I rise at this time, as I feel I must, to have clarified, if possible, the report of a statement by an hon. member of this house which' appears in the Ottawa Citizen of yesterday. As hon. members know, as Speaker I have duties. In presiding over the deliberations of this house, from time to time I am called upon to make rulings. According to standing order No. 12, in explaining points of order or practice I must cite a standing order or authority applicable to the case. I believe all hon. members will agree that ever since I have occupied this chair whenever I have made any ruling I have cited either previous Speakers' rulings or other authorities to back them up. My rulings are subject to appeal to the house without debate.
Those are my duties but I also have certain rights. One of those rights is that if this recourse of appeal of my rulings is not taken advantage of, then the other procedure is to move a substantive motion and have a debate upon either my conduct or my fitness to occupy the chair. In the Ottawa Citizen of March 2, 1955, page 4, there is an article entitled "Black-Letter Day in History of Parliament". This article begins as follows:
February 23 was a "black-letter day" in the history of Canada's parliament, John Diefenbaker, Progressive Conservative member for Prince Albert, told a luncheon meeting of the Enterprise club yesterday.
He referred to the Speaker's ruling that his questions regarding lay-offs in the C.N.R. be dropped when the government declined to answer.
"Not only can we not get information-we can't even ask for it now," he said. His criticisms were directed specifically against crown corporations (C.B.C., C.N.R., T.C.A., the wheat board, N.F.B., C.M.H.C., Eldorado, and others), which "have grown into a sprawling system of bureaucracy whose authority is above parliament."
There are two or three paragraphs following which I shall pass over, and then there is another heading "Speaker's Ruling". These words are not in quotation marks and may be attributed to the reporter:
Until Monday the opposition could move for records of communications of the corporations, and if they were not produced a vote of the house
was permitted. Now the Speaker had ruled that motions requesting information regarding crown corporations could not be brought before the house or put on the order paper.
The article continues by stating that Mr. Diefenbaker made certain suggestions for the streamlining of parliamentary efficiency.