June 4, 1952

PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Mr. Speaker, the practice in this house for many years has been that a motion of this type is debatable with Your Honour in the chair. There has been no change whatever in that position. If there is to be a change made then it should be done by way of a revision of the rules rather than by way of a minister coming in here on one resolution and saying that there should be no debate with Mr. Speaker in the chair and then another minister coming in the following day and without raising any question at all making a statement which is followed by a debate. We are not consenting to this motion being put and Your Honour leaving the chair without debate and I would ask the minister to make a statement in the usual way.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, we should like to be sure whether the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) is merely requesting the house to let the debate take place in committee or whether he is contending on a point of order that no debate is permissible at this time. If he is making the latter contention I certainly would have something to say about it. If he is merely requesting that we should deal with it in committee as a matter of convenience and it is not taken as a surrendering of our undoubted right, as I see it, to have a debate at this stage, that would be another matter.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I was asking that I be allowed to make a statement in committee of the whole and I was also making the point, not that there be no debate now but that there was some ground for saying that the debate

Canadian National Railways should be on the motion that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair and not on the merits of this resolution until such time as we are in committee of the whole.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have given some consideration to the construction of standing order No. 60 and standing order No. 38. I could dispose of the matter now so far as I have made up my mind from my own research. It has been my practice to hear any representations which hon. members might like to make on any point of order, especially when it is likely to be an important ruling, and I have no intention of departing from that procedure. If it would not take too long at this time I would be glad to hear representations that hon. members might like to make. The hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) has stated his opinion and if there are other views to be expressed perhaps it might be advisable to hear them now and I could make my ruling either now or at a later date.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Mr. Speaker, with great

deference I suggest that you make your ruling at a later date because I think this comes upon members generally as rather a surprise.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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?

An hon. Member:

No.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

It was raised before.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

May I still voice my opinion in the chamber. I just wanted to express my opinion. It seems to me that the way the minister put it would be a pretty dry and hollow debate as to whether Your Honour should leave the chair. I do not know that there are many arguments pro or con that could be made with respect to a matter of that kind. Surely the substance of what is before the house is involved in the motion that you leave the chair. It seems to me that in the normal course of events the minister ought to make a statement as he has been doing all through these years. I do not think that we should embark now upon a policy of chiselling away and chipping off the rights that parliament has with respect to these matters. There should be no harm in leaving it as it is. I do not think we can afford to be too technical and I hope the minister will not attempt to take that course at this time.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Si. Laurent:

Mr. Speaker, as I raised the question the other day I must protest against the suggestion that I am trying to "chip" away any of the rights of parliament. I merely asked His Honour the Speaker to consider the terms of standing order No. 60 which says that the consideration of the merits of this resolution shall not take place except in committee of the whole. This is a motion for the Speaker to leave the chair and the rule

Canadian National Railways states that the consideration of and debate on the resolution "may not be presently entered upon but shall be adjourned till such further day as the house thinks fit to appoint; and then it shall be referred to a committee of the whole house before any resolution or vote of the house do pass thereon."

It does seem to me that without chipping away any of the rights of parliament it would be appropriate at this time to have His Honour the Speaker express his view as to what this standing order means. I never suggested that there should not be any debate on the motion that the Speaker leave the chair, but I do suggest that that debate should not be upon the merits of the resolution which is to be considered in committee of the whole.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

May I ask the Prime Minister what the debate would be about if we did not use as a basis the substantive motion that is being moved at this time? After all, how can you have a debate on whether the Speaker shall leave the chair if you do not deal with the merits of the issue before the house? That is why I said I thought it was chiselling and chipping away, but I take the Prime Minister's explanation that it is not.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I said that there should not be any protracted debate unless there are members who think that the matter suggested is so futile that it is not worth while setting up a committee. That is the only matter to be considered now, because it is in committee of the whole house that the merits of the proposal have to be considered.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Why was this matter not raised before in the House of Commons? This is the first time.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I understand that it was raised before. An attempt was made on one occasion to amend the proposal on the motion that the Speaker leave the chair and the Speaker decided that it could not be amended but that the motion that he leave the chair could be debated. Practices do grow up and the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) makes them into standing orders which cannot be departed from. For instance, one practice that has grown up is that, when we are in committee of the whole on a bill, the whole bill is discussed on the first section, I think that is a practice that sometimes leads to unnecessary and repetitious debate in the house. I think all hon. members feel that we spend more months doing the business of parliament than should really be required. Perhaps if we adhered more strictly to the standing orders and did not introduce and extend practices which in time are regarded

as rules we would be able to deal quite sufficiently and fully and somewhat more expeditiously with the matters that have to be dealt with by the house.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

