Well, it should be a very good illustration of what is required to be dealt with. We are sometimes pretty technical, and it may very well be that it would be desirable for the committee to provide some elasticity. Perhaps the simplest thing for me to do will be to withdraw this, because I am getting into a muddle that I did not anticipate and I did not want to bring about. I am quite prepared to withdraw my motion.
Topic: QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic: STANDING ORDERS
Sub-subtopic: SUGGESTED AMENDMENT RESPECTING DEBATES AND PROCEDURE IN COMMITTEE
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will resume the debate on the motion to go into supply and discuss national defence. We hope sincerely to conclude this debate and call an item in the following departments: trade and commerce, resources and development, national health and welfare, and labour. Then we will consider the resolution to approve a treaty of peace with Japan.
It is understood that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) will make his budget speech at eight o'clock. I suppose the opposition financial critic will adjourn the debate and the house will revert to its ordinary business.
Mr. Speaker, I myself am becoming a little muddled. I thought we had an understanding that we would have two debates; one on external affairs and one on national defence. Discussing it with my -colleagues today, I insisted that we continue this debate on defence.
Let me make this quite clear. I am not suggesting that there be an interruption of the debate on national defence. But, following the hope expressed by the minister that that debate would terminate, I was merely suggesting that when that debate terminated there might be an opportunity to proceed with the resolution dealing with redistribution.
With respect to that, Mr. Speaker, I think I should volunteer this word of explanation. I may have to withdraw the resolution, the notice of which I have on the order paper, and substitute another, because I am told that under the rules there cannot be any amendment moved that would expand the powers of a select committee. Though I do not want to sponsor anything that I would have to oppose, I want to make it as broad as possible, so that the house can cut it down if it chooses to do so, but so that there will be no procedural obstacle in the house expressing the whole of its views. I thought I had just that in the form of the resolution that is on the order paper, but I am told I have not; that there would toe other points of view that it should be possible to discuss, but that could not be raised by amendments that would be in order to the notice as I have framed it, and I have been asked to frame it in proper terms so that the other matters could by amendments to mine be properly discussed and not be ruled out of order. This is also a matter which
Business of the House
has difficulties on its merits, and I should like to avoid having procedural difficulties in the matter submitted. I feel that I am not doing this as the Prime Minister; I am doing it as the leader of the majority party, whose duty it is to provide an opportunity for a full discussion of the subject.
Another draft has been prepared, which I have submitted to the critics to see if that would allow the discussion of everything that it might be desirable to add, and I may have to ask tomorrow for permission to withdraw this notice and substitute another. I hope it may be possible to do that, and to have it ready for Wednesday, if I can get the dispensation of the forty-eight hours' notice for the new form.
I am told that my form would take care of one set of difficulties, but would raise another set of difficulties that could not be overcome by any amendment that would be in order, and that in order to make it possible to have the other set of difficulties taken care of I shall have to broaden the terms of my proposal, or the Speaker would find himself obliged to rule out of order certain amendments that it may be desired to suggest.
I agree with the Prime Minister that it is most desirable that in a matter as important as this there be no question of the adequacy of the resolution. When I made the suggestion it was with the idea that possibly the members of that committee might, if possible, meet and have certain information placed in their possession before the Easter holiday, tout I agree that it is more important that the resolution adequately cover all contingencies.