March 7, 1941

RULES OF THE HOUSE

INTERPRETATION OF STANDING ORDER 41 RESPECTING THE TABUING OF DOCUMENTS CITED AND LETTERS QUOTED

LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

On Wednesday last,

March 5, I was asked by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) to take into consideration standing order 41 and give an interpretation particularly of paragraphs 315 and 316 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, which deal with the question of the reading of documents and whether these documents should: be laid on the table. When the hon. member made the suggestion I indicated that it was not the function of the chair to give advice to hon. members but rather that the Speaker was required to judge and interpret the rules of the house on any question raised in the course of a debate or in its proceedings.

The hon. member had in mind the discussion which took place that day and which had just been completed, on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for North Battleford (Mrs. Nielsen), in the course of which she read a letter received from a correspondent. It might be well to state to

the house the rule governing questions of privilege. It has been well stated in May's Parliamentary Practice, 13th edition, page 317: The house is always willing to extend its indulgence when an honourable member wishes to clear up any misrepresentation of his character: but that indulgence ought to be strictly limited to such misrepresentations, and ought not to extend to any observations other than by way of correction.

It was not necessary for me to give a decision during the discussion for the reason that the hon. member for North Battleford agreed >to lay on the table the letter which she read.

There is no doubt as to the parliamentary rule which requires a minister of the crown who refers to a public document in the house and upon it bases an argument or assertion. That document, if called for, must be produced. The principle involved in such a proceeding is so obvious and reasonable that there does not seem to be any room for argument. It is the principle established in courts of law which prevents counsel from quoting documents which have not been produced in evidence. It has however been held that a demand for production and' filing of any document should be made immediately and not at a subsequent sitting of the house.

There is no standing order which governs the quoting of private communications and we are guided mainly by custom and precedents. I have no doubt in my mind as to the decision I would have rendered with regard to the portion of the letter which the hon. member for North Battleford read into the records on Wednesday last. The contents of that letter are so serious that unless the hon. member, as such member, assumed responsibility for it, then, as Speaker of the house, I would have asked the hon. member to lay the letter on the table of the house or, alternatively, I would have sought the consent of the house that it should be laid on the table. However, the hon. member took the proper course in laying the letter on the table.

It will be noticed that in the letter there is a serious statement concerning an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, one of the departments of government; that it refers specifically to a function of government of a most contentious and delicate character in these war years, namely, the question of internment, and by reason of the publication of the portion of letter in Hansard, it may be properly considered of the nature of a public document. That is all the more reason why it should have been laid on the table and it might have been retained as a parliamentary paper.

It may not be, in other cases of a like nature, so easy to interpret the rules of the

Housing

house. For instance, an unsigned letter should not be read in the house. Mr. Speaker Lemieux so decided on May 16, 1928. Or a member may desire to summarize information contained in a communication, but the member giving the summary must take the responsibility, as a member of this house, for the correctness of the information he or she seeks to give. If an hon. member proposes to read a communication in its entirety, or even a portion, without divulging the name and address of the sender and the member refuses to take the responsibility for the truth and accuracy of the contents, I am clearly of opinion that such a communication should be laid upon the table, and particularly if so desired by any member of the house. In the present case I agree with the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) that an hon. member is not entitled to read from communications unless prepared to place them on the table of the house. The principle upon which this is based is that where information is given to the house, the house itself is entitled to the same information as the hon. member who may quote the document.

Topic:   RULES OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   INTERPRETATION OF STANDING ORDER 41 RESPECTING THE TABUING OF DOCUMENTS CITED AND LETTERS QUOTED
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HOUSING

ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED COMPANY TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION FOR MUNITIONS WORKERS


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):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask a question either of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) or the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) or both-I am not sure to whom the question should properly be directed.

I have observed in the press a number of dispatches relating to the institution of a large-scale housing project to meet the serious housing shortage existing in certain districts of Canada. This house has not been given any information respecting the government's proposals in this regard. Time and again I have emphasized that when this house is in session announcements of important proposals such as this should be made by the responsible minister in this house rather than communicated directly to the press.

I would ask the minister responsible for the proposed housing programme to give us at once or as soon as reasonably possible a full and detailed statement of the government's plans in this matter.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED COMPANY TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION FOR MUNITIONS WORKERS
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Munitions and Supply):

For some weeks it has become

apparent that in a certain few localities the work of the department is being seriously handicapped by a lack of housing accommodation. In one or two cities it has become utterly impossible to attract the required number of workmen on account of the housing shortage. To meet that situation it has been decided to establish a housing corporation, a wholly owned government company, and Mr. Joseph Pigott has been appointed president of the corporation. Associated with him are six other directors whose names I have not before me at the moment. This corporation has taken over the studies which have been made by officers of the Department of Finance with respect to the housing problem, and it is expected that the corporation will make recommendations to the government shortly as to the best methods of meeting the most urgent situations.

I should like to emphasize that this is not a general housing project but is confined solely to housing that is found necessary for the successful prosecution of the munitions programme.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED COMPANY TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION FOR MUNITIONS WORKERS
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AIR FORCE

QUESTION RESPECTING DARTMOUTH, N.S., AIRPORT CONTRACTS


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. P. C. BLACK (Cumberland):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask a question of the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power), who I am sorry is not in his seat at the moment. Has an investigation been made into the situation with respect to the Eastern Passage airport contracts, where over $3,000,000 is involved? If so, has a report been made to the minister or to the government, and will a copy of the report be tabled?

