July 1, 1920

PARLIAMENTARY COUNSEL.


On the Orders of the Day: lit. Hon. Sir GEORGE FOSTER (Minister of Trade and Commerce): Before the Orders of the Day are called I desire to make the following statement: ' In the absence of the Prime Minister, who is necessarily absent for the purpose of meeting His Excellency the Governor General upon his arrival to prorogue Parliament, I desire to make the following explanation as to a certain change in the Bill respecting the Electoral Franchise Act: 'As originally introduced into the House, Section 19 of that Bill provided that the Parliamentary Counsel of the House of Commons should be appointed Chief Electoral Officer and should hold oflnce upon the same tenure as judges of the Superior Courts. Many sections of the Bill, including this, were the subject of conference between the two sides of the House, and it was desired by the Government to meet as far as possible any views put forward by the members on both sides. As a result of these conferences, a change was made in Section 19 and another provision was substituted for that which proposed the appointment of the Parliamentary Counsel. ' It is due to Mr. Gisborne to say that the change was in no way due to any failure to recognize his conspicuous ability and his remarkable zeal and devotion in the discharge of his duties as Parliamentary Counsel. These qualities, which he has always exhibited in his long and valuable service to the country, are recognized by the Government and also, I believe, by members on both sides of the House. It is thought, however, that this nublic statement should be made in order that no false impression might be created by the change to which 1 have alluded."


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (leader of the Opposition):

I would like, on behalf of hon. gentlemen on this side, to supplement my hon. friend's statement by saying that we cordially reciprocate all that has been said with regard to the confidence expressed in Mr. Gisborne, not alone in his character, but also in his integrity and ability.

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TRANSLATION OF FRENCH SPEECHES.


On the Orders of the Day.


L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH ARCHAMBAULT (Cham-bly and Vercheres):

Mr. Speaker, if I may be allowed to make a statement, there appears on the Order Paper a resolution which stands in my name regarding the immediate translation into English of the French speeches delivered in this House, which resolution was discussed on the 24th of March last. As you know very well each day's edition of Hansard contains the text [DOT]of those speeches. That is, the English speeches are printed in English, and the French speeches in French. The next day, as a rule, an unrevised, edition of Hansard is issued which is wholly French. The English translation of the French speeches does not appear in the revised edition of Hansard until seven or eight months after their delivery. For example the beautiful speech in French of my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce -then acting Prime Minister-on the open-

ing day of the session has not yet been issued.

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L LIB
L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I am sure that all the members of this House would have been happy to read the inspiring words my horn, friend uttered on that occasion. When I pro,posed the resolution referred to by me a discussion took place and not a dissenting voice was raised against it. The Minister of Trade and Commerce himself was in sympathy with that motion, and at page 728 of Hansard he expressed himself in these words:

I am entirely in sympathy with the idea that these speeches should be translated and at the disposal of the members in a reasonable time; and if it be true that it runs to five, or six, or seven months before these translations appear, that is not a condition of things that ought to be continued. My sympathy then is entirely with the purpose of the motion, but this is a matter which pertains to the management of the translators and the publishing of the debates, and is under the Debates Committee, composed of members of both sides of the House. I am informed that to carry out the exact wording of the motion of my hon. friend is physically impossible. So my suggestion to him is that, having brought the matter before the House, as he has done in a very temperate and full manner, he shall not pTess his motion to a conclusion ; that it stand if he pleases, or that he withdraw it, as may seem best to him, and I will undertake that the matter shall be taken up at once and that we shall come to a conclusion winch will be fair and also which will be possible of being carried out.

I followed the advice of my right hon. friend. I went before the Debates Committee, and the Chief translator stated before the committee that my proposal was feasible. He made two suggestions: first, that on every Monday the translation of the French speeches delivered during the preceding week should be published with the English unrevised copy; second, that every Monday a special leaflet containing the translation of speeches delivered in French during the preceding week should be distributed. After that meeting I wrote to my right hon. friend and then had an interview with him, and he again expressed his sympathy towards my motion.

