March 22, 1921

COMMITTEE ON RAILWAYS, CANALS AND TELEGRAPH LINES


Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (Lambton East) presented the first report of the Select Standing Committee on Railways, Canals and Telegraph lines.


REPORTS


Detailed Statement of Remissions of Customs Duties and the refund thereof for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1920.-Sir Henry Drayton. Annual Report of the Secretary of State of Canada for the year 1919-20.-Sir Henry Drayton.


VACANCY-MEDICINE HAT

UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the House that I have received a notification of a vacancy having occurred in the Electoral District of Medicine Hat, by the decease of the Right Honourable Arthur Lewis Sifton, sitting member therefor. I accordingly issued my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer to make out a new writ of election for the said Electoral District.

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CANADA SHIPPING ACT (PUBLIC HARBOURS)


Hon. A. K. MACLEAN (Halifax) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 40, to amend the Canada Shipping Act (Public Harbours). He said: The purpose of this Bill is to enable the Governor in Council to increase existing penalites for the pollution of harbour waters by the discharge of waste oil from oil-burning steamers. Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


WEDNESAY EVENING SITTINGS

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister) moved:

That on Wednesday, the sixth of April, and on all subsequent Wednesdays to the end of the Session, the House shall meet at Three o'clock, p.m., and that the sittings on such days shall, in every respect, be under the same rules provided for other days, and that Government Notices of Motions and Government Orders shall have precedence over all business except Questions by Members and Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne and . Queen's) :

There is already on the Order

Paper a motion standing in my name, dealing with, the question of the hours of meeting and closing our business on Wednesdays. I regret that the Prime Minister, in this motion, is abandoning at once the Wednesday evening recess. There are strong reasons which can be urged in favour of continuing that recess. I am confident it makes, not only for the comfort and convenience of members, but for the efficient administration of the business of the House. If members know that they will have one evening a week on yrhich they are free to make engagements, they will adapt themselves to that; but if they have no evening free in which they can make engagements, they will take an evening off whenever it suits them, and there will be a lack of attendance. As, however, the whole question will come up again on the motion that stands in my name. I do not know that any good purpose can be served by continuing the discussion at this stage.

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Motion agreed to.


FRENCH TREATY


On the Orders of the Day:


L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I wish

to draw the attention of the Government to an item which appeared on Saturday in the Montreal papers regarding the commercial treaty with France. The item states that the commercial treaty with France, signed on behalf of Canada by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) in the month of January last, will become effective on the 27th of this month. I might say that I have on the Order Paper a motion for the production of that treaty. . When the motion came up on March 4, the Prime Minister asked that the motion stand, and on March 7, the same answer was given. Is it true that the treaty .was signed on behalf of Canada in the month of January, and that it will become effective on the 27th instant? Why is the Government keeping the people at large, the manufacturers who wish to do business with France, and members of Parliament, unaware of the contents of that treaty until it becomes effective?

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The Right Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker, I will answer the last question first. The Government has not been keeping the contents of the proposed agreement secret to the detriment of manufacturers.

or any other business men of this country; rather the opposite was the point held in view. It is true that an agreement was come to, and that it was signed by myself when I was on the other side in the month of January, and it was signed by the then Minister of Commerce, Mr. Isaac. But it is also true that a little after that a change of Gevernment occurred in France, and consequently the signature by the preceding Minister of Commerce was not effective. The measure had itself to be examined and agreed to by the succeeding ministry, so that there was no treaty that was effective, either in esse or in the future, until it became established that the succeeding Government was of the same mind as the preceding and would carry out the effect of the agreement. That was not ascertained until last week. Now, let me say a word as to why the treaty could not just at this moment be laid before the House. I signed for Canada the proposed agreement. Both copies of it were sent to the French Government through the British Embassy; and when the French Government were in a position to sign-and that would not be until the succeeding Government had approved the agreement-the two copies of the agreement were to be signed in Paris and one copy sent to the Canadian Government. So that really we have not the authoritative treaty or agreement until we receive that signed copy which belongs to us and which is now on the way from France.

Hence, if I had give out the contents of the agreement as made between Mr. Isaac and myself, I might have been misleading the whole people of Canada, because it might never have gone into force. At the present time I have what I believe to be pretty close to an exact transcript of the agreement as it now stands after having been signed by the French minister, and I am going to take the responsibility of laying that before the House at an early date-with the remark that there may be some slight deviations, not very important, in respect to the articles of the agreement as a result of its examination by the minister in France who succeeded Mr. Isaac.

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Is it true that the treaty will become effective on the 27th of this month, that is, at the end of this week?

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

That is the contents of the telegram that I have received from Mr. Roy.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Can it become effective in Canada until it has been approved by this House?

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CON

March 22, 1921