October 28, 1949

BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT

AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION

LIB

Arthur Laing

Liberal

Mr. Arthur Laing (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. In today's issue of the Ottawa Citizen I am credited with the following statement in reference to the constitutional issues before the house:

A sincere and final attempt is being made to re-establish federalism in Canada.

What I said was that a sincere attempt is being made to consolidate federalism in Canada. Again I am reported as having said:

You can't have eleven separate governments if the country is to be run in an efficient manner.

What I said was that you cannot have eleven separate governments all of equal stature and maintain either federalism or efficiency. In making these corrections-

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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LIB

Arthur Laing

Liberal

Mr. Laing:

-I do not wish-

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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LIB

Arthur Laing

Liberal

Mr. Laing:

-to be critical of the reporter, because unfortunately for me I am not a member of the legal profession-

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

On a point of order, may I ask where the speech was made that is being corrected? Was it in this house?

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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LIB

Arthur Laing

Liberal

Mr. Laing:

-unfortunately I am not a member of the legal profession in either of the categories delineated yesterday by the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith).

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Sub-subtopic:   REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF REMARKS BY MR. LAING
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PRIVATE BILLS

FIRST READINGS


Bill No. 119, to incorporate Prairie Transmission Lines Limited.-Mr. Benidickson. Bill No. 120, respecting the incorporation of purebred livestock record associations. -Mr. Gardiner. Bill No. 121, for the relief of Cecile de Mers Asheim.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 122, for the relief of Elsie Margaret Harding Lewin.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 123, for the relief of Raymond Webster Elliott.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 124, for the relief of Hazel Wilma Drysdale Warnecke.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 125, for relief of Ruby Rabinovitch Friedgut, otherwise known as Ruby Rabinovitch Freygood.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 126, for relief of Mildred Carmen Mitchell James. Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 127, for relief of Bessie Birenbaum Abrams.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 128, for relief of Grace Elsie Mills Johnson.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 129, for the relief of Robert Ewen Stewart.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 130, for the relief of Mary Cecilia Helliwell Glassco.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 131, for relief of Betty Malca Stillman Shugar.-Mr. Winkler. Bill No. 132, for relief of Tessie Charow Hersh.-Mr. Winkler.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS

LIB

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

Liberal

Righi Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved:

That on Wednesday, November 2 next, and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of session, government notices of motions and government orders shall have precedence over all other business except introduction of bills, questions by members and notices of motions for the production of papers.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Before this motion is put, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a suggestion for which I believe there will be general support from members in all parts of the house.

I think that all who carry the appellation "private members" are grateful for the extent to which we have been granted our rights as private members during the course of this session. In fact we have had more private members' days, both with respect to private members' resolutions and with respect to public bills, than has been the case since before the war. Because of that fact I do not think the government can be criticized for suggesting that it is time they should take Wednesday afternoons. Nevertheless one of the questions that could come up on a Wednesday afternoon is of interest to all members of the house and of great interest throughout the country. I refer to the motion which was under discussion a week ago last Wednesday, having to do with federal aid to education. As a matter of fact when that debate was

Business of the House interrupted-and I point out that it was interrupted, not adjourned-the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) was speaking; and from his remarks it would seem that he expected, as certainly the rest of us expected, there would be another opportunity for hon. members to speak to that very important question.

It is an easy matter to word an amendment to the motion which would have the effect of giving us just one more Wednesday, and also the effect of putting the order for resumption of the debate having to do with education at the top of the list for that Wednesday. In order to achieve this dual purpose-which, as I say, I am sure will meet with general support-I move, seconded by my colleague the hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy):

That the motion be amended by inserting therein, immediately after the words "November 2 next," the following words:

"notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 15, public bills and orders shall have precedence over notices of motion, and that on Wednesday, November 9,-"

If my amendment should carry, the motion would then read in this way-and I think I should put it on record so that the effect of the amendment will be clearly understood:

That on Wednesday, November 2 next, notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 15, public bills and orders shall have precedence over notices of motion, and that on Wednesday, November 9, and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of the session, government notices of motions and government orders shall have precedence over all other business except introduction of bills, questions by members and notices of motions for the production of papers.

As I have said already, the amendment would accomplish two purposes. In the first place it would give us one more Wednesday as a private members' day. It would put off the application of the Prime Minister's motion until Wednesday, November 9. In the second place it would reverse the order as between public bills and orders, on the one hand, and notices of motion, on the other, for next Wednesday, so that the first order to be called then would be the item at the top of the list of public bills and orders, which reads:

October 19-Resuming debate on the motion of Mr. Knight:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration means of expanding and equalizing educational opportunity across Canada, by the granting of financial assistance to the various provinces for that purpose.

