March 8, 1923

LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

But you get it from the clerk in charge of it.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

I think we might have a useful thought in the matter in this way. Many of the questions that are asked this session are too long, too elaborate, and call for information which I do not think is of

practical value. The right of a member to ask a question we do not dispute, but I would suggest to hon. members who put questions on the order paper that they ought to observe the rule with regard to brevity in a larger measure than they do.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

If I am not out of order, perhaps I may be permitted to intrude on delicate ground and say that in the case of some questions that have been asked of one of my departments, I have discovered that the member in whose name they stood had not put them on the order paper and had no information concerning them. I think members should not allow outsiders particularly, to put questions on the order paper until after full consultation with them, and until they know what those questions really mean. In the case of some of these questions, one or two of them at least, it would take quite a staff working at least a month to prepare the answer. That is easier, of course, for some outside person, than paying a legal man to get the information and work up the case.

As to questions being changed to orders for returns, questions may look innocent, but when they are taken to the departments it is found that they mean pages and pages of information, and I 'submit that Hansard never was intended to be the medium through which all the records of departments are published. It was intended to be the medium through which the expressions of the members should be recorded, and to give certain other information at moderate length, but not infomation that would cover pages of Hansard.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not at all take exception to the general principle the minister lays down, namely, that questions on the order paper should not be used as a means of getting private information merely for

citizens._They should only he used as a

means of getting information in the general public interest, and, further some regard should be had to the time and expense entailed in procuring that information. I never was so impressed in my life with the need of that as three years ago, when one hon. member moved that the government procure from Great Britain a list of all the shareholders and debenture holders in the Grand Trunk Railway Company, which return no doubt cost this country many thousands of dollars, which return came over in a large box, and which box I am informed never was opened.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

They are still in a box.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

May I inquire if any

steps will be taken to have this condition

Questions Passed as Orders

remedied; that is where questions appearing on the order paper are passed as orders for returns, will the answers be incorporated in the Votes and Proceedings or in Hansard?-I do not care which so long as we get the information.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I may inform the hon.

gentleman that no paper is tabled in the House without reference being made to it in the Votes and Proceedings of the next day. For instance, any reports or any returns that were tabled yesterday are mentioned in today's Votes and Proceedings. As to the inclusion of these bulky returns in Hansard, I think it would certainly entail too large an expense and that it is really uncalled for. As the hon. member for Shefford (Mr. Boivin) said quite clearly a moment ago, the remedy is in the hands of any member who has an interest in any particular return. He can go before the Printing Committee and there move for the printing of the return. I have done it quite often myself when I was on the floor of the House, and it is done, very often in relation to important matters. Surely hon, members null not ask that Hansard be overloaded with bulky returns.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure):

Somebody will have to assume the authority for deciding which returns are to appear in Hansard and which are not. This must not be left to the Hansard staff because it would not be fair to place upon them the responsibility. Either the Speaker of the House, or the Clerk, or Clerk Assistant, or the government, will have to decide which of these returns are to appear in Hansard. These returns sometimes appear as answers to questions. Very often a minister with a lengthy answer will say, "I will not read this but will hand it to Hansard," and then Hansard prints it.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

A return was laid on the Table yesterday in reference to some question placed on the order paper by the hon. member for Carleton relating to a matter of general interest to the people of this country and a matter which has been discussed in the House this session. I tried to get a look at the return brought down, but I was informed that the hon. member for Carleton had it and consequently I have not been able to see it.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Every member is entitled to get a copy of a return. If he will only apply to the proper clerk here in the department, as many copies can be had as are desired. We have a staff of nearly eighty typists and stenographers who are there for that purpose.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

Joseph Archambault

Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

The leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) stated a moment ago that three years ago an order of the House was passed for a list of the shareholders of the Grand Trunk and that it cost the country a lot of money to get this list, that the names were contained in a box, and that that box was never opened. I may say to the leader of the Opposition that he is badly informed. The box was opened, and we found out that the government had not complied with the order of the House, that the list of shareholders contained in the box was not the list as of the date asked for. It was a useless list. So the leader of the Opposition is wrong again.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The box was not opened for some time after it was returned here. I made inquiries and found out. I called the matter then to the attention of the hon. member who moved for the return. Perhaps he has opened the box since, and it is quite evident that the object he had in seeking the information was not shown to be served by the contents when he opened the box.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

Joseph Archambault

Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

The box was

opened ten days after it came in.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Another case of misinformation.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
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INQUIRY AS TO QUESTION


On the Orders of the Day:


LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. C. A. GAUVREAU (Temiscouata):

Yesterday I had a question on the order paper that was called by Your Honour, and I think the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) gave an answer to it, but I see no reference at all either to the question or answer in yesterday's Hansard. It was about civil service pensions and superannuation.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO QUESTION
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance) :

I have not read Hansard. I observe, however, that the reply appeared in the morning paper.

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO QUESTION
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LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU:

I would rather have the information appear in the official report as the Minister of Finance gave it in the House.

[The question and answer referred to are as follows:

. CIVIL SERVICE-SUPERANNUATION

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO QUESTION
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LIB

Mr. GAUVREAU:

Liberal

1. Is it the intention of the government, during the present session, to bring down legislation with regard to the superannuation and pension of civil servants?

2. If not, is it the intention of the government to renew the Calder Act which expires on July 1, 1923, with regard to the superannuation and pension of certain old employees?

Supply-Public

W orks

Topic:   "QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS"
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO QUESTION
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March 8, 1923