May 16, 1924

WEDNESDAY SITTINGS

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS TO HAVE PRECEDENCE

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 Wednesday, the 21st of May instant, and subsequent Wednesdays to the end of the session, government notices of motion and government orders shall have precedence over all 'business except questions by members and notices of motions for the production of papers.

Business of the House

* Mr. HARRY LEADER (Portage la Prairie): I beg humbly to protest against this resolution. It will have the effect of taking away private members' day thereby preventing hon. members from bringing resolutions before the House. I know the Prime Minister will say that we have all had opportunity to present our resolutions. That is true. In regard to the resolution that stands on the order paper in my name, I may say that I had three opportunities to bring it forward: one on a Monday night at a quarter to eleven; another on a Thursday night at a quarter to ten; and I think another on a Wednesday night at twenty minutes to six. But had I gone on with my resolution on any of those occasions I should perhaps only have had the opportunity of speaking myself; then the debate would have been adjourned and the motion would not have been voted upon. Now, this happened last year and I did not intend that the same thing should occur this year. I thought I had my resolution in in lots of time, but evidently there was so much other work ahead that it was not reached. However, I should like to take this opportunity of protesting against taking Wednesday as proposed. I might mention that a number of hon. gentlemen when speaking during the budget debate referred to the fact that if we desired to practise economy we should start here and set an example to the country by agreeing to a reduction in our sessional indemnity.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker I also wish to protest not so much perhaps at the actual motion as at the situation which results from the practice of late years of filling up the order paper with motions. sometimes before the House meets at all. For instance when we came down here first this session there were already three or four pages of notices of motion. Some of them were-I do not think I would be over harsh in saying this-of an absolutely unnecessary kind, resolutions of an abstract character -one for example dealing with what Britain should do about the Ruhr. What on earth have we here got to do with the Ruhr? I should like to know what practical end can be achieved by discussing abstract questions of that sort. There are many more such resolutions; I could point out a dozen that are equally useless as far as the actual operation of lawmaking here is concerned. What I wanted to say is this: These motions are

put on the order paper and frequently not taken up when called. As the Prime Min-

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ister said on a previous occasion some of them have been called six times and still they maintain their place on the order paper. Two resolutions stand on the order paper in my name. They are unimportant, I will admit. One was the notice of a bill, and the other was the notice of a resolution that I wanted to discuss. Both however would be of some practical advantage-at least I should hope so-as regards the interests of Canada. I put these resolutions on the order paper within a month after the House met, but of course there were a great number of motions ahead of them. They never were called except on one occasion when a number of the members were going to Halifax. I stayed away from that trip on purpose because I thought my motion would come up. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, it came up on the occasion in question at three minutes to six and by speaking to the motion I obtained the placing of it on the order paper amongst public bills and orders instead of it remaining amongst motions. Now, private members' day has been taken from us and the resolution will not come up again. If I am not very much mistaken there have been fewer days devoted to the motions of private members this session than in any other session for a long number of years past-at least for some ten or twelve years. I quite admit that a remedy is needed but I do not think it is the remedy such as suggested by the motion before the House. What I would suggest is this: That the House or the government should consider amending the rules in the following manner: First, that when these motions are called and not gone on with, unless in case of the sickness of the hon. member in whose name they stand, they shall be dropped and have to be placed at the bottom of the order paper again. That -would give hon. members who have something that they really desire to bring before the House a chance to be heard. The second amendment I would suggest is, instead of going along two or three months, and then arbitrarily saying, "We cannot have any more private members' days," that after an agreed on date-say a couple of months after the opening of the House-no more new motions would be accepted; so that no one could put any fresh notice on the order paper, but that members who had notices then on the order paper which had not been called should be given an opportunity to be heard. So far as I am concerned, I am quite willing to forego the opportunity of talking on the matter I am interested in, in order to choke off a lot of these vague abstract resolutions that are before us. But some day, when the government or the opposition, as the case might

Business oj the House

be, are desperately in need of an opportunity to move some particular motion, it could be easily blocked by the opposition or the government putting a lot of abstract motions on the order paper, and then when they were forced to, taking up one order or the other until the time lapsed. But any bona fide motion put on the order paper within two months-or one month, if you like-of the opening of the House would be heard. The other sugestion of dropping those motions that were not called would facilitate, and perhaps put an end to what I really think is'an abuse of the original intention of the rules.

