April 24, 1934 (