April 12, 1927

MARINE AND FISHERIES


Mr. WILLIAM DUFF (Antigonish-Guysborough) presented the report of the select standing committee on marine and fisheries as follows: Your committee has had under consideration, matters in connection with the lobster fisheries in certain sections of the Atlantic coastal waters, and also the salmon fisheries of British Columbia. Several meetings of the committee have been held. These meetings have been attended by the deputy minister, and the chief officials of the Fisheries branch, of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, who have rendered much valuable assistance in determining policies in the best interests of the fishing industry of Canada. Through resolutions passed during the meetings of your committee, the following recommendations are submitted to the consideration of the House; That owing to very strong representations having been received from the fishermen of Kent county N.B., and Prince county, P.E.I., to have the present lobster-fishing season, of August 15, to October 15, on that section of Northumberland straits, beginning at a point ten miles south of Richibucto, Kent county, N.B., and extending to River Philip, Cum-32649-146 Motion respecting Private Bills berland county, N.S., changed to commence on August 1 and end on September 30, your committee recommends that such change be made for the present year; and your committee further recommends that the Biological board be requested to make a thorough investigation of the lobster-fishing conditions in said section, before and during the period of the catch, and report its findings as soon as possible thereafter, in order to determine what injury, if any, would be caused by such change in dates of season. Having regard for the best interests of the salmon fisheries of British Columbia, your committee recommends that: Purse-seine-nets used in British Columbia waters shall have a minimum length of one hundred and twenty-five fathoms. All of which is respectfully submitted.


LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

With the unanimous consent

of the House, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that the report of the select standing committee on marine and fisheries presented this day be concurred in.

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LIB

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MOTION RESPECTING PRIVATE BILLS

PRO

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. A. M. CARMICHAEL (Kindersley):

Mr. Speaker, I beg to move:

That the order for private bills be taken up on Tuesday, the 12th instant, at eleven o'clock a.m., and that rule 25 in relation thereto be suspended.

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Subtopic:   MOTION RESPECTING PRIVATE BILLS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

It is twenty minutes after eleven now, Mr. Speaker, and the motion calls for having the order for private bills taken up at eleven o'clock. Private members have an opportunity at eight o'clock this evening of taking up private bills for an hour, and I understand that as a result of conferences some of the difficulties that were anticipated have been removed. I think that we should allow the business of the House to proceed in the regular way and take up private bills at eight o'clock.

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PRO

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

If we were perfectly sure that one hour would be sufficient to take care of the private bills on the order paper, or if we were perfectly sure that that hour would be extended to give ample time to take care of these private bills, I would be quite prepared to withdraw the motion, but we have no such assurance. We have had the experience in this chamber of the one hour allotted to private bills on Tuesday and Friday being wholly taken up with the discussion of one bill; in fact, we have had the experience this session not only of that one

2310 COMMONS

Motion respecting Private Bills

hour in the evening being taken up but of all of Monday being used on some two or three occasions to discuss one bill. At the present time there are on the order paper many private bills, some of which are of great importance, and I fail to see the wisdom or the justice of so carrying on our legislative affairs as to block any legislation that any person or any corporation desires. Therefore, I feel like pressing this motion, Mr. Speaker, until we have some assurance that justice will be done by those who come here for legislation.

I ask under this motion that rule 25 in relation thereto be suspended. Rule 25 provides that private bills may be taken up on Monday, also on Tuesday and Friday evenings for one hour from eight until nine p.m. As the session advances, we are aill well aware that the government takes over Monday for government business, and that cuts us down to only two hours in the week for private bills. During the greater part of this session we have been cut down to the two hours time, because, as I purpose to show, practically all of the other time has been taken up in what we might call a futile discussion.

We are also told in our book of rules what the object of a private bill is. Under rule 88, paragraph 670 says:

The object of a private bill is to alter the law relating to some particular -locality or to confer rights on, or relieve from liability, some particular person or body of persons.

I think we are agreed in this chamber that the legislation in regard to any private bill is more or less useful. We have a great many divorce bills brought in under private legislation, bills respecting patents, bills respecting railway charters and bills respecting the organization of different companies. These matters are of great importance, and during this session, our time has been expended in such a way that these important matters of private legislation have not had due consideration in this chamber. We met here on Thursday, December 9, and on Wednesday, December 15, we adjourned after sitting for five days. I think during those five days we made a record for disposing expeditiously of matters before the House. We met again on Tuesday, February 8, and this is the 12th day of April, a matter of forty^seven sitting days since our adjournment. Counting to-day's sitting, we will have sat for fifty-two days during this present session of parliament.

I am not going to deal with what has been done on all the days but I would like to point out how the time allowed for private bills legislation has been expended. We had Bill No. 78, an act respecting the Montreal,

fMr. Oarmichad.]

Ottawa and Georgian Bay Canal Company introduced on Friday, the 25th of February. After our adjournment we met on February 8, and on Friday, February 25, this very important bill was introduced. It was discussed on Friday, again discussed on March 1 for an hour, again on March 4 for one hour, and on Monday, March 7, it took practically -the entire day. On Tuesday, March 8, it was again discussed for one hour. On Friday, March 11, it was again discussed for an hour and on Monday, March 14, another day was spent on it. On Tuesday, March 15, and on Friday, March 18, another hour of each sitting was consumed. On Tuesday, March 15, and on Friday, March 18, another hour each day was devoted to it. On Monday, March 21, it was taken up again. On Tuesday, March 22, another hour wasoccupied. On Friday, March 25, and again on Monday, March 28, another hour wasconsumed with this bill. So that four Mondays and eight other days, an hour each day, were taken up with this measure-a total of twelve of the allotted days forprivate bills was consumed in the discussion of Bill No. 78. I am not going to say

whose fault that was. I am simply pointing out what has actually happened, and the result has been that it has so held up other legislation as to leave us in the position we are now placed in, and it is possible that the other private measures cannot be taken care of before prorogation.

If, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) suggests we follow the regular procedure and take up private bills to-night from eight until nine o'clock, that will give us one hour for the consideration of private bills. But our rules are so framed that one bill may take the entire hour, and then if unanimous consent of the House is asked to continue beyond nine o'clock so as to take care of the other private bills, it is possible for one objector to block that procedure. We have had evidence of that recently in this chamber. If we propose to extend the time beyond nine o'clock one member can object and thus block consideration of private bills. I need not point out to hon. members that to-night is the last opportunity we will have for taking care of private bill legislation in this chamber, and if what has happened on past occasions should occur to-night, one bill, or possibly two bills, may consume the entire hour, and if someone who is not desirous of seeing certain legislation enacted should object to an extension beyond the hour, private bill legislation will be blocked. I claim that is not fair. No private legislation is introduced

Motion respecting Private Bills

in this House unless some person or persons are interested in it and desirous of having it enacted. I do not say that all private bills should be passed in this House, but all of them should be given fair consideration. If the majority of members favour any private legislation which is introduced in this House, such legislation should be enacted into law, but it certainly is most unfair and unjust for this House to have itself tied hand and foot by rules so that it is impossible for any private legislation to be given fair consideration and enacted into law. After the consideration of private bills in this House they require to go to the Senate. I am not just sure how speedily the upper chamber moves, but if they move no more speedily than we in this chamber do it will take some time to consider before prorogation all the private bills on the order paper. I am assuming that prorogation will take place in the near future. In fact, it was stated on Saturday by the Prime Minister that they were prepared to go on with any of the estimates. The leader of the government told the House on Saturday that they were practically through with their legislation and that we could be prepared to deal with the estimates. In that case we can look forward to prorogation in the very near future.

Since the disposal of Bill No. 78 we have had experience of another bill blocking private legislation, Bill No. 107, respecting the Sun Life Assurance Company. It was introduced as a private bill, was up for consideration on Tuesday, April 5, for one hour, and took the entire time allotted for private bills. It was before the House again on Friday, April 8, and took the entire hour. To-night Bill No. 107 will stand near the top of the order paper, and therefore it will come up for consideration in the early part of the time allotted for private bills, and judging from what has happened in the past, if we are to guess what may happen to-night, it is quite possible that Bill No. 107 will consume the entire hour allotted for private bills, in which case the other private bills will be left untouched. The purport of this motion which I present to the House is to give an opportunity for private bills to be considered. Some of them may be contentious. If so, the good points and the bad points should be brought out. I happen to be sponsor of one bill which is now so adjusted that it is not contentious. It did contain some matter of contention when it left the private bills committee, but that matter has been arranged, and I am prepared to present an amendment which will so direct the criticism of that bill that there 32649-1461 I, : 1

will not be any objection from either side of the House, or from any religious persuasion; therefore I claim that this bill should not be blocked. The people who are asking for this legislation asked in 1924 to have an act of incorporation passed. They approached parliament that year;, but did not follow up their initial move. Again in 1926 they came before this parliament for an act to incorporate their church organization. The bill was a private bill and received second reading, but did not get any further. This session they have done their utmost to have this bill considered and finally put through. The bill has not only been printed and received two readings, but it has been considered by the private bills committee and re-printed with the amendment as proposed in the private bills committee. The cost has been considerable. The printing alone-

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Leader of the Opposition):

Would the hon. member allow

me to make a suggestion? I have great sympathy with what he has said in this matter, and I would suggest to my right hon. friend the leader of the government (Mr. Mackenzie King) that he grant us an assurance that tonight, if it becomes necessary, we can continue after nine o'clock with private bills. I do not anticipate there is going to be much difficulty with private bills if we have a little extra time; perhaps we will not need any.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, if I were in

a position to give the assurance required on behalf of the whole House I should be very glad to do so. Speaking for this side of the House, I have no hesitation in saying that we will be prepared to do what my hon. friend suggests; he no doubt can speak for his party; and the leader of the Progressive party (Mr. Gardiner) can speak for his. If all three are agreed I think that will dispose of the difficulty which we are now labouring under.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Is it the pleasure of the

House to adopt the motion?

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PRO

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

No, Mr. Speaker,

I am not finished by any means. If the House is agreed that we shall have ample time this evening to consider private bills, I am willing to withdraw my motion; otherwise I certainly am not.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Let it stand.

Motion respecting Private Bills

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PRO

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

The mere statement that if somebody else will do something the right hon. gentleman will do something is no assurance.

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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 hon. leader of the opposition has, I take it, given assurance on behalf of his party, and I have given an assurance for this side of the House. The only party from which no assurance has come is that in my hon. friend's own quarter.

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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of personal interest to some members in this comer of the House, and I have not had an opportunity of consulting with them. Consequently I cannot give any assurance.

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PRO

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

Well, Mr. Speaker,

we have assurances from the largest group and from the second largest group in the House. Possibly we can use our persuasive power sufficiently to persuade the smallest group to follow suit. All I desire is that every private bill should get the consideration of this House. If the majority are against any bill they will of course defeat it, but the House should pass judgment and not any group or individual. I hope that that course will be pursued this evening.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):

Is it the hon gentleman's view that when a bill is brought before the House the House should have a chance to vote on it, and that it should not be deliberately obstructed?

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PRO

Archibald M. Carmichael

Progressive

Mr. CARMICHAEL:

Yes. After every

bill is reported from the committee that has considered it, it should then be considered by this House and disposed of.

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April 12, 1927