June 29, 1926

LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

The present confusion is due in part to the fact that questions of this kind are not put in the British House of Commons as they are here. In the British House of Commons, when an amendment is moved of such a character as that submitted by the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Fansher) the other day, two questions are put. In the first place the question is put whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the question. The British House first votes on this question and, if it is decided that the words which it is sought to delete shall be struck out, then the House votes on the second question, namely, whether the words moved in substitution shall be inserted in the amendment. I refer Your Honour to May at page 283. Let us apply this practice to the present instance. The hon. member for Last Mountain moved in amendment that the words "and that the 'committee for such purposes be revived", as they appear at the end of the amendment, be struck out and other words

substituted therefor. He moved two things: first, that certain words of the Stevens amendment-not all-be struck out, namely, the words I have just quoted. If we followed the British practice Mr. Speaker would have to put, first, the question whether the words "and that the committee for such purposes be revived" should stand part of the question. The House would vote on that question and if it were negatived, that is to say, if these words were not to stand part of the question, then the words moved by the hon. member for Last Mountain as an addition would have to be put as a new question. It is because of this practice in the British House of Commons that, in my opinion, hon. gentlemen opposite were led1 into the mistake of quoting May and others as they did. The main amendment has not yet been put to the House. The only words that have been put for deletion are the words "and that the committee for such purposes be revived", and I contend that the House has not voted to retain the words which the amendment now proposed seeks to delete.

Topic:   CUSTOMS INQUIRY
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON (Leader of the House):

My hon. friend has made a very good argument but it is based only on one resolution. He argues that the words which it has been decided to strike out are only the concluding words of the Stevens amendment. My hon. friend argues, at least by inference, that an amendment to strike out the whole of the Stevens amendment would be out of order and he points out that all that the amendment of the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Fansher) proposed to delete was the last sentence of the main amendment. I think I am within the judgment of hon. members when I say that the amendment now submitted by the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinifret), having for its purpose the striking out of exactly the words proposed to be struck out by the amendment of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth), is according to the argument of my hon. friend (Mr. Lapointe) himself not admissible. I submit therefore that the point of order is well taken.

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CON

George Brecken Nicholson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. B. NICHOLSON (East Algoma):

The ex-Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), speaking in the House on Friday last, declared that he saw no reason why the amendment moved by the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Fansher) should not be adopted. That amendment was carried unanimously, and rule 36 states clearly that after a decision has been given on an amendment to any part of a question, an earlier

Customs Inquiry-Point oj Order

part cannot be amended. The amendment moved by the hon. member for Last Mountain was clearly an amendment to the Stevens amendment, and in view of this rule I should like to hear the opinion of the exMinister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe).

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I do not agree with my hon. friend.

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CON

Edmond Baird Ryckman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. B. RYCKMAN (East Toronto):

I take exception to the regularity of this proposed amendment on another ground. I think it is axiomatic, and would be so conceded by anybody who was asked to pass judgment dispassionately upon this amendment, that the latter part of a question after being amended is an answer to any attempt to amend a previous part. The answer to the argument advanced by the hon. member for Shefford (Mr. Boivin) and by the late Minister of Justice-

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I am not deceased yet.

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CON

Edmond Baird Ryckman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RYCKMAN:

-is simply this: If

the form in which the resolution is drawn does not appeal to any hon. member, then it is his duty to vote against it. But the point I wish expressly to raise is this. On Friday night the Fansher amendment was passed. It provided for a royal commission, with the usual authority given to such a commission. This amendment is distinctly at variance with, yea. in contradiction of, the action of this House on Friday night, when it unanimously accepted, at the instance of the then Prime Minister, the Fansher amendment. Now the House is asked by this resolution to set up:

The said commission to be composed of three judges, one to be nominated by the Prime Minister of Canada; one by the right hon. the leader of the opposition; and one by the hon. the leader of the Progressive party, said commission to have all the powers conferred upon such commissioners under the Public Enquiries Act;

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that that is directly contrary to what this House decided on Friday evening, and that therefore the resolution is out of order.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

May I ask a question of

the hon. gentleman: Quelle est l'autorite sur laquelle il base son raisonnement?

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Vous avez tort.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does any other hon.

gentleman desire to speak to the point of order?

I have listened very attentively to the argument from both sides of the House. I must first of all put in concrete form, a synopsis of the main motion, the amendment, 14011-324J

the first subamendment, the second subamendment, and the third subamendment.

Mr. Mercier, chairman of the committee, moved the adoption of the committee's report. To that an amendment was moved by the hon. member now Minister of Customs (Mr. Stevens), the purport of which is to censure a certain minister of a former administration, and in fact that administration itself. To that a subamendment was moved by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) the purport of which was to strike out all the words of censure in the main amendment and to substitute therefore a judicial inquiry and to add the name of the ex-Deputy Minister of Customs to those whose heads should fall. This subamendment was defeated. Immediately the member for Last Mountain (Mr. Fansher) rose and moved another subamendment, differing from the preceding subamendment in just one particular; instead of being substitutionary of, he made his subamendment supplemental to the main amendment.

The question now is: Did the House by adopting the subamendment moved by the hon. member for Last Mountain at the same time accept the censure which is contained in the main amendment; and should the Speaker when putting the question take this view as granted?

