April 10, 1957

CCF

Alfred Claude Ellis

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

Mr. Ellis:

Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that the provinces are in much the same position as that in which we in this group find ourselves. Having waited for so many years to get something out of this government, I suppose they felt that when they bad a chance to get a slice of bread they had better grab for the slice. I think that is precisely the reason why some of the provinces were in agreement that this would be the first step. All I am saying now is that I will agree. My own province is certainly right behind this measure but not because they feel that this is the answer and not because they are satisfied with what this government is doing. They are behind it because from bitter experience they know that that is the best we can wring out of a reluctant government at this particular time.

I want to draw to the attention of the house, in order to get the matter into its proper perspective, the fact that in 1919-the hon. member for Vancouver South mentioned it and I am happy that he did so-when the Liberal convention, the convention which selected the late Mr. Mackenzie King as leader of the Liberal party, promised the people of Canada health insurance, they meant health insurance, not hospital insurance. They envisaged and had in mind a comprehensive health insurance scheme for Canada. The promises were repeated over the years. In the early part of the 1940's, during the war years, we know that under federal government auspices an advisory committee of this house was set up, and that in 1943 it brought down a recommendation that the federal government was to meet three-fifths of the cost of a grants-in-aid program to the provinces in order to enable them to enter into a full scale medical health service program with the federal government. Arising out of the studies made at

that time, certain proposals were made. I mention this matter because a statement was made by the minister at an earlier stage in this debate in which he made some reference to the fact that this legislation was far more generous than were the provisions made at that time.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

About five and a half times.

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CCF

Alfred Claude Ellis

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

Mr. Ellis:

I find it extremely difficult to understand the reasoning behind that particular statement. I have in my hand here the proposals of the government of Canada to the dominion-provincial conference on reconstruction, August, 1945. At page 31 we find what the federal government proposed to the provinces at that time. Actually there were four proposals. I am going to read proposal (b) on health insurance which is as follows:

The federal government's health insurance proposal is designed to put provincial governments in a financial position to develop and administer a comprehensive health insurance program worked out by progressive stages on an agreed basis. To this end the various health benefits which the federal government would be prepared to assist in providing have been classified (see table below) and a procedure suggested for a wide degree of flexibility in each province in introducing them.

The proposed federal government's contributions to the cost of each benefit under the health insurance plan as it is brought into effect in each province or in any area within a province is

(i) a basic grant of one-fifth of the estimated cost of each service as shown on the table which follows (as from time to time revised by agreement), and

(ii) one-half the additional actual cost incurred by each provincial government of providing each benefit, provided that the total federal contribution does not exceed the amount stated in the table for each service, or a maximum of $12.96 per person, when the complete program is in operation.

When that reference is made to $12.96, I assume that that figure set in 1945 was certainly not intended to remain at that fixed rate over the years, for account would have to be taken of increased costs of administering the services; and certainly this figure would have to be revised in terms of the purchasing power of the dollar at the present time. I therefore do not feel that any argument can be founded on the figure fixed on the basis of the purchasing value of the dollar in 1945. Hence we can see that under the proposals to the provinces in 1945, the federal government was offering to pay what amounts to about 60 per cent of the cost- one-fifth or 20 per cent of the initial estimated cost plus one-half of the additional actual cost-which would bring the federal contribution in line with the percentages suggested by the advisory committee in their report in 1943. But in any event I would draw that matter to the attention of the house because of the statements made by

Health Insurance

the minister-and I am sure they are statements which will be repeated by his colleagues-that the present proposals are more generous than the original proposals made by the government in 1945.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

That is right.

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CCF

Alfred Claude Ellis

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

Mr. Ellis:

I would also draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, the fact that in 1945 the proposals were based on an over-all health insurance scheme. It was not restricted to mere hospital care. I think we must bear in mind the fact that the average Canadian family spends on doctor bills and medical bills over twice as much as they spend on hospital bills.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

No; just the opposite.

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CCF

Alfred Claude Ellis

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

Mr. Ellis:

Oh, no. I will check that figure, but from reading the Canadian sickness survey that is my understanding. I have not the copy on my desk at the moment but I will check it afterwards. According to the Canadian sickness survey the amounts spent on medical care were roughly twice as great as the amounts spent by the average Canadian family on hospitalization.

