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. My point of order is that the motion moved by the Minister of Trade and Commerce is out of order. I base my contention on a clear-cut standing order, namely standing order No. 78, paragraph 1, which reads as follows:

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 submit, Mr. Chairman, that that standing order-and incidentally, I heard no standing order or citation produced in support of the motion presented by the Minister of Trade and Commerce-is a clear-cut direction to the committee that, apart from the preamble and the title, all of the other clauses must be considered by the committee in their proper order. Surely, the proper order is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. In case it is contended that any consideration has been given to clause 1 because the Minister of Trade and Commerce was on his feet for a few seconds, may I remind you of a ruling that was given yesterday by Mr. Speaker on another matter. On that occasion some of us were trying to contend that in 1948, on the motion of instruction with regard to the bill amending the Canadian Wheat Board Act, there had been debate because the Minister of Trade and Commerce had spoken briefly introducing his motion on that occasion. Mr. Speaker ruled that those fbw words of explanation could not be regarded as debate. I could go on

another occasion when seven pages of speaking were ruled-by Mr. Speaker-as not constituting debate. However, I am not relying on that incident. I am relying on the first one I mentioned which is more akin to the one now before us because there was only a brief statement.

That brief statement which the Minister of Trade and Commerce made as reported at page 2411 of Hansard of March 19, 1948, was ruled by Mr. Speaker as not constituting debate. Relying on that ruling I insist that the few words of explanation as to why he was moving this motion today which were spoken by the Minister of Trade and Commerce do not constitute debate and that therefore there has been no consideration of clause 1. I will go further, Mr. Chairman, and say that the motion which you have before you, and which was given to you by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, contains a misstatement or a misnomer. It reads "That further consideration of clause 1 be postponed". I think it is clear to everyone that there has been no consideration of clause 1. How can there be accepted by Your Honour any language of that kind which suggests that further consideration of clause 1 be postponed? Therefore, Mr. Chairman, on the basis of my statement that the motion itself contains a false statement or a misnomer; on the basis of the ruling Mr. Speaker gave yesterday with regard to the few words spoken on an occasion such as this, and on the basis of standing order 78 (1) I contend that this motion at this time is out of order.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Mr. Chairman,-

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:

Do I understand that the hon. member for Kamloops wishes to support the same point of order?

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Yes, Mr. Chairman, I am speaking to the point of order. In support of the point of order raised I want to refer Your Honour to the precedents of the other occasions when closure has been applied in committee in 1913 and in 1917; that is in committee on the bill. I have before me the 1917 volume of Hansard. You will observe that closure was applied on August 27, 1917. On that day the committee resumed consideration of the bill from a previous day; as a matter of fact, it resumed consideration of the bill from several previous days' consideration. Clause 1 was still under consideration and was taken up as reported at page 4960 of Hansard. Clause 1 was considered until page 4989 of Hansard before the motion was made that the further consideration of this clause be now postponed. The same thing

and give the Speaker's interpretation of was true in 1913. But on both previous

occasions when closure was applied in committee it was considered necessary-as of course it is necessary-that there be some consideration before the gag could be applied. There has, of course, been no consideration on this occasion. On the precedents of the former occasions I support fully the point raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

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

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Chairman,-

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:

Is the hon. member for Prince Albert rising to support the same point of order?

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

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Yes; I intend to submit some further argument on the question. This matter was dealt with on March 31, 1932. At that time consideration of the Unemployment and Farm Relief Continuance Act had been before the house and in particular before the committee for some two weeks, that con-. sideration commencing about March 1 and continuing on until March 31. On that day the following motion was made as reported at page 1605 of Hansard of 1932:

I beg leave to give notice that, at the next sitting of the committee of the whole house, I shall move that the further consideration of the title and clauses 1, 2 and 3 of the Unemployment and Farm Relief Continuance Act, 1932, shall be the first business of the committee and shall not be further postponed.

Then on April 1 the motion was made as reported at page 1609 of Hansard:

That further consideration of the title and clauses 1, 2 and 3 of the Unemployment and Farm Relief Continuance Act, 1932, shall be the first business of the committee and shall not be further postponed.

In other words, the emphasis is on the word "further", and there has been no consideration at any time of the title, indirectly or at all. The vote does take place, following which Mr. Mackenzie King spoke for a very considerable period of time and pointed out that under the proceedings parliament would be a mere futility and a complete farce. Incidentally, Mr. King hoped that such an event would never happen again in the parliament of this country. I submit, sir, that on the basis of previous experience, the motion made by the minister is as premature as the futility of parliament which will be created as a result.

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

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Chairman-

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:

Is the Leader of the Opposition rising to speak on the point of order?

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

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Yes, Your Honour. I submit that Your Honour should examine this in the strictest possible terms. We are dealing here with a denial of any right whatever to the discussion of a bill, at the most important 67509-272

Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation stage of that discussion, and that is at the time when the actual wording of the bill is before the house. This would absolutely deny the whole principle of parliamentary procedure. If it were possible, section by section, to move a motion of this kind it would mean that all that would be necessary for the government to do would be to say, in the first instance, "This is the bill we want passed." Then, they could sit back and wait for the majority to carry out their will. It denies the opportunity for questioning. It denies the opportunity to broaden information. It denies the basis of the life of parliament itself.

Now, for that reason, Mr. Chairman, I submit that standing order No. 78 should be examined in its very strictest terms. As has already been pointed out, it reads as follows:

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 submit, Mr. Chairman, that unless it had been clearly intended that there be some action taken to postpone the preamble, then there would have been no need for such a reference and it would simply have been stated that the preamble will be considered after the sections are considered. The wording of this makes it quite clear that some initiative is necessary to postpone the preamble.

