March 14, 1939

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, I do not think we have. I believe that, if my hon. friend looks over the records, he will see that unfortunately we have taken up very little supply on either Thursdays or Fridays. We

Priority of Government Measures

have been trying to get on with the other measures which, as my hon. friend the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) mentioned last evening, we were anxious to get over to the other house as soon as possible. In the latter part of his remarks my hon. friend made special mention of the two measures which we spoke of proceeding with to-day and which were announced last night by the Minister of Mines and Resources as the ones intended for to-day. I quote from page 1624 of Hansard:

Mr. Manion: We have been dealing with

the trade treaty, but the right hon. gentleman has been shelving it for other measures. We have been led to understand since the house opened that they were about to bring in a measure for a defence purchasing board. Why have they not brought it on?

We are now trying to proceed as rapidly as we can with the trade agreement. We are also tiying to proceed as rapidly as we can with the defence purchasing board bill. Those are the two measures which, we feel, ought to be given priority over all others, and they are the two which the leader of the opposition suggested should come on, because of their importance, before other measures. I should like to oblige my hon. friend in every way I can, but I would say this. From the beginning of the session the government has tried to get on with the public business, with the measures which we regarded as the most important. A great deal of time was taken up in the debate on the address and on other resolutions which were moved, but these two measures I have just mentioned are ones which we could not proceed with on that account and are anxious therefore now to proceed- with as rapidly as possible. I think that if we are to have due regard to public business and the rapidity with which it is to be carried on, we should continue with those measures.

May I point out to hon. members, what I believe is well known to them but which perhaps requires emphasis at the moment, that a motion to go into committee of supply means, as my hon. friend has indicated, that in all probability the opposition will then introduce an amendment in the nature of a want of confidence motion, which may occasion debate and which may run on in this house for a week or longer. If that is what the government is to expect, there is all the more reason why, before legislation which we regard as important is again held up because of other matters which the opposition wish to discuss, we should get on with the measures to which the government attaches particular importance. I hope that we shall make sufficient progress this week with the legislation

which is on the order paper in the nature of resolutions and bills which we wish to get across to the other house, to enable us to call for supply at a comparatively early date; but I say to my hon. friend that if we are to get on with the important measures we must take first those which for the present we regard as the most important, and take up somewhat later the matters which we think can be better dealt with at a later stage.

I should perhaps also remind the house of what the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) said to us, speaking on Wednesday, February 14, with regard to the government controlling the business of the house. His remarks will be found at page 918 of Hansard:

Control of the house is always in the hands of the government, and from my recollection that was never more so than it is to-day, having regard to the government's huge majority.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Well, let us get on with the business.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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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:

That is what I want to do, and that is why I am explaining to the house why the government thinks it would be preferable to take up legislation which is on -the order paper in the nature of bills and resolutions before we move to go into committee of supply, because once we move to go into committee of supply we know that a debate may be provoked in this house which may occupy an indefinite number of days.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Leader of the Opposition) :

I wish to say just a word with regard to the remarks of the right hon. gentleman. The reason I mentioned this matter last night was that it has been the custom of all governments once in a while to move to go into supply on Mondays and Tuesdays, to give to any private member the right to take up some subject in connection with which he thinks redress is required. There was no intention, may I say, on the part of our party of taking up more than perhaps part of a day in discussing the question. However, so far as I am concerned the right hon. gentleman can bring it on when he wishes. I am not going to worry about that any further. I merely suggested it because it looked to me, and it does yet, as though the government were dodging the question of moving into supply. I am not going to argue any more about it. The government can do as it wishes.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has a very clever habit of picking out some little slip of the tongue and harping on it, referring to it over and over again. That

Pacific Ocean Defence

is what he did when he picked out the remark I made about supply. I simply meant this, and we all know it to be true, that when this government or any other government run out of business, they swing over to the estimates of some department. There is no particular hurry about them. They are not particularly helpful to anything; they are merely fillers-in. That is what I meant, and I stick to it. When governments have no other legislation ready, they move over into estimates, perhaps public works or agriculture-agriculture by preference on Friday, for example. We know that that is so, and that is all I referred to. The Prime Minister keeps on harping on the fact that I said "supply." Everyone knows that the government has to get supply, but what I meant was that governments constantly move into estimates when they have nothing else to move into.

With regard to the defence purchasing board, I quite agree we should get on with that. I certainly had no desire to delay the [DOT]government's business at this time, and as regards the attitude which the right hon. gentleman has taken to-day, I repeat what I have said on a number of occasions. We have done nothing on this side of the house to hold up the business of the government. The questions that have been debated have been of the utmost interest. Certainly none will assert that important questions were not brought up in the debate on the address, and I submit that the Bren gun question was of the utmost importance, so much so that a good many of the details in connection with the defence purchasing board are, I contend, the result of the Bren gun investigation. Again, the trade treaty is public. business; no one will deny that. I say, therefore, that we have not been holding up public business in any manner. However, whatever the right hon. gentleman desires will suit me.

