February 13, 1925

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I appreciate the spirit

in which this debate has been carried on, and the pertinence of all remarks anent the question raised. I cannot fail to express my surprise that the leader of the Progressive party (Mr. Forke) should have so utterly failed to grasp the principle at stake as to seek to cover the discussion over with a lot of irrelevant talk about how long the debate should continue. The question is this: Is advantage to be taken of an inadvertence on the part of the Chair-because it is there that the inadvertence occurred-to shut off the speeches of hon. members? If the debate is to be discontinued, I have a higher opinion of the House than to think that this will be done because some hon. members who have spoken do not want to listen to those who have not. I should have preferred the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to concur with the Deputy Speaker in the understanding that he was to move the rescission of the

142 COMMONS

Business of the House-The Address

motion which has been agreed to. The Prime Minister has stated that he is ready to do so if the Speaker holds this to be proper.

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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:

There was no understanding that I should make such a motion; at least I was not a party to that understanding.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

However, he has stated that he is quite ready to do so if the Speaker holds that it is within the rules of the House. I am quite satisfied with that.

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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:

There was no understanding that I would make a motion. At any rate I was not consulted in regard to it.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That was the information brought me by the Deputy Speaker.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. GORDON:

The Prime Minister stated that he would be glad to assist in any way to put the matter right.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is not what you said at all.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

You said to me that a motion would be made to restore the order, because that was my suggestion to the Deputy Speaker. I am stating the facts.

However, the point is not worthy of further discussion for the reason that the Prime Minister has stated his willingness to do whatever is within his power to get rid of this awkward situation. I suggest that inasmuch as the Deputy Speaker's declaration was undoubtedly that six o'clock had arrived, the Deputy Speaker thereafter had no right to initiate any further proceedings on the part of the House, and that therefore any such proceedings are null and void. Hon. members had a right to assume once those words had escaped his lips that nothing further would be done; and having assumed that they left the House. There is no doubt that whatever was done after six o'clock was done without authority, and I am sure that all hon. members who want the rules of parliament to be lived up to, who want the fight to be carried on in a fair way between the parties, would never dream of objecting to a ruling on the part of the Chair that what followed after the declaration of the. Deputy Speaker was null and void, and at best an inadvertence, and that we proceed just as we were when that declaration was made.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Will the right hon. gentleman explain why the hon. member for West York

(Sir Henry Drayton), who was leading his party then, did not object to all the motions w'hich were carried thereafter?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. member for

West York was not in the House at all. He arrived after the motion was being put to engross the Address. The only one at the time entitled to speak for the opposition was the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), who had been left by myself in charge. He remained until the declaration by the Chair. The hon. member for West York arrived after that. Not being acquainted with the situation or having any instructions from me, he would have no authority to speak for the opposition.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Surely there were some members of the opposition present to raise the question then?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. member did

not listen to me. Any member cannot speak for the whole opposition; he can speak only for himself, unless he is deputed to lead his party. The one deputed by me was the member for Vancouver Centre. On the declaration of the Chair he left the chamber, so there was nobody in authority to speak for the opposition. And nobody would be called upon to speak for we had the right to assume that after that declaration no more business would be transacted. We did assume it; our members left. I am sure that of all men the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Vien) would never suggest that anything valid should be held to have been done after that. There is no difficulty in the way of remedying the error; no precedent is going to be established that will embarrass anyone, for such a situation after the declaration of the Chair would never arise again. This suggestion meets the ends of justice, and I sincerely hope no hon. member of the House would object to its being carried out.

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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:

I think, Mr. Speaker, that if we continue the debate on this point we shall occupy as much time as if we had resumed the debate on the Address. It has been made apparent that the Deputy Speaker had mentioned that it was six o'clock, and that no one in the House had any intention of proceeding other than in accordance with the rules. The rule is that at six o'clock the Speaker leaves the chair. In view therefore of what took place last night after six o'clock the House having proceeded inadvertently, I hope, Mr. Speaker, you will find it possible not to take cognizance of what was then done and allow the debate on the Address to continue in the regular way.

The Address-Mr. Simpson

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

This puts me in a very

awkward position. When I looked at the Votes and Proceedings this morning I saw that the House adjourned at six o'clock last night; but the Deputy Speaker with characteristic frankness has declared this afternoon that the House was really adjourned after six o'clock. If I were dealing with this matter from the point of view of the letter of the rules of the House, I would be placed in a very awkward position, as I stated a moment ago, because the House could not but rescind the proceedings which took place yesterday after six o'clock, and this is a very grave course to take. If hon. members will refer to Bourinot- my guide in this matter-at page 328 of the fourth edition, they will find the following: Renewal of a Question During a Session

When a motion has been stated by the Speaker to the House, and proposed as a question for its determination, it is then in the possession of the House, to be decided or otherwise disposed of according to the established forms of proceeding. It may then be resolved in the affirmative or passed in the negative; or superseded by an amendment, or withdrawn with the unanimous consent of the House. It is, however, an ancient rule of parliament. . . .

Amd this is what I wish to emphasize-

-that " no question or motion can regularly be offered if it is substantially the same with one on which the judgment of the House has already been expressed during the current session." The old rule of parliament reads: " That a question being once made, and carried in the affirmative or negative, cannot be questioned again, but must stand as a judgment of the House."

It is on this that rule 19, cited by the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis), has been based.

On the other hand I cannot forget that the rules of our parliament are based on common sense and on the broad principle of freedom of speech. Now, it is admitted by the Deputy Speaker, and by both sides of the House that a technical error was made; that after six o'clock the House continued sitting; and that someone was to continue the debate this afternoon on the main motion as moved by the hon. member for Rimouski (Sir Eugene Fiset) seconded by the hon. member for West Hastings (Mr. Hanna). If I should follow the letter of the rule, a motion would have to be made under rule 19 to rescind the decision of the House agreed to yesterday. However, I have it deep in my memory that, during the thirty years that I have sat in this House with my good friend the member for South York (Mr. Maclean), time and again when a technical error was brought to the notice of the Speaker, by unanimous consent, that error was expunged from the proceedings of the House. And

if a motion should be made this afternoon to expunge from the Votes and Proceedings, and therefore from the scroll, the proceedings which by inadvertence, took place yesterday after six o'clock, I would accept the motion, provided of course it received unanimous consent. For the objection by the hon. member for Joliette is well taken; by rule 40 notice has to be given for any such motion. But by rule 41 notice can be waived by unanimous consent.

I therefore, rule that under these circumstances, a motion to expunge from the proceedings the error which was made inadvertently yesterday after six o'clock is in order.

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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:

If my light

hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) will join with me in this motion by seconding it, I shall have much pleasure in moving:

That this House agrees that all the proceedings which took place after six o'clock on Thursday, the 12th instant, having been the result of inadvertence are declared void and ordered to be expunged from the Journals of the House.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

Will that impose on me the making of another speech?

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I would just like to say, Mr. Speaker, that in view of your explanation I will support the motion.

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Motion agreed to.


THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

February 13, 1925