After all, there are sound reasons for that. The preamble might be in a form and in words that did not appropriately set forth what should be set forth in the preamble. It should not be taken for granted that it will be passed over by the committee and deferred until it has been considered and dealt with in the appropriate way.

If anyone should say that on other occasions the preamble has simply been disposed of without any formal motion, that means there has been tacit agreement given to that being done. In this case, no such tacit agreement is extended. In this case we want to discuss this bill at every stage. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that there are reasons why we should examine this in the most careful way. It is a rule of law, as it is a rule of parliament, that where there is uncertainty in an important issue, then a very strict examination must be given of the facts.

I wish to place on record a concept of the importance of the discussion in committee, not so that you may examine the merits of these motions in themselves, but rather that the full significance of any omissions under the rules may be recognized. I would point out that in 1913, when for the first time closure was introduced into

4288 HOUSE OF

Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation this house, Sir Wilfrid Laurier used words which might well be remembered by some of those who have paid lip service to his memory so often. This is what Sir Wilfrid Laurier said, as reported in columns 9533 and 9534 of Hansard for May 9, 1913. I believe these words go directly to the point I am making as to the importance that should be attached to a ruling on this occasion. I quote his words:

It has been stated frequently that the bill has been in the committee stage now for 20 days. I ventured earlier in the day to say that this was neither abnormal nor excessive, but that I could point out instances in England where, notwithstanding the gag, the guillotine and the kangaroo, which a member of this government could pray God we should not have in this country-he will not be able to pray God any more-notwithstanding all these obstacles to free speech, the debates in the committee stage on one bill occupied more than one, two, or three weeks. In these modern days the discussion of a bill in committee is the important part of it; indeed, it is stated by authorities that the most important part of the consideration of a bill has always been in the committee stage. The Austrian author, Redlich, who has written on the British parliamentary system perhaps with greater clearness than any British writer, has this to say with reference to the discussion of a bill in the committee of the whole:

Then, there is a quotation which is contained in Sir Wilfrid's speech, and I shall be quoting until I indicate that the quotation is finished.

We may, then, say that the centre of the whole legislative action of the House of Commons lies in the region of the work of committee of the whole house. It is in committee that the fate of a bill is really decided; its ultimate form is there settled in the clash of parties and opinions -or by the compromises made between them. In this stage debate is quite free; members may speak to each question as often as necessary. Speeches in committee are generally short, to the point, businesslike and simple.

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

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I hear laughter on the other side. Any length there has been in my statement is the length of only a partial, a very small partial quotation from the statement by Sir Wilfrid Laurier on this very subject when closure was first applied.

Their manner is almost conversational and seldom tinged with rhetoric. The object of committee debate is to arrive at decisions upon special questions of substance and to settle the essential points of detail one by one. The aim of what is said is to convince, not to gain a mere debating advantage. Committee therefore offers to individual members the best scope for display of expert knowledge, untiring industry, capacity for routine work and ready action; many a new member makes his reputation there, especially a man whose claims to foremost rank in parliament are based upon ability and knowledge of political and administrative business rather than on brilliance of oratorical display. On a bill of first rate importance the committee stage may last for weeks.

Then I briefly return to the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier himself:

Everybody will agree that this is a bill of first rate importance, and therefore it is nothing unusual, nothing extraordinary, that the committee stage should have lasted weeks, as it has already. Indeed, the very observation which I have read from Redlich is exemplified by a fact to which I desire to call the attention of the house. My hon. friend from Welland has proposed an amendment which goes to the root of this bill, which is of extraordinary importance, which was introduced only two or three days ago, and which has not occupied more than a couple of hours discussion. The second clause of the bill which we now have before us is in these terms;

Then I end the quotation from Sir Wilfrid Laurier. He went on to read the second clause of the bill. Mr. Chairman, in those words from Sir Wilfrid Laurier we find emphasized in simple, clear and understandable terms the full significance of the discussion in committee stage of the terms of the bill. No matter what differences of opinion there may have been in this house, there is not an hon. member who can fail to recall occasions on which argument and conviction and sound judgment did result in important changes in bills of far-reaching consequences to the people of Canada. As Sir Wilfrid said, this is not a time when any mere debating advantage is gained; this is not a time when the whole issue hangs on the principle of the bill as in second reading. This is the time when the government can concede-and can well afford to concede-changes in the wording of the bill itself. That is the reason why this subject should be examined in the strictest terms.

Mr. Chairman, you have made a ruling with regard to the motion before you. Nevertheless, a point of order has now been raised which is of vital concern. We come back to that point of order and I submit it is the duty of Your Honour to interpret in the very strictest meaning of the words the provisions of standing order 78 (1) that the preamble is first postponed and that this calls for some initiative on the part of the house, and until that has been postponed then the other sections cannot be dealt with.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this is one of the most important decisions that will ever be made by a chairman of a committee of this house or by a Speaker of this house because unless our appeal is heard on this occasion then the very root of parliamentary democracy would be destroyed by what is being done here this afternoon.

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Mr. Chairman, on a point of order-

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:

A different point of order?

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

On the point of order.

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 think I have heard sufficient to decide-

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

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

I wish to speak to the point of order, Mr. Chairman.

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 am sorry-

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

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Mr. Chairman, you have heard several hon. gentlemen from the official opposition. One of our members has spoken to the point of order and another desires to do so. Surely he can be given the courtesy of being heard. This whole procedure is an abomination to me.

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

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Even Louis XIV would blush.

Topic:   NORTHERN ONTARIO PIPE LINE CORPORATION
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION OF CROWN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT PIPE LINE, MAKE SHORT-TERM LOANS, ETC.
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May 24, 1956