March 15, 1923

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

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

That the House do to-morrow go into Committee of the Whole to consider the following proposed resolution:

Resolved that it is expedient to revise the law relating to banking, to continue until the first day of July, 1933, the charters of the several banks to which the provisions of the Bank Act apply, to authorize the payment out of Consolidated Revenue fund of remuneration to auditors for special examinations of the affairs or business of banks which the Minister of Finance may require to be made, and to provide for the charge of fees in connection with the registration of securities taken under the authority of the provisions of the Act.

Private Members' Day

He said: His Excellency: the Governor General has been informed of the subject matter of this resolution, and has been pleased to recommend the same to the consideration of the House.

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Motion agreed to.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE PRIVATE MEMBERS' DAY

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That on and after Monday the 19th of March instant to the end of the session, government notices and government orders shall have precedence on Mondays and Wednesdays over all business except questions by members and motions for the production of papers.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

I do not think the government can desire to take both these days immediately. If the motion carries it means that no more resolutions of private members can be considered at all. The hon. member for Burrard (Mr. Clark) has on the order paper a resolution as respects which he was promised consideration, as I am informed. But if this motion carries that resolution cannot be gone on with.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What motion is that?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Indeed, the most important resolutions among the notices of motions have not yet been considered. I refer now first of all to No. 12, the motion of the member for Burrard, which reads:

That, in the opinion of this House, railway rates westward from the prairie provinces should be reduced to an equality with railway rates eastward from said provinces for similar goods and distances.

I should think that one of the private members' days, preferably Monday, should be retained for some little time yet, perhaps two weeks.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River):

I share the opinions expressed by the leader of the Opposition in this matter. There are on the order paper three or four resolutions dealing with the coal situation, and I think that this House is entitled to the fullest possible opportunity of discussing this question. There are also two or three other resolutions that are certainly of sufficient national importance to warrant this House going into them. After all, we have been sent here for the purpose of presenting to the House and the country the requirements of the various constituencies which we represent, and I do not think it would be wise at this time wholly to abandon private members' day. Perhaps if one day,

say Wednesday, were abandoned and Monday retained for a little while until the more important resolutions have been dealt with, it would meet the views of hon. members generally. .

Mr. PIERRE F. CASGRAIN (Charlevoix-Montmorency): There is on the order paper a resolution of very great importance, the first one, standing in my name, which proposes the amendment or abrogation of the Bankruptcy Act for the reasons stated in the resolution. On many occasions when the resolution was called I was quite prepared to proceed with it but was requested by certain hon. members who were evidently interested in it, to allow it to stand over until some other day. I. should not like the present motion to carry unless I were given a definite assurance that I should be able to proceed with this resolution. I would suggest that the motion of the Prime Minister be amended by striking out the words "on and," so that the motion would read:

That after Monday the 19th of March instant, to the end of the session, government notices and government orders shall have precedence, etc.

This would give me an opportunity to proceed with my resolution.

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LIB

Jean-Joseph Denis

Liberal

Mr. J. J. DENIS (Joliette):

Under the rules of the House notices of motions by private members have precedence on Mondays and Wednesdays until such time as the government introduces a motion, which is agreed to, to appropriate these two days to itself. It is well known that as far back as confederation-and possibly the system was followed before that time-a fairly reasonable time was allowed to elapse before the government brought in such a motion. When that motion is carried private members' motions can be dealt with only after government business has been disposed of, the result being virtually to debar private members entirely from presenting any resolutions to the House. This year it is my fortune, or misfortune, I do not know which, to have a very important resolution on the order paper. I am anxious to propose that resolution, but if this motion carries I shall be unable to do so. It may be said that I have had ample opportunity to bring it up, but we all know that members have been very busy, and furthermore the resolution that stands in my name is one that calls for considerable preparation. For that reason I have not been prepared to present it sooner. Nor did I think that the government would introduce the present motion as early as they have done. That opinion I based on last year's experience. Last year the session opened on 8th March and it was

Private Members' Day

not until 5th May that the Prime Minister submitted a motion of this kind to take effect on May 15. During that interval private members had an opportunity to proceed with their resolutions twice a week, and I thought that this year an equal length of time would be allowed for the consideration of euch resolutions. Last year we had ten weeks after the beginning of the session in which to discuss our resolutions; on the present occasion the motion to do away with private members' day is introduced six weeks after the opening of parliament. I have been asked more than once during this session by members on both sides of the House when I would proceed with my resolution, and I should be sorry if the fact that I had not moved it sooner-and I could not very well have done so-should preclude any discussion of the important, subject with which that resolution deals. Now, I have no advice to offer the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), but I may be allowed to quote his own words in regard to the subject matter of his motion. On Sth April, 1920, Right Hon. Sir George Foster moved, on behalf of the government then in power, a motion similar to my right hon. friend's. The leader of the Opposition of that day, the present Prime Minister, strongly opposed the motion on the ground that private members had not had sufficient time to present their resolutions. Sir George Foster, in reply to my right hon. friend, made this statement:

Always the experience has been that the leader of the government pays particular heed to the plea that has been made, and in good form and with good grace he allows another week. This squares the matter and nearly everybody is satisfied and amiable and complacent. Now, I am quite willing to do that and to give my hon. friend another week, if he will agree to the motion going through in that amended form.

