May 13, 1913

PROPOSED CENSURE OF MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD (Pictou) moved:

That the action of Mr. Blondin, the Deputy Speaker, as Chairman of the Com4 mittee of the Whole House, while thei committee was considering Bill No. 21, entitled: 'an Act to authorize measures for increasing the effective Naval Forces of the Empire ', in refusing to permit Mr. Carroll, the member for South Cape Breton, to move to add an additional section to said Bill, and also in declining to put the motion that the Chairman do now leave the Chair, as

9712 moved by Mr. Pugsley, the member for the city of St. John, was a violation of the rules and constituted an infringement of the privileges of this House.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I desire to move the motion, notice of which I gave last evening, with reference to the Deputy Speaker. The conduct of the gentleman who occupies the Chair of this House, either as Speaker or as Deputy Speaker, is a matter of the greatest possible importance to every member. ' That that position should be filled with absolute impartiality and with due regard to the privileges of Parliament is a matter that must be recognized not only by the occupant of the office himself but by every hon. member of this House. Where there has been any failure to live up to the high standard that has been maintained, not only in this House but in the Parliament upon which we pattern our forms, where there has been any lapse or failure to live up to those high standards, I say the result has always been of the most pernicious character in its effect not only immediately, but in the subsequent deliberations of the Parliament or the committee as the case may be and upon the country itself because unless absolute fairness and impartiality, absolute regard for the principles and precedents which are formulated in the rules of Parliament, animate the Speaker of the day or the man who fills that position temporarily, the whole fabric of parliamentary government will be imperilled, and dangers to the body politic will be liable to arise at any time. Hence it is, and feeling how serious and important it is that we in this parliament should recognize these facts, that I rise to move this motion, notice of which I gave last night.

I may be permitted to call to your attention a statement which I find in the English Hansard for 1871 in an address made by Sir Eoundell Palmer, afterwards Lord Sel-borne, in moving the resolution that Mr. Speaker Brand should be elected as Speaker of that Parliament, wherein lie sets out the qualifications of the person who is to fill that high office. He says:

It cannot be a matter of great difficulty to us to realize what the Speaker of this House ought to be. He should be a man of long parliamentary experience and great knowledge, who has habitually paid much attention to the public and also to the private business of Parliament. He should be a man of high personal bearing, of spirit, and of dignity of character such as befits a thorough English gentleman, and such as will make him fit to preside over an assembly which, having to discharge the most august functions of any assembly in the world, has always been proud of bringing to those functions the essential qualities which distinguish gentlemen, qualities without which doubtless it would never be able rightly to discharge Mr. MACDONALD.

those duties. He should be, of course, a man of strict justice and impartiality, beyond impeachment or suspicion. He should be a man of large attainments and of a mind fitted for business. He should be a man of a kindly and genial temperament, of good practical sense, of firmness, and at the same time of sound judgment. He should understand our privileges, and be capable, on all proper occasions, of maintaining them with authority and dignity, and at the same time with wisdom and moderation. He should also be able-especially in the times in which we live-to discharge the still more important and far more difficult duty of maintaining, by moral authority, the order of our debates and the dignity of our proceedings, helping us all; both in seen and in unseen ways, to maintain that self-respect and self-discipline, that mutual respect for each other, and that spirit of obedience to the laws of this Assembly, which are essential to the discharge of the duties of Parliament, and by reason of which Parliament, in the most difficult times, has hitherto been able to discharge those duties to the satisfaction and advantage of the country.

That is a statement in not too glowing language of those qualities which a presiding officer in this Parliament, just as well as in the mother of parliaments, should have and possess at all times in the execution of his duty. Let me say that, occupying as you do the position of First Commoner in this country, your status, while the most important, yet is not in any degree more exacting than the position which your Deputy fills, because in presiding over the deliberations of the Committee of Supply and the various other committees of the House where the House sits as a Whole and the details of particular measures are passed upon, the gentleman who for the time being fills the position of Deputy Speaker has duties to fill which demand from him the. possession of exactly the same qualities which Lord Selborne says should be possessed by the man who fills the higher position of Speaker. Previous to 1885 we had no position of Deputy Speaker in this House but with the advancement and development of the country and the increased business before Parliament, Parliament saw fit to create a distinct and important position to be filled by a gentleman to be known as the Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker and ever since that time there has been elected by each Parliament an officer who exercises the rights and authorities which pertain to that particular office and who, actiiig in your stead when you are absent and by reason of the fact that he is, to a certain extent, your vice Chairman has always been regarded as a man who ought to have those qualities which in course of time would make him eligible to ascend the Speaker's chair. In this Parliament that has been the practice. Gentlemen who have filled