What this scheme actually involves is a very limited contribution to the health and welfare of the Canadian people. I repeat that in so far as it gives a part of a loaf, naturally we are prepared to go along with it. But I would hesitate to have anyone believe that because there is unanimity on this particular piece of legislation we in this group are satisfied that the government has fulfilled its pledges or lived up to the commitments it has made to the Canadian people over the years. It is a far cry from the original proposals made by the government.

In dealing with the extent of the federal contribution I think reference has already been made to the fact that two extremely important items in hospital care have been left out, namely provision for those in hospitals for the mentally ill and those in our tuberculosis sanatoria. The fact that the government has seen fit to give no such assistance whatsoever to the provinces indicates that the percentage figure which they assume to be their share for hospital care is lower than the figure which they give. It seems to me that the Canadian people must keep this health insurance question in proper perspective. What we must recognize full well is that the government has only partially met the commitments made to the provinces and given over the years right since 1919.

It seems to me that those who are anxious to see this legislation put into effect should certainly give this amendment their wholehearted support. Reference has been made

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by my colleague the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) to the fact that if another province, such as Prince Edward Island, were added to the five provinces in agreement it would make a difference of less than 1 per cent in the overall percentage figure for Canada. What the government is, in effect, saying is that we will arbitrarily set this particular figure and even if the majority of the people of Canada want to go ahead with health insurance now we will give the right to the sixth province to veto the desires and needs of the majority of the Canadian people.

The reasons that have been advanced thus far for opposing this amendment the C.C.F. has put forward are rather difficult to understand. I note that the minister stated at page 3290 of Hansard for April 8, 1957, that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre had taken a step by his previously attempted amendment which is calculated to delay the acceptance of this bill more than anything else could do. I do not know just what the minister means by that statement. Surely, he knows that the legislation is going to get the support of all members of this house. The members of this group have stated categorically that whether this amendment is passed or defeated we are prepared to support the legislation on third reading. This amendment, therefore, will certainly not have the effect of delaying this legislation. I do not know whether the minister means opposition within his own party, but certainly it is not because of any opposition expressed by members of the opposition groups. He has his wish, in so far as whole-hearted support of this measure is concerned. I read his remarks very carefully and tried to ascertain just how he could justifiably vote against the present amendment.

The hon. member for Vancouver South suggested that this amendment might take the heat off some of these provinces. I suggest that the way in which to get all 10 provinces into the scheme is to get the scheme into operation as soon as possible. Then those provinces which have not taken part in the scheme will be at such a disadvantage their people are going to bring pressure to bear upon the respective provincial governments to get into the scheme at the earliest possible date. I say sincerely to the minister at this time that if he wants to get all 10 provinces into this scheme the thing to do is to get the scheme into operation with the five provinces that have now agreed. I will guarantee then that the people of Manitoba, if Manitoba does not take part, will bring such pressure to bear upon the Campbell government that if they do not agree they will be removed at the next election. That is the way to get all

the provinces into the scheme. If we are going to sit back and have more delay, and allow the province which has not got the initiative to get into a hospital scheme to veto the desires of our people, then those are tactics designed to delay still further the implementation of this legislation.

It is for that reason I suggest those members who are anxious not only to see this bill passed but to see this scheme put into operation at the earliest possible date should vote for the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have been deeply troubled by the amendment because of my predecessor's pronouncements in 1952. One day he allowed an amendment for the reconsideration of certain payments to be made in respect of a bill, which was an act for the control and extirpation of foot-and-mouth disease, and that appears at page 23 of the Journals of 1952. He reversed his position on March 6, 1952, and he said:

Yesterday when the house was considering third reading of the bill in connection with the foot-and-mouth disease. Mr. Diefenbaker moved an amendment. The Minister of Agriculture contended that the amendment was out of order. However, I allowed it to stand. Since that time I have given further consideration to the amendment and although it may have been technically in order I am rather doubtful of the practical results which would have followed if it had carried. The committee would have reconsidered an amendment which would have necessitated an expenditure of money. But the committee could not have taken any action on the matter without a motion by a member of the government. The government had intimated that it would not propose such an amendment. Accordingly, I am doubtful if any useful purpose would have been served by referring the matter back to the committee. The purpose of this statement is to advise the house that, for the reason which I have stated and for other reasons, should a similar amendment be moved on any future occasion, I would not feel myself bound by the ruling which I made yesterday.

The amendment moved at that time by the hon. member for Prince Albert was as follows:

That bill No. 7 be not now read the third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole for the purpose of reconsidering an addition to section 2, subsection (1), to provide that in no case shall such compensation be less than the economic value of the animal or animals at the time the said disease was diagnosed.

