April 12, 1962

PC

David Vaughan Pugh

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pugh:

Read Hansard tomorrow.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Before you rule, Mr. Chairman, I should like to raise a technical point. When you reported progress last Friday we were engaged in the discussion of item No. 729. That item has not been postponed by the committee. That item was before the committee, and I submit it cannot be postponed just because one member of the committee, and he the suppliant, says it should be postponed. It can only be postponed by a vote of the committee. That was the point up to which we had made progress and we were granted leave to sit again to go on from where we left off. I submit that this item cannot be postponed except by agreement.

In all the time I have been in this house I have never heard of a government trying arbitrarily on its own, without the consent of the committee, to change the item under discussion. On several occasions when we asked to have it done it was stated that it was inconvenient for the government to have the items changed. That happened on many occasions.

I say that if the minister wants this item postponed it is the committee which is in charge, and if the committee wants to vote by a majority to postpone discussion of item 729 then it can do so. The Minister of Finance is not the committee, but he has become so arrogant that he thinks he is.

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PC
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

As we were on this item and it was neither passed nor postponed, then we can continue with it.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

The memory of the hon. member is not yet the substitute for the rules of the house. Whether or not his memory is failing in recalling a similar situation, it is a fact that the government appoints the business for the day.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Yes; these supplementary estimates.

Supply-Northern Affairs

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

We are on a different day from Friday last, and the item appointed for commencing today is No. 730 and, as I have said concerning No. 729, I hope we shall get back to it soon after disposing of the other items.

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LIB

Alexis Pierre Caron

Liberal

Mr. Caron:

I have something to say on this point. If you read standing order No. 7 you will find it says:

At the ordinary time of adjournment of the house, unless otherwise provided, the proceedings shall be interrupted and the business under consideration at the termination of the sitting shall stand over until the next sitting day when it will be taken up at the same stage where its progress was interrupted.

Therefore it is clear the government cannot change the item when discussion was started on it.

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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

I do not know whether this is the relevant citation in Beauchesne which has application to the point, but I would ask you, Mr. Chairman, to give consideration to citation 242, which reads as follows:

The procedure of the committee of supply follows the ordinary usage of a committee of the whole house. No amendment can be moved which is not relevant to the grant under consideration. The votes should be considered in the order in which they stand on the paper distributed to the members of the house; but any vote may be passed over and not moved.

Then there is the following sentence:

Once it is moved a motion to postpone it cannot be entertained. Each resolution for a grant forms a distinct motion which can only be dealt with by being agreed to, reduced, negatived, superseded or withdrawn.

Whatever other hon. gentlemen say, I submit this covers the item which was before the committee on the last occasion, No. 729, which deals with the water resources branch.

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PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

I thank hon. members for their contributions to this point. I notice it was raised first of all as a matter of privilege, and then some hon. members referred to it as a point of order. In any event standing order 18, paragraph 2 reads as follows:

Except as provided in standing order 56, government orders may be called in such secjuence as. the government may think fit.

Standing order 59 (1) reads as follows:

The standing orders of the house shall be observed in the committees of the whole house so far as may be applicable, except the standing orders as to the seconding of motions limiting the number of times of speaking

-and so on. When the house adjourned on Friday, April 6, only a certain resolution was reported, as recorded in Votes and Proceedings for that day:

The said resolution was reported and concurred in, and the committee of supply obtained leave to sit again at the next sitting of the house.

Supply-Northern Affairs

There is no mention there of the item then in progress, and the rules must be interpreted according to the authorities, one of which is May's sixteenth edition, to which reference has often been made in the house. I should like to read an extract from page 731 of May's sixteenth edition, which to my mind is very relevant to the matter before the committee:

Motions for a grant may be submitted to the committee in the order selected by the mover, and so arranged on the notice paper, without regard to the order and arrangement of the estimates (d), or to any motion which was before the committee at a previous sitting and was not disposed of.

I believe this confirms the rule I mentioned a few moments ago, rule 18, paragraph 2, which states that it does not matter whether or not a previous resolution had been disposed of. So far as the order of business is concerned, I am in the hands of the government-

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I would like, Mr. Chairman, before you make a final ruling, to draw your attention to the fact that the notice paper for the supplementary estimates, which I have in my hand and which May appears to refer to, does set out these votes in a certain order. We had no notice given in the house under the rules that this order was to be changed, whatever dictate may have been passed down from the government outside the hours of sitting. The notice paper for the proceedings in committee lists the further supplementary estimates No. 4, and the items are 727, 728-which, as Your Honour indicated, was passed and reported to the house -and we had entered upon the consideration of item 729. According to May, that order having been given on the notice paper it cannot be changed arbitrarily by the government; it must be followed, because this is the notice paper for these supplementary estimates, the only one we have.

That taken in conjunction with the citation given by the hon. member for Hull, that once one of these items is entered upon it cannot be postponed but must be dealt with, would seem to me to deal conclusively with the point. I was seeking, before Your Honour went on to make a ruling, to draw Your Honour's attention to the fact that all there is on the order paper of the house is "House again in committee of supply", which gives us no guidance. The notice paper we have for dealing with the supplementary estimates is the one I hold in my hand, and the government cannot arbitrarily change this.

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PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Well-

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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if before you proceed I could draw Your Honour's attention to another citation in

[The Chairnjan.]

Beauchesne which makes it even clearer. I refer to citation 242 (4), which says:

A proposed resolution may be allowed to stand over with general consent until another occasion, but if it has been regularly proposed from the Chair and discussed-

And item 729 has been discussed:

-no motion for its postponement is regular because there is no period to which it can be postponed.

Then it gives as a reference page 426 of Bourinot's fourth edition.

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PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

I agree with that citation, but the point at the moment is that there is no motion for postponement. Item 729 was discussed until the end of business that day. Today is another day. With regard to standing order No. 7, which was quoted by the hon. member for Hull, if we were to interpret that in the sense that any business commenced on one day if not terminated must be continued the following day, the government would never have any choice as to the business with which it wished to proceed.

The committee must go along with the order that is before it. The order is No. 13, "House again in committee of supply", which is the general order. That is the notice paper to which May refers. To my mind this document mentioned by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a notice paper; it is simply a list of supplementary estimates. They must be listed in some order. I cannot see how they impose upon the government an obligation to proceed in that order, because in fact that order is very often deviated from for various reasons. Again I say that I must conform to the resolutions that are before me as chairman in the order in which they appear, unless the government wishes to change that order or unless the committee gives unanimous consent to so doing.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Chairman, is your argument based on your statement-

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

It is not an argument.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

-that the record of the previous day should be blotted out? Because Your Honour said that the record of the previous day does not apply; you start with a new record. There was once strong criticism about this.

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PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

I certainly did not say that the record of the previous day should be blotted out, because it stands on its own merits. What I did say was that when we come to the next sitting and it is a government day, we must proceed with government orders as they are indicated to the Chair by the

government leader. This we are doing today, and I cannot see how we can deviate from that procedure.

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NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Chairman, I just want to say finally that this is a most unusual and, in our opinion, irregular procedure. I cannot remember it happening before. We should discuss this-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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April 12, 1962