the position of Deputy Speaker have advanced to the Speakership by reason of the fact that the House recognized that they possessed the proper qualities for the higher position of Speaker in a subsequent Parliament. The man who occupies that position is a man who should feel that he is there occupying a judicial position. He should not by any possibility take that position because it is given to him to perform certain duties as a political servant, because if the gentleman who is supposed to be the embodiment of courtesy and impartiality and clearheadedness in stormy debates is to be a man who says to himself: I am not here to act as a judge, to hold firmly the balances between the parties but because my political party sent me here, why, Sir, parliamentary government will be demoralized. If there have been times in the history of Parliament when gentlemen have been selected for the position either of Speaker or of Deputy Speaker by reason of the fact that they had rendered some special political service to the party which chose to nominate them, at all times history and the experience of this Parliament will show that was disastrous to Parliament and to the cc untry.

The question is as to whether or not in the proceedings on Friday night the gentleman who happens now to fill the position of Deputy Speaker performed the duty of his office having in mind the high standard which was set for gentlemen occu: pying that position by Lord Selborne thirty years ago. If he did not, it is to the interest of Parliament that we should know it. If he has not come up to that standard. Parliament should deal with the matter accordingly because it is not an important matter for the moment whether he may or may not have done wrong, that is an incident merely. There are cases on record in the history of colonial parliaments and of Imperial parliaments where the House has been called upon to deal with resolutions censuring the gentlemen who filled the position from time to time of the presiding officer for conduct not in accordance with this high standard.

This has been a session in which a measure has been under the consideration of Parliament which hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House must recognize as being among the most important measures that Parliament has ever been called upon to consider. It is a measure which may materially affect for all time to come our relations with the Mother Country. It certainly was put forward with the view of most materially affecting our relations in one important particular, and in the consideration of that measure it was the bounden duty of the gentlemen who for the time being happened to occupy the

position of presiding officers, to preside over the deliberations either of this House or of the committee with that calm deliberation, with that high appreciation of the importance of their positions and with the realization that they were there as judges and not as political appointees, so clearly described in the quotation which I have made. I may say that those are the feelings that should -animate the gentlemen who preside over the deliberations of this body in the consideration of this measure. That being so, let us consider whether or not and wherein the Deputy Speaker fell short in the performance of his duty in his course on Friday last. Apart from any question as to what the rights of Mr. Carroll were or were not under the rules, there was a question of the good faith of the Deputy Speaker in the undertaking and the understanding which was arrived at in the earlier portion of the debate as to what Mr. Carroll's rights were and when he was to be recognized in this House. Sir, if a judge presiding over any one of the courts of law in this country said to counsel who proceeded to make a motion in any particular case that he would hear him at a certain stage later on in that case, and if that counsel approached the judge at the time indicated by him and asked leave to make the application which he had already spoken of in an earlier part of the proceedings, and the judge said to him: I shall not hear you, I do not propose to hear you, I am going on to decide this case without regard to anything you may urge, without regard to any understanding, without regard to the information I gave you in the beginning of this trial that I would hear you in this matter, I am going on to decide this case without hearing you -what would be said about the good faith of the judge who acted in that way in any case, whether of small importance or of great importance? How much more would be said by public opinion in a case where the eyes of the community were focused upon the actions and deliberations of the judge to whom was committed the all important task of holding the balances fairly between the parties litigating before him? In this high court of Parliament we have the right to ask from the gentleman exercising for the time being the position of judge as Deputy Speaker and as Chairman of committees, that same good faith, that same appreciation of the importance of his position which we demand from any judge, no matter whether he is in a high or in a lower court, in the administration of justice in the country.