The financial resolution which preceded this bill was as follows:

That it is expedient to introduce a measure to authorize contributions to be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund to provinces in respect of costs incurred by them in providing insured hospital and diagnostic services pursuant to provincial law and to agreements made in accordance with the said measure, to commence when at least six provinces containing at least half the population of Canada, have entered into such agreements and qualified for the receipt of such contributions.

I have read the discussion which took place on an amendment in committee of the whole. I read the whole argument presented by the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming) as it appears at pages 2662 and 2663 of Hansard, which had to do with the amendment in committee, in much the same terms as that which is being proposed now. Although I did not find the reference, I am told a similar amendment was moved at the resolution stage.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

The reference at page 2662 is to a further amendment that was offered by the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Blair) to qualify an earlier amendment that had been moved several hours earlier.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I saw the amendment that was sent to the Chair in substitution for another one, but I did not go back to the earlier one. I read the debate which took place at the time, and the citations referred to in Beauchesne's third edition and May have particular application today. What troubles me is that Mr. Speaker Macdonald confronted with a similar situation was, as I confess I was until I saw his changed opinion, inclined to allow the amendment. However the next day he felt he ought to warn the house that should a similar amendment be offered in the future, and I consider this is quite similar, he would declare it out of order.

I have been examining this thing very closely. The resolution that was introduced disclosed the fundamental terms, together with His Excellency's recommendation. A resolution preceding a money bill is part of the introduction of the bill, and it attaches to the bill throughout the various stages, which are merely various stages offered for reconsideration.

The argument of the hon. member for Eglinton in committee of the whole was that no particular money is being voted now; that it will have to be provided for by parliament later through an estimate. At page 732 of May's 15th edition May deals with that type of expenditure. He says;

The most frequent case of expenditure of this type is that of charges upon moneys to be provided by parliament for salaries and other expenses caused by the imposition of novel duties upon the executive government by the legislation of the session.

At the top of the page he says:

The effective imposition of a charge has been extended by an amendment of standing order No. 78 to include the imposition of charges upon "money to be provided by parliament" which before 1866 had been excluded, probably on the ground that it implied no immediate charge but only authorized the presentation of estimates.

I was discussing this particular matter with the Clerk because I know that in certain

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instances we are 100 years or 150 years behind the United Kingdom in our practice; but he tells me that although we have no standing order such as they have in the United Kingdom dealing with this very matter, we are following the practice which prevails in the United Kingdom and that a bill in which moneys are contemplated to be provided later by parliament through an estimate is considered here and has been for many years a money bill preceded by a money resolution.

The point which troubles me is a term in the money resolution which was preliminary to the introduction of this bill. The words "to commence when at least six provinces" are part of the fundamental terms of the resolution. Citation 440 of Beauchesne's third edition reads:

The fundamental terms of a money resolution submitted to the house with the Governor General's recommendation upon which a committee of the whole is set up cannot be amended. Amendments will only be in order if they fall within the terms of the resolution. The procedure in committee on those resolutions follows in principle the procedure of the committee of supply, and amendments are out of order if they are proposed with a view to substituting an alternative scheme to that proposed with the royal recommendation.

Some hon. members may claim that the way the amendment is worded it is in the abstract form. The amendment reads:

. . . that it be referred back to the committee of the whole house for the purpose of reconsidering . . .

The words "for the purpose of reconsidering" are tantamount to instructions to reconsider the requirement. What would be the use just to send it back to the committee of the whole and just say, "We do not want to do anything effectively with this; we just want to reconsider it". If, after having done so, the minister says that he does not want to make any alteration, then what? And he could not do so unless he received another recommendation from His Excellency the Governor General. Even if he did not need a new recommendation, I take it that since the amendment was moved in committee of the whole his pronouncement was to the effect, as I read it in the record, that he was opposed to changing the scheme. I have read the regrets expressed by Mr. Speaker Macdonald on Wednesday, March 5, when he allowed the amendment and warned the house that he would not feel bound by the ruling that he had given. That took place on Thursday, March 6, as it appears in the Journals of that day at page 27. I am very much impressed by the warning of Mr. Speaker Macdonald.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, may I express my appreciation of your deferring your ruling

Health Insurance

until one might say a word or two about the point that Your Honour has raised. First of all may I say I noted your statement that you have read in its entirety the debate on the points of order that arose in committee with regard to the amendments moved by my friends to the right. If you did so you probably noticed that although I do sometimes get into discussions on points of order, I did not take part at all in those discussions. The implication that can be drawn from that silence is correct. Though I agreed with my friends of the Progressive Conservative party as to the substance of their amendments I did feel they were out of order at that stage because they would have had an operative effect on the balance of ways and means. Since I felt their amendments were not in order there was no point in my taking part in that discussion; but I do feel there is a difference when you come to third reading and when you rely on citations 708 and 709 of Beau-chesne's third edition which permit reference back, and when in this situation all that the house has presented to it is a proposal for reconsideration by the committee.