I am bringing .this matter before the House in the hope that full attention will be given to it, and that during the recess my Tight hon. friend will consult wdth the chief translator and the chairman of the Debates Committee in order that this very desirable reform may be put into force at the next session.

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UNION

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Unionist

Rt. Hon. Sir GEORGE FOSTER (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

The sym-

pathy that I expressed at the time my hon. friend introduced this matter still exists, and after the very flattering and courteous way in which he has referred to a few remarks of mine at the time he introduced his motion, it is only natural that, old as I am- [DOT]

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L LIB
CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

-I should feel the stimulus of that praise and that it should serve to keep my sympathy alive during the recess. I hope that before another session those of us who are spared to come back-

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

We will all be spared.

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:-will have

reached a reasonable and sensible solution of this question. Certainly I ifeel that in some sense an injury has been done to my English colleagues in that they have not had an opportunity to read the translations of the speeches of their French confreres.

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L LIB

ESTIMATES AND THEIR DISCUSSION.

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (leader of the Opposition):

Might I take advantage of this moment again to suggest to the Government that if by any possibility they should be in office this fall-

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L LIB
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

-they consider the advisability of calling the session at an early date, so that we will not again be confronted with a situation such as we have * had on this occasion,-of reaching the month of July with a very large proportion of Estimates to be hurriedly passed in the last remaining twenty-four hours. I trust the iGovernment will make a point not only of bringing down its Estimates as early as possible, but of affording early opportunity for a consideration of them. We of the Opposition-if we are still in opposition-will not agree to give the Government any votes on account if that can be avoided. The public interest in these matters must be protected as far as possible.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I may say in

answer to my hon. friend (Mr. Mackenzie King) that his remarks are founded on such impossible suppositions,-in one case particularly, that it is difficult to come down to any reasonable basis in discussing the subject matter that he has brought to the attention of the House. But the Gov-

eminent, as it always has done, will try and get the session on as early as conveniently possible; and, as it always has done, it will have a body of Estimates ready for the Opposition almost from the time that the House gets into working order.

I am not so sure that my hon. friend-if he has in view the prevention of Estimates being to a certain extent the subject for discussion at or very close to the end of [DOT] the session-will be very much nearer his goal unless the Opposition mends its ways -and that is something that no Opposition that I have known in my time has done. I noticed a peculiarly strong illustration of that point last week. There is an ineradicable disposition on the part of an Opposition not to come to close quarters on Estimates until the very last moment, and then when there is not very much time left, to plead inability owing to the lateness of the hour to give that close attention which they had threatened.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

No, no.

.Sir GEORGE FOSTER: What I mean

to say is that the' Opposition, as I have noted it during my parliamentary career, is disposed to discuss everything else but the Estimates itself until the time comes that the bell is about to ring for the dismissal of the House. Fox instance, we had most important Estimates before the House on the occasion I refer to-those relating to the Administration of Justice-brought forward by my right hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty). They were, in fact, the whole of the Main Estimates of my right hon. friend. In them were embalmed a great deal of good stuff-almost all good I think-but they contained some new propositions which, if I mistake not, had not received very much consideration from the Opposition, What happened? The Estimates were before my hon. friends, and the day was before them as well, but instead of discussing the Estimates on their merits and the principles they involved, two or three hours were taken up in discussing some legal matter which was at the time before a Court in Montreal for decision. And when those two or three hours had passed, my hon. friends forgot all their duties as a lynxeyed Opposition to see that the Estimates were properly framed and contained nothing that should not be voted,-they forgot all about these things and those Estimates went through, as it is sometimes said, "like greased lightning"; not a word was said with reference to the Estimates themselves. Now, that illustrates what may be a necessary fault in an Opposition, but it has so often turned out that way that really there is a good deal of blame to be given to the Opposition for not taking up and discussing when they have the opportunity .the Estimates themselves and not a whole lot of extraneous matters. Of course, I do not want, nor have I any wish to shut out the right of hon. members to discus!1 all grievances-

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L LIB

July 1, 1920