Now, Sir, what did occur? You will find on page 9690 of ' Hansard ' that the hon. member for South Cape Breton attempted to move and did state to the House his motion by way of amendment in the con-

sideration of Bill 21, an Act to Authorize Measures for Increasing the Effective Naval Forces of the Empire. He proposed in the committee to move that a clause be added to the Bill as section 7. I need not read the clause for the purposes of the argument which I am attempting to make. When he asked to make this motion the Deputy Speaker said:

I think it would he more advisable if the hon. member would defer his motion until we have disposed of clause 6.

In other words, the Deputy Speaker, purporting to act as a judge, just as a judge in a trial of a case would do to counsel, intimated to the gentleman approaching him: I cannot hear you now but when we have disposed of clause 6 come with your motion and I will hear it and dispose of it. That is what the Deputy Speaker said to the member for South Cape Breton. My hon. friend from South Cape Breton after some little discussion said:

That being well understood I shall not encroach further upon the time of the committee.

Referring to the understanding which had been arrived at, that at a later stage, after clause 6 had been disposed of, he would be heard and a right would be given him for the purpose of making his proposition. I need not go into all that took place from that time until my hon. friend from South Cape Breton rose to assert the privilege and the right which he had been informed would be accorded to him at the proper time. As to his absolute right to make the motion after clause 6 had been disposed of, I may point out that it was expressly recognized by my hon. friend from Portage la Prairie (Mr. Meighen) when he said he was not disposed to disagree with the argument made by the right hon. the leader of the Opposition, who argued conclusively I think that my hon. friend the member for South Cape Breton was quite in order in making that motion, and that under the rules he had the right to make it. When my hon. friend from South Cape Breton came to claim the privilege and to assert the right which, it had been intimated to him by the Deputy Speaker, would be freely accorded to him after clause 6 had been disposed of, what occurred? Simultaneous with his asking that the right should be given to him, the right hon. the leader of the Government arose. Hon. gentlemen who were in the House will recall the fact that both of these hon. gentlemen were standing on the floor, the hon. member for South Cape Breton prepared to make the motion which he had been told he could make. If the Deputy Speaker had fulfilled his duties according to the high traditions of his office, he would have carried out his pledge to the hon. member for South Cape Breton, and would have accorded him the right to move Mr. MACDONALD.

his motion. But he did not do so. Apart from any other question, I say that the Deputy Speaker was open to censure because he did not do so. Upon whom are we to rely in the fulfilment of our duties in this House? When we come to you openly and frankly, Mr. Speaker, and ask whether we should take this course or that course, you, being for the time the repository of judgment as to the rules of the House, indicate to us what our proper course would be. But what would we say, Sir, if. you told us what we should do and afterwards you turned round without any reason and committed an absolute breach of faith by taking a course entirely different from the one you had indicated? I am sure you feel that such a thing would be impossible in your case. Parliament has the right to demand from the judicial officer who for the time being presides over the committees of this House that he shall fulfil the pledges he makes. That is essential to the carrying on of parliamentary government. Therefore, the Deputy Speaker stands in this position before Parliament, that he broke faith with my hon. friend from South Cape Breton, and did not do what he had undertaken would be done.

Had my hon. friend the member for South Cape Breton the right to move that amendment? My hon. friend from Portage la Prairie is recognized on the other side of the House as being an authority in regard to the interpretation of the rules, and when he undertakes to speak his opinion is received with every respect by hon. gentlemen on this side, though sometimes we do think he strains a point in order to make an argument on behalf of the party with which he is associated. Still, no one doubts his ability, and with regard to the question as to whether, after the first six clauses of the Bill had (been disposedof, my hon. friend from South Cape Breton should proceed to move that a clause to be known as clause 7 should be added, his judgment ought to be worth a good deal. I am not going to repeat the argument made by the right hon. the leader of the Opposition on Friday night. That argument is unanswerable as was the absolutely convincing argument of my hon. friend from Shefford (Mr. Boivin). I wish to call attention to this statement of my hon. friend from Portage la Prairie:

I do not know that I have any quarrel, so far as my individual opinion goes, with the interpretation of the rule put forward by the right bon. leader of the Opposition. But what I say is that that has no application here, for this reason. It is true I rose to a point of order when the hon. member for South Cape Breton had the floor. I rose, not because I doubted his right-

