February 14, 1936

MAIN ESTIMATES, 1936-37

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES A DUNNING (Minister of Finance) moved:

That the message of His Excellency the Governor General received by this house on Tuesday, 11th instant, and the estimates for the year 1936-37 transmitted therewith, be referred to the committee of supply.

Topic:   MAIN ESTIMATES, 1936-37
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Motion agreed to. PRIVILEGE-Mr. MacINNIS


CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a question of privilege, in reference to a statement I made in the house on Wednesday last. I read the statement from page 151 of Hansard:

However that did not prevent the Liberal party ifrom helping the communists in Vancouver East. I am told that the communist candidate in Vancouver East did not put in an account of his election expenses, and I understand his reason for refraining was, as he stated, that the Liberal party had provided the funds and that it was up to them to put in the expense account.

Since that time I have received information from Mr. Bruce, who was the communist candidate, that my statement was not correct. As he has no one here to make the statement for him, I wish to put that on record.

Business oj the House-Procedure

Topic:   MAIN ESTIMATES, 1936-37
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HYNDMAN REPORT


On the orders of the day:


CON

Herbert Earl Wilton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. E. WILTON (West Hamilton):

I should like to ask a question of the Minister of Pensions (Mr, Power). Is it the intention of the government during the present session to implement the Hyndman report in respect to providing employment for war veterans disabled or otherwise?

Topic:   HYNDMAN REPORT
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of Pensions and National Health):

The hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Wilton) was courteous enough to give me notice of the question, and I thank him for doing so. No doubt he is aware that the Hyndman report contains something like twenty-four recommendations with respect to ex-service men, of which eight deal with the problem of unemployment and sixteen with what is called unemployment assistance. Of these recommendations a considerable number were implemented by the late government, and some few have been implemented since. At the present time the remainder are receiving the serious consideration of the government, and I anticipate that within a very short time I shall be in a position to make a statement to the house.

Topic:   HYNDMAN REPORT
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when we

reach government orders it is my intention to ask the house to consider order No. 1, which relates to supply. That there may be no possibility of further misunderstanding between my right hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) and myself with respect to the committee having been properly constituted by the action taken by the house last evening, I have asked the clerk of the house to let me have a memorandum which I could read to the house and which would set forth accurately the position with respect to the appointment of the two committees of the whole house, namely the committee of supply and the committee of ways and means.

The following is the memorandum I have received:

There is only one way to appoint the committee of supply. It is done by moving that the house will at a future sitting resolve itself into a committee to consider of a supply to be granted to His Majesty. When this motion has passed, the committee is in existence. The same practice is followed in Great Britain, where standing order No. 14 states: 12739-13

"This house will, in future, appoint the committee of supply and ways and means at the commencement of every session, so soon as an address has been agreed to, in answer to His Majesty's speech."

May, page 520, says:

"The action taken by the House of Commons upon the demand of aid and supply for the public service made by the speech from the throne is the appointment, pursuant to standing order No. 14, of those committees of the whole house, which are known as the committee of supply and the committee of ways and means. Motions setting up these committees are made immediately after the house agrees to the address in answer to the speech from the throne, and are put forthwith from the chair, no debate being permitted thereon."

It was not merely a notice that was given last night, February 13th. It was the actual appointment. The committee is now in existence, but it cannot sit until a motion has passed for the Speaker to leave the chair except on Thursdays and Fridays when he does so under standing order 28.

I also looked up Hansard of last year to see what was done at that time with respect to the appointment of these committees, and the referring of the estimates to the committee of supply. At page 153 of Hansard it will be seen that the Minister of Finance moved:

That the estimates tabled on the 23rd instant, together with the accompanying message of His Excellency, be referred to the committee of supply.

The motion was agreed to. This motion to refer the estimates was made immediately after the motion appointing the committees of supply and of ways and means. The motion reads as follows:

That this house will at its next sitting

resolve itself into a committee to consider of a supply to be granted to His Majesty.

There was a similar motion with respect to the committee of ways and means.

May I point out that under the rules of the house, if the government calls the order with respect to supply, the Speaker on Friday leaves the chair without motion being put.

It is the desire of the government to proceed as rapidly as possible with government business, and the order respecting supply will be called immediately. When the house is in committee of supply and the deputy speaker is in the chair, the committee will have the estimates before it. As none of the estimates, however, have been considered in the early part of the week, that is to say on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, unless the house gives its unanimous consent, the government cannot consider estimates of any department of which an item has not already been called at some previous sitting of the committee of the whole. It will be necessary, therefore, for us to obtain the unanimous consent of the house to take up any supply.

