February 21, 1949

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

With the unanimous consent of the house I should like to move the resolution of which notice is given on today's order paper, as follows:

That consideration of the speech of His Excellency the Governor General to both houses of parliament have precedence over all business except introduction of bills, government notices of motions, questions and notices of motions for the production of papers, on and after Monday, February 21, 1949, until disposed of.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

I should like to suggest an amendment to the Prime Minister's motion. I may say that I have had a word with the Prime Minister about it, and I understand he is willing that my amendment be put to a vote of the house.

The amendment relates to the evening hours of sitting of this house. As hon. members are aware, there has been discussion from time to time about this matter, and it has been suggested that we change the evening hours to permit adjournment a little earlier than eleven o'clock. Last year the committee on procedure which sat, Mr. Speaker, under your chairmanship, made a unanimous recommendation that we change the hours so that, instead of sitting from eight to eleven, we sit from seven to ten. I understand that although there is considerable support for this proposal, there is some objection to it. There was also the objection that a standing order should not be changed without considerable thought.

My suggestion now is not that we change any standing order but rather that we make an experiment merely for the time during which the debate on the address is before the house. The house, having experimented for two or three weeks with a different set of evening hours, would then be in a position to decide whether it wished to continue on that basis.

I should like to add this further word, Mr. Speaker, before I read my proposed amendment. In Your Honour's committee last year I personally supported the proposal that the

evening hours be from seven to ten. There are some, however, who feel that by its adoption the dinner recess would be too much shortened; therefore as an experiment I suggest that for the next two or three weeks we try sitting in the evenings from 7.30 until 10.30. This would mean no change in the total number of hours we sit each day, but would enable all of us in this chamber, including those who must be here because we are-page boys, Hansard reporters, members of the press gallery, and so on-to get home a half hour earlier.

Had I felt that there was strong objection to an amendment being proposed to the Prime Minister's motion, I would have merely have put it forward as a suggestion. But the Prime Minister tells me he is prepared to let the house make its free decision in the matter. In that spirit, therefore, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson):

That the last three words of the motion be deleted and the following substituted therefor immediately after "1949":

"Provided that, except on Wednesdays, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair at six o'clock p.m. until seven-thirty, and shall adjourn the house at ten-thirty p.m., without question put, until consideration of the said speech is disposed of."

I think the amendment speaks for itself. If it carries, the experiment will be made only while the address is being debated, and the house can then decide what it wishes to do.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member

showed me the amendment he wished to move, I consulted my colleagues and we came to the conclusion that we would not attempt to influence in any way the decision that hon. members might wish to make upon this proposed experiment of having the house sit from 7.30 to 10.30 p.m. Unless something else is ordered in the meantime, this would be only for the duration of the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The words "except on Wednesdays" are clear, because on Wednesdays, as provided by the standing orders, the house would continue to rise at six o'clock.

The position of the government is that this is a matter which should be disposed of in the manner which best suits the convenience of the greatest number in the house. If the

Business of the House

majority of hon. members feel that we should try these new hours of sitting while the debate on the address is in progress, the government offers no objection.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Is it possible to move an amendment to the amendment? If so, notwithstanding the great incQnvenience to hon. members from Ontario and Quebec I should like to move that we sit on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. We cannot go home on Thursday nights and come back on Tuesdays. I cannot see the value of the hon. member's amendment.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Not having had the advantage that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and his colleagues have had of considering this proposal prior to its being made in the house today, we are confronted now with a suggestion, which may have considerable merit, as to the hours of sitting. But it seems to me that rather than submitting a motion of this kind to a snap decision of the house it would be better to defer it until tomorrow, and in the meantime let all the parties consult their members in the matter. I do believe there is a general feeling that some changes in the hours of sitting might well be made. But if that is to be done, let us seek common agreement, without being called upon to make a snap decision now which may or may not be in accord with the general feeling of hon. members. I suggest, therefore, that the amendment stand until tomorrow. I imagine that all hon. members would agree to have the matter brought up without advance notice, and in the meantime it will be possible to ascertain the general feeling of hon. members in this regard.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

May I ask the leader of the opposition one question? I should like to know if he meant that we should consult the provinces.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I admit that we have heard a

great deal about that in the past few days, but if I did use that expression, I meant hon. members of this house. I must admit that there has been an attempt in some instances for hon. members to identify themselves with their provinces, and it would be a natural error to fall into. I am not aware that I did make it, but if I did, that might be a reasonable explanation. I repeat my suggestion that in order that we may reach a satisfactory solution of this matter, which has been under discussion before, an opportunity be given to all parties to consider it.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Clarence Gillis (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, the two hon. members from this group who propose this change in the hours

of sittings of the house did so, I presume, for themselves. So far as I am concerned, I do not think the difference would amount to much. Half an hour would be juggled in between. I think the house should convene at nine o'clock in the morning and go through until six in the evening. Let the house do a full day's work, and then hon. members may dispose of their time afterwards as they see fit.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mitchell:

May I ask my hon. friend, who is an old trade unionist, a question? Would it be time and a half for the other three hours?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ferguson:

May I suggest that if the government would run the country in a more businesslike way we would all be able to stop work at six o'clock.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

On a question of privilege-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I must remind hon. members that there is a motion before the house, and an amendment. Hon. members know that the rules prevent their speaking on a motion as often as they wish.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

On a question of privilege, sir, perhaps you will permit me to answer what I regard as a reasonable request on the part of the leader of the opposition. If the house will give its undertaking that we shall consider the matter tomorrow as a substantive motion, I am willing to withdraw the amendment. We can hardly let both the motion and the amendment stand over, because that would prevent the house from going on with the address today. If the house will give that assurance, I shall be glad to let this matter stand for consideration and decision by the house on a free vote at three o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Is it the pleasure of the house that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre shall have leave to withdraw his amendment?

Amendment (Mr. Knowles) withdrawn.

Motion (Mr. St. Laurent) agreed to.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Permalink

PRIVATE BILLS

CANADIAN HOME ASSURANCE COMPANY

LIB

Jean-Thomas Richard

Liberal

Mr. J. T. Richard (Ottawa East) moved

the first reading of Bill No. 28 (from the Senate) to incorporate the Canadian Home Assurance Company.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HOME ASSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink

OTTAWA TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION

February 21, 1949