That is his right to move his amendment, -but I did object to his rising after the

Prime Minister had moved-

So that my hon. friend from Portage la Prairie, supplementing the argument made by hon. gentlemen on this side of the House, an argument which was absolutely convincing upon the point, conceded that as a matter of party practice, even under the amended rules, my hon. friend from South Cape Breton had the right to move that clause 7 be added to the Bill. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister practically told him that he would be perfectly willing to let my hon. friend from South Cape Breton move his amendment if we undertook to finish the discussion that night. That was the proposition which he made.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

I do not think that my

hon. friend is stating that correctly. I said I would be prepared to withdraw my motion on that understanding.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

The point I am trying to make is that when my right hon. friend the Prime Minister came to deal with this question, he wanted to take advantage of the situation which had been created by the Deputy Speaker at that time, to impose terms upon my hon. friend from South Cape Breton before he was allowed to go on with his amendment. He was perfectly willing to allow the hon. member to move his amendment provided that we should proceed with it at once. The right hon. the Prime Minister was taking advantage of the action of his supporter who happened to be the Deputy Speaker at the time and who, in breach of faith, had ruled that the hon. member for South Cape Breton was out of order, and was preventing him from getting the floor. The result was that, having the right under the rules to move an amendment to Bill No. 21, and having been informed that no exception would be taken to it, but that he would be allowed to move a substantive and important amendment to that Bill to be known as clause 7, my hon. friend from South Cape Breton was prevented from doing so, although his rights were absolute and unquestioned. No hon. gentleman can seriously argue that he had not the right to move that amendment. It may be all very well for my right hon. friend the Prime Minister to say, why did you not move it last night or the day before yesterday? That is a curious position for my right hon. friend to take, that an hon. gentleman who has a perfect right under the rules of Parliament to address Your Honour or the Deputy Speaker, should be elbowed out under those modern innovations that we have, and be told you should have moved that yesterday or the day before yesterday, and because you did not do so then, although you have the right to move it now, we will not allow you to move it. That is where we stand in regard to this matter

What an absurd position it was for the Prime Minister to take: It is inconvenient to hear the hon. member (Mr. Carroll)

now; we are willing to compromise; we will make a deal; if you promise you won't take over two days on the question, we will let you move it. The Prime Minister on account of the erroneous ruling of his Deputy Speaker wanted to make a compromise as to how long we on this side of the House should talk, as a condition of allowing the amendment to be moved; an amendment which my hon. friend (Mr. Carroll) had a perfect right to move.

Another matter for which I think the Deputy Speaker deserves the censure of this House', is, that he ignored the motion of the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) that the Chairman should leave the Chair. The authority for making that motion cannot be questioned; it will be found in Bourinot, page 524. The Deputy Speaker, in regard to that motion, absolutely and completely ignored it, and the position of affairs is that a gentleman who is supposed to possess judicial qualities; whose aim and ambition ought to be to reach the high standard set by Sir Roundell Palmer for British and colonial speakers, not only broke faith with a member of this House in reference to his right to move an amendment, but he absolutely ignored a resolution moved by the hon. member for St. John which was perfectly in order. Whether the privileges and rights of members of this House can be infringed upon in this summary method, is for this House to say. It is for this House to say whether or not gentlemen should continue to occupy these positions in which they are supposed to hold the balance of justice evenly between two sides; who, when they are in the Chair, feel they are there because they have rendered service to a political party or to a wing of that party, and that they are simply filling a government job. If that is to be the standard lived up to hereafter by men who fill these high offices in this Parliament, then I wonder what becomes of all the traditions of British parliamentary institutions. Naval Bills may come and go; the question as to whether this Bill left the committee with an amendment one way or the other is a question only of the present, but the great question, and the question which goes to the very root of parliamentary institution, is, whether there is going to be fair play in this House; whether the men on the left of the Speaker are to feel that they shall receive from the officers who have control of the proceedings in this House that fairness and justice which have always been the pride of English-speaking people. If we are not going to have that in Canada, the sooner we know it the better. It is because I have a deep sense of appreciation of the fact that the Deputy Speaker on Friday night in these two incidents violated parliamentary tradition, acted as a partisan, disregarded the rules of this House, broke his faith with an hon. mem-

ber of this House, that I make this motion and ask the House to adopt it.