Business oj the House-Procedure

I hope bon. members will find it possible to give their consent to permit the house to proceed immediately with the estimates. If that consent is given, it is proposed this afternoon to give consideration to estimates of the Department of Public Works, and this evening to those of the Department of Agriculture. I should like to point out the importance of progress being made as rapidly as possible with government business. It is in the public interest that this should be done, and I am sure it is equally the desire of hon. members that at this session in particular we should proceed as rapidly as possible with the business of the session. The government sought to have the estimates placed before hon. members at as early a moment as was possible in the session. The estimates have been before hon. members now for some days. I hope, therefore, that when the house resolves itself into committee of supply, consent will be given to discuss the estimates of the departments to which reference has been made. In the event of there being any item called which is likely to be contentious, and which hon. members may wish to have held over for discussion at another time, it will not be proceeded with. I would ask the clerk to call order No. 1.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, in view of what the right hon. gentleman has said I should like to direct attention to the fact that it is not regular to read an opinion of the clerk of the house with respect to these matters. Questions of procedure are dealt with by the Speaker, who, for the first time, according to a statement made by a Speaker of the British House of Commons, had the assistance of the late Sir Erskine May, Lord Farn-borough, who had written a book on procedure. At that time the Speaker referred to the fact that for the first time he was able to command the assistance of so eminent an authority as the clerk at the table.

I do not in any way suggest that the procedure taken last evening by the right hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Mackenzie King) was in any sense irregular. In fact, I agreed with the motion. He made two motions, one being as follows:

That the house will, on Friday next, resolve itself into a committee to consider of a supply to be granted to His Majesty.

And the further motion:

That this house will, on Friday next, resolve itself into a committee to consider of the ways and means for raising the supply to be granted to His Majesty.

Both motions were agreed to without dis-tussion. Those are the usual motions, as

fMr. Mackenzie King.]

they may be found in the journals of the house for all these years. Those two motions having been agreed to, I merely asked, as a question of procedure, whether or not the motion to refer the estimates to the committee of supply was a proper procedure, before the committee was set up. As a matter of fact, my question was in these words:

On a question of procedure, must we not wait until the setting up of the committee on supply before that motion is made? The committee could be set up to-morrow.

As a matter of fact, what the right hon. gentleman has said is correct so far as the committee is concerned. But there must be a motion, before estimates can be taken up, that the Speaker do leave the chair, usually with the deputy speaker taking the chair in committee. And as there was no provision for the Speaker to leave the chair on Friday, under our rules as they now exist, I was asking whether or not the committee should be set up. As a matter of fact that is hardly the correct way to put it. The committee was; it would be correct to say that it was not under our rules competent to move the Speaker out of the chair and take up estimates to-morrow. That is now admitted by the right hon. gentleman.

But I did not object; I merely asked a simple question, and the reason I did so was this: When I was in office a motion was made with respect to the estimates, and a question was brought to my attention by the clerk as to whether or not it was proper to make that motion. After my attention was directed to it I had some doubts about it, and communicated that to the house. I merely asked a question with respect to procedure, without any desire to impede or in any sense to interfere with the conduct of public business; but I am not unmindful of the fact that when for the first time I was charged with the responsibility for the conduct of public business the right hon. gentleman said that I should have had everything prepared, and that I should not ask the house to agree unanimously to certain procedure. It was suggested that the business should be ready, and that here we were, without any business. That was on the second day in which I occupied the seat now occupied by the right hon. gentleman. I was not even thinking of that when I asked a civil question with respect to the question of procedure.

Leaving that for the moment I would say that the right hon. gentleman now suggests that the motion be made unanimous, that the Speaker do now leave the chair, and that the house take up the estimates of two depart-

Supply-Public Works-Buildings

ments, namely those of the departments of Public Works and Agriculture. Certainly I have every desire to facilitate the business of the house, and I do not purpose raising any objection to such a motion being made, except to the extent that it may prejudice the rights of some hon. member who may desire to make a motion on the days he is entitled to do so with respect to the Speaker leaving the chair. After all, this house has made its own rules, and they cannot be disregarded without the unanimous consent of the house. I take it that if the motion is made unanimous that the Speaker do now leave the chair, any member who desires to express his opinion with respect to existing conditions, or desires to bring his grievance to the attention of the house before supply is granted, may do so as though it was a regular motion.