I may add that this is in relation to certain questions which were asked early in December and regarding which a return was brought down in February. It is important that we have this information while the war appropriation measure is before the house.

Topic:   AIR FORCE
Subtopic:   QUESTION RESPECTING DARTMOUTH, N.S., AIRPORT CONTRACTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

As my hon. friend has mentioned, the Minister of National Defence for Air is not in the house at the moment, and I would therefore ask my hon. friend to let his question stand as a notice.

Topic:   AIR FORCE
Subtopic:   QUESTION RESPECTING DARTMOUTH, N.S., AIRPORT CONTRACTS
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Until

Monday?

Topic:   AIR FORCE
Subtopic:   QUESTION RESPECTING DARTMOUTH, N.S., AIRPORT CONTRACTS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I would expect so.

War Appropriation Bill

Topic:   AIR FORCE
Subtopic:   QUESTION RESPECTING DARTMOUTH, N.S., AIRPORT CONTRACTS
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WAR APPROPRIATION BILL

PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY


The house resumed from Thursday, March 6, consideration in committee of a resolution to provide sums not exceeding $1,300,000,000 for the year ending March 31, 1942, for the carrying out of measures consequent upon the existence of a state of war.-Mr. Ilsley- Mr. Fournier (Hull) in the chair.


LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of National War Services):

Mr. Chairman, at the close of the proceedings last night I stated to the committee that I had dealt with the greater part of what I wished to say with regard to the registration of the human resources of Canada. There were one or two activities with which I did not deal at any length, merely mentioning them, on which I should like to say a few more words to-day.

First, there is the matter of the national registration of the young men who were afterwards called up or are being called up as recruits under the national war services regulations of 1940. Under these regulations, established under the authority of the National Resources Mobilization Act, all male British subjects between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five years inclusive, who are unmarried or widowers without child or children and who have been ordinarily resident in Canada since September 1, 1939, are liable during the continuation of the state of war now existing to be called out for military training for the purpose of the defence and security of Canada. The period of military training and the age class or classes to be called out are determined by proclamation of the governor in council.

For the purpose of calling out men for military training, Canada has been divided into thirteen administrative divisions, corresponding approximately to the military districts of the Department of National Defence. A board of three members, the chairman of which is a judge of the court of the district in which the administrative division is located, is entrusted with the application of the regulations in each administrative division.

The official immediately concerned with the actual calling-out of men is the divisional registrar. Upon receipt of a requisition from the Department of National Defence indicating the number of men required for military

training in each administrative division, divisional registrars proceed to notify men for medical examination who are in the age class or classes rendered subject to call by proclamation. The selection of such men is made proportionately from all parts of the division. Men so notified may report to any duly licensed medical practitioner, which means that any man may go to his family doctor if he so desires. The appointment of all qualified doctors as examining physicians under the regulations was decided upon after consulting with the Canadian Medical Association. May I say here that the medical profession of Canada has responded whole-heartedly to this call for national service and that the examining physicians have performed their duties conscientiously and efficiently.

In order to obtain the number of men required to attend the several military training centres of the Department of National Defence, it is necessary for the divisional registrars to notify a number substantially larger than the one called for, in order to take care of those who are categorized as temporarily and permanently unfit for military training, and also of those who, for reasons of seasonal occupations or essential employment in war industries, cannot be called out for a particular period of training. For the first three periods of military training, the number of men categorized lower than C. 1 averaged 23-1 per cent of the total number of men called out for medical examination. This ratio is well within the percentage of medical rejections to be normally expected in such a large scale medical examination.

I recall that in the discussion which took place in the house a few days ago it was indicated that a considerable number of the men who did report to camp were afterwards found to be not physically fit, a larger number than probably would have been expected had we had some experience in matters of this kind.

The second step in bringing men to the training centres is to select from the thousands of medical reports received from the examining physicians in each administrative division the men who come within the medical categories accepted for training by the Department of National Defence. The men selected are then notified by the divisional registrar to report, on a stated date, to the officer commanding a stated training centre.

tEVIDED EDITION

War Appropriation Bill

The divisional registrar encloses with the "notice-military training" warrants for trans-portatien, meals, and/or lodging as may be required. Upon arriving at the training centre the men are again examined by the military doctors and, if found medically fit, are accepted for military training. From the moment they are accepted at the military training centre, the men cease to be under the jurisdiction of the Department of National War Services, because they are enrolled in the reserve of the' Canadian army.

It is important that this should be understood. because continuously we have inquiries from hon. members and others with regard to matters which really come under the Department of National Defence. The men are more or less under the Department of National War Services from the time the call goes *>ut to them to report to the physician, until such time as they have been accepted in a military training camp; from that time on, they are under the control of the Department of National Defence.

That, I think, is all that it is necessary for me to say with regard to the activities of the Department of National War Services in connection with the calling up of men. Any questions which hon. members may have with regard to costs and all matters of that kind can be dealt with when we are in committee on the amounts estimated as necessary during the coming year.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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CON

Mark Cecil Senn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SENN:

There recently appeared in the press a notice that farmers' sons of certain categories would have their training postponed until the fall months. Will it be necessary for these young men to be called up and then go before the board for exemption, or will they be called up at all until the end of that period?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
Permalink

March 7, 1941