As regards a vote of want of confidence, that was not our desire. One of our members did wish to bring up a certain question because he is of the opinion, and I agree with him, that it is of the utmost importance. With a view to expediting public business, I would suggest that instead of a want of confidence motion, after we have disposed of the defence purchasing board, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) might bring on his resolutions with respect to youth training and unemployment, and on that motion the remarks which the hon. member on this side wishes to submit to the house might then be made. That would suit us and it would not delay matters, because the subject is one that will be discussed in any event. After

we have got through discussing the defence purchasing board, the Minister of Labour, I suggest, might take up the resolutions with respect to youth training and unemployment and the other question could then be discussed. I am not asking for favours; I wish to have that distinctly understood. I neither ask for them nor am I particularly anxious to give them. My right hon. friend can do just as he likes.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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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:

In order to keep the record straight, I might point out that no mention was made last night of the resolutions of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers), but since my hon. friend has suggested that they might be taken up at an early day, I will say now that we shall take them up to-morrow the first thing.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Suppose we are not through with the discussion of the defence purchasing board? My right hon. friend was so anxious to have it disposed of that I should like to see it done.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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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:

I was going to say-my hon. friend rather threw me off the track by saying we might go on to-day after concluding with the defence purchasing board bill-that we would go on with the resolutions if we got through with the defence purchasing bo-ard. He led me to assume the other measure would be through to-day.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Sometimes I should like to throw the right hon. gentleman off the track.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PRIORITY OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENT MEASURES
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PACIFIC OCEAN DEFENCE

INQUIRY AS TO CANADA'S PARTICIPATION IN CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN NEW ZEALAND


On the orders of the day:


CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. C. GREEN (Vancouver South):

May I direct a question to the Prime Minister? A dispatch from London, dated March 12, and published in the Ottawa newspapers yesterday, contains an announcement by the Dominions Office that there is to be a conference on Pacific ocean defence questions, to be held at Wellington, New Zealand, at which there will be representatives from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In view of the fact that Canada has serious defence problems on the Pacific ocean, will it be possible for Canadian representatives to be sent to this conference?

Topic:   PACIFIC OCEAN DEFENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO CANADA'S PARTICIPATION IN CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN NEW ZEALAND
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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):

The government of Canada has not received any communications from any governments with respect to this particular conference. I think the reason is clear. The conference to which my hon. friend has

Royal Visit

made reference is one which is being held with respect to matters affecting the southern Pacific, and evidently the governments immediately concerned have not thought it advisable to invite the Canadian government to send any representatives. Until we are invited it would be as wise for us not to accept.

Topic:   PACIFIC OCEAN DEFENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO CANADA'S PARTICIPATION IN CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN NEW ZEALAND
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ROYAL VISIT

QUESTION OF PROROGATION OR ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION-FUNCTIONS TO BE ATTENDED BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT


On the orders of the day:


SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). Inasmuch as requests are coming in for certain members of parliament to 'be in their home cities at the time of their majesties' visit, will the Prime Minister tell us where he expects members to be during that time?

Topic:   ROYAL VISIT
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PROROGATION OR ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION-FUNCTIONS TO BE ATTENDED BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Permalink
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):

I do not know that I can answer my hon. friend's question exactly in the form in which he has put it, but as I understand the essence of it he wishes to know whether parliament will have prorogued or will be adjourning over the period of their majesties' visit to Canada, or whether we shall continue to sit here while their majesties are in this country.

Topic:   ROYAL VISIT
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PROROGATION OR ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION-FUNCTIONS TO BE ATTENDED BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

And whether there will be in Ottawa any functions which members will be expected to attend.

Topic:   ROYAL VISIT
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PROROGATION OR ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION-FUNCTIONS TO BE ATTENDED BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
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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:

I believe I made it clear at the beginning of the session that the government is most anxious that the fact that their majesties are coming to Canada shall not in any way interfere with the business of this house-that the visit shall not be permitted in any way to be used as a means of influencing hon. members with respect to the length of time parliament is to sit. I therefore indicated at the time that if parliament was not ready to prorogue when their majesties came to Canada, we would adjourn over the period of their majesties' stay in the dominion. Since then, there has come to me from different sources, from members in different parts of the house, an intimation that, if we are not through at that time, hon. members probably would prefer to continue sitting during the time of their majesties' stay in the country, with a very short adjournment for the period of time in which their majesties will be in this city. There seems to be a considerable body of opinion in favour of that-

Topic:   ROYAL VISIT
Subtopic:   QUESTION OF PROROGATION OR ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION-FUNCTIONS TO BE ATTENDED BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
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March 14, 1939