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CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Portage la Prairie):

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. member for Piet-ou (Mr. Macdonald) should bring forward this motion; surprised, not because the occurrences of last Saturday morning were not of sufficient consequence to warrant further consideration by this Parliament, but surprised they should be reverted to by those who were the guilty parties on that occasion; whose conduct was such that I am sure in after life they will see many causes to regret it. I yield to no hon. member opposite and to no hon. member of this House in my appreciation of the dignity of the position held by you, Mr. Speaker, and held by the Deputy Speaker. I yield to none in appreciation of the onerous duties that devolve upon you, and likewise in appreciation of the respect which the office should be entitled to from every member of Parliament. I say these words from a position of advantage not occupied by the hon. members opposite who shall take part in this debate; a position of advantage especially over the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) who is likely to follow me; and especially over the hon. member for Carle-ton (Mr. Carvell), whom, unfortunately, I do not see in his seat; in that, throughout the time I have occupied a seat in this House I have always paid that deference to the Chair and to the office of the Speaker which I think every hon. gentleman should pay.

The attack now levelled at the Chairman, in respect to his conduct of his duties last Saturday morning, is based, according to the motion of the hon. member for Pic-tou, on three grounds-first: that the Chairman, having appointed a time, in the words of the hon. member, for the hearing of a motion in amendment by the hon. member for South Cape Breton, did not carry out his appointment; second, that he did not, in pursuance of that appointment, see the hon. member for South Cape Breton before he saw the right hon. the Prime Minister; and, third, that he ignored the motion of the hon. member for St. John that the Chairman leave the Chair. I shall discuss these in order. The hon. member for Pictou dilated at great and unnecessary length on the analogy of positions occupied by the Chairman of Committees of the Whole to that of a judge on the bench, and he recalled the fact that very frequently judges upon the bench appoint times for the hearing of counsel, and consequently as a matter of honour, would be compelled to keep that appointment. Surely the hon. member for Pictou does not take the ground that you, Mr. Speaker, or the Chairman of Committees of the Whole, has any position of authority Mr. MACDONALD.

over the deliberations of this House at all analagous or equal to that of a judge upon the bench. A judge upon the bench is the sole judge and arbiter of and has the disposal of the time of his court; he can say to a barrister or a litigant: come and he cometh, go and he goeth, and stop and he stoppeth. But, neither the Speaker of this House nor the Chairman of Committees of the Whole, occupies any such position here. He is the arbiter on points of order; but he cannot say: I shall hear so-and-so at such a time, and I shall hear such another member at such another time. He has no such authority. Such authority was not vested in him. If he purports to exercise it, he will find that he is not capable of doing so. Was there any breach of faith, even though the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole last Saturday morning had made an appointment? What are the circumstances? With his usual skill-if I may dignify it by the term-the hon. member for Pictou reads four lines stated by the Chairman of Committee of the Whole; and, with the exercise of the same mysterious quality, he refuses to read the context. What was it that occurred? When section 2 of the Naval Aid Bill was under consideration in Committee of the Whole, and had been under consideration for some time, the hon. member for South Cape Breton recited an amendment which he proposed to add; not content with asking to add it as an amendment to a section, he wanted to add it as an extra section to the Bill. When he had done so, the Chairman spoke as follows:

I think it would he more advisable if the hon. member would defer his motion until we have disposed of clause 6. There is an amendment and a sub-amendment to clause 3.

Was that recognized by the hon. member for South Cape Breton as an appointment, even supposing he, as a lawyer, would think that the Chairman of Committee of the Whole had any power to make an appointment with him? What did the hon. member for South Cape Breton say? He said:

If the Chairman would allow me to make this motion at the end of the consideration of the present clause, I would be only too happy to postpone it.

Not at the end of the consideration of section 6, but at the end of the consideration of section 2. That is what the hon. member for South Cape Breton said. Then the hon. member for the city of St. John (Mr. Pugsley)), who of all members of this House is most scandalized at the conduct of the Chair, added:

I think that is understood.

