May 24, 1956

CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Chairman, I rise on a point of order. It is my submission that this motion now moved by the Minister of Trade and Commerce is out of order on at least two counts. My first submission I shall state very briefly, because it is the same one I made with respect to two other motions the minister has moved in the committee this afternoon.

Before reminding you, Mr. Chairman, of my contention in that regard may I suggest that a great man once said that a precedent which has never been re-examined cannot be conclusive. I submit the fact that a precedent has been set-indeed set twice today- does not bind this committee now that we have at another stage another motion. After all, we have not previously had a motion that the further consideration of clause 3 of this bill be postponed. I therefore submit that it is a new motion and that it is the duty of Your Honour and of the committee to consider it in the light of the rules. If there are any previous rulings or previous votes of the house the other way I submit that it is the part of wisdom and responsibility that those precedents be re-examined.

4312 HOUSE OF COMMONS

Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation

I recognize the fact, Mr. Chairman, that as a result of my pressing the wording of standing order 78 (1) it may be said by some that I am pressing technicalities. But the wording is extremely clear:

78. (1) In proceedings in committee of the whole house upon bills, the preamble is first postponed, and then every clause considered by the committee in its proper order; the preamble and title to be last considered.

I urge those words, that the committee is to consider the clauses of the bill in their proper order. I know there are those who would say that one is pressing a technicality with regard to this matter, but may I quote these words:

It will be argued, perhaps, that the reasons which I advance are purely legal subtleties. Name them as you please, "technical expressions", "these legal subtleties", it matters little; for my part,

I say that these technical reasons, these legal subtleties are the guarantees of British liberty. Thanks to these technical expressions, these legal subtleties, no person on British soil can be arbitrarily deprived of what belongs to him. There was a time when the procedure was much simpler than it is today, when the will alone of one man was sufficient to deprive another of his liberty, his property, his honour and all that makes life dear.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

C. D. Howe.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, 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:

Let me continue:

But since the days of the Great Charter never has it been possible on British soil to rob a man of his liberty, his property or his honour, except under the safeguard of what has been termed in this debate technical expressions, and legal subtleties.

Those are not my words, Mr. Chairman, but I gladly re-echo them tonight. They are the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Another great man 22 centuries ago said this:

There is no free state where the laws are not supreme.

Those are the words of Aristotle. We in this House of Commons operate under laws. We call them our standing orders, our rules of debate. With all the seriousness I can command I submit that standing order 78(1) is being violated by the motion the minister now seeks to make, and that this house has the responsibility to consider the strict wording of standing order 78(1). If any precedents improperly established earlier today stand in the way, I submit it is our moral obligation to re-examine those precedents in line with the quotation I gave a while ago from Henry Clay.

So, Mr. Chairman, I urge that you give this matter your most serious consideration. I point out also, for I said that I based my position with respect to the invalidity of this motion on two grounds-

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order. May I ask the hon. member who is raising the point of order

if he would assist me in this respect. Standing order 78(1) to which he is referring was the old standing order 76 and in the "Annotations, Comments and Precedents" under the old standing order 76 we find citation 691, which I mentioned this afternoon and which says that the consideration of a clause may, on motion made, be postponed. I wonder if the hon. member would help me on that?

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, 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 am very happy to help you, Mr. Chairman. I thought I dealt with that on the second or third occasion I was speaking this afternoon. Yes, citation 691 says:

The consideration of a clause may, on motion made, be postponed-

But I submit that there has to be consideration before consideration can be postponed. It may be satisfactory to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, it may be satisfactory to the Liberals generally that the Minister of Trade and Commerce has given the matter consideration, but for the rest of us that is consideration by only one man; it is not consideration by parliament and that is what is called for.

I wish to remind you, sir, that there is another citation which I think applies very appropriately to clause 3, and to the attempt to postpone consideration of that clause. After all, it is the clause which establishes the Northern Ontario Pipe Line Crown Corporation. Without this clause, there is no bill. The pith of the bill is here in clause 3. May, at the top of page 537, in his fifteenth edition says this:

A proposal to postpone the only effective clause of a bill until the subordinate clauses have been considered, or to postpone part of a clause, is out of order.

