I do not know what the views of my right hon. friend are on this subject, but I may direct his attention and the attention of the House to the fact that in a district in the province of Quebec called tfhe Chaudnere valley, as a result of rains last week continuing for forty-eight hours, the whole of the area of the valley was flooded, and at least a thousand farmers lost all their crops. I do not understand, however, that they are submitting any claim to this Government. I believe, though, that they are submitting some claim for relief to the provincial government. I may say that a similar unhappy situation developed four years ago in the same valley, and no application was ever made to this government for relief.
May I ask one question in regard to this matter? While on the subject of floods, I may point out that according to recent reports in the press a very serious flood has occurred in New Brunswick, with the result that much property has been swept away and considerable damage done. If relief is to be afforded by the federal government in the matter of floods in other parts of the country, I think we will have to put in a claim from New Brunswick. The destruction has included about six million feet of lumber, a sawmill, some bridges, farm property-
I must remind hon. members that we cannot be flooded with a discussion of floods at this stage. The attention of the Government has been directed to these floods, and I think we should leave the matter there at present.
As one of the members most concerned with the overflowing of the Assiniboine river, I should like to ask if there will be an opportunity to discuss this matter when the Supplementary Estimates come up..
Hon. J. B. M. BAXTER (St. John City and Counties of St. John and Albert) :
Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring up a matter which
is not a pleasant one to deal with, but it is serious in its character, and I think as a matter of justice it ought to be brought to the attention of the House. Hon. members have always an opportunity of defending themselves from any attack made upon them within the walls of this chamber, and I am glad to say that such attacks seem to be rare. Persons outside of this House, officials- in the public service, striving to do their duty, have no opportunity to defend themselves except in the way in which I have been asked to present a defence on behalf of a gentleman who was attacked on the twelfth of this month by the hon. member for Victoria and Carleton (Mr. Caldwell). My hon. friend, in the course of his remarks, reflected very severely on the returning officer for that constituency. The returning officer has had his attention called to the report in Hansard of the remarks of the hon. member, and he desires to have a statement made on his behalf. He was charged with having made electoral subdivisions which were not warranted by law. He desires that this House should understand-
remind the hon. member that there is no such privilege. Bourinot at page 302 says:
Questions ot privilege may always be considered in either house without the notice necessary in tihe case of motions generally. By the 47th rule of the Commons it is provided:
"Whenever any matter of privilege arises, it shall he taken into consideration immediately."
It is the practice in the House of Commons to bring up a question of privilege after prayers, and before the house has taken up the orders of the day. Only in very aggravated cases, requiring the immediate interposition of the house, will any business be suddenly interrupted. If a member be insulted or attacked, or some disorder suddenly arises, a debate may be interrupted ; for as it has been cleariy expressed by an ancient authority, "Whether any question is or is not before the house; and even in the midst of another discussion, if a member should rise to complain of a breach of prvileges of the house, they have always instantly heard him."
Sc it must be a question affecting the honour of a member of the House. Hon. members cannot take up the cudgels on behalf of all the officials in this country. They have their recourse.