Hansard then reports the present Prime Minister as follows:

Mr. Mackenzie King: We shall be thankful for small mercies if we cannot get anything better.

Now, I am asking to-day only for a small mercy in the shape of another week at least. I would move therefore that the motion be amended by substituting for the words "the 19th" the words "the 26th," which would give us the whole of next week in which to bring forward private resolutions.

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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CLARK (Burrard):

The suggestion of the last speaker (Mr, Denis) may be all right so far as he is concerned, but for those of us whose resolutions happen be in the tenth or twelfth place it gives rise to difficulties. In my case I have been quite prepared to go on. I put my resolution on the order paper early in the session but have not had an opportunity to proceed with it.

And I may say that the Acting Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) assured me that I should be given an opportunity to take the matter up; he said he would see that I got that opportunity. I cannot see, however, how he can carry out that undertaking if private members' day is abandoned. I therefore strongly advocate the retention of private members' day at least once a week for a reasonable period in order that hon. members may have a chance to clear up the resolutions that were placed on the order paper in the early stages of the session.

Mr. Gauvreau and Mr. Johnston having risen together:

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LIB
PRO

John Frederick Johnston

Progressive

Mr. J. FRED JOHNSTON (Last Mountain) :

Mr. Speaker, I find myself in about the same position as the hon. gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Clark). While I have little sympathy for hon. gentlemen whose resolutions have been repeatedly called and allowed to stand, I am not in that position. The resolution standing in my name was reached on the evening of 5th March, and at the direct request of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), who was leading the House at the time, I agreed to allow it to stand over. I took it from his statement that I would be given an opportunity to present my resolution at a later date. I hope the government will set apart a day for the discussion of what, as the Minister of Finance pointed out at the time, is a very important matter, and under the circumstances I think * it would not be fair that we should be debarred from dealing with this resolution.

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LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. C. A. GAUVREAU (Temiscouata):

Now I have my chance.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would assure the hon. member that there is no ill will against him on the part of the Speaker. The rules of the House must be applied, and the practice is that when one hon. member speaks on his side of the House two other hon. members from the two groups sitting on the other side are entitled to follow.

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LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU:

I b'ow to your decision, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that those on the Conservative side should have a chance, too. I must protest in the strongest manner against postponing the motion of the Prime Minister. All the private members' resolutions were called I do not know how many times-and I am here every day, even Saturdays and Sundays.

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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Minister of Customs and Excise)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

That is zeal.

Private Members' Day

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LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU:

I think it has been customary in the past for the Prime Minister to fix a date for the discussion of any motion that is very important. If we want to go home before the end of the summer it is time to curtail these motions. Most of them are absolutely nonsensical.

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. S. W. JACOBS (George Etienne Cartier) :

Mr. Speaker, I agree largely with the last words which dropped from the lips of the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Gauv-reau), with the qualification that I do not think they have any application to my own motion. This naturally is a resolution of the most important character and I should not like to have discussion on it choked off by this sudden motion presented by the Prime Minister. I understand that at the present moment it comes in the nature of what is known as a feint attack; there is not really any intention of pressing it, but it is notice given to private members that motions on the order paper will have to be proceeded with in due time. If I am mistaken and the motion is intended seriously, I must make a plea for my own resolution, which refers to Hindu franchise, one of the most important matters on the order paper. .

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (North Toronto):

Mr. Speaker, not 10 per cent of the time taken up with private members' motions has been devoted to motions presented by hon. members in this quarter of the House; most of the time has been devoted to resolutions introduced by the Progressives on purely academic questions. I have a resolution on the order paper, No. 11, in which ninety per cent of. the people of Canada are vitally interested. I have had many representations from municipalities and other public bodies requesting me to bring this matter to the attention of the House, but so far I have had no opportunity to do so. The resolution was called one day, but I could not proceed because the Prime Minister had arranged to give another motion precedence. I should like an early prorogation, but I do urge on the Prime Minister that he set apart an afternoon or an evening for the discussion of this very important question. I think it is only fair to the government that the country should know what it has been doing, and that an opportunity should be given for hon. members to present constructive suggestions on how to avoid a repetition of the disastrous conditions which have prevailed this winter through the lack of an adequate supply of fuel-conditions which will be still more disastrous next winter unless we take proper measures to ensure an adequate supply of coal.

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IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. W. C. GOOD (Brant):

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the Prime Minister wall accede to the request made by a number of members to extend the time for another week for the discussion of private members' resolutions. There are a number of very important resolutions on the order paper, and I am sure hon. members generally will be very much disappointed if we do not reach some of them. If the Prime Minister does not consent, I hope that the amendment offered will be voted on, for I shall certainly vote for an extension of another week.

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March 15, 1923