March 27, 1924

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

Mr. Speaker, the resolution has been pretty thoroughly discussed, and I want to offer just a thought or two on the amendment. I do not wish to prolong my remarks unduly, because I do not think there is anything very much more of value that I have to offer. Let me first of all point out that I think the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Dray-50i

ton) made the only attack on my speech that has been made by any hon. member. I am sorry that he is not in his seat now, but I think his attack was a little unfair. I think he misrepresented my statement when he said that I had argued that because one bank had failed that proved that all banks were going to fail. I did not argue that. Then the hon. member made a definite charge that I was wrong in my estimate of the assets of the bank over its liabilities. I have laid claim to many things, but I have never laid claim to infallibility. It is just possible that I was wrong, but I am not wrong merely because the hon. member for West York says so. He offered no arguments or facts or figures to prove that I was wrong, and I do not accept his statement in that regard, neither do I think the House will accept it. When I challenge the statement of the hon. member for West York as definitely as he has challenged mine, I shall have more to put forward than a challenge; I shall have the facts to put forward as well.

The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Macdonald) has explained the position of the government; he has given us a history of the whole movement towards investigation; he has referred to the deputation from the Home Bank depositors; he has pointed out the situation which practically compelled the government to take some action and to take action along the lines of a royal commission.

As I pointed out in my first speech, the position of the government is a difficult one in dealing with this matter, and I certainly wish to do all in my power-and I believe hon. members will concur with me in this- that we all wish to help to the best of our ability to bring this matter to a successful issue. I have no politics, Mr. Speaker, of the popular type. I do not know whether that is a matter of shame or pride. But some portions of the debate have verged sometimes on the acrimonious and have dealt with matters that, I think, might have been left to the royal commission and so have saved a good deal of debate. I am bound to say, as a new inexperienced member, that in listening to the debate I felt sometimes a little uncertain as to what confidence to place in the government and in the amendment. When the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill) moved his amendment, I felt that in it were the principles that I had contended for in my resolution. When I heard the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen), who is an experienced parliamentarian and has an undoubted gift and

Home Bank Investigation

power of analysis, I began to wonder whether the hon. member for Pontiac was not trying, as we say in popular parlance to " put one over on me." Now, however, I do not think the government is doing so. I think it is unfortunate that such an opinion should be created by the discussion. I am going to take the government's word. I am going to assume that the amendment is sincerely moved and that the government in accepting it is going to do its best to carry out the spirit of the amendment. I hope that hon. members to my right will concur with me in taking this attitude. Surely the government will not, after we have placed such confidence in it, attempt to play fast and loose with its word. I would take the same position with the right hon. leader of the opposition. I would be prepared to give him all the advantages in this regard, and I trust that he will extend the same to me when the Labour party comes to power in this Dominion.

Now, Mr. Speaker, after having heard the declaration of the Prime Minister that we will be allowed to at once proceed to action, and after having been assured that we will receive the evidence as it is adduced before the royal commission from time to time, and be in a position to deliberate thereon, I see no reason why I should not accept the amendment and withdraw my resolution, with the consent of the House, for, after all, what I was trying to get was action. I do not want any more investigation than is necessary. I think we can get action in this committee, and in that way co-operate wth the royal commission that will furnish us with the requisite information.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The question is on the

amendment moved by the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill) and seconded by the hon. member for North Essex (Mr. Healy):

That in the opinion of this House, in view of the failure of the Home Bank and of the fact that official prosecutions and inquiries have been instituted, including the royal commission which has been appointed to investigate the facts alleged in the petition represented by the shareholders of the bank and the affairs of the bank generally, and considering that the evidence received and to be taken before the several tribunals will be available for consideration, the Select Standing Committee on Banking and Commerce should be instructed to consider the provisions of the Bank Act with a view to recommending such amendments to the Act as will better protect the interests of the depositors generally and will prevent similar occurrences in the future; and also to consider the report of the royal commission in its bearing upon these matters and with respect to the possibility of saving the Home Bank depositors from loss.

By unanimous consent shall I substitute the word "depositors" for the word "shareholders."

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The question is on the

amendment. The House must pass judgment on the amendment before the hon. member who moved the motion can have leave to withdraw the motion. That is in accordance with rule 324 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Mr. Speaker, on the vote

iust taken I was paired with the hon. member

for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens). Had I

not been paired amendment. I would have voted for the

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LIB

Lawson Omar Clifford

Liberal

Mr. CLIFFORD:

I was paired with the hon. member for East Elgin (Mr. Stansell). Had I voted I would have voted for the amendment.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I declare the amendment

carried. I understand that the hon. member for East Calgary (Mr. Irvine) withdraws his motion. Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. gentleman should have leave to withdraw his motion? '

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Mr. Speaker, how can

there be an amendment carried to a motion that is withdrawn? The amendment is to the motion; the amendment having passed, there is no motion.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

There is no motion left,

but I wanted to give effect to what the hon. member for East Calgary had stated prior to the vote.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It cannot be given effect to after the vote just taken. I may say that a large number of our members had gone home on the faith of the report from the whip to the effect that an arrangement had been made that there would be not a vote, but an adjournment.

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ADJOURNMENT-HOME BANK PETITION TABLED

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I wish to lay pn the Table of the House the petition of the depositors of the Home Bank, which I promised I would bring down before the sitting was concluded.

Motion agreed to and the House adjourned at 12.55 a.m. (Friday).

Friday, March 28, 1924

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March 27, 1924