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IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. W. C. GOOD (Brant):

When the

matter of taking Mondays came up some weeks ago I made a protest against the motion which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) brought in. However, my protest was unavailing. I have taken the trouble to look into the record of this House for the last thirty years in respect to private members' day, and I must say that the information which I secured in that investigation certainly is not creditable to the present government, or the present parliament, or the present procedure. I am not going to weary the House by giving them the details at the present time, I am simply going to say that in the old days there was practically always plenty of time taken to reasonably clear the order paper of these private members' resolutions. Twenty years ago Thursdays were taken first, Wednesdays were taken next, and Monday was left a complete day when a vote might be had-Monday was left until the last. This year, for the first time, the procedure has been reversed and Monday has been taken first, and that is the only day when a vote can be secured. I may say the record of this House is indeed worse than the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) has intimated. So far as Mondays, which are the only days that really concern us, are concerned, we have had nineteen days between the time that the debate on the Address was concluded, and the date that Monday was taken, and there were twenty-nine private members' motions left on the order paper unconsidered. Since the time I made this record I think there has been an addition of several to the list. No other year in the last thirty approaches anywhere near that record. There were one or two years during the war when there were not very many resolutions on the orders, and when-probably for special reasons-the number of days allowed for private members was smaller than it was, say about three or four years ago. This matter is not concluded; it will come up again; and I want to protest that the rules of the House

in this respect ought to be amended. I am not prepared to endorse the suggestions already made by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), but I do think this is a matter of great importance, because, as I said before, private members are figuring and will figure in the future more prominently in the business of the House than under the two party system, and we must have some extension or rearrangement. I was going to suggest, without debating the matter at any great length- I do not want to go into any further argument-that we ought to have a full day, say Monday, for practically the entire session, and let the government have Wednesdays, when they can take up estimates, or something of that nature without any trouble at all. They are now of practically no use for private members' resolutions, as they can be talked out. The government and the members know this, and why do they not look at it in a sensible way, and give some consideration to private members? I am not going to do anj'thing further at the present time, but I want to warn the government that they have not heard the last of the matter.

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Motion agreed to.


EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN AT SEA


Hon. JAMES MURDOCK (Minister of Labour) moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole on Monday next to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to bring in a measure to confirm a certain Convention relating to the employment of children at sea, adopted at Genoa on the 9th day of July, 1920, by a general Conference of the International Labour Organization of the League of Nations; and to provide that no child under the age of fourteen years shall be employed on any ship except as permitted under such convention; that a list of persons under sixteen years of age so employed, or a register thereof, shall be kept; that penalties be imposed for violation of the proposed legislation; and that the Act shall not apply where all the crew are members of the same family, or the child was lawfully employed at the commencement of the Act. He said: His Excellency the Governor General, having be.en made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the favourable consideration of the House. Motion agreed to.


CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS GUARANTEE ACT


Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways and Canals) moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole on Monday next to consider the following proposed resolution : That it is expedient to amend the Canadian National Railways Guarantee Act, 1923, chapter 37, by repealing subsection four thereof and providing,- Resignation of Mr. Mitchell 1. That nothing contained in the said act shall be taken to authorize the guarantee of any securities the issue of which has not been authorized by the said act or some other act of parliament, and 2. That where parliament has authorized expenditures on equipment to the extent of twenty-five per cent of the cost of such equipment, the company may make or cause to be made one or more equipment issues for the remaining seventy-five per cent of such cost. He said: His Excellency the Governor General having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the favourable consideration of the House. Motion agreed to.


MOUNTED POLICE ACT AMENDMENT


Hon. H. S. BELAND (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment) (for the Minister of Justice), moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole on Monday next to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act by providing,- 1. That the Governor in Council may by regulation determine the pay and allowances to be received by the Commissioner and other members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force. 2. That the time served by officers in the Dominion Police Force may be included in the term of service for pension purposes, and this provision shall apply as from the first day of February, 1920. He said: His Excellency the Governor General having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the favourable consideration of the House. Motion agreed to.


CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT-HALFBREED SCRIP


On the Orders of the Day:


PRO

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

Progressive

Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (West Edmonton):

Will an opportunity be given at an early date for the third reading of Bill No. 5, to amend the Criminal Code?

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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):

In the absence of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), I would not like to reply to the question, but I will bring it to the attention of the minister.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

I may say that I brought this matter to the attention of the minister some days ago and he stated that an opportunity would be given.

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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:

That is correct.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not see why we

could not pass the third reading now and be done with it. It would take only three minutes to do so.

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May 16, 1924