April 24, 1959

MARINE AND FISHERIES


Second report of standing committee on marine and fisheries-Mr. English.


FINANCE

INTEREST RATES

CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to move the adjournment of the house under standing order 26 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the announcement yesterday of the increase in the Bank of Canada rediscount rate to an unprecedented 4.9 per cent, an increase of more than 300 per cent in eight months, and the consequent further disturbing announcement of the increase in the prime lending rate of the chartered banks which raises for Canadians the spectre of higher interest rates generally, as has already been made apparent by other announcements by finance companies, and the need for immediate action by government to roll back interest rates and remove this threat to economic recovery.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Assiniboia has moved under standing order 26 for leave to present a motion for the adjournment of the house to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance. I note that subsection 6 of the rule provides:

The right to move the adjournment of the house for the above purposes is subject to the following restrictions:

(c) the motion must not revive discussion on a matter which has been discussed in the same session:

Although there has been no separate debate on this specific subject, we have just completed the eight-day budget debate in which this matter was raised and when there was full opportunity to discuss a financial issue of this kind. It seems to me that as the problem which the hon. member desires to debate, the question of high interest rates, is one that has not risen suddenly but has been a phenomenon of the past few months, and a widespread phenomenon, there has been ample opportunity for discussion during the course of the budget debate. My disposition

would be to say that this is not a matter for which we should interrupt our proceedings at the present time.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

So far as your intimation is concerned that this would be out of order because the matter had been discussed previously, I would suggest that is something that cannot be applied to this proceeding. It is a well known rule that if the house makes a decision on a given matter, it is impossible then to raise the same matter again in the same session. However, the mere discussion of any particular subject does not rule out its subsequent discussion at a later time during the session.

So far as the statement that this phenomenon has been going on for a number of months is concerned, of course that is a statement of fact. But it would seem to me that it is particularly urgent at this time because certain finance companies, certain mortgage companies, are announcing that they will take steps now, in the light of a number of previous rises in interest rates, to increase the interest charges they now make. We feel it is extremely urgent at this time to deal with this question because the rate is the highest in history and because it is now affecting interest rates to the ordinary Canadian citizen all across our country.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, there is one further point I should like to draw to your attention, and it is this. Last night in announcing the business of the house for next week I indicated that we would be discussing the budget resolutions, so there will be ample opportunity when these resolutions come up for a discussion of this nature to take place.

Surely this rule was never intended to enable an hon. member of the house to get up whenever there happened to be a change -for example in the interest rate-and move to adjourn the house. There may be many other similar types of changes that are made from time to time in the course of the administration of public affairs and, as Your Honour said, there have been other changes in the rates. The rates will probably be lowered one of these days, and of course we will not see my hon. friend jumping up to move to adjourn the house on that occasion bceause there would be no political hay to be made in such an event.

Finance

I suggest that if it is to be the practice in this house that whenever a change is made motions are moved to adjourn the house, the business of parliament would be made simply impossible. This would seem to be a matter of propaganda, and I suggest the motion should not be allowed.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

Mr. Speaker, I certainly disagree with the leader of the house that this is a matter of propaganda. On the contrary, it is a very serious matter that will affect the rights of everyone in this country. As the hon. member for Assiniboia has just said, this is an occasion on which the interest rate has reached the highest point ever in the history of this country, and that surely is a serious matter.

I want to draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, the fact that the answer given by the leader of the house does not at all meet the position which has been laid before you. It is not a fact that the budget resolutions will dispose of this matter. It is true that the house leader announced the discussion of the budget resolutions, but as the business of the house is proceeded with the house knows full well that the budget resolutions may not be reached until Wednesday or Thursday or even until the end of next week. And then again, I might ask, when the budget resolutions are reached, which of them deals with the matter that is now before Your Honour for discussion?

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

None.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

It is one thing for the leader of the house to say that the budget resolutions will take care of this matter, but it is another for him to point out the particular matter which will be dealt with when the budget resolutions are brought before the house.

