Mr. Chairman, I was somewhat amused to hear the last two speakers extol the virtues of self-discipline. I think it is a subject to which they could both well give further consideration. I recall that in the first world war Brigadier Critchley, who was commandant of the school for officers, defined discipline as being self-control reduced to a habit. I think that would be an admirable quality for members of this house to adopt. I have been a member of the committee on procedure for a number of years, and I must say it gives me a good deal of satisfaction that the committee was able to submit to the house a unanimous report of a fairly substantial nature. We in the Social Credit group intend to support the report. Of course that does not mean to say that one or two of our group may not desire to criticize certain aspects of it.
I would first of all like to express my appreciation of the perseverance and patience displayed by the Minister of Finance and the Speaker during the sittings of the committee, and also the tireless work done by the Clerk and his staff. Without that spirit prevailing we would never have been able to achieve a unanimous report. As previous speakers have pointed out, there had to be a good deal of compromise, a good deal of give and take, not only between the opposition and the government but also between various opposition groups. I know it would be an easy thing for any member of the house, especially one who is not a member of the special committee, to get up and criticize certain aspects of the report. But let these members remember that it is no good criticizing the report and making suggestions unless
Special Committee on Procedure those suggestions would have the unanimous approval of all the other groups.
I believe the report represents the greatest degree of unanimity that could be achieved between all parties. The objective of the committee, as I see it, was not to make recommendations to shorten the session of parliament. The purpose was to provide for a more orderly and efficient handling of the business of the house, and thereby try to relieve the rush of business that invariably takes place in the latter days of a session.
So far as the report is concerned, I have already heard some members criticize it on the ground that it restricts or limits to too great an extent the rights and privileges of members to speak. But at the same time I have also heard other members criticize it for just the opposite reason. They say it does not go far enough, and that we should have done this or should have done that. The point is we had to try to reach an agreement between all parties, and the report, as I say, represents the greatest degree of unanimity. Personally I believe the report goes just as far as it is wise to go. To those who do feel that we have restricted the right of members to deal at length with matters that may be of special interest to them, I would point out that there is no limit on the number of times a member may speak in committee, and a lot of consideration was given to that question. Some may feel that we should have imposed limits, but I think many of us felt that at one point at least in the proceedings of the house there should be an opportunity for a member to express himself to the greatest degree without any limitation, and on the estimates of course that right still exists.
I believe the changes proposed will provide for more efficient handling of the business of the house than we have had in the past. Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of the report is that having to do with the limitation of the time for debate on the speech from the throne and the budget. In my opinion the time taken for the proceedings on the speech from the throne and the budget should be restricted in order to provide adequate time for a thorough discussion of legislation and estimates actually before the house. Each party will have to use their allocation of time as they see fit, making provision for a certain number of 40 minute speeches or a greater number of 20 or 30 minute speeches. But I do believe that the effect will be to force each party to use its time to the greatest possible advantage, and I believe the net result of the limitation of time will be a better organized debate on both these subjects. I think nobody can argue that we have had well organized debates on
Supply-Public Works either the speech from the throne or the budget in the past. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I think the house would be well advised to support the report. If as time goes on we find that certain things do not work out further amendments can be made in the future.