May 22, 1930

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES


Eighth report of the select standing committee on miscellaneous private bills.-Mr. Glen. Third report of the select standing committee on industrial and international relations. -Mr. McIntosh. 21, 1930 2381 Saturday and Morning Sittings


PRIVATE BILL

FIRST AND SECOND READINGS-SENATE BILL


Bill No. 300, an act respecting a certain patent of Staunton's Limited.-Mr. Geary.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

SATURDAY AND MORNING SITTINGS-CONCLUSION OF SESSION IN ANTICIPATION OF ELECTION


Right Hon. AY. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I would ask the consent of the house to move the following motion which appears on the votes and proceedings of yesterday: That on and after Saturday, the 24th of May, instant, and every day thereafter, except Sundays, until the end of the present session, the house shall meet at eleven o'clock, a.m. That in addition to the usual intermission at six o'clock, p.m., there shall also be an intermission every day from one to three o clock, pm. and that the order of business and procedure shall be the same on Saturdays as on Fridays. May I say with reference to the motion, it is perhaps advisable that hon. members should be informed of one or two considerations of which the government has to take account, not so much in regard to bringing the proceedings of parliament to a close as with reference to arranging for the date of a general election. I noticed in one of the morning papers the statement that there was some understanding between the hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) and myself as to the date at which the business of parliament should be brought to a close. AVhile I have had a number of conferences with the loader of the opposition, and all of them so far as I am concerned, most congenial, there has been no definite arrangement reached between us as to the time of the closing of parliament. I would say the same with respect to the conversations I have had with the leader of the Progressive group (Mr. Gardiner). AVhat we have agreed to is that so far as possible we would all do what we could to expedite the business of the house in the effort to bring its proceedings to a conclusion as speedily as possible. A great deal of business has been put through within the last few days and there is, I think, every indication that hon. members are disposed to proceed with matters as rapidly as circumstances will justify. I am informed by the Chief Electoral Officer that under the provisions of the Dominion Elections Act, sixty days or possibly fifty-nine days must elapse between the time at which the writs are issued and the date of the election. That means roughly that if we were to conclude the session at the end of the month of May the elections could not come before the end of July.



Saturday and Morning Sittings There is another provision in the act to the effect that the elections themselves must be held on a Monday. The first Monday in August happens to be a civic holiday throughout the province of Ontario, and I imagine that for that reason there might be some exception taken to having the election on that particular day. If an election is not held on or before the 4th of August, it means that it would have to be as late as the 11th of August, or later. If hon. members feel that it is in the public interest to have the election delayed until the 11th of August or beyond, that is, of course, a matter within their own control, but my impression is that every member of the house feels that those who are present here are at this time at some disadvantage in comparison with their actual or would-be opponents, in that the field is open to the latter wherever they may happen to be, whereas we have to continue to sit here and go on with the business of parliament. That is a consideration which I suppose should not weigh in the minds of those who have to do with public business. However, it is a consideration that I think may affect to * some extent the way in which the balance of the business of the house will be transacted. May I make this quite clear? The government has no desire to rush through any legislation, estimates or anything else. The estimates have been before parliament practically from the beginning of the session. Hon. members must know from having looked over them what particular items they feel are of a character that should be very fully discussed, which, in other words, will probably be the items of controversy. If those could be indicated to the whips, I see no reason why they should not be brought forward before any others, so that it may not be thought that the government is holding back certain items to rush them through at the last moment. Most of the items in the estimates, I think, will commend themselves to the house without discussion, but there may be some on which there should be some discussion. The most contentious estimates are usually those of the Department of Public Works. With those estimates we have already made very substantial progress. What remains are not very considerable. That is my reason, Mr. Speaker, for bringing this motion before the house at the present time. It is with the hope that it may be possible to conclude the business of parliament next week; but if that is not possible, we will just have to go on a little longer. What I would, however, point out to hon. members . is this: it will, I think, be agreed that so far as the public interest is concerned it will be best served by having the elections over as soon as possible, having regard to disturbed conditions likely to exist meanwhile and to the fact that there has to be, at the least, a campaign of sixty days, and that to all intents and purposes the campaign is on at the present time outside of parliament, as well as possibly to a very limited extent inside.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, with much that

the right hon. gentleman has said I, of course, am wholly in accord. I desire first of all to say that since the matter of a general election was first discussed, the conversations that 1 have been privileged to have with the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) have been of the most harmonious character and every effort I think has been made by all who have discussed the subject with him, including my friends to my left, to expedite public business and to discharge our duties as members to the best of our ability, having regard to the public interest as it may be affected first of all by the tariff changes proposed, secondly by the estimates, and thirdly by the impending election. There is a very considerable body of business yet to be disposed of. The discussions that have taken place on the budget resolutions are discussions which I think it will be agreed could not easily be shortened. We realize that the government has a majority behind it for the moment to enable it to put through its resolutions, reluctant though some hon. gentlemen opposite, including the hon. gentleman from Marquette (Mr. Glen) may be to do so; nevertheless, the government has the power so to do, and a frank recognition of that fact may do something to shorten lengthy discussions. It would seem to be improper for us to be standing up in [DOT]every instance and say that we disagree with this or that or the other thing. Rather, a general objection in principle to the measures proposed has I think correctly indicated our position.

