December 13, 1951

RIGHT HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL INQUIRY AS TO DETAILS OF VISIT TO CANADA IN JANUARY

PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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

I rise on a question of privilege. In view of the fact that we are coming reasonably close, or would appear to be coming reasonably close, to the termination of this special session-and may I say I do not think that should be for some days yet- I would ask the Prime Minister if he is in a position to announce to the house any arrangements that have been made for the Prime Minister of Great Britain and those coming with him which may affect members of the house.

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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):

No definite arrangements have

yet been made. The tentative plan of the prime minister is that he will arrive here on Sunday, January 13. There have been some suggestions as to what his program might be while here but it has not yet been definitely determined.

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PUBLIC ACCOUNTS


Second and third reports of standing committee on public accounts.-Mr. Picard.


FOURTH AND FINAL REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PROCEDURE

LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to present the fourth and final report of the special committee which was appointed to consider the procedure of this house. Copies of the report have been distributed to the members. There are quite a few points covered in the report, and if the house would prefer it I will try to explain it. The house might then be able to follow it more easily. The report is in three parts. The first part recommends permanent changes which should be made in the rules at this time. The second part recommends a change which should be tried on an experimental basis next year, and the third part sets out other matters which the committee has considered.

Part I recommends that the hours of sitting should be the same in future as they have

been during the latter part of this session with the exception that the dinner recess will be from six o'clock to eight o'clock p.m. There is also a provision that public and private bills will be dealt with on Tuesdays and Fridays from five to six o'clock in the afternoon instead of the former hour, which was from eight to nine o'clock on Tuesdays and Fridays. There is also a provision that on one of the days private bills will have priority, and on the other day public bills will have priority. With that report there is a recommendation that the necessary changes in the standing orders should be made immediately.

Part II recommends that the length of speeches should be 30 minutes instead of 40 minutes. However, I should point out that it does not recommend that the change should be made immediately in this rule, but recommends that it be tried out during the next session, or until otherwise ordered.

Part III sets forth other matters which the committee has considered but upon which a recommendation has not been made. The committee considered whether a debate should be allowed on money resolutions when the Speaker is in the chair, and also whether it is necessary for the minister in moving a money resolution to rise in his place and inform the house that the Governor General has been informed of and recommends the resolution to the consideration of the house. The committee considered, too, whether Mr. Speaker should leave the chair on Wednesday when there is a motion to go into supply or committee of ways and means. Hon. members will recall that at the present time, in order for the Speaker to leave the chair on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to go into supply or ways and means, it is necessary to have a motion. The committee considered also the question as to whether estimates should be referred to a special committee or standing committees of this house. The general question of the structure of house committees was taken into consideration, as well as the question whether or not the rulings made by Mr. Speaker should be subject to appeal. Consideration was given as to whether those who are not limited to time in the length of their speeches should be limited as to time-

I shall read the last paragraph of the report:

Since your committee has thus far been unable to adopt the final report with respect to these proposals, and since other proposals may be forthcoming, your committee recommends that a similar committee be established as soon as possible after

House of Commons

the commencement of the next session to continue the consideration of changes that may be desirable to assure the more expeditious dispatch of public business.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Mr. Speaker, might it be added to the statement you have given to the house that part I was adopted unanimously by the committee, but part II on division?

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

That is correct.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Perhaps Your Honour could get unanimous consent to have the entire report printed in Hansard?

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Is it the pleasure of the house that the full report be printed in Hansard?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The report is as follows:

The select committee appointed on October 9, 1951, to consider, with Mr. Speaker, the procedure of this house for the purpose of suggesting any changes that may be desirable to assure the more expeditious dispatch of public business, begs leave to present its fourth and final report.

Part I.

Your committee recommends that the standing orders of the House of Commons be amended as follows effective on and from the first day of the next session:

(a) Standing order 2 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:

"2. The house shall meet at 2.30 o'clock p.m. on each sitting day except Friday, when the house shall meet at 2 o'clock p.m. If there is not a quorum at the time of meeting, Mr. Speaker may take the chair and adjourn the house."

(b) Standing order 6 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:

"6. (1) At 6 o'clock p.m., except on Wednesday and Friday, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair until 8 o'clock p.m.

(2) At 6 o'clock p.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house without question put, and the house will stand adjourned until Thursday.

(3) At 6 o'clock p.m. on Friday, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house without question put, and the house will stand adjourned until Monday.

(c) Standing order 7 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:

"7. At 10 o'clock p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (unless the closure rule is in operation) the proceedings under consideration will be interrupted, and Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house without question put. Any proceeding not disposed of at the end of the sitting will stand over until the next sitting day when it will be taken up at the stage at which its progress was interrupted."

(d) Standing order 15 is amended as follows:

"(i) In paragraph (3), the words '(From eight

to nine o'clock p.m.)' and the words 'Private and public bills, the former having precedence' under the heading 'Tuesday (Government Day)' are deleted and the following substituted therefor: "(From five to six o'clock p.m.) Public and private bills, the former having precedence."

