April 27, 1949

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

You were looking for your ancestors in Newfoundland.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

You are caught red-handed; that is all.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, so far as the business of the house is concerned, the budget has been presented.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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?

Some hon. Members:

A good one.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Isn't it a good one?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

The trained seals almost missed that one. The budget was presented-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

A good one.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Of course one can understand certain people with very limited understanding thinking that it was.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNicol:

That will hold you.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

What a comeback!

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

It has been not merely the duty of members of the house to discuss details of the budget, but something a great deal more. If you go back through our parliamentary procedure you will find that the only case in which the house did not proceed with the estimates under the budget was when the government was defeated on a want of confidence motion on the budget itself. There is a good reason for that. There is no greater responsibility resting on members of parliament than the exercise of control over the money available to the government for public business. From the beginning of our parliamentary history, as every student of history knows, the control of parliament over the public purse and over the amount of money that the government can take from the people, is the very hallmark of a free parliament. Nothing could be a more obvious challenge to our parliamentary system than to place before the public a budget which some of the members opposite think is a good one-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Don't you?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

-but which has been described as a bribery budget, and that title is becoming more appropriate every day.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Let us vote.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

That budget has been presented, but before supply is voted it is the duty of members of parliament, not merely to say by their vote what they think of the broad statements contained in the budget, but also to say what they think about the details of the financial arrangements required by that budget, as set forth in the items in the estimates-items which under our system must be dealt with one by one.

It is the practice in this free assembly, and in similar free assemblies, for each item to be dealt with separately, and the members are entitled to an answer from the responsible

Business of the House

minister to any question with respect to details underlying the figures which are placed before the members of the house. If there ever was a time when the members of the house were entitled to that information, and were obliged to obtain it-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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?

An hon. Member:

Humbug.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

-it is at a time like this, when we have found that, with tremendously increased expenditures, we are unable to accept the statements of some of the ministers of the crown.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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?

An hon. Member:

Keep whistling.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

This house, as with every other free assembly of the same kind, has a system of committees which are set up for the purpose of examining parliamentary business in detail. It is the function of those committees to analyse, in a way in which it would not be convenient for the house as a whole to proceed without taking more time than would be justified, the problems that come before the house. Through the meetings of these committees the time occupied in consideration of public matters can be shortened.

In addition to the ordinary committees there are a number of special committees of great importance. Early in the session there was an undertaking by the government to set up a committee on radio. There was also a reluctant and belated compliance by the government with the demand for setting up of the public accounts committee. There are several other committees which are called upon to deal with important business. At any time up to the day of presentation of the budget there could have been no question about dissolving the house without proceeding with some of these matters; but once the budget was presented-and according to the members opposite, the present one is an election manifesto-it became our duty as members of the house to examine how the money is to be spent, and we have no right to vote one cent of supply until we have the information we require.

Now we are told that the house is to be asked a second time for interim supply. The house has already dealt with interim supply; and that is the regular and accepted practice. The purpose of interim supply is to provide the money which is necessary to carry on the business of the country while the house is still sitting, and to deal with undertakings which cannot be completed before the end of the fiscal year. That is the basis upon which interim supply is voted. It is also recognized that when preliminary supply is voted there is no debate on the details, because the members will have an opportunity to examine the details on a later occasion.

Business of the House

Unless the members had the assurance of that opportunity they would have no right, as representatives of their constituencies, to vote to the government large sums of money which come from the people. The whole idea of interim supply is related to the knowledge that there will be full discussion of the details of the larger amount, that any necessary adjustment can be made without any effect upon the smaller amount which has been voted, and that the rights of the members of the house shall in no way be prejudiced.

But it goes further than that. With the speculation which was rife from time to time, naturally members were anxious to know whether there was to be an opportunity to debate some of these details. On previous occasions when interim supply was proposed, in order that there would not be unnecessary delay in dealing with details, inquiry was made whether there would be an opportunity to examine these subjects in detail later, and the assurance was given that such an opportunity would be given. So far as the house is concerned, we have been told that dissolution is to be asked for on Saturday, so that there is no argument about how long we are to sit. We are told that parliament is to be dissolved -and we welcome that fact; because if anything ever demonstrated the need for an election to vote into power a really democratic government, the present action of the government demonstrates it.

What is actually happening here is that a motion has been proposed which pretends that there is some business before us which it is the obligation of hon. members to deal with. If there is to be any pretence of business here at all, then the government should proceed to place the estimates before the house so that they may be examined, and so that the affairs of government may be put before the people as they should. Let the government call the public accounts committee; we asked that it be called, and we asked it for a definite purpose. What the government is actually doing is running away from its accounting on all these things. But no matter what course is followed, no matter what course-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS -MORNING SITTINGS
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April 27, 1949