That is, that it should be moved at the end of the consideration of clause 2, so that

if hon. members had the slightest anxiety to see the proposed amendment moved, they could have arranged to move it, without any difficulty whatever, at the end of the consideration of clause 2. The Chairman apparently did not understand it that way and added the following:

I do not see any rule which would allow me to do so.

Mr. Carroll: I do not want to he understood as trying to get the Chairman to make a breach of the rules. But I might not have another opportunity to move this motion unless with permission.

Mr. Meighen: As a matter of order, I would suggest to the hon. gentleman that there would be no difficulty about him making a motion immediately after the disposition of the two sub-amendments to clause 2.

Immediately after the sub-amendments were disposed of, there was nothing in the world to prevent the hon. member for South Cape Breton from moving his amendment as an amendment to section 2, providing hon. members opposite allowed it to be disposed of before two o'clock. That is just what they did not want to do. The conduct of the hon. member for South Cape Breton clearly showed that he had no anxiety to move section 7. He only wanted to be put in a position where he could not move it. It was a grievance that he was after. I also pointed out in the same sentence that there were other sections on the disposition of which the hon. member for South Cape Breton could make his motion. Then the Prime Minister, who in veiled but insinuating language is also charged with breach of his agreement. Tose, and what did he say? The Prime Minister said:

I might say to my hon. friend that he could move his amendment to clause 2 before two o'clock, but I do not think he could do so afterwards, and he could do it on the third reading if be desires to do so.

And he can do it.

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LIB
CON
LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

There will be no grievance if the Bill is sent back to the committee for further consideration.

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Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is to say, there

will be no grievance, provided he has the power to discuss it not only on the third reading and is able as well to throw it back into the boiling pot of obstruction. Then the right hon. the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), who appreciated the point raised by my right hon. leader, and who is not slow to appreciate any point, said:

That is the puzzle. He cannot do it after two o'clock, but ho cannot do it before the

clause is disposed of, and if it is not disposed of before two o'clock, he is shut off altogether.

That was the appreciation of the appointment by the right hon. the leader of the Opposition himself.

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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN (reading) :

You can do anything you please up to two o'clock, but after two o'clock the axe falls.

And after the axe fell at two o'clock, just as the right hon. the leader of the Opposition said it should and would-

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Not ' should,' but ' would.'

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CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Now they complain because we did not hold the axe for a few hours or a few weeks longer and allow them to move one amendment after the other so as to throw the Bill back just where it was before. That was the understanding. My right hon. leader, however, added:

My right hon. friend would surely be disposed to admit that in nineteen or twenty days we ought to be able to make sufficient progress to enable every amendment to be considered.

I repeat, after the hon. member for South Cape Breton was refused, as he should have been refused, permission to move his amendment at that time, and as he admits himself, he was rightly refused permission to move it-

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Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

He had five opportunities to move that amendment before two o'clock. He could have allowed section 3 to be voted on and then he could have moved his amendment. He could have done it in five cases before two o'clock, if hon. gentlemen opposite had had the slightest desire to have the amendment moved.

What was the position later on? As usual, the record is against hon. gentlemen opposite. The hon. member for St. John will have a full appreciation of what it means when I tell him that again the Teeord is against him. He has been in that position times without number during his political career. The most of it has been spent in endeavouring to explain away the record. The record shows that immediately after clause 6 was passed, as was absolutely necessary if the spirit of these rules was to be carried out, and this Bill rescued from obstruction, the Prime Minister rose and moved that we report this Bill. The hon. member for Pictou said that I admitted the reasoning of the right hon. the leader of the Opposition to be good to my mind, namely: that, after the consideration of the clauses that had been postponed, the purpose of the notice of motion and the power reposed in the motion, pursuant to that

