May 25, 1933 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I can only say that the
thought suggested by the right hon. gentleman had not even entered my mind. I would say, however, that in committee of the whole house it has always been the rule, and as a matter of fact I think the chairman would be within his rights if he endeavoured to do so, to confine the debate to specific matters; and section 3, as was pointed out by the former Minister of Justice, would be the appropriate section on which a general discussion could take place, because section 3 provides:
The said provinces and territory respectively shall, for the purposes of the election of members to serve in the House of Commons, be divided into electoral districts, and be represented as provided in the schedule to this act.
We were proposing to adopt a plan that was not very acceptable to the government of the day in 1924, that is, to take the schedule constituency by constituency and province by province, commencing with the province of Ontario, and if it were desired that instead of proceeding with the next province after Ontario we should take some other the convenience of the house would be considered. I still think that is the correct and proper course to pursue in view of the fact that as regards all the provinces but two there is substantial agreement, and with respect to at least ninety per cent of these two there is also such agreement. So that it leaves a very small number, around which discussion could centre. However, if the right hon. gentleman takes the view that this would not be conducive to the further exposition of the views of hon. members I will do no more than direct attention to the suggestion, because that is all it is, that we should proceed to consider the schedules and pass those that have been agreed upon. If I adopted my right hon. friend's argument all I would say is that if it were pursued to its logical conclusion the only members that would remain in the house would be those from Quebec and Saskatchewan. That is what it would lead to logically.

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