place during the present session. There have been all night sittings almost every session of this parliament since I have been in this House, and that runs back for more than thirty years. But the all-night sitting which took place during the present session was an exception to all the all-night sittings that I have ever heard of. It was not my good fortune or misfortune to be present, but I read the debate carefully and, I was surprised at the high character of the discussion which took place. It was not at all confined to one side of the House. All-night sittings for the purpose of obstruction are generally confined to one side of the House, the other side taking no part, but on the occasion of that all-night sitting both sides of the House discussed and discussed strenuously the proposition which was before the House. There was no irrelevant discussion as far as I could see in the debate. The discussion was of a very high character and under the circumstances I do not think the chairman would have been justified in imposing such a rule because there was no occasion to do it. I have also his word for it that he was impressed with the high character of the debate. But, if the debate goes on in a rambling manner, without any purpose, I think it is. only right that the dignity of the House should be preserved by having such a rule as they have in Great Britain. We are only following the provision of the British House of Commons and I must say that I am shocked that my hon. friend, who is a Britisher, should even interpose an objection.