With respect to the necessity of expediting an early appeal to the people, I have informed the Prime Minister, as he has indicated, that while we have no agreement, as he has said,

I am anxious, as are those who are associated, with me to the left of the Speaker, in every way possible, to see that the public business is transacted as expeditiously as possible having regard to what I say is the public interest. The suggestion that has been made as to contentious items in the estimates being communicated to the whips prior to discussion commencing in the house will I think do-

Beauharnois Corporation-Mr. Gardiner

much to expedite business. There is a large number of items which must be passed whoever is on the treasury benches. The public service must be maintained, salaries must be paid, fixed charges must be met. All these are purely matters of routine, and we will get rid of them very quickly. There are a few rather disputatious items in the estimates that will involve discussion of, shall we say, administration-a word that I think the hon. member from LisgaT (Mr. Brown) will regard as aptly indicating the situation, although Trench may not say that that is the best word to use in the circumstances.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   SATURDAY AND MORNING SITTINGS-CONCLUSION OF SESSION IN ANTICIPATION OF ELECTION
Permalink
LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Refer to the dictionary.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   SATURDAY AND MORNING SITTINGS-CONCLUSION OF SESSION IN ANTICIPATION OF ELECTION
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

If we are to consult the dictionary, I would have to refer to the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Crerar).

We shall do everything in our power to determine the items on which discussion will take place at any length. I should, however, like to make clear that we are not to be taken as agreeing to items that are passed by the house simply because we do not take up the time of the house to enter into a lengthy statement of our objections.

The supplementary estimates, I think, should be brought down at as early a date as possible. That would enable the members in the evening to give them some little study and to determine what should be the subject matter of more lengthy discussion in the house. I think I can say on behalf of my colleagues that in every way possible, consistent with what we regard to be the public interest- there will always be a difference as to that- we shall do our best to forward the transaction of public business.

I must say that I have given much consideration to the conditions imposed by the Dominion Elections Act as indicated by the Prime Minister. Having regard to the fact that the election must be held on a Monday, and to the further fact that there is a civic holiday in Ontario on the first Monday in August, I quite agree with the right hon. the Prime Minister, for my information is that it would be entirely out of the question to hold an election on that day, having regard to the conditions that exist in connection with that holiday. Therefore, we are confronted with a condition and not a theory. It is a question of whether or not we shall have an election on the Monday preceding the 4th of August or on some Monday subsequent to that day. That is what the position seems to be.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   SATURDAY AND MORNING SITTINGS-CONCLUSION OF SESSION IN ANTICIPATION OF ELECTION
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is correct.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   SATURDAY AND MORNING SITTINGS-CONCLUSION OF SESSION IN ANTICIPATION OF ELECTION
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

While there has been no agreement in any sense, I think we are all in

accord that if the public business can be properly disposed of, the election should be held on some date antecedent to the 4th of August. Otherwise, it is in the lap of the gods.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   SATURDAY AND MORNING SITTINGS-CONCLUSION OF SESSION IN ANTICIPATION OF ELECTION
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


REPORT PRESENTED


Annual report of the Civil Service Commission for the fiscal year 1929-30.-Mr. Rinfret.


BEAUHARNOIS POWER CORPORATION

MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE

UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask leave of the house to move the adjournment to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance in connection with the hydro-electric development of the Soulanges section of the St. Lawrence river between lake St. Francis and lake St. Louis by the Beauharnois Power Corporation Limited and its various subsidiary companies, including the Beauharnois Light, Heat and Power Company.

The government has approved of the above development by passing order in council P.C. 422, March 8, 1929, and in so doing the government has not accepted the plan for this undertaking recommended by the joint board of engineers, dated November 16, 1926.

Further, apparently the Beauharnois Light, Heat and Power Company and the Beau-harnois Power Corporation Limited have violated and exceeded the terms and conditions imposed on them by the said order in counoil, and in so doing have committed acts which justify a demand for an explanation by the government as to whether or not there is an agreement between the government and R. O. Sweezey and his associates who own and control the said company and corporation whereby the whole of the unallocated portion of this section of the St. Lawrence river will be turned over to them for exploitation.

The government should disclose to parliament the reasons for its non-acceptance of the said recommendation of the joint board of engineers, and the government should further disclose to parliament whether or not there is an agreement as above indicated between it and R. 0. Sweezey and his associates, and if there is no such agreement the government should take such action as in the premises is proper and requisite.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER CORPORATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink

May 22, 1930