"(ii) In paragraph (3), the words '(From eight to nine o'clock p.m.)' immediately before the words 'Private and public bills' under the heading 'Friday (Government Day)', are deleted and the following substituted therefor: '(From five to six o'clock p.m.)'.''

(iii) Paragraph (4) of standing order 15 is amended by deleting the words "9 o'clock" and substituting the words "6 o'clock."

Part H.

Your committee also recommends that, as an experiment for the next session, unless and until otherwise ordered, standing order 37 be considered as amended by the deletion of the words "forty minutes" as they appear therein and the substitution therefor of the words "thirty minutes," so that standing order 37 would for the duration of the next session have effect as if it were a sessional order reading as follows:

"37. No member, except the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, or a minister moving a government order and the member speaking in reply immediately after such minister, or a member making a motion of "No Confidence" in the government and a minister replying thereto, shall speak for more than thirty minutes at a time in any debate."

Part HI.

Your committee has also given consideration to the following proposals suggested as possible means of expediting the dispatch of public business:

(1) That when the order of the day is read for the house to go into committee of the whole on a resolution preceding a money bill, Mr. Speaker do leave the chair at once without question put.

(2) That the practice of announcing in the house that His Excellency the Governor General recommends a money resolution to the consideration of the house be discontinued.

(3) That whenever on Wednesdays government business has precedence, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair without question put when the order is read for the house to resolve itself into committee of supply.

(4) That the estimates be referred to a committee on estimates or to other standing or special committees of the house.

(5) That the committee structure of the house be re-examined and reorganized.

(6) That the rulings of Mr. Speaker be made conclusive and not subject to appeal.

(7) That the speeches of those not now limited as to time in standing order 37 be limited as to time.

Since your committee has thus far been unable to adopt a final report with respect to these proposals, and since other proposals may be forthcoming, your committee recommends that a similar committee be established as soon as possible after the commencement of the next session to continue the consideration of changes that may be desirable to assure the more expeditious dispatch of public business.

Respectfully submitted,

W. Ross Macdonald,

Speaker of the House of Commons, Chairman.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

May I ask what the procedure is by which it is proposed to adopt or otherwise deal with this report which has been read?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works):

The moment we go into routine motions I shall move, seconded by the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Harris), that by leave of the house we refer it to the committee as a whole, but upon the passing of that motion we would not proceed this day with the study of these changes. If we receive

the unanimous consent of the house we shall be in committee of the whole tomorrow or Saturday. If we do not receive that consent we shall have to put a notice of motion in Votes and Proceedings and it would come up on Saturday.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be well to put a notice of motion on the order paper, because so far as a great number of the members are concerned this report has just come before us. I may as well say now that there will be a little debate concerning certain features of the matter when it does come up.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Perhaps we could discuss that on the order for motions because I have a few reasons to give, but if the opposition does not agree we will have to put a notice of motion in Votes and Proceedings.

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MOTION FOR REFERENCE OF REPORT TO COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works):

In all cases where substantial amendments to the standing orders of the house have been proposed in the report of a special committee appointed for that purpose, it has been the practice to consider the report in committee of the whole, and when the committee of the whole reports to concur in such report. In most cases when the report of the special committee was presented the motion to consider the report of the committee of the whole was moved without notice, either immediately or at some specified date. Concurrence in the report of the committee of the whole was moved immediately it was received, and in no case was any objection raised to this procedure.

At pages 702 and 703 of Beauchesne's third edition there will be found a Speaker's ruling dealing with a motion for concurrence in a supply resolution, which ruling is to the effect that it does not come within debatable motions under rule 17(a), now standing order No. 38. It is assumed that this would apply equally to motions for sending reports to committee of the whole. Now, the standing orders were amended in 1876, 1906, 1910, 1927 and 1940. What I have just said applies to those previous occasions. I know that I have to ask for unanimous consent of the house, but in moving this motion we have no intention of debating these changes in the standing orders this day. This procedure would just avoid the notice of motion. The tenor of my remarks today would, I believe, be sufficient notice that we intend to bring this matter forward as soon as the delays are over.

I move, therefore, seconded by the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Harris):

That the house resolve itself into committee of the whole immediately to consider the report of the 94699-119

House of Commons

select committee appointed on October 9, 1951, for the purpose of suggesting any changes that may be desirable to assure the more expeditious dispatch of public business.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am as ready as anyone in this house to follow any course that is consistent with the proper dispatch of the business of this house and to expedite the proceedings. On the other hand, I do not intend to let the natural desire of every one of us, to have adequate time before Christmas day to make our own personal arrangements, to interfere in any way with what seems to be the best methods of dealing with business in this house. The suggestions that are before us on the one hand contemplate changes that have not been put in detail before the house in advance of this report, and it is not only the points that are raised but the points that are not raised that may be under consideration. For that reason, recognizing the fact it may well be that there would be some advantage in the members having an extended opportunity to consider this with others, I do not feel I could consent to this motion.

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December 13, 1951