I think it is generally agreed, Mr. Speaker, that one of the most interesting debates this session, and one most lacking in partisanship, was the one on this subject which took place on October 19. Hon. members in all parts of the house have been made aware of the nation-wide interest in this question by the telegrams and communications they have

received. We should like to hear the rest of the Prime Minister's speech; and I feel that it would be meeting the wishes of the house if the government were to accede to this amendment. I do not believe it is the sort of thing that should be made an issue, in terms of something we must fight about at this time. If I am wrong, if hon. members in all parties do not agree with me, that is the end of it. But I am sure the subject to which I refer is one in which we are so keenly interested that hon. members will want to support the amendment.

I want to make it clear that even I would not have the nerve to ask for further Wednesdays in blank form merely in order that we might go through the various motions standing on the order paper. But having regard to the importance of this subject, and the wide interest taken in it, I hope the government will consider granting us one more Wednesday for this purpose.

Before I sit down I wish to call the Prime Minister's attention, if it has not been done already, to the fact that he was paid a well-deserved compliment on page 4 of the current issue of Toronto Saturday Night, where it is pointed out that he has shown himself this session ready to accept good suggestions from the opposition.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

What about last night?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Last night the Prime Minister accepted good suggestions and turned down some that were not so good. The last sentence in the paragraph to which I refer reads:

The house gives him top marks for his attitude.

I echo that sentiment, and I hope there will be granted this further opportunity for the discussion of the proposal respecting federal aid to education which so many of us support.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS
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LIB

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I hope that I may still obtain sufficient marks from the house, even if I do not succumb today to the cajoling flattery of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). The hon. member recognizes that during this session more time has been given to these interesting academic debates than was given to them in any session since before the war, and that notwithstanding the fact that when they came here on September 15 most hon. members hoped that the session would be short, though they knew there was quite a large volume of public business to be transacted. They know now that there is still a large volume of public business to be transacted.

The hon. member proposes that the rights some fifteen hon. members would have under the standing orders, to debate matters which

they consider of great interest, be taken away and that priority be given to the continuation of the debate-having to do with a very interesting subject, it is true-on a motion made by the hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight). Hon. members will realize that unless we sit until next summer there is little prospect of the hon. member's motion being reached again, unless we take away the rights given by the rules to the fifteen other members who have resolutions under the heading of notices of motions. Though the subject matter of the resolution of the hon. member for Saskatoon is extremely interesting, I am sure that there are other members who feel that the matters they propose to bring before the house, if and when they have an opportunity of doing so, are also interesting. I do not think that it would be a good precedent to have the house decide that any one of these academic resolutions submitted by hon. members should have precedence over the other. The rights of each member are equal, and when there is an opportunity for those rights to be exercised, it seems to me that they should be exercised according to the provisions of the standing orders.

This being so, I believe if it is proper that we should now take the time that would otherwise be given to these academic discussions and devote it to the transaction of urgent government business which has to be accomplished before we can reach prorogation, it should be without any qualifications. There should not be a day especially set aside for the continuation of the debate on the resolution of the member for Saskatoon.

This does not mean that the subject cannot be discussed in the house. Hon. members who are interested in discussing it know that, for instance, in the budget debate there is wide latitude as to the subjects hon. members may discuss. At various times discussion on the estimates provides ample opportunity for discussion of matters of this kind. I believe that the interest of each one of us in educa-cational matters, as well as in properly safeguarding the rights and jurisdictions of provincial governments, can be discussed.

So far as I am concerned I am quite content with the four minutes' participation I had in the debate a week ago last Wednesday, and am willing to reserve for some other time any further remarks I might have to make on the subject. I therefore feel that we cannot accept the suggestion of the hon. member. I hope that we shall not have to have a recorded division on the amendment.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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

I believe a strong argument can be made in support of the debate being continued on the notice of motion of the 45781-78

Business of the House hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight). I do not recall any other private member's notice of motion in respect to which the Prime Minister felt he was called upon to state his position. There were many members who hoped that the fact that he did take four minutes to indicate his approval of the general purpose of the motion which was discussed on October 19 indicated that we were to hear something further on the subject which might produce positive results.

When this notice of motion was before the house I pointed out that, desirable though its purpose was, and strongly as we advocate the acceptance of the principle of the greatest possible support of education throughout the whole of Canada, this is only part of the whole relationship between the dominion and provincial governments. If we are to reach the objective which is in the minds of so many hon. members, of all the provinces being financially in a position to provide adequate standards, then there must be an agreement that goes beyond education itself.

I had hoped that when the Prime Minister saw fit to take part in the debate on the motion of the member for Saskatoon we might have some indication from him that he recognizes the importance of this matter and is prepared to meet those whom he described last night as "those dear provincial premiers". After all, "those dear provincial premiers" are the heads of governments with whom consultation will be necessary if the purpose of this motion is to be achieved.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS
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October 28, 1949