June 19, 1923

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

I submit, Mr. Speaker,

that we can appeal from your ruling if we do not like it, but I do not think we have a right to call it in question the day following.

Topic:   RULING OF MR. SPEAKER NON-DEBATABLE MOTION-EFFECT OF PROCEDURE UPON THE PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am not asking for an

appeal. My reason for bringing the matter up on the Orders of the Day is that I think it is as appropriate as any other matter on the Orders of the Day; it is a matter that concerns the privileges of the House.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does the right hon.

gentleman make it a question of privilege, a matter affecting the privileges of the House?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The privileges of the

House.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Then, I think he is in

order.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am not making it in

any spirit of complaint against the ruling, because I realize it is fully in accord with the precedent quoted by Your Honour in giving the ruling. As I stated, it was upon the calling of an order which merely read, "House in Committee of the Whole" on a certain bill. It was held there could not be debate upon a motion which was called from the Chair as appertaining to that order, the motion being that the Speaker do leave the Chair for the House to resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on that bill.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen) were appealing from your decision of yesterday, he would be out of order, as he himself admits. Otherwise it would be a question of changing the rules of the House. Either Your Honour's decision was right or it was not. If your decision was right, then the right hon. gentleman can only move to change the rules of the House; if it was wrong, then he had the right of appeal from it yesterday. If the right hon. gentleman wishes to amend the rules of the House he may proceed in the ordinary course, but I do not believe he is entitled to take that matter up on the Orders of the Day. Moreover, there is in the point raised no question of infringement of the privileges of the House. It is only when there has been such an infringement that the privileges of the House may be brought up in this way; otherwise, I do not believe the question can be raised at this stage. Therefore I respectfully submit that my right hon. friend is not in order.

Topic:   RULING OF MR. SPEAKER NON-DEBATABLE MOTION-EFFECT OF PROCEDURE UPON THE PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not propose to

argue the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I thought it was as convenient to bring the matter to the attention of yourself and of the House now as at any other time. If hon. members feel they do not want to have the discussion now, I will wait until a time when the decision may come again, and then I can discuss it. I do not know what the House is going to gain by the delay. I had hoped that by having the matter presented now we might avoid a precedent which I think would be serious later.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

Will there not be a

more serious precedent if my right hon. friend claims the right to discuss a matter which was decided by the Speaker on a previous day? I think that would be a very awkward precedent to establish.

Bank Act

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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

In order to settle the controversy, may I suggest that the House will be going into Committee of the Whole in a few moments, and the same question may then be raised?

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I was going to suggest

that the right hon. gentleman make his objections or representations when a similar motion comes before the House in the course of the regular proceedings to-day. I quite agree that the right hon. gentleman is not appealing to-day from the decision that was rendered yesterday. I gather from his remarks that he more particularly refers to another ruling which was given the other day on a notice of motion that the House do resolve itself into Committee of the Whole. There was on that occasion a little discussion about the right to debate the question before the Speaker left the Chair, and I think that is the phase of the question which the right hon. gentleman wishes to make clear to-day. He will, however, have an opportunity to raise the question again when a similar motion comes regularly before the House.

HINDU FRANCHISE On the Orders of the Day:

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

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

There is a resolution standing in my name on the order paper respecting Hindu franchise, and I am unable to proceed with it owing to the fact that private members' day has been taken away. That being so, I should like to know if the government would be prepared to fix a day upon which this question might be discussed. I understand that this matter is likely to come before the Imperial Conference in London next October, and inasmuch as the Prime Minister, who I understand is going to be present at the conference, might want to have his hand strengthened by a decision from this House on the question, I was wondering if we could not have a. day or part of a day set aside for the discussion of this important question.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

Christmas Day.

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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):

I would think that the most appropriate time to discuss this matter would be when the Franchise Act itself is up for consideration. Of course, it is not possible that this measure will be discussed this session, but if my hon. friend wishes to touch upon any aspect of the coming Imperial Conference, this among others he will be free to do so when we have that item under consideration.

