June 14, 1940

EUROPEAN WAR

TRIBUTE OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO VALOUR OF FRENCH ARMIES-MESSAGE TO PREMIER OF FRANCE


pledging Canada's unwavering support


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):

Topic:   EUROPEAN WAR
Subtopic:   TRIBUTE OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO VALOUR OF FRENCH ARMIES-MESSAGE TO PREMIER OF FRANCE
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OLD AGE PENSIONS

PETITION FOR LEGISLATION ENLARGING PENSION AND MAKING THE PENSIONABLE AGE SIXTY-FIVE

IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Albemi):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition to the house under standing order 68. It is in order and has the correct superscription-"To the honourable the House of Commons in parliament assembled." It then follows the usual formula-"The petition of the undersigned humbly sheweth;" the subject matter is set forth in paragraphs, and so on, and it concludes with the prayer and the formal words, "And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray."

I see by the rule that I must confine myself to a statement of the parties from whom it comes, to the number of signatures attached to the petition, to the material allegations contained in it and to the reading of the prayer of such petition. I shall therefore do so.

The parties from whom it comes are citizens of Canada from the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and a portion of Ontario. Thei. names and addresses are all given. I am told that the petition was got up in a very few weeks and of course it would be impossible to have so many signatures on one petition. Consequently I have a number of them here containing the same heading. I produce one as a sample. Apparently they had the idea that as many names as possible should be on one sheet. This one is forty-eight feet long and contains 1,112 signatures. The others are all much the same.

The number of signatures attached is said by those who are sponsoring the petition to be 57,409. I have not counted them myself, but if anyone wishes to check their accuracy I shall be glad to afford him the opportunity to do so.

The material allegations contained in the petition are briefly as follows:

That the cost of shelter for a single individual is at least $10 and that a further sum of $10 per month is inadequate to provide the necessities of living, including food, clothing, medical care, et cetera.

That thousands of persons in Canada over sixty-five years of age have no means of support and are unable to compete in the labour market.

That to maintain a very modest standard of living would cost $1 a day; this is shown by the experience of governments in the maintenance of patients and soldiers in institutions maintained by the state.

That the age of sixty-five is recognized in the dominion civil service, and also in several of the provinces, as being the age at which retirement is desirable.

That the age of sixty-five is the one adopted for old age pension eligibility in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and other countries having similar conditions to Canada, and that that age has been endorsed by the legislatures of British Columbia and Alberta and by many public bodies.

That the spirit of the Old Age Pensions Act is in some instances defeated by technical regulations which create unnecessary difficulties.

These are the main allegations in the petition.

The prayer is as follows-and in case it should be suggested by someone that the petition is out of order in calling for an expenditure of public money, I would point out that it is drawn up to comply with paragraph 714 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, which says that the house would refuse to receive a petition asking directly for a grant of money but that the house does receive petitions which ask simply "for legislation or for such measures as the house may think expedient to take." I now read the prayer of the petition:

Wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that your honourable house may be pleased to enact such measures as the house may think expedient to take to improve conditions above described.

In addition to the signatures on the petition I have received a number of individual letters, numbering about 150, which I am not presenting because technically they are out of order, but they all endorse the petition and describe their own conditions in rather pitiful terms.

The parties who sponsor this petition are a responsible body in Vancouver. In their covering letter they express the hope that the house will give the petition sympathetic consideration, and I would add my own hope that when the financial resources of the country permit it, action will be taken accordingly.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   PETITION FOR LEGISLATION ENLARGING PENSION AND MAKING THE PENSIONABLE AGE SIXTY-FIVE
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STANDING COMMITTEES