notice were exhausted and consequently the Bill was where it was before, except for the clauses passed. Very well, but unless the Bill was to be thrown back into obstruction, then the motion to report the Bill had to be moved, and the Prime Minister owed it to the House and to the country to see that he took such steps as were necessary to prevent that dire result. Having given due notice that he would, having plainly stated and agreed with the Tight hon. the leader of the Opposition that no amendments would be allowed after two o'clock, the Prime Minister rose in his place and carried out that agreement; and, forsooth, for doing it he is complained of by the hon. member for St. John and the hon. member for Pictou as having been guilty of a breach of faith. Notwithstanding the Prime Minister's plain statement that no amendments would be allowed after two o'clock, and it has been stated that it was the duty of the Chair to refuse to recognize the right hon. the Prime Minister, and that he should have turned round and recognized the hon. member for South Cape Breton. Now,_ I appeal to the fair-minded members of this House, especially to those who have sat in this House for many years, if it is not the fact that throughout their history, especially before the present Government came into power, throughout the long regime of the right hon. leader of the Opposition, that right hon. gentleman, when leader of the Government, was not on each and every occasion accorded the floor by every Speaker or Chairman whenever he rose, even though another member may have been on his feet. That is due to the leader of the Government. A similar, though perhaps not quite equal courtesy, is due to the leader of the Opposition.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Other hon. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.

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CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I invite hon. gentlemen opposite to finish their laugh, because they will have no opportunity to laugh in a moment or two. I say that when the Prime Minister of this country, the leader of the House, rises, though another member rises also, it is the duty of the Chair, it is the duty of the Chair from custom extending back to time immemorial, to recognize the leader of- the House. I say further, that if the right hon. leader of the Opposition rises and any private member of this House- and I might go even further than that- rises with him, it would be due to the position of that right hon. gentleman that the Chair should recognize him. But if the House wishes, for any specific purpose, to take the responsibility from the Chair of recognizing some one else, the House has the machinery to do it under clause 17: there may be occasions for it. But, so far as concerns it being the duty of the Chair-Mr. MEIGHEN.

man of the Committee of the Whole to rocognize a private member as against the leader of the Government, the Chairman would have been derelict in his duty had he done so; he would have done an injustice to this House as well as to the leader of the Government himself. As a matter of fact, the duty of recognizing one hon. member as against another is entirely within the judgment of the Chairman himself subject to these considerations. Whomever he recognizes, he is the sole judge of the responsibility of his office; he elects whom he shall see, and, having elected, it is within the right of no hon. member to criticise his election or his judgment.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PROPOSED CENSURE OF MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER.
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CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

And the hon. member who does so is committing a breach of the privileges of this House, and he himself is liable to the censure which he seeks to level at the Chair.

But it is when we come to the latter end of the resolution that the absurdity becomes so manifest that one can scarcely contain himself in patience to discuss it. Why, the hon. gentleman said the Chairman was committing a breach of his duty when he refused to hear the motion of the hon. member for St. John that he should leave the 'Chair. Now, let us ascertain when that motion was made: and I set about to prove that the Chair had no other course except a more severe one-than to refuse to recognize the motion of the hon. member for St. John-that the mildest punishment that the hon. member for St. John could hope for was to be ignored; and he should be amply satisfied that it was reduced to mere ignoring. The motion was. before the Chair that the Chairman report the Bill, a motion, which under the rule is subject to no debate and must be forthwith uecided, a motion which makes it the one and only duty of the House to decide that motion yea or nay, and in the meantime no other motion can be entertained. I ask the hon. member for St. John-he will follow me Or in any case will speak soon-I ask him .to tell when in the history of the British House or of this House, a motion was placed before the Chair when there was already a motion before the Chair that had to be decided forthwith and without debate. I tell the hon. gentleman, he can not find one; he cannot tell this House where there has been a precedent in either Parliament for such a motion being made as that which he sought to present when there was an undebatable motion pending. Furthermore, what would be the result if we were to allow a motion for the Chairman to leave the Chair when there was a motion to report the Bill, a motion which had to be decided forthwith and without debate? Take a similar case. Suppose that in the Committee of 'the

Whole there was an appeal from the ruling of the Chair; that appeal must be decided without debate. Now, if we assume that the hon. member for St. John could rise before that motion could be decided and move that the Chairman leave the Chair, the effect would be that it never could be decided. Let me repeat: if the hon. member for St. John had any right to move his motion that the Chairman leave the Chair at the time when he sought to move it, when there was a non-debatable motion before the House, he would have the same right to move such a motion when there was an appeal from the ruling ot the Chair, and if he had that right he would prevent a decision of the appeal by the House.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Under what

rule is the motion not debatable? Is it under the new rule?

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May 13, 1913