GREAT LAKES SHIPPING COMBINE On the Orders of the Day:

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PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. R. A. HOEY (Springfield):

I should like to embrace this opportunity to ask the government if it is their intention in the immediate future to take action, criminal or otherwise, against the men who together constituted the Great Lakes shipping combine. It is some weeks since the report of the commission was tabled. The people of Canada are deeply interested in this question. I do rot know that proceedings could be taken under the Anti-Combines Act that we passed this session, but I know that any action taken would be in complete accord with the spirit of that legislation which we have passed.

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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):

The government is presenting to the House legislation which it is hoped will deal with the matters that are referred to by my hon. friend. Just as to whether any prosecutions should be instituted for actions that are past will depend, I think, pretty much upon the law as it stands at the moment.

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BANK ACT AMENDMENT


The House again in committee on Bill No. 83 respecting banks and banking, Mr. Gordon in the chair.


PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

Mr. Chairman, I asked last night that this clause might be allowed to stand over as it was my intention to submit an amendment. I have decided, however, not to bring that amendment forward as I am of the opinion that it would not receive the support of the committee. I would like to say a few words in regard to this section.

I think it is a mistake for this committee to say that people should not be allowed to start a bank in this country unless and until the new organization has a subscribed capital of S500,000. I would urge upon the minister the desirability of making it somewhat easier for any group of individuals in this country to get together and start a bank if they so desire. At the present time the banking business in this country is in the hands of a very small group of individuals, and I do not see that there is any possibility of relief from the present situation unless the act is amended to allow banks to start with a smaller capitalization. The reason I am not moving an amendment is that I do not know just what figure to suggest that might meet with the approval of this committee, but I do want to point out that by this legislation we are making it impossible for the people in

Bank Act

any town or village to start a bank even if they desire to do so and have money sufficient for the purpose. I do not think it is right for this parliament to say that these people should not be allowed to start a bank. Surely, that is carrying the prohibition too far. I would respectfully urge upon the Minister of Finance to take this matter into his most serious consideration and see whether it would not be wise to allow the banks to be started with a smaller subscribed capital than is here provided. The banking system in the United States has been built up through the formation of very small banks in the main. There are many banks in the United States which started with a capital of $25,000 and which have now a paid up capital of $1,000,000 or more, and it does seem to me that it would be possible for us to build up some banks in Canada under that same system, particularly as we now have upon the statute books the War Finance Act which allows banks to re-discount their securities with the Finance Department. Without discussing the matter at any greater length I would earnestly urge this upon the Minister of Finance for his consideration.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

The question referred to by my hon. friend is undoubtedly one of much interest and importance. It has been well considered by the department, and I think I may say it was pretty carefully considered by the committee. There is certainly something to be said in favour of the hon. member's suggestion. On the other hand, there aie several reasons which I think can be properly urged against it. To begin with, in these days of big things a small enterprise in any line of business will have trouble in competing with the larger concern. A small bank will have a great difficulty in competing with a larger institution. There are certain expenses incidental to management which have to apply to a small bank and also to a large one, and it is only because these expenses can be distributed over a large area in the case of the larger institution that the cost of the organization and management may be deemed reasonable. That in itself is the reason why, I think, a small bank would have, from the very beginning, great difficulty in holding its own.

Then there is another consideration. The argument for a small bank is that it appeals to the local feeling, appeals to the local pride. There is certainly force in that. But that which is an argument at one moment in its favour is really a good argument against it. The tendency of the small bank, appealing to tMr. Coote.l

local feeling, appealing to local pride, is to become so identified with local affairs that it, so to speak, puts all its eggs into one basket, and when trouble occurs the small bank, dependent upon local business, has an exceedingly difficult task to exist. I think, take it all in all, that any bank which is organized in Canada at a smaller capital than that which i3 required under the existing law would have a poor chance of success. I doubt whether any honourable member who thinks it out would do well to advise anybody to put money into a small bank in Canada with the expectation that it could compete successfully against the larger institutions.

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June 19, 1923