March 19, 1926

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Notwithstanding my hon. friend's eloquence he has not answered the question. He tells us that his motion had a wider range of slaughter in view than the killing of the item itself; he admits that the intention was to kill the committee. I ask him again, however, the simple question I put to him before: was it his intention to kill the item? Now, I may say, I was in the House at the time my hon. friend was speaking, and he was requesting the Minister of Customs not to press the item at that particular moment.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Certainly.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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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:

But the hon. member did not say anything about killing the item; he merely asked that it be held over. The item was to provide money for the preventive service. That being understood, was it his desire to kill it?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I cannot make myself much clearer to the Prime Minister. Our position was that the item should not be pressed, and we did the only thing we could do under the circumstances. What else

was there to be done? I have an idea that the whole thing will have to be gone over again, if we are to have anything like a proper administration of affairs in this country, when the report of the committee comes in. I expect that when the report is submitted something will be done to try to stop what has been going on in this country, as apparently it is admitted. I am not against a proper item for the protection of the customs and of the commerce of this country, but I am opposed to any scheme of putting through votes that have a bearing upon the matter now under investigation by the Customs committee before the report of that committee has been submitted to the House.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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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 it is

important that there should be no misunderstanding of the exact significance of what transpired yesterday. As hon. members know' very well, when the House is in committee hon. gentlemen frequently attend to other matters than the questions immediately under consideration in this chamber, especially when they have reason to expect that a debate will go on without a division. It so happened that yesterday afternoon there was an important meeting of the committee which is investigating the smuggling charges and a large number of hon. members from this side of the House, as well as some hon. gentlemen opposite, attended that meeting. The fact that the total vote in committee in this chamber was 105 shows that one-half of the members were not in the House at the time that the vote was taken. I came into the chamber about a quarter to six, having previously been in conference in my own room with some hon. members, and at about ten minutes to six I heard my hon. friend the member for West York suggesting to the Minister of Customs that the item be not pressed at that particular moment. The Minister of Customs was replying to the effect that there were strong reasons why the item should not be held over, and I believe what he had in mind was that it was desirable to proceed with the business of the House as expeditiously as possible. The hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton), while the Minister of Customs was speaking, kept his eye steadily on the clock, and when it was nearly six o'clock-about five minutes to six-instead of making any motion of any kind respecting the item, either to strike it out or to reduce it, he moved to have the committee rise at once in order, so he said, to show his good faith in the whole matter. The Minister of

Customs and Excise

Customs, according to Hansard at page 1751, thereupon asked my hon. friend this question :

I hope my hoo. friend will at least allow me to ask a question. Does he desire by this motion to secure the withdrawal for the present of these two other items ?

What answer did my hon. friend make?

Sir Henry Drayton: I want the ordinary rules of the House to be applied. I have made a motion. I want to prevent these two items from being considered, as I do not think they should be considered.

In other words, my hon. friend expressed the view that he did not wish to have the item considered. Why did he not want to have it considered at that moment? He did not wish to have it considered at that particular moment because most hon. gentlemen opposite were at that time in the lobby waiting for orders to come in here and get a snap vote. That is the whole explanation. I am ready to admit that the hon. gentleman did turn a clever little trick, but if my hon. friends opposite regard it as a great victory I fancy they are the only ones who will be of that opinion.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Will the Prime Minister allow a question? If he is right in his contention that I did not want to have the item considered, why was it that I pressed the vote immediately?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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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 the hon.

member had not pressed the vote immediately it would have been six o'clock and he could not have obtained a snap verdict.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William):

The whole discussion is out of order, but as apparently it is being allowed I wish to say a few words on the question. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) and other hon. gentlemen opposite have been speaking of this vote as a snap verdict. Well, is it any more a snap vote than the snap votes which the government has pulled off at various times when some of our members on this side have gone away not expecting a vote?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

When?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

My hon. friends know

very well when, without having me tell them.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Hon. gentlemen opposite,

when they cannot reply with an argument, frequently interrupt with laughter, as they have interrupted my right hon. leader (Mr. Meighen), or with howls. It reminds me of a strange custom I noted some years ago when travelling in Europe. In the Italian theatres

there is maintained what is known as a claque for the purpose of cheering when it is called upon to cheer, or laughing, as the case may be. My hon. friends on the other side of the House, Mr. Speaker, very often remind me of that claque.

I listened yesterday to the very able discussion carried on by various members on both sides of the House, and I want to say that it was not simply a snap vote, it was the right kind of vote. It was the sort of vote that this government should be getting in this House on all occasions, and it would be so dealt with if it were not for the fact that having made so many promises to all sections in this House it has been able to secure support from hon. members who apparently are more ready to accept promises than action.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Customs when he pointed out that the government was going to allow the House to discuss these estimates spoke as if it was doing something generous, but that is the duty of every government. The House has the right to discuss all the estimates; that is why we are here.

I should like to point out that for lesser defeats of this kind governments in Great Britain, much more strongly entrenched than this government is, have resigned.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Yes; and if I wished to take the time of the House I could give many instances of governments in the British House with clear majorities over all other parties, majorities running from 30 to 40, which for lesser reverses than this government has had realized their duty to the country and resigned.

The Minister of Finance has stated that the opposition simply wished to cause trouble. Well, the trouble in the country at the present time is caused by this defunct government insisting on carrying on when it should be out of business. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that this was not a snap vote nor a prepared vote. It simply happened because our party was on the job and the government's party was not.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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LIB

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I hope my hon. friend has misunderstood me. I do not think I said anything of the kind that he objects to.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I wrote down the words at the time. Maybe my hon. friend did not mean them in the way he said them.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I simply rise, Mr. Speaker, to say that I am a little alarmed by a statement made by my hon. friend from West York

Customs and Excise

(Sir Henry Drayton). This is March 19, and in a few days members will be urging us to name the date when they can separate for the Easter holidays. Every member is interested in carrying on the public service, particularly the preventive service to check smuggling and ensure the maximum collection of revenue; and no person is more interested in these measures than the Minister of Finance of the day. My hon. friend knows that from his past experience. I have for the moment the responsibility of providing moneys to carry on the public service, including moneys required for the preventive service. In view of my hon. friend's statement, if this motion is killed does he mean to say that the doors are going to be opened wide to every smuggler to carry on his illicit traffic? I appeal to the fommon sense of my hon. friend. If he wished, he might say, " We will give you a reasonable vote to carry on, we will only give you a percentage of this on April 1." But surely he does not take the stand that we are going to paralyze the whole public service and especially have no means of paying our preventive officers? I appeal to my hon. friend from his past experience as Minister of Finance whether upon reflection he does not think he has gone a little bit too far.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

How did

you use all the vote last year for the same purpose?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Does that mean we do not

want it at all?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

That is a very pertinent question. How much of the moneys did you use of the vote last year for the same purpose?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ESTIMATES
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March 19, 1926