April 6, 1925

LIB

Donald Alexander Mackinnon

Liberal

Mr. MACKINNON:

They began to come in in iarge numbers, not in 1901, but later. They came in in hundreds of thousands in 1907, 1911 and 1912.

Topic:   EDITION
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PRO
LIB

Donald Alexander Mackinnon

Liberal

Mr. MACKINNON:

If that helped, I am pleased to acknowledge it, but that development took place under a reduced tariff. The trade of the country increased by over half a billion dollars from 1896 to 1911. Everything was going right ahead at a rapid rate. Of course, the tariff for revenue did not do it all. The people had to do it, but it was under that system this growth took place. Having learned that lesson, I think it is up to us to have a tariff for revenue only, and to reduce it here

and there as soon as we can get along with less revenue, but you cannot get along with less revenue than the minister is seeking this year to meet the country's requirements.

The United States is often quoted as an example of a high protectionist country that we should imitate. I am surprised that some speakers urge that, because to-day the United States is more free trade than protective. She imports 58 per cent of her merchandise entirely free of duty. If we were to imitate the United States, we would be allowing agricultural implements to come into this country free; we would also allow leather for boots and shoes, and manufactured boots and shoes to come inito this country free. If some of those who urge us to follow the example of the United States knew that, they would not point so often to that country as an example. But that is the situation in the United States. They are handling more in the free trade line than in the protective line. They have, of course, high protective duties on different items, but taken as a whole their protection is not nearly so high as ours. If you will compare the two countries you will find that the duties in the United States amount to about $5 per capita, compared with $10 or $11 per capita in Canada. That is another reason for reducing the duty. What I maintain is that we are more protectionist to-day than is the United States by that per capita difference. Very few people think so, but if you will look at the statistics you will find they figure out that way. I think the time has gone by to talk of protection. We do not want to hurt any industry at all. Industries developed better under a tariff for revenue than they did under protection, and they will do it again. The manufacturers of this country will prosper a great deal more under that system.

On motion of Mr. Mackinnon the debate was adjourned.

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PRIVILEGE-MR. MEIGHEN POINT OF ORDER-FORM OF ANSWER TO A QUESTION-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The House will allow me to give a ruling on the point of order raised this afternoon. On the 2nd April an answer was given by the hon. Secretary of State (Mr. Copp) to a question put by the hon. member for Kent, N.B., (Mr. Doucet). The question reads as follows:

1. What was the amount paid by the government in connection with the investigation and report mad* by Sir Henry Drayton in regard to the North Atlantic Steamship Conference and ocean rates?

A further question was asked by the hon. member for Kent, but it is the answer to the

Privilege-Mr. Meighen-Ruling

first question to which exception has been taken. The answer to the first question, given by the hon. Secretary of State reads:

1. Sir Henry Drayton was carried on the pay-list of the Board of Railway Commissioners for the period from July 31, 1913, to September 21, 1913, when he was employed on the ocean rates inquiry, and he was paid during the inquiry his regular salary rate as Chief Commissioner, namely $12,500 per annum, and $1,074, expenses.

Objection was taken to this answer as not being the proper one to make to the distinct and specific question asked by the hon. member for Kent (Mr. Doucet). Rule of the House No. 37 reads:

(1) Questions may be put to ministers of the crown relating to public affairs; and to other members, relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the House, in which such members may be concerned; but in putting any such question or in replying to the same no argument or opinion is to be offered, nor any facts stated, except so far as may be necessary to explain the same. And in answering any such question the matter to which the same refers shall not be debated.

The government, when questions are put, can always ask that the question should stand as an order for return, and when they deem that it is not in conformity with the public interest that an answer should be given they can decline to answer the question. In the present instance, however, the question is very simple, and very specific. I shall repeat it:

1. What was the amount paid by the government in connection with the investigation and report made by Sir Henry Drayton in regard to the North Atlantic Steamship Conference and ocean rates?

The question asked has reference to the amount which was paid Sir Henry Drayton es qualite of investigator in connection with the North Atlantic Steamship Conference and ocean rates, not as chairman of the railway board. The Railway Act clearly defines what were his powers and duties as chairman of the Tailway board. It states further-section 26 -what salary was to be paid him es qualite of chairman of the railway board. In the present instance the answer is beside the issue, because the question put by the hon. member for Kent is, what was the amount paid by the government in connection with the investigation and report made by Sir Henry Drayton in regard to the North Atlantic Steamship Conference and ocean rates? It has no reference to his statutory duties as chairman of the railway board.

May, at page 249, says:

The purpose of a question is to obtain information, and not to supply it to the House. A question may not contain statements of facts, unless they be necessary to make the question intelligible, and can be

authenticated; nor should a question contain arguments, inferences, imputations, epithets, or controversial or ironical expressions.

May here speaks of questions, but of course the same argument applies to answers. When a mere question of fact is stated in a question, the answer must refer to that fact without any inference. The present question, in my humble judgment, is clear and intelligible. There is a clear-cut question and it calls for a clear-cut answer or no answer at all. There was, in my judgment, only one of two answers to make: Either the 'government should have answered that Sir Henry Drayton had received nothing in his quality of investigator of oceanic rates, or that he had received something. The answer as if reads leaves an inference and equally it should not remain in Hansard. Bourinot, at page 314, states:

An answer to a question cannot be insisted upon, if the answer be refused by a minister on the ground of the public interest.

That is what I meant a moment ago when I said that the government could decline to answer on the ground of public policy. Bourinot continues:

The answer to a question should be brief and distinct.

In the present instance, in my humble judgment, the answer is not distinct. The question being specific; the answer should have been specific. I, therefore, rule that the answer be expunged from the Hansard and if the question is put again, a distinct answer should be given.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

It is impossible in this instance, without the question being asked again, to have another answer given.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. MEIGHEN POINT OF ORDER-FORM OF ANSWER TO A QUESTION-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

It is for the government to answer or not. As all authorities state, if the government thinks that the question should not be answered on the ground of public interest, they may decline to answer. But if a question is put as distinct and intelligible, as the one put on the 2nd April last was, the answer of the government if given must be as distinct, clear and precise.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. MEIGHEN POINT OF ORDER-FORM OF ANSWER TO A QUESTION-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

In the absence of my leader (Mr. Meighen) may I suggest that the question, or that portion of it that is not answered, should be restored to the order paper, and an answer given in due course?

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member has

only to give notice of his question again and it will be answered in due course.

On motion of Mr. Stewart (Argenteuil) the House adjourned at 11.05 p.m.

Ocean Shipping Rates

Tuesday, April 7, 1925

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. MEIGHEN POINT OF ORDER-FORM OF ANSWER TO A QUESTION-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
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April 6, 1925