Well, if hon. members feel that by the very fact they can steer away from the rules, they have been changed, the point of order raised by the hon. member for Cartier is not a proper one; but if the rules in Beauchesne are to be considered as still in existence, there is a good deal of merit in the point raised by the hon. member for Cartier. I have read these rules before, and no matter how unpleasant it is for me to read them again I shall have to do so. If an hon. member
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Inquiries of the Ministry puts an oral question, that oral question is governed by the same rules which govern a written question. If the hon. member were to put his oral questions on the order paper, would they pass the clerks at the table? That is the test.
Now, in putting a question a member must confine himself to the narrowest limits:
In asking a question, observations which might lead to debate cannot be regarded as coming within the proper limits of a question.
The purpose of a question is to obtain information and not to supply it to the house.
A question oral or written must not:
multiply, with slight variations, a similar question on the same point.
inquire whether statements made in a newspaper are true.
contain an expression of opinion.
be a speech, however short; nor be of unreasonable length.
raise a matter of policy too large to be dealt with in the limits of an answer to a question.
ask the government's opinion on matters of policy.
These are only some of the paragraphs which are found in citation 295.
The current session is one that all hon. members know may be cut short by dissolution. It is because I have taken that into account that I have allowed some latitude at question time.
The obvious remark I should make at this moment-perhaps not particularly at this moment but with regard to many questions that are being asked at this time-would be that some of these questions should wait until the estimates of the department of the minister concerned are before the committee of supply. There may be a chance that we will not reach these various departments in supply, and even if we reach them it may be that we will not have time to deal with any of the matters that will have to be dealt with at that time.
The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre I think will agree with me that with respect to the latitude that has been given he would be quite entitled to proceed today in the same manner that has been followed at previous sittings in the course of this session and even prior to this session, but in strict accordance with the rules I think there are certain limitations which an hon. member should impose upon himself in pursuing a point at question time.
Subtopic: REPRESENTATIONS BY MINISTER WITHOUT AUTHORITY OF PARLIAMENT