Hon. members on this side of the house have been endeavouring to familiarize themselves with the estimates for the purpose of carrying on an intelligent discussion, and I suggest that it might be well to confine the discussion of estimates to those matters which, while not statutory in form, must be voted as a matter of course to enable the public service of the country to be carried on. So far as the Department of Public Works is concerned, there are some votes which might be passed without question, but they will be few in number. So far as the Department of Agriculture is concerned, that being one of the departments in which a substantial change in the personnel has taken place, many questions will be asked, and inasmuch as every time a department goes into supply the opportunity is lessened of any hon. member bringing any grievance he may have to the attention of the country on the motion that the Speaker do now leave the chair, I think it might be well to confine our activities in the estimates to those items which are plainly non-controversial and about which there can be no doubt that they have to be voted as a matter of course, even though they appear in the estimates in the form in which they do.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker,

as my right hon. friend is so obliging I shall not refer further to any possible differences between us. The record will disclose as between us who was in the right and who was in the wrong. May I say, however, as respects quoting from a memorandum given to me by the clerk of the house that I think my procedure in that particular was wholly correct. I did not need to mention 12739-131

the clerk's name at all; I might have taken the whole credit to myself. Seeing, however, that I had asked the clerk to give me a memorandum, he being a recognized authority on rules and procedure, and knowing that very probably His Honour the Speaker, had I conferred with him, would have handed me the same memorandum, I thought I would give credit where credit was due and quote an authority that might appeal more perhaps to my right hon. friend at this moment than were I to have quoted the Speaker himself.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance) moved that the house go into committee of supply.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

By leave of the house.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee of supply, Mr. Sanderson in the chair.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS Public buildings-Nova Scotia-

Bridgetown-public building, $5,000.

Halifax - maintenance of immigration quarters, $25,000.

New Waterford'-public building, $9,500.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Hon. P. J. A. CARDIN (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Chairman, before going into the estimates in detail I think it is only proper that I should make the statement that these main estimates do not provide for any new work. We are providing only for the necessary amounts to complete works already undertaken, and we are asking the committee to revote also certain amounts of money which have not been expended. With regard to the first item of $5,000 for a public building at Bridgetown, work on this building has been carried on up to the present moment and a further amount of $5,000 is required to complete the building.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Mr. Chairman, before the item is carried I think it advisable, if the minister is in a position to do so, that he inform the committee of the general policy of the government in connection with public works. In the past there has been a program of public works with respect to buildings, and then a supplementary program with regard to other works. I noticed in the press this morning a statement that the government had under consideration an extensive program of public works of a kind perhaps different from those provided for in the estimates, and it seems to me that it would facilitate the work of the committee and the consideration of the estimates if the minister would outline what the policy of the government is for the

196 COMMONS

Supply-Public Works-Buildings

coming fiscal year in connection with such works. I have gone over the estimates and I find, as the minister says, that a large number of items relate to the completion of buildings undertaken by the former government, and in so far as moneys for this purpose are necessary there will be no objection, I am sure,' from those on this side, certainly none from myself, because I feel a responsibility in the matter of facilitating the completion of any buildings already under way.

I wish also to point out to the committee that during the last few years the late government undertook, as a combined measure for the relief of unemployment and for the improvement of our public buildings, a fairly extensive program of repairs and alterations. It does appear to me that the public buildings throughout the dominion must now be in pretty good condition.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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LIB

Eugène Fiset

Liberal

Sir EUGENE FISET:

Not in all counties.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

No, but in most, and I think the buildings in my hon. friend's county are in good shape; he has not been neglected, I am sure lie will agree. I want to emphasize the necessity of continuing that policy, and so far as I am concerned any request for moneys which the minister might make for the purpose of keeping the public buildings in Canada in a thorough state of repair I shall be glad to support. It is false economy to allow buildings to get into disrepair. A stitch in time saves nine. Unfortunately in years of stress and financial difficulty there may be a tendency to overlook some necessary repairs, but as I say, we have pretty well overtaken those repairs, and I hope the minister will continue the policy of keeping ,our public buildings in first class condition. The work was undertaken during the late administration for the double purpose of supplying tradesmen and mechanics with a measure of employment-and I am glad to say that in a measure the program met that requirement -and of keeping the buildings in repair.

Coming to the vote before us, the first item of $5,000 for a public building at Bridgetown is a revote; there is no objection to that. The second item, $25,000 for the maintenance of immigration quarters at Halifax, is the same amount as last year. Is this just the regular maintenance, or what is contemplated?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

Just the regular maintenance.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE IN APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEES OF SUPPLY AND WAYS AND MEANS
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February 14, 1936