On Monday last the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) was asked by me, as Speaker of this house, to withdraw a statement which he made concerning the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) and which the right hon. gentleman denied. The hon. member utterly refused to conform to my ruling and went as far as to defy the chair by saying:
If I am wrong, I will withdraw; if I am not wrong. I will not withdraw.... I will see the book before withdrawing.
He walked out of the house while repeating this statement. In doing so he offended not only against parliamentary practice but also against the proprieties of the House of Commons.
It is my duty as Speaker to keep intact the rutes of debate and to safeguard the dignity of the Chair. I have waited a few days before taking action because I felt the hon. member for Temiscouata would realize the gravity of his conduct and take the first opportunity to make the withdrawal asked by the chair.
I note in the official debates that he was willing to withdraw his statement in committee of the whole yesterday but was prevented from doing so by the chairman who rightly decided that, the offence having been committed in the house, retraction must be made when the Speaker is in the chair.
As a refusal to yield to the Speaker's authority is a serious matter which cannot be overlooked, I must insist on the hon. member for Temiscouata withdrawing the statement he made regarding the right hon. leader of the opposition, and I trust that in his desire to ensure the true observance of parliamentary practice he will do so in good grace. Unfortunately I do not see the hon. member in his seat, but I hope the next occasion he is in the house he will abide by my ruling and make a retraction accordingly.
The Budget-Mr. Dunning