I have looked up the various authorities as to the effect of a subamendment when it has been added to an amendment. The House may not be aware of the fact that on the complex question of amendment and subamendment we do not follow the British practice. The hon. leader of the House (Sir Henry Drayton), and one of his colleagues later on during the argument, laid great stress on what Bourinot says at page 318, fourth edition:

But an amendment once negatived by the House cannot be (proposed a second time. It is laid down on the highest English authority that: "when .the House has agreed that certain words shall stand (part of the question, it is irregular (to propose any amendment to those words, as the decision of the House has already been pronounced in their favour, but this rule would not exclude an addition to the words if proposed at the proper time. In the same maimer when the House has agreed to add or insert words in a question, its decision may not be disturbed by any amendment of these words; but here again other words may be added.

This is strictly the British practice. That is why it is cited between quotation marks. But if the House will turn to the bottom of the preceding page the following note will be found:

In the British House the practice of putting amendments is quite different from that in the Canadian par-

5114 COMMONS

Customs Inquiry-Speaker's Ruling

liamemt and from that in practice generally in colonial and foreign .parliaments. The British practice can be defended on logical grounds but it has some inconveniences. That usage, however, has not been adopted in Canada.

In other words, in England the Speaker, when putting an amendment to the House which purports to leave out or to insert words, puts each question separately; for instance: Shall those words stand part of the motion? And the House having pronounced upon that question, he puts the further question. If we followed the British practice, the argument advanced by the hon. leader of the House would be irrefutable; but we are in the Canadian House of Commons, and Bourinot states that we have not in Canada adopted that usage. Hon. members will find the subject dealt with at length at pages 316 to 322 of the fourth edition of Bourinot. As he points out, the practice is quite different here. After a subamendment has been moved and adopted unanimously, if you please, the Speaker must again put the question before the House and ask: Is the amendment as amended adopted? Bourinot adds that any number of subamendments may be moved. Of course, only one is considered at a time. Now I ask the House to judge, leaving technicalities aside: Is it possible that on Friday, or rather Saturday morning, the Hon. menuer for Shefford (Mr. Boivin) and his colleagues agreed unanimously that censure should be pronounced against themselves?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION :

We agreed upon the form of the, amendment.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Under similar circumstances in England the government would have censured themselves, but the procedure in Canada differs according to the practice laid down by Bourinot.

Let me add that once in this House of Commons Mr. Speaker Sevigny forgot to do what I am bound to do when the question is put, that is to ask: "Is it the pleasure of the House that the amendment as amended, be adopted?" and he corrected himself the following day. You will find that in the Journals of the House, 1916, at page 201:

Mr. Speaker: After the vo-te taken a-t yesterday's sitting on the amendment proposed by Mr. Bennett (Calgary) on Mr. Stevens' resolution, I decided that the amendment having been voted in the affirmative there was no need to again propose the principal motion, as amended, to the House.

I have since carefully examined this question and ' have ascertained, by referring to authors, that the question, as amended, should have again been placed before the House.

And he gives many precedents. He quotes the third edition of Bourinot, while I have quoted the fourth edition. At page 439 of the third edition Bourinot says:

If the amendment foe negatived, the Speaker will again propose the mam question, and a debate may ensue thereon or another amendment may then be submitted. On the other hand, if the House adopt the amendment, then the Speaker will again propose the question in these words: 'Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the main motion so amended'."

The hon, member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) and the Minister of Customs (Mr. ,Stevens), I think, cited from Beauchesne a moment ago what they called rule 36. This .mark well, is not a rule; it is an obiter dictum under rule 36, probably taken from one oi the English authors. In this case I declare that having considered this question seriously I come to the conclusion that it does not come under the British practice. The House has not agreed that the words of the first amendment shall stand part of the question, nor has any action been yet taken upon the main amendment. It is therefore still open to amendment. I repeat it; it is u.t the practice in Canada to put the motion that certain words shall stand pan oi tne question. The method of the British House of Commons in putting amendments is peculiar to the British parliament and is regarded as illogical and inconvenient by other assemblies, as pointed out in the above citation from Bourinot's third edition. The practice in the Canadian House is quite different, as explained in the fourth edition in the note at the foot of page 317.

In the Canadian House when a motion has been amended the Speaker will then put the question, "Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion as amended shall be adopted?"

As I have already stated, this point was once decided by Mr. Speaker Sevigny, and it is based on Bourinot and Canadian parliamentary practice.

In my humble opinion the subamendment is in order

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Mr. Speaker, in all respect

I wish to appeal from your ruling.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Mr Speaker having decided that the subamendment moved by Mr. Rinfret was in order on the ground that it is in conformity with the practice of the Canadian House of Commons and the hon. member for South Toronto (Mr. Geary) appealing from that ruling, the question now is, Shall the ruling of the Speaker be sustained?

Customs Inquiry-Division

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CON

Sydney Chilton Mewburn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEWBURN:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power). Had I voted I would have voted against your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

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CON

Hannes Marino Hannesson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANNESSON:

I was paired with the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden). Had I voted I would have voted against your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

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LIB

Joseph-Éloi Fontaine

Liberal

Mr. FONTAINE:

Mr. Speaker, I was

paired with the hon. member for Ottawa (Mr. Chabot). Had I voted I would have voted to sustain your ruling.

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LIB

George Spence

Liberal

Mr. GEORGE SPENCE (Maple Creek):

Mr. Speaker, here we have the unprecedented situation of members calling on the provisional government to resign, and there being no one here to resign.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Do you want an

election?

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LIB

George Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE (Maple Creek):

Yes, tomorrow. I had two elections last summer; I beat both my opponents, and my good electors thought so well of me that they presented me with a Ford car. I won two elections in one year and am ready for another one.

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June 29, 1926