February 10, 1926

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance):

I beg to lay on the table volume II of the Auditor General's report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1925.

Topic:   AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

The first shall

be last, and the last first.

Topic:   AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I am advised by the Auditor General's office that volume I will not be ready this week, but they hope it will be ready soon.

Report of the Canadian delegates to the Sixth Assembly of the League of Nations.- Hon. Mr. Lapointe.

Topic:   AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

WEDNESDAY SITTING

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Leader of the House):

I beg to move:

That when the House adjourns this day, it stand adjourned until to-morrow at three o'clock in the afternoon.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   WEDNESDAY SITTING
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Motion agreed to. Customs Inquiry Committee


CUSTOMS INQUIRY

SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre):

I would like to ask the leader of the government by what rule of procedure of parliament the government was authorized to retain two eminent counsel, Mr. Aime Geoffrion, K.C. and Mr. Eugene Lafleur, K.C., presumably, as reported by the Minister of Customs and Excise (Mr. Boivin) this morning to the committee of inquiry into customs matters, for the purpose of representing that committee. The retaining of these counsel preceded the organization meeting of the committee and was done without consultation of the committee. These two eminent counsel have been brought to Ottawa, and when the committee met this morning it was instructed that counsel had been retained for the committee by the government. By what rule of parliamentary procedure is the government authorized on any occasion, and particularly on this occasion, to retain counsel for a committee prior to its organization and without consulting it?

Hon. GEORGE H. BOIVIN (Minister of Customs and Excise: If the question asked

by my hon. friend and the long argument which accompanied it are perfectly in order, the matter having been already discussed in committee this morning, and one of the rules of the House, if I understand them correctly, providing that any matter under consideration by a committee is not debatable upon the floor of the House, I will give the hon. member an answer. Only one counsel has so far been engaged by the government. On Sunday evening I communicated with both Mr. Geoffrion and Mr. Lafleur to ascertain if either would be available. Mr. Eugene Lafleur was not sure that he would be able to act and he has not been engaged. The services of Mr. Aime Geoffrion were retained, and the government offered to the committee this morning that he would be secured to assist the committee if the committee so desired. One member of the committee- I will leave the House to judge who that hon. member was-objected very strenuously to his engagement as counsel for the committee. The committee agreed however to recognize him as attorney for the Department of Customs and Excise, for the purpose, not of defending the department but Of probing into the administration of the department, correcting any irregularities that may be found and protecting the customs and excise revenue of Canada.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mir. STEVENS:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have allowed the question of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre and the answer of the Minister of Customs and Excise, because I consider this a matter of public importance and tantamount to a ministerial declaration. But I will remind hon. members that until a committee reports, it is irregular to refer to its proceedings in debate in the House. Paragraph 2*14, page 67 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, states:

For instance, in the session of 1873, Mr. Huntingdon-

Who 'became Postmaster General later on. -was proceeding to refer .to certain papers and letters relative to an important matter under the consideration of a select committee, but the speaker decided in accordance with English precedents that they could not be read in the House.

It is the practice that until a report is made to the House by a. special committee or any other committee, matters discussed before such committee cannot be debated in the House.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The question did not appertain to the proceedings before the committee, but to proceedings which took place before the committee was organized.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

That was discussed in committee this morning.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The query was in order as was also the answer, which I regarded as a ministerial declaration. But surely no one will deny that, in the absence of a report to the House of the special committee, the proceedings of that committee may not be debated here.

Ml1. STEVENS: I gather from your ruling, Mr. Speaker, that I have not transgressed the rules of the House in putting the question.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

No; as I have said, I regarded both the query and the answer as being perfectly in order. The answer in my opinion wias a ministerial declaration upon a question which was perfectly allowable on the orders of the day.

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Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE-RETAINING OF COUNSEL
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DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION

INQUIRY RESPECTING MINISTERS' SEATS AND ACTING MINISTERS

February 10, 1926