CHANGES IN PERSONNEL


Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice moved: That the name of Mr. Gingues be substituted for that of Mr. Pottier on the standing committee on miscellaneous private bills. That the name of Mr. Pottier be substituted for that of Mr. Gingues on the standing committee on industrial and international relations. That the name of Mr. Lalonde be substituted for that of Mr. Fournier (Hull) on the standing committee on privileges and elections. That the name of Mr. Fournier (Hull) be substituted for that of Mr. Lalonde on the standing committee on miscellaneous private bills. Rules oj the House-Reading Speeches That the name of Mr. Cloutier be substituted for that of Mr. Dupuis on the standing committee on agriculture. That the name of Mr. Dupuis be substituted for that of Mr. Cloutier on the standing committee on printing. That the name of Mr. Jaques be substituted for that of Mr. Queleh on the standing committee on banking and commerce. Motion agreed to.


RULES OF THE HOUSE

MR. SPEAKER DIRECTS ATTENTION TO STANDING ORDER 41 PROHIBITING THE READING OF SPEECHES


On the order for motions:


LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Before the orders of the day are called, I wish to draw the attention of all hon. members to a practice in debate which seems to be growing, and is contrary to the rules of the house. I refer to the reading of speeches.

Standing order No. 41 makes provision for decorum in debate. I would refer hon. members to Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, at page 95, paragraph 293, which states:

Besides the prohibitions contained in this standing order, it has been sanctioned by usage both in England and in Canada, that a member, while speaking, must not: . . .

(o) read from a written, previously prepared speech.

This rule was adopted in 1927, but as long ago as April 19, 1886, a resolution was adopted by the house which I should like to read. It was as follows:

That the growing practice in the Canadian House of Commons of delivering speeches of great length, having the character of carefully and elaborately prepared written essays, and indulging in voluminous and often irrelevant extracts, is destructive of legitimate and pertinent debate upon public questions, is a waste of valuable time, unreasonably lengthens the sessions of parliament, threatens by increased bulk and cost to lead to the abolition of the official report of the debates, encourages a discursive and diffuse, rather than an incisive and concise style of public speaking, is a marked contrast to the practice in regard to debate that prevails in the British House of Commons, and tends to repel the public from a careful and intelligent consideration of the proceedings of parliament.

I realize from my own experience how comforting it is that the written word should be before a speaker while he is speaking in the house, and especially when one is a new member. There are quite a number of new members in the house, and therefore some latitude has been given in the debates which have already

taken place, but I thought it proper to call the attention of hon. members of the house to the practice, which has not been confined to one side of the house; in fact, I think it has been almost universal in its application. I believe that a reference to the rule in this formal and general manner will forestall any objections from the house or from the chair in future debates.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MR. SPEAKER DIRECTS ATTENTION TO STANDING ORDER 41 PROHIBITING THE READING OF SPEECHES
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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):

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the rule will not be construed as applying to important statements made by the Prime Minister on behalf of the government. At a time like the present, every precaution is necessary with respect to utterances of international significance and concern. Statements on all such should I think be read rather than expressed extemporaneously. I believe that that is understood; in fact, in England, it is the practice for such statements to be read.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MR. SPEAKER DIRECTS ATTENTION TO STANDING ORDER 41 PROHIBITING THE READING OF SPEECHES
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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Such has been the custom and it has been accepted by the house. As suggested to-day, statements from ministers have been read in this chamber, and the custom and practice of the house has been to permit the reading of such communications where government policy is involved. I think the general sense of the house will be that all such statements should be read, in order that governmental statements may be meticulously and correctly given to the house.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MR. SPEAKER DIRECTS ATTENTION TO STANDING ORDER 41 PROHIBITING THE READING OF SPEECHES
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NATIONAL REGISTRATION

INQUIRY AS TO IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION BY THE GOVERNMENT


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

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

I should like to direct an inquiry to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). In view of the noble words which he has addressed to the Prime Minister of France, and in order that these noble words may be followed up by deeds and action, will he say that the government will give immediate consideration to the question of a national registration in Canada?

Topic:   NATIONAL REGISTRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION BY THE GOVERNMENT
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June 14, 1940