March 22, 1927

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I remember we had a case of a man appearing before the bar of the House, Mr. Miller, and refusing to answer. He was committed to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms and sent to gaol, and he remained there during the remainder of the session.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

I should like to have Your Honour's view as to what becomes of that four dollars? Does it go to the consolidated revenue fund or into the pocket of the Sergeant-at-Arms ?

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

It remains with the

Sergeant-at-Arms, and he deserves it.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

That is why we do not increase his salary.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

The Speaker says that this rule is as old as the hills, but now that we are changing the rules why not change this one, to make the punishment fit the crime? This reduces the parliament of Canada to the level of a recorder's court. I think the stranger who is committed should pay a substantial fine, or else apologize to the Sergeant-at-Arms. I am not in favour of any four dollar fines in the House of parliament.

Subsection 2 agreed to.

Subsections 3, 4 and 5 agreed to.

Amended rule agreed to.

On amended rule 69.-Withdrawal of members in certain cases.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Alexander MacGillivray Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Saskatoon):

It says in the

third line "he shall make a statement." Is a member obliged to make a statement if he does not wish to?

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

No. I think it would

be better to say, "he may make a statement and shall then withdraw." I move accordingly, Mr. Chairman.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink

Amendment agreed to.


LIB-PRO

Leland Payson Bancroft

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BANCROFT:

I would suggest that

you leave out the word "then", seeing that we have already changed "shall" to "may".

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

That is all right.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink

Amendment agreed to. Rule as amended agreed to. Rule 75 (Sec. 2) agreed to. On amended rule 76.-Committees of supply and ways and means.


UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

Might I ask whether the

committee discussed the matter of referring

Rules of the House

the estimates to a special committee? I remember that two years ago there was a motion introduced into the House asking that the estimates be referred to a select committee, and this resolution was referred to the special committee that was then engaged in revising the rules. I was wondering if this year's committee had discussed that matter at all.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Personally I am strongly in favour of the reference of the estimates of the various departments to a grand committee, composed of as many members as possible, before which all the experts, engineers, accountants, and other officials whose evidence might be required could be called and examined. When I was sitting on the other side of the House, in 1920 or 1921, I moved a resolution which was discussed for a whole afternoon by this House, and during the debate I referred to the fact that both in Great Britain and in the United States during the war a grand committee had been established for the purpose of sifting to the bottom all the expenditures involved by the participation of those two great countries in the war. It has been proven both in Great Britain and the United States that very large sums of money running up into millions and millions of dollars have been saved by the work of these committees. The committee in Great Britain reports to the House of Commons, which also resolves itself into committee of supply for the consideration of the estimates, but as every detail has previously been threshed out in the grand committee, and perhaps several items condemned, so to speak, the work of the committee of the whole House is very much shortened, in addition to the saving that is made by the careful scrutiny of proposed expenditures in the grand committee. But when I proposed to the committee revising the rules that they might adopt that principle, it was thought that perhaps it was too radical a change and that the House might not be ready to agree to it. I can assure the hon. member from Macleod that the proposal he makes will have my hearty support. Both in the United States and Great Britain during the war they had grand committees to which were referred all heavy expenditures, but it is true that those committees do not exist any more. I remember immediately after the war the United States official, General Dawes now vice-president, enumerated the vast sums of money they had saved to the American republic by that method. But it was thought that here it was too radical a step to take and that perhaps we might wait until

another opportunity presented itself before introducing that new system. If ever adopted we would have before that committee experts, accountants, engineers. Every detail would be explained and the report would be presented to the House. This committee would certainly be in earnest and non-partisan, and if the feeling was against a certain item that item would not be presented to the House.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS:

One point in connection

with the procedure before that committee is that under our present system all debates on ways and means and debates in committee of the whole are reported in Hansard. Under the proposed rules, and under the rules in the United States during the war, or the rule suggested by my hon. friend to my left, there would be no verbatim reports of the proceedings of that committee.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Eugène Fiset