This matter is not only of tremendous importance to the house but it is of equal importance to the people of this country. It is a matter which was brought up by the hon. member for Welland (Mr. McMillan) prior to the orders of the day yesterday, and certainly it should receive the proper discussion to which a matter of this importance is entitled, and that discussion would be carried on under the motion which has been made by the hon. member for Assiniboia.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that this matter was dealt with within the last few days, in general, in the amendment moved by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam (Mr. Regier) as reported at page 2623 of Hansard of April 13, in these words:

"and this house further regrets that the government has failed to present to parliament a

planned financial and economic program designed to develop the economic health of the nation by, among other things-

And these are almost the words spoken by the hon. member for Assiniboia today:

- (a) reversing the trend of rising interest rates

(b) establishing a capital gains tax".

This question of the rising rate of interest has already been dealt with; and in addition it was our intention on Monday next to move to go into supply. We were prepared to move on Monday in that direction. We were prepared to go ahead, and move to go into supply. The suggestion was made by the opposition that in view of the fact that internal arrangements made it necessary for the Leader of the Opposition to be in another part of the country on that date, the opposition would sooner not have the motion made on Monday. However, in view of the argument which has been advanced I suggest that every opportunity will be given on Monday. We will certainly provide a motion to go into supply, so the argument advanced by the hon. member for Laurier is met. We are not going to have to wait until Wednesday or even Thursday of next week; on Monday we can move to go into supply. I suggest first that the motion made is out of order in that it contravenes the rule that discussion on a matter cannot be brought up twice in the same session, particularly when it is embodied in an amendment, and second that we will give all hon. members every opportunity on Monday to do that which they desire to do.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of ihe Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, in view of what the Prime Minister has said perhaps I might be permitted to add a word or two. So far as the amendment he mentioned is concerned, that has nothing to do with the matter, because since it was proposed there has been a change in the interest rate. Only yesterday it reached the highest point in our history, and that was not the situation at the time of the amendment. Therefore that argument means nothing.

So far as the Prime Minister's statement that we would have been given an opportunity on Monday to go into supply to discuss this matter, the Prime Minister is quite correct. I asked the leader of the house whether it would be convenient for the government to put the supply motion off until a week from Monday. I made that request, which I thought was a proper one, also before the announcement made yesterday about interest rates. But in view of that announcement and the anxiety displayed by the Prime Minister that this matter should be discussed at once, I would

be glad now to withdraw that request and perhaps we could have a supply motion on Monday.

If the motion by the hon. member for Assiniboia is ruled out of order by you, sir, perhaps we could have a supply motion on Monday, because I would not like a request which I made in all good faith and which had nothing to do with the situation which developed yesterday to prevent the house from discussing such an important matter as a tight money policy which has resulted in the high interest rates reached yesterday.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Mr. Speaker, I think the question of high interest rates affects all members. I would like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for saying to the Prime Minister in this house that he would be quite prepared to have a supply motion on Monday so this matter might be dicussed. I believe the Prime Minister's suggestion was a good one, and I think it explodes his argument that a motion along this line is not in order since he has suggested that we have a supply motion on Monday with this very kind of amendment under discussion.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

No, not at all. There was no such suggestion. I said the opportunity would come on Monday, but as far as the rules are concerned the question still remains as to the propriety or regularity of such a motion.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I want to thank hon. members for their assistance in this discussion. I have no doubt as to what is the correct disposition of the motion, or the request for leave to adjourn the house. My view is not based on any lack of appreciation of the importance of the issue, but rather on the question of urgency of debate, which is the key to the interpretation of standing order 26. This question of high interest rates has been before the house from time to time. It is true the rate has gone higher in the last week than it was before, but the rate has been the subject of discussion and there has been full opportunity for debate. As was indicated, there will be further opportunity for discussion on this important problem.

1 need say nothing more than that in my view this is clearly not something we should undertake at this particular moment.

Topic:   FINANCE
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 26
Permalink

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

IMPENDING FIREMEN'S STRIKE


On the orders of the day:


April 24, 1959