If this question is to be decided by Your Honour then I suggest that some time be given to the opposition parties to enable them to go into the standing orders and decide the best way in which their arguments should be made to Your Honour. There can be no doubt that if the Prime Minister's suggestion were adopted we would be taking away one occasion for debate on a measure. As I said a few moments ago, that right of debate has been in existence for many years and I do not believe it should be taken away without such change being given the most careful consideration.

During the present session we have had ministers time after time introducing resolutions and getting up and making statements upon request without raising any objection. I think the Prime Minister has been the only minister who has raised this point during the present session. I do not think that it is fair that it should be decided without being given the most careful consideration. After all, this is an abridgement of what we consider to be the rights of parliament.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I think the suggestion that there be time to allow members to consider what arguments they should make to the Speaker is a reasonable one. I would not want to object to that. My sole desire was to have it clearly established what was the real effect of standing order 60, and I do not want to have it decided on my view of it. I want to have it decided on what is the proper construction of it, and if the hon. member feels that he would like to have further time I think that would be a reasonable suggestion. I know that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre is ready now to submit his views.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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?

Mr. Si. Laureni@

Perhaps it might be helpful to the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra, as I know it would be helpful to me, to hear those views.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Come on, Stanley.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

By invitation.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I accept the Prime Minister's invitation. I believe I heard some hon. members suggesting that I do not need such an invitation, and that is true because the Prime Minister raised this point some days ago when we had before us the resolution preceding the bill respecting the national library. I have had the opportunity, as Your Honour has had, to do a bit of research on the matter. The

first point I should like to make is that when one looks at the wording of standing order 60 one should not gloss over the words, "and then it shall be referred to a committee of the whole house". It should not be assumed from that wording that there is no debate at that stage. Indeed, what we have before us is in effect a motion to refer this matter from the house itself to a committee of the whole house. There is no question, as the Prime Minister himself has said, but that such a stage is debatable. I intend to bring forward other arguments which perhaps are not quite so involved as is the question of trying to interpret these words, but I submit that the words of standing order 60 make it clear that this is a debatable stage.

May I point out that you have to read standing order 60 in conjunction with standing order 38 (1) (a) which reads as follows:

The following motions are debatable:

Every motion (a) standing on the order of proceedings for the day (except government notices of motion for the house to go into committee at a later date).

Everyone knows what that exception refers to. It refers to government notices of motion on the day when a minister stands up and announces he has the approval of the Governor General. Apart from that exception, it is clear that every motion standing on the order of proceedings for the day is debatable. That is what we have today, a motion standing on the order of proceedings for the day, and it is clearly debatable.

Further evidence that this motion is debatable is found at page 164 of Beauehesne's third edition. On that page under citation 435 we have a very lengthy dissertation under the heading "Procedure on money bills is as follows". I do not intend to go into it at length, but it is one of those places where Dr. Beauchesne has spelled out the procedure very clearly and gives the procedure for the first day, second day and third day. Under "second day" we find No. 6 which reads:

Minister moves that Speaker leave the chair for house to go into committee of the whole on the resolution.

Then No. 7 reads:

Speaker puts question on motion. (Debate allowed.)

In other words, there is no question about it. Beauchesne says clearly that debate is allowed at this stage.

The next point I wish to make arises out of something that the Prime Minister said, namely, that this matter has been under consideration. I have on my desk Votes and Proceedings for three different days containing the reports made by committees that have discussed procedure in days gone by. The first one is for Friday, March 3, 1944. The 55704-183

Canadian National Railways committee on procedure of that year made certain recommendations regarding standing order 60 the purpose of which was to avoid debate at that stage, indeed' to avoid that stage itself, where the main purpose of a bill was other than financial and where its financial aspect was merely subsidiary. My point is that a reading of the recommendation made in 1944 will make it clear that that committee had no doubt that the stage we are now discussing was debatable. The same thing happened in 1948.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO RELEASE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS FROM CERTAIN CLAIMS BY HER MAJESTY IN EXCHANGE FOR PREFERRED STOCK, ETC.
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June 4, 1952