When the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) on Wednesday last moved for leave to introduce a bill to amend the Bank of Canada Act, a point of order was raised by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), and I deferred my decision until to-day because I wanted to make a complete examination of the proposed bill. I find that the bill is not in order, and shall now give the details of my decision.
The objects of the bill which the hon. member for New Westminster is seeking to introduce in amendment to the Bank of Canada Act are to allow the Bank of Canada to hold silver coin and bullion in conjunction with gold as a reserve against the note issue and deposit liabilities and also to authorize the issue of certificates against the silver held in the reserve.
Under section 31 of the act, the Receiver General of Canada is entitled to share in the profits of the bank. If the reserve required as security against outstanding notes and deposit liabilities is to consist of silver bullion as well as gold, the fluctuations in the price of silver may cause the bank to sustain serious losses and therefore its profits may be substantially curtailed with an accompanying reduction of the receiver general's share therein and therefore a diminution of the public revenue. It is an established principle in British parliaments, which was set down by a standing order passed in the British House of Commons as far back as 1707, that financial business must originate in a committee of the whole house.
Private members cannot introduce a bill of this character, which ought to be preceded by a resolution on motion of a minister with the recommendation of His Excellency the Governor General.
Moreover, there is now on the order paper a resolution in the name of the Minister of Finance antecedent to a bill to amend the Bank of Canada Act so as to increase the capital stock of the bank and to assure ownership of a majority of shares by the government. Full discussion on this measure cannot be anticipated by a private member's bill, and in determining whether a discussion is out of order on the ground of antici-
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pation, the authors say that regard shall be had by the Speaker to the probability of the matter anticipated being brought before the house in a reasonable time. I am well aware that a motion for leave to bring in a bill is in order even if another similar motion with regard to a bill dealing with the same- subject matter stands on the order paper, but when the latter is a government measure announced in the speech from the throne and bound to be taken up by the house, I doubt if the discussion of some of its provisions can be forestalled by the introduction of a private member's bill. For this reason and also because the bill sought to be introduced deals with a part of the dominion's finances, I rule it out of order.
Subtopic: RULING OP MR. SPEAKER ON MOTION FOR INTRODUCTION OF BILL BY PRIVATE MEMBER