May 24, 1955

PRIVILEGE

MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS


"ROYAL anthem"


PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, before the opening of the house yesterday the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) in private conversation asked whether I would join with him in asking those present to sing the first verse of "God Save the Queen", as had been done last year. Naturally, I agreed wholeheartedly with the suggestion.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order. May I ask the Leader of the Opposition if he would raise this matter on the orders of the day.

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Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I am rising on a question of privilege, in view of the statement that I made a proposal of which I was unaware at the time. The Prime Minister used these words, as reported at page 4001 of Hansard:

Today the people of Canada are celebrating officially the anniversary of Her Majesty's birthday. In this house, as in other years, we will be evidencing our devotion to Her Majesty by continuing to give consideration to the public business of her Canadian subjects. But with your permission the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) and I would like to suggest that before doing so we stand and sing together the first verse of the royal anthem.

I was not aware of the words that were to be used, and of course I do not suggest that there was any discussion of the actual words that would be used. I did not have an opportunity to mention this yesterday, because naturally the members all rose immediately and sang "God Save the Queen". In view of the fact that there is a tendency for statements placed on record to establish precedents, and that my name was joined in this suggestion, I do think it appropriate that I should ask the Prime Minister what was the significance of the words "royal anthem" used on this occasion.

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Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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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 assure the Leader of the Opposition that there was no other intention than to express our devotion to our beloved sovereign by singing the anthem which is a prayer for her success in this life and happiness in the hereafter. I had

given no previous thought to the way in which it could be described. It is the anthem which has been spontaneously accepted by the loyal subjects of Her Majesty and her predecessors throughout the commonwealth. I hope it offends no one to call it the royal anthem.

It seems to me it is significant that the loyal subjects of our sovereign throughout the commonwealth should wish to express in the form of a prayer their devotion to the beloved head of this great organization of which we are all the loyal subjects, and proud to be so.

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Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

May I ask the Prime Minister a supplementary question?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

This subject, I think, could more properly be raised on the orders of the day. The Leader of the Opposition had reason to raise it as a question of privilege because he had been associated with the suggestion yesterday and therefore I allowed him to state his point. If there are to be any further questions asked with respect to the exchange between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition I think they should wait until we reach the orders of the day.

[Later;!

On the orders of the day:

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prince Albert):

In

connection with the question that was raised a moment ago by the Leader of the Opposition on a question of privilege, I should like to ask the Prime Minister, is it not a fact that "God Save the Queen" is our national anthem?

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Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

"God Save the Queen" has never to my knowledge been adopted by any act of parliament or any resolution or any proclamation. It has by usage, I think, been spontaneously accepted by all the subjects of the British crown that they express their devotion to the crown in that form. I do not know any Canadian who is not glad to participate to the extent of his vocal powers in singing that hymn.

Whether it should be called a national anthem or whether it should be called a national prayer, I really do not know. I know it is honoured by all Canadians, and I know there are a good many Canadians who also

Inquiries of the Ministry like to pay similar honours to the other hymn, "O Canada". There have been debates in this house about national anthems and national flags. I do not think a debate over national anthems has ever been any cause of division. The debate over the national flag has caused expressions of very contradictory feelings, and I do not think Canada gains anything by controversies of that kind. I have always regarded both the tune and the words of "God Save the King" as an expression of devotion to the throne which is an essential part of our social organization, and I hope it will long remain a central part of it.

There have been suggestions that some of us on this side of the house objected to the word "royal". I think that is absolute nonsense. The hon. member and I expressed, I think, the feelings of practically all Canadians when we were considering the bill with respect to the royal style and titles. The hon. member recalls with what deep emotion and unanimity the sentiments we both expressed on that occasion were greeted by all our fellow members in the house. I hope that also will remain true.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Harold E. Winch (Vancouver East):

May I direct a supplementary question to the Prime Minister. What is the national anthem of Canada? Is it "O Canada" or is it "God Save the Queen"? If the Prime Minister is not able to give a definite answer, is he as Prime Minister concerned about the matter, and is he prepared to bring in a recommendation to the house and to the people of Canada as to what is our national anthem?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to bring in any recommendation to the house to establish anything by law as a national anthem. I do not think that procedure has been necessary in any country of the commonwealth. The spontaneous feelings of the people of the commonwealth have always sufficed to indicate to them in what manner they could best express their devotion to the crown.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Will the Prime Minister answer my first question? Is there a national anthem for Canada?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I do not know of any legislative provision made in this house or in the parliament of any other of the nations of the commonwealth establishing by legislation that such or such is the national anthem.

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Subtopic:   MR. DREW SIGNIFICANCE OF USE OF WORDS
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CUSTOMS ACT

AMENDMENTS RESPECTING VALUATIONS, DRAWBACK APPEALS, ETC.

LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. J. J. McCann (Minister of National Revenue) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. 410, to amend the Customs Act.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the essential purpose of this bill is to clarify and bring up to date certain sections of the Customs Act.

The present law only requires vehicles to report to customs when conveying dutiable goods. As the house is aware, my department is now charged with the administration of other regulations such as those involving the health of animals, insect infestations and diseases of plants, etc., and in addition the departments of immigration and health are concerned that everyone crossing the border should report.

An amendment is being proposed to the valuation sections which clarifies and confirms our present principles of valuation. It is also proposed to limit the period following the date of entry for appeals against original appraisal.

The tariff board will be empowered to hear appeals from departmental rulings affecting export drawback as well as domestic drawback. At the present time, if goods are diverted from use for which free entry or a lesser rate of duty was accorded, we can only make demand for the proper duty from the person found in possession. It seems desirable to also hold the original importer responsible in cases of this kind.

At the present time a lien holder has only 30 days from the date of seizure to apply for a judicial order to declare his interest in the goods or vehicle seized, and it is proposed to extend this time to 60 days. I shall be glad to give further details when the bill is up for second reading or when we get into committee.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   CUSTOMS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING VALUATIONS, DRAWBACK APPEALS, ETC.
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PRIVATE BILLS

May 24, 1955