Your Honour said a moment ago that if an amendment such as this carried and we went back into committee and the government refused to move the appropriate amendment what would be the result of that process. I suggest that reconsideration should be recognized as another form of consideration. That indeed is what the whole process of parliament is about, considering matters that are laid before us. The whole process of debate is a matter of trying to persuade the house to accept a proposal that has been made or to alter a proposal. In other words, a request for reconsideration is a request for a further opportunity in committee of the whole to try to persuade the government to take a certain course. If this amendment were to carry and we went back into committee of the whole on this clause no private member could move to change the clause reconsideration of which is suggested. It could only come about if, as a result of further consideration, if as a result of that discussion and debate, we convinced a minister of the crown that such a change should be made.

Your Honour knows that the distinction between operative motions and motions that ask for consideration runs through a great many matters that arise in terms of procedure. I remember quite well the instance in 1952 to which Your Honour referred when the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) moved an amendment on third

reading of a bill having to do with foot-and-mouth disease. I remember the pronouncement that Mr. Speaker Macdonald made the next day. But may I remind Your Honour that on March 8, 1954, the late Mr. Noseworthy moved an amendment on third reading for a reference back to committee of a bill having to do with housing. The purpose, as stated in the amendment, was to fix a limit on the rate of interest to be charged under the National Housing Act.

This is something that was beyond the scope of the royal recommendation but you, sir, allowed it despite the warning that had been given. My contention is that that was in order because it merely sought reconsideration of that point.

I have notes of a number of other such incidents but they were prior to the incident in 1952. However, perhaps I should mention them briefly. One was on February 20, 1948, at page 1560 of Hansard when Mr. Bracken moved an amendment on third reading of the Foreign Exchange Conservation Act. It dealt with a matter involving the expenditure of money which was beyond the scope of the royal recommendation. Another instance occurred on June 8, 1948, as reported at page 4890 of Hansard when I moved an amendment for reference back on the third reading of the Customs Tariff Act having to do with the proposal for cancelling the lifting of tariff on certain British goods. Here quite clearly was a matter that had financial implications but because it merely sought reconsideration of the point the motion was allowed, was considered in order, debated and voted on.

I have references to a number of other such examples that have taken place across the years. I confess I have some instances that went the other way as well but no doubt Your Honour has them and I do not have to bring them to your attention.

It seems to me that the point has been established on a number of occasions. Obviously, Mr. Speaker Macdonald was troubled about it but at least on one occasion he felt that it was proper to accept such a motion. The principle that has been established is that if a private member is merely seeking what it has always been the right of every hon. member in the house to seek- that is merely reconsideration and not something that has an operative effect-that is in order.

Despite my strong feeling that this matter is in order, in recognition of the extent to which it is troubling Your Honour I am going to make a suggestion. I know that on a number of occasions during this parliament while Your Honour has been in the

chair you have from the chair altered amendments. I also know that it has been your preference that amendments on third reading to refer a bill back merely ask for reconsideration of a particular clause or subclause without including any descriptive wording therein. To bring this to a conclusion, if it would satisfy Your Honour I would be willing for you to alter the amendment from the chair by striking out certain words- which are merely descriptive-so that the amendment would read:

That Bill No. 320 be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole house for the purpose of reconsidering . . .

Then I leave out some words-

. . . subclause (2) of clause 6 of the said bill.

As I say, I am offering a compromise even before I find out whether my previous arguments have convinced Your Honour, but I do so in good faith.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinion):

Mr. Speaker, let me confess to you at once that I was not in the house when you began your remarks and I have gathered the purport of them only from hearing the concluding remarks which you delivered and the argument addressed to you by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). May I say, however, that I do hope you will give effect to the argument that he submitted to you to the effect that his amendment in its present form is in order.

