February 26, 1959

ORDERS FOR RETURNS

ORAL QUESTIONS

PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Before calling the orders of the day may I be permitted a minute to deal with a matter which arose yesterday, and also to make a correction in yesterday's Hansard. At the foot of page 1367, the first column, I commented on the procedure in asking that written or starred questions be made orders for returns, and I think I incorrectly stated the effect of the rule-incidentally the rule is No. 39, clause 5-when I said:

It is so ordered, then, that this question be made an order for return. Consent of the house is not necessary.

The rule, as hon. members will see, says that the minister having expressed a willingness to lay a return upon the table, his statement shall, unless otherwise ordered by the house, be deemed an order of the house. I did not want the record to be erroneous in the conclusion as to the effect of rule 39.

Another point on the same rule was raised by the hon. member for Laurier, who suggested that a starred question could not be made an order for return under this rule. I find I was correct in rejecting that view. The authority for so doing is the report of the special committee appointed to consider with Mr. Speaker the procedure of the House of Commons. Their report, dated Tuesday, June 14, 1955, which was accepted by the house, states that clause 5 of rule 39 contains a consequential amendment in respect of questions, starred and unstarred, passed as orders for returns. This would clear up that point.

The other problem that arose was on the interpretation of our practice on oral questions. I think there is no part of our procedure about which it is more difficult to arrive at clear decisions which are not susceptible of argument one way or the other. I have set down my views of the practice very briefly, and I should like to give them to the house at this time.

The standing orders, rules 39, 40 and 41, provide only for written questions to be answered by the tabling of written answers or, if marked with an asterisk, to be

answered orally on Wednesdays within the first hour or on other days after the last order of business. Other oral questions asked upon the calling of the orders of the day are sanctioned only by usage. The following principles have been applied to oral questions:

1. The question should seek information or press for action on a matter relating to public affairs of such immediate urgency that it would be inappropriate to put it on the order paper.

2. Both the question and the answer should be concise, factual and free of opinion and argument or observations which might lead to debate.

Topic:   ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   ORAL QUESTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   ORAL QUESTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

That is a rule of procedure that is rather honoured in the breach on both sides.

3. An explanation can be sought regarding the intention of the government but not an explanation of opinion upon matters of policy. That is citation 178 of Beauchesne's fourth edition.

4. Other detailed limitations, some 40 in number, are set out in citation 171 of Beauchesne's fourth edition, which was cited yesterday, and apply to oral questions as well as to written questions.

5. Supplementary questions are matters of grace.

6. The minister is entitled to notice, and answers cannot be insisted on nor is it regular to comment on the refusal to answer an oral question.

I may say this principle relates to oral questions and perhaps not to questions on the order paper.

In effect, oral questions are a limited supplement to questions which may be put on the order paper, and are for the purpose of enabling members to get information on public affairs of urgent importance without delay and to bring such matters to the attention of the government.

I hope this resume will be helpful to hon. members. In reviewing the questions that were asked yesterday I find that the question asked by the hon. member for Essex East was wrong in form because, as he put it originally, it only asked the Prime Minister to confirm a newspaper report. Then he himself made some modification of the question, and the hon. member for Trinity asked

Inquiries of the Ministry the question in a different form which, in my view, was a proper question for the order paper if he had chosen to put it on the order paper. It also may be a proper question to be asked orally before the orders of the day, depending on the point of view about urgency. I said yesterday that we had just debated that matter, namely the matter to which this question obviously related, at some length on Monday and it did not appear to me to be urgent to find out, before the orders of the day, whether or not a certain communication on December 2, 1957 had been received. But that view was taken on the question of urgency. As I say, that is a matter of judgment. I might take a different view if the same question were asked today.

Topic:   ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   ORAL QUESTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
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INDUSTRY

AIRCRAFT


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Essex East):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Prime Minister if, on December 2, 1957 or thereabouts, he received a report presented to him by the Air Industries and Transport Association of Canada?

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AIRCRAFT
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT BY AIR INDUSTRIES AND TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I shall have to examine the records in order to see whether or not such a report was received, and then decide whether or not the information asked for by the hon. gentleman should be given.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AIRCRAFT
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT BY AIR INDUSTRIES AND TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
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A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

I would like to direct a question to the Prime Minister. Would the Prime Minister report any further progress in the negotiations with A. V. Roe Company? Would he say particularly whether it is hoped that 14,000 persons may be employed in this industry, and whether in the meantime the engineering and technical staffs will be kept together intact?

Topic:   A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I have nothing to add to the answers given yesterday and the day before. The discussions continued this morning and I hope there will be further discussions this afternoon. Until there is some degree of finality there is nothing I can add.

Topic:   A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS
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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Hon. Paul Hellyer (Trinity):

I would like to direct a question to the Prime Minister. Has the government in fact proposed to Avro that

they should seek United Kingdom defence contracts in order to maintain their Canadian operations, as reported in the Toronto Telegram?

Topic:   A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

The answer I gave the hon. member for Assiniboia would seem to me to be appropriate at this time.

Topic:   A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS
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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

May

I ask a supplementary question of the Prime Minister. Has the Prime Minister received a request from the premier of Ontario to complete seven of these Arrow airplanes?

Topic:   A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Any communications

which have been received have been in the nature of general discussions in furtherance of the consideration which is being given to this matter with the Avro company. It would be inappropriate to say anything further than that.

Topic:   A. V. ROE COMPANY INQUIRY AS TO MEETINGS WITH UNION AND COMPANY OFFICIALS
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REQUEST FOR TABLING OF TELEGRAMS CANCELLING CONTRACTS


On the orders of the day:


February 26, 1959