Liberal

Sir EUGENE FISET:

During the war I

had some experience with the war appropriations. This question was discussed in the House of Commons, and it was decided that these sums would be voted under the title of war appropriations; detailed explanations of every item of the vote were printed and distributed to members of the House. The master was discussed in committee of the whole. I think the suggestion of the Speaker impracticable, because if you are going to submit to a special committee of the House every item of the estimates of every department I do not know when you will end the session.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

I think while the rules are

being revised- we should very carefully consider this matter. I think one of the reasons why we are revising the rules is to save time. Surely we could save a great deal of time if the estimates were referred to a committee. I would not suggest that we should have one committee only, but I think the estimates should be sent to four or five select committees of the House. At present we have a special committee to deal with the Canadian National estimates. I think nearly all hon. members will agree that is a great improvement over the old method of dealing with the estimates in committee of the whole House. If we send the estimates of the Canadian National railways to a special committee appointed to consider them, why not send the estimates of the Department of Agriculture to the committee on agriculture, and why not send all the other railway estimates to the special committee dealing with the Canadian National railway estimates? It would be very easy to divide all the other estimates among the different standing committees of

Rules oj the House

the House, allotting the estimates of each department to the committee dealing with that department. The reports of these committees would come before the House and be considered in committee of the whole House, and any hon. member who wanted to say something about them would have a chance. In that way I think we could shorten the session a month. Anybody who will read Hansard for the last four or five years will see that most of the time has been taken up with estimates. Hon. members wish to shorten the session, and I think we could achieve that object by adopting my suggestion more than in any other way. Before this committee which is revising the rules is disbanded, it should be asked to go into that matter and ascertain if we could not adopt that suggestion at the present time, and next session we could have the estimates referred to the select committee.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I entirely

support the suggestion of the hon. member for Macleod, and the suggestion of His Honour, the Speaker. I think there is nothing more aggravating or irritating, and nothing causes more delay than the practice of having ministers come into the chamber with a deputy in front of them, endeavouring to make explanations of subjects on which they are not informed and cannot be informed. I am not blaming the ministers. I understand their difficulties. Having to meet every day in council, they have not time to study the estimates or become acquainted with the details in connection with them. They have before them a very brief description of the particular matter that may be under consideration at the moment, and) as to the reason it is necessary, but when we come to the engineering end of it, or the justifiability of it, we have not the information and cannot obtain it because of the method of handling the estimates. It is the most stupid and foolish method of spending the public money, and I think my hon. friend's suggestion one that we might wisely adopt.

I submit that the point brought forward by my hon. friend from Rimouski (Sir Eugene Fiset) was not well taken, because I did not understand the suggestion made by the hon. the Speaker, nor the suggestion made by the hon. member for Mhcleod to be that there should be a printed explanation of the estimates in detail handed to every hon. member. I entirely agree that such a proposition would [DOT]be impracticable and ridiculous. It would involve volumes of printing, but the other suggestion is a practical one. Let us refer the estimates to the several committees, as

we are doing in the case of the Canadian National, or refer them to a special standing committee as suggested by the hon. member for Macleod. It would be a great improvement, and we could go back feeling satisfied with the manner in which we had dealt with this question. I think nobody can go home now feeling that this matter has been dealt with satisfactorily.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

I think I will have to

come to the rescue of the government.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

We are not interested any more than other members.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

My hon. friends are running the government. I do not see how any self-respecting minister can recommend to this House estimates, previously recommended by the cabinet, and then have them tom to pieces by special committees. The thing is absolutely absurd. I would not remain on the government benches five minutes if some committee of the House, having no responsibility at all, could tell me what I could do or what I could not do. We must have some respect for the minister and he must have some responsibility. It is aibsurd to tell a minister after he has brought down his estimates, and after they have been submitted to the committee, that he cannot spend this money. I do not think you could get any self-respecting government to permit themselves to be placed in that position.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink

March 22, 1927