I shall not review the ground that he has already covered in his submission to you, but I would ask you to bear in mind that the only operative effect of the amendment is to refer back to the committee of the whole, which is in its nature an amendment that is in order at any time on third reading for a specific purpose. All that this amendment adds to that is a statement that the purpose of reference back is consideration or reconsideration and that type of an amendment or motion at any time in that form is not regarded as any trespass upon the rule that no private member may introduce any amendment, motion or bill involving expenditure or any interference with the balance of ways and means.

Adding these two things together, it seems to me that so far as offence against any rule is concerned we have here the equation that nothing plus nothing equals nothing. So far as invasion of the rules of the house is concerned, the reference back is in order at any time on third reading for the purpose of reconsideration of any provision of the bill. On the face of it the second part does not interfere with or invade in any respect, according to the well-established usage of this

Health Insurance

house, the prerogative that is attached to the introduction of bills, resolutions or amendments involving the expenditure of money or any interference with the balance of ways and means.

For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I hope that you will give effect to the submission of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that the amendment in its present form is in order; otherwise, I think the inevitable result will be a very serious contraction of a useful right of this house on third reading.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. Paul Marlin (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, may I

just briefly intervene. First of all, to set the record right, Your Honour referred to the amendment introduced by the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Blair) the other day. Your Honour called our attention to the page. The main reference is to be found at page 2648 of Hansard. I take it there is no quarrel now as between the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) and others in this house about the character of the earlier amendment to which this one is obviously by implication so closely related.

What my hon. friend seeks to do in the amendment that is now before Your Honour is by the use of other words to bring about the same result that the hon. member for Lanark intended the other day, namely to cause this house to decide that there should be an expenditure of money by the crown at a time not intended.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

The other amendment would have brought about a decision; this one seeks to bring about reconsideration.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

I will admit that by the use

of different words my hon. friend does give the impression that his amendment is really different when in effect, as citation 708 in Beauchesne's third edition makes clear, it does not.

Your Honour I think stated the situation accurately when you said earlier that one only reconsiders something for a purpose. The amendment before us urges that this bill be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole house not merely for the purpose of reconsidering, as Your Honour stated, but for the purpose of doing something more than that. That is clearly implied in the very rule which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre relies on, namely citation 708 in Beauchesne's third edition, which says:

When a bill comes up for third reading a member may move that it be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole-

And these are the important words:

-for the purpose of amending it in any particular.

Health Insurance

When my hon. friend first introduced the amendment-

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Read citation 709, too.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Just a moment, please. When my hon. friend introduced the amendment he did not take into account the full implications of citation 708. It was only through a later suggestion of considerable ingenuity that he suddenly realized he could possibly bring himself in order-of course this is my interpretation-if he proposed an alteration to his own amendment so as to bring it within the meaning of the words in citation 708, "For the purpose of amending it in any particular." This was the purpose of the change which he himself suggested that Your Honour might make to his original wording. It is clear that 708 is subject to 437 in Beauchesne and the pertinent section which says that no money bill can be introduced except on the initiative of a minister of the crown.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

My amendment is not introducing a bill. You said it is clear and it is not.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

Citation 708, I repeat, must be relative to 437 and those other pertinent decisions and sections that provide that no money bill in any form may be introduced other than by a minister of the crown. Now, if 708 meant what my hon. friend says it means the result would be that when a bill comes up for third reading a private member may move that it be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to the committee of the whole for considering it for any kind of purpose whatsoever, to amend it in any particular the member may wish. But citation 708 is obviously limited, in that the particular amendment to which it refers may not be an amendment that violates 437 or 440 of the rules. So I say that it is clear that you cannot refer a matter back to the committee except for a particular purpose, and the only purpose that my hon. friend has in mind is that we should reconsider our decision to spend money at a time and under a contingency not covered by this bill or envisaged by the crown.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Health and Welfare seems to think that the only purpose of going back into committee would be to do something that would have an operative effect. I admit that it would be my desire that we might achieve an operative effect, but surely the minister will admit that in parliament there is a purpose in discussion and a purpose in consideration. He tries to convince us of his views. What we seek is a chance

to persuade the government that a change should be made. As a private member I cannot move an operative motion involving the expenditure of money, but as a private member I do have the right to move motions asking for consideration and I suggest to the Minister of National Health and Welfare there is all the difference in the world between 708, which talks about going back to the committee for reconsideration of a bill, and 437 which talks about the initial introduction of a bill.

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April 10, 1957