July 19, 1924

FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the House that I have received the following message from the Senate:

Saturday, 19th July, 1924.

A message was received from the Senate acquainting this House that the Senate doth insist on its amendments to the Bill No. 255, an Act to amend the Pension Act, to which the House o-f Commons hath disagreed, for the following reasons:-

That the Royal Commission on Pensions and Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment was appointed in 1922 with a view to the government submitting legislation as an outcome of its report.

That the government did not present the bill to the Senate until it had announced prorogation in the House of Commons.

That upon a perusal of the Commons Hansard it was obvious that little or no discussion or consideration took place upon the bill.

That in the short time allowed, the Senate gave its best consideration to the bill and expressed the anticipation that the government next session would again submit it at an earlier stage for further consideration.

That the amendments having been so framed, no material loss will arise to the beneficiaries between now and the next session of parliament.

I might be allowed perhaps to make a little comment on what appears to be most unusual in this paragraph of the message, reading as follows: "That upon a perusal of the Commons Hansard," and so forth. Whosoever drafted this message aparently lost sight of the well-known custom and practice, which is to be found laid down in rule No. 203 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms:

Allusion to debates in the other House are out of order, and there are few orders more important than this for the conduct of debate and for observing courtesy between Houses. See May 289.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

I entirely agree with Your Honour's comment, and from a desire to obey a corresponding obligation on the part of this House I refrain from making quotation. But Your Honour might have added that the government leader in the Senate similarly violated the rule by making a direct reference to the debate in this House in his speech before the Senate.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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PRO

Levi William Humphrey

Progressive

Mr. L. W. HUMPHREY (West Kootenay) :

Mr. Speaker, I feel I cannot let this

opportunity pass without respectfully urging upon the government further action in reference to this communication with a view to a conference between the two Houses. I think the opportunity should be taken to lay the facts of this case before the Senate, and I would respectfully urge that a conference to that end be arranged. I feel the country would not approve of parliament's proroguing until every means had been exhausted to put this legislation into effect.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Hon. H. S. BELAND (Minister of Soldier's Civil Re-establishment):

Mr. Speaker, the

reasons which are adduced by the honourable the Senate for having refused to consider thoroughly Bill No. 255, which was passed by

Pension Act

this House, do not appeal to me. The House of Commons' committee sat for a number of months upon this question. The report of the royal commission, upon which the amendments have been based, has been before parliament for at least two months. Any report which is laid on the Table of the House is available not only to members of this House, but also to members of the Senate, and if this argument which is being put forward were to be entertained, what about the Canteen Funds bill which was thrown out by the Senate after due consideration?

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That is what did not take place.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Though I may not be in

order in referring to this particular measure, I cannot for the life of me see any reason for rejecting the Canteen Funds bill. It is not our money; it is the soldiers' money, the distribution of which was recommended by the royal commission, and we passed the legislation unanimously in perfect accord with those recommendations. But that bill was thrown out by the Senate.

Coming to this particular measure amending the Pension Act, one must bear in mind that the act as it is to-day provides that the pension bonus will lapse automatically on the 1st of September next should not a measure extending it be passed at the present session. The bonus which was provided some years ago has been extended from time to time up until the 1st of September, 1924, after which it will not be paid unless new provision. is made. I have endeavoured to secure information regarding the possibility of arriving at an agreement of some kind with the Senate upon some of the amendments at least, and the information I have been able to secure is to the effect that it would be useless. Should not the bill as amended by the Senate pass today, I repeat, very serious consequences will result, serious for the soldiers, inasmuch as all the pensioners, or at least an immense majority of them, will be deprived of the bonus, which I understand we here are unanimously in favour of extending permanently, for a number of years still, at all events. The bill provided for making the bonus permanent, making it a part of the pension itself. However, I wish to use every possible means that can be taken advantage of, and therefore, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move:

Resolved that a message be sent to the Senate respectfully requesting a free conference with their Honours to consider certain amendments made by the Senate to Bill No. 255, an act to amend the Pension Act, to which amendments this House has not agreed,

and upon which the Senate insists, and any amendments which at such conference it may be considered desirable to make to said bill or amendments thereto.

We do not know what the result of the conference may be. I hope we may obtain something, but I say frankly that should the Senate persist again in their attitude the only course left open to us will be to accept the bill as amended in order to save the bonus.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CLARK (Burrard):

I have no

abjection whatsoever to offer to a conference between the members of this House and the members of the Senate. I regret, however, that some committee was not appointed earlier. This situation was known last night, and I attempted to draw it to the attention of the government then with a view of arriving at immediate action. I have very grave doubts whether anything can be accomplished now in view of the shortness of the time, and in view particularly of the attitude of the leader of the government in the Senate. At the same time as far as I am personally concerned I welcome the conference idea as a last resource, and am prepared to use my utmost endeavours to secure some of the amendments which are desired to this act. I agree with the minister that we must not do anything to imperil the rights of the pensioners in regard to the bonus. That principle has been agreed to by both this House and the Senate. Therefore, I urge that we do nothing that might imperil that section of the act which even the Senate agrees should pass. So far as the minister's remarks on the Canteen bill are concerned, I really think it is unfortunate that the two bills should be coupled in our remarks. After all, the Pension bill is the essential bill. No one is being hurt because the Canteen bill has not been passed. The money will lie there, and although possible benefits will be postponed for a year I do not think any returned man, or anybody at least, could suffer because that bill was not passed. I think we must concentrate our efforts on the Pension bill-that is the bill. The failure to sanction the amendments to the act is the thing that is doing the harm in the country.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am not quite clear-

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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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):

If my right hon. friend

will pardon me. I would like to say just one word in reply to a point mentioned by my hon. friend (Mr. Clark). He stated that he drew the attention of the government last night to the prospect that a conference could be arranged and, I think, rather left the im-

Pension Act

plication that the government might have proceeded with .this conference a little more quickly.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK (Burrard):

If I am wrong in that I shall only be too willing to be corrected. But that certainly was my hope, that by bringing the matter to the attention of the government the earliest possible action might be taken.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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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:

Well, I think I can show my hon. friend that the government did do all that was possible under the circumstances. The Senate adjourned its sitting until eleven o'clock this morning. We adjourned ours until half past twelve in the hope that we would have a report from the Senate as soon as we reassembled which would enable us to see their position in this matter. My hon. friend has been in the House this morning and he has observed that no report came from the Senate. Even at half past twelve we were without information, in fact we suspended the business of the House to enable us to get this report, and the moment it was received we took action.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Instead of sending the bill back could we not then have appointed a committee to confer with the Senate?

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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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:

We could not because we did not know what the action of the Senate would be in the matter. I think this statement fully answers my hon. friend's point.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. T. W. CALDWELL (Victoria and Carleton):

I feel that parliament at the present time is facing a rather serious situation. I do not wish to say anything that will be considered as contrary to the rules of the House in this discussion, and I hardly know how I am going to express my feelings in the matter without doing so.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Suspend the rules.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

If you find, Mr. Speaker, that I aim getting beyond the rules I shall be pleased to be called to order. An hon. member has suggested that we should suspend the rules.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Suspend the sitting.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

With regard to these Pension Act amendments it has been stated that the reason they could not be concurred in by the Upper House was because they had gone through this House with very little discussion. I will admit at once that was a fact. As a member of the committee I did not feel 308

it was necessary to discuss these amendments before the House because the government had appointed a royal commission.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Two years ago.

Topic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   FREE CONFEREXCE WITH SENATE IN VIEW OF AMENDMENTS
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July 19, 1924