May 14, 1925

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I read a statement attributed to the Prime Minister-I am not quite certain of the occasion, but I have it upstairs; I think it was to a delegation-to the effect that in his judgment surplus power should be permitted to be exported from Canada. Was such a statement made?

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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:

No.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Then a lot of newspapers are travelling along a wrong track, and for the purpose of getting their way in this matter are extolling the government.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I should like again to

appeal to the minister to let this important item stand over.

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LIB

Thomas Andrew Low (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. LOW:

We have been debating it -now for nearly three hours, and surely if we are to make any progress at all we must get some of the items passed.

Mr. STEVENS': I want to point out this to the Prime Minister as the leader of the government, without any disrespect to the Minister of Trade and Commerce, that during the discussion of the estimates of this department we have made excellent progress with very large and very important items. We come to this -item to-night, and I intimated in my previous remarks that this raised perhaps the most important and significant question before parliament; I qualified it in this way, that if it was not the most important it was one of the most important questions. To my mind it is the most important. I made that statement, if the minister will recall, before the little tiff between myself and the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham)-

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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

-which apparently has occasioned this impasse. I had no intention of delaying the committee or causing any unreasonable discussion, but I submit to the government and to the Prime Minister that in view of the tremendous significance and importance of the question this item should be allowed to stand. I am not asking the government to give way on anything; simply on the meritsl of the case I ask that this item be allowed1 to stand until we have had the documents and other information which we have asked for.

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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 my hon. friend wall recall that about three-quarters of an houir ago I said the government would not

Supply-Trade and Commerce

hesitate for one minute to allow the item to stand, provided hon. gentlemen opposite worilid be prepared to alllow us to pass another iiteim or two before tlhe committee rose.

1 a.m. I aim quite iprepared to repeat that proposition at this hour, but 1 certainly do not think the government should be called upon to meet the whims of my hon. friend in the matter of whether or not we are to make progress with the estimates. I submit that until the difference arose to which he refers, there was no thought of holding up those items, and then my hon. friend got up and stated, "I will see this item does not go through to-night."

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I beg my right bon. friend's pardon, I did not make that statement.

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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:

Yes, I think my hon .friend did.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I want the Prime Minister to be fair. I made no such statement. I admit I resented very muich what I considered an unfair insinuation, but it had nothing to do with this item or the previous discussion. I regret very much the Prime Minister taking this stand1, but again I would submit to him the importance of this item is such, and the necessity for information so pressing, that it is utterly unreasonable to ask that it pass' tonight.

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LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Would it satisfy the committee to let the first litem, salaries of staff, the second item, travelling expenses, and the fourth item, International Electrotechnical Commission, pass, and allow the third item, export of electrical ipower $500, to stand?

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

If consent is given the one item can stand and the other three pass.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGBBN:

The Prime Minister at 12.30 agreed that this item should stand provided we would agree to take up some new items and let them go through. It was a strange suggestion to make at 12.30 after we had got through to-day two resolutions of the Minister of Finance, both very important; the second reading of the budget resolutions as a bill and the debate on an amendment; and some further bills to-night, and then made some progress on the estimates of the Minister of Trade and Commerce. That is the treatment this government has had from the opposition. They have never had anything in the nature of obstruction for an hour of the whole of this parliament. There has

been ample progress made to-day, and now we are not allowed to have an item stand except conditionally-an item that involves as big a question as ever was before the people of Canada, an item on which that question can alone be appropriately discussed. Before we can get that to stand pending the bringing down of what is admitted to be important information, we must submit to conditions. That is supposed to be reasonable treatment, and this is propounded to us at one o'clock in the morning. We are not anxious to hold up the item, but we are anxious that there should be reasonable discussion in the light of reasonable information on this item. I am prepared to allow the item to pass if I get the undertaking from the minister that on the next item that comes up in his department, when he presents his estimates again, we can have the discussion finished, he having brought down the information asked for. The understanding is that we can then have a full discussion on this same subject.

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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:

Certainly.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I had an arrangement similar to this two years ago, but I was told afterwards that it was illegal. I do not desire that we should be caught that way again. The arrangement should be clearly understood so that there will be no question about the right to go on with this discussion on whatever item is now fixed.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The next item taken up, I said, and the material brought down.

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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:

The right hon. leader of the opposition has made a suggestion which I think will meet the situation, and I am prepared on behalf of the government to accept it in the spirit in which it is made.

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LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The understanding is that on the next item introduced by the Minister of Trade and Commerce the debate will continue on the question of the export of electrical power-the same as this item that has been debated under this vote in committee; and that is accepted, I understand, by the right hon. leader of the opposition.

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May 14, 1925