Do I need to emphasize those words?

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Yes, do it again.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

"Is out of order." There is no question, Mr. Chairman, that all the other clauses of the bill are subordinate to and dependent upon this operative clause which sets up the Northern Ontario Pipe Line Crown Corporation. What does the Minister of Trade and Commerce take this parliament for? He wants us to bypass the most important, operative clause and go on to discuss clauses that are contingent and dependent upon the heart of the bill which is in this clause.

Mr. Chairman, if ever there was a demonstration of the validity of standing order 78 (1), it is being demonstrated now by what the minister asks us to do. Whoever drew these rules in the first place, let alone our committee which revised many of them last year, must have had some reasons for a rule

such as this. Surely it is clear that parliament is being made a laughingstock if it is asked to consider the subordinate clauses before it considers the main ones.

Let me say another word about the importance of adhering to the rules. Again I quote from an ancient authority. This time it is from Hatsell, who a century and a half ago wrote four volumes on "Precedents in the Proceedings in the House of Commons."

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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?

An hon. Member:

Is that the hon. member for Macleod?

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

No, I am sorry; this name is Hatsell, not Hansell. At page 237 of volume 2, which is a musty volume to be found in the library, there is a citation which is included in Beauchesne's third edition as citation 818. This citation reads:

So tar the maxim is certainly true and founded on good sense that as it is always in the power of the majority by their numbers to stop any improper measures proposed on the part of their opponents, the only weapon by which the minority can defend themselves from similar attempts from those in power are the forms and rules and proceedings which have been found necessary from time to time and are become the standing orders of the house-

I emphasize these next words, sir, for your benefit because this matter is in your hands. -by a strict adherence to which the weaker party can alone be protected from those irregularities and abuses which these forms were intended to check-

And I draw these words to the attention of the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

-and which the wantonness of power is but too often apt to suggest to large and successful majorities.

There is another principle, Mr. Chairman, that is involved in what the Minister of Trade and Commerce is seeking to do now, and I confess that I have not found this rule in any book. But I have heard it quoted from the government side and the opposition side time and time again. In fact I think it is a favourite of the Minister of Finance. It is to the effect that you cannot do indirectly what you may not do directly.

Mr. Chairman, is that not what the government is up to in this whole performance that has been going on today? The government knows that unless each of the seven clauses of this bill has had some consideration it will not be in a position, when the time it has chosen comes, to move closure, which calls for a motion that would prohibit the further postponement of any consideration. In other

24, 1956 4313

Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation words, it is going through the farce today of getting what will technically be called some consideration of each of these clauses so that at a certain point in the proceedings it will be legally in a position to move that there be no further postponement of the consideration of clauses 1 to 7, or however far the government intends to go.

In other words, this whole farce to which the House of Commons has been subjected today appears to us on this side to be part of a plan to get ready for the imposition of closure, and in working out that plan the government has come to the realization that it might not be able to achieve closure on time because some of the clauses would not have been considered at all. We are therefore to be put through this farce of having clauses nominally considered because the minister has stood up and said two or three words.

I remind you that yesterday Mr. Speaker made it crystal clear that a certain speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1948 was not a debate. He even argued that a speech of mine that took half an hour was not a debate. Today we are being asked to accept these proceedings on clauses 1, 2, 3 and so on as consideration, so that when the time comes and the government wants to move closure it will legally from its point of view, but not legally from my point of view, be able to invoke the closure rule. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that is trying to do indirectly what the government cannot do directly.

The purpose of the closure rule-

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Ten o'clock.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

I shall have over night to think about what the hon. member has said.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I have a few more words to say, but I shall conclude my argument when this matter is called again.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

And I wish to be heard on the point of order.

Progress reported.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Mr. Speaker, I find that last evening I inadvertently thought we had an evening session and forgot to announce the business of the house. I think no hon. member misunderstood, and I know they will not tomorrow. We shall continue with this debate.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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At ten o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. 67509-273*



Questions


ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS


The following answers, deposited with the Clerk of the house, are printed in the official report of debates pursuant to standing order 39:


PUBLIC SERVICE

May 24, 1956