Because of the remarks that have just been made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) that he appeals my ruling because it is scandalous that a decision of this kind be made without an opportunity of discussing the matter, may I say that these are difficult days for members on both sides of the house. I am going to volunteer certain remarks which I hope will help in the circumstances.
There are two sides in this house, members on my right and members on my left. No matter how serious, how difficult the political warfare or strategy between the two sides may be, I am now asking hon. members to keep in mind that the occupants of the chair are not concerned with and are not capable of intervening in the political warfare which takes place between the two sides. The occupants of the chair are forbidden by the rules from taking part in the debates. They have, for a long time, ruled themselves even out of debate in the committee of the whole. During the time they occupy the chair their constituencies are not to be heard through their voice. They are completely outside the discussion which takes place in the house.
Now, when a ruling is made hon. members have recourse to an appeal. No matter how useless they themselves may feel that recourse to be, nevertheless that is the only recourse they have. On the other hand, if they wish to criticize the occupants of the chair, not by way of appeal to the house on a ruling that has been made but because of
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Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation their conduct, because of their partiality, because of their partisanship, because of any other reason, they also have a recourse and that recourse is, I think, one that should not be taken by devious means. I think it should be used in a straightforward manner. The occupants of the chair are deprived of so many rights as compared with other hon. members, for the purpose of doing their job, and if in the opinion of one hon. member or a group of hon. members the occupants of the chair are not deserving of the honour the house has given them; if they are not deserving of chairing any committees or the house itself; if they are not following the traditions and rules of the house as they should; if they are to be condemned in any way, I think the occupants of the chair are entitled to have their fate decided in the way the house has provided for centuries for doing this, and that is by way of a substantive motion after notice being placed on the order paper. I am sure it would be called at the earliest possible moment in order to have a debate brought about and the conduct of the occupant of the chair decided one way or the other.
1 would beg hon. members, notwithstanding whatever heat is developed in debate, to understand that is the position of the occupants of the chair. When the Leader of the Opposition says, "I want to appeal from your ruling", he has that right, and that right I grant him. But to add that he appeals my ruling because it is scandalous that a decision of this kind, that this motion is not debatable, be made without hon. members being able to speak to the matter, I think is going beyond his right in asking for an appeal, a right which I never refused to him.
that is on myself at the moment, I am very pleased to hear that and I want to thank him for that clarification.
Here again, when he says it is because they have sought in committee of the whole to do a certain thing and the chairman did not let them do it, if the occupant of the chair did not do what he was supposed to do, then they are entitled to have the matter, not criticized by a sentence here and there, but by having a substantive motion placed on the order paper.
If I may clear that point up now, I wish to state that the chairman who was sitting in the chair does not command the confidence of the members on this side of the house, and such appropriate steps as should be taken will be followed.
The question before the house is an appeal from the Speaker's ruling.
The Minister of Finance moved that the hon. member for Eglinton be suspended for the remainder of this day's sitting. The hon. member for Kamloops, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and the Leader of the Opposition contended that this motion was debatable or amendable, and I ruled that the motion to suspend a member was not debatable under standing order 32.
Those who are in favour of sustaining the Speaker's ruling will please say yea.
If you would permit me to point out, what I referred to was the procedure. I said it was scandalous that a matter of this kind could be decided without anything being said to explain the situation. I would point out that my remarks referred directly to something that has already been discussed. Your Honour has taken a decision, and I am not questioning the decision that you cannot go behind the report that comes to you.
Having regard to your ruling to that effect we have on several occasions sought to have the chairman read the report to us before it was presented to you. I am referring to the procedure which brings an issue of this kind to you without the opportunity to members to explain to you what actually did take place in the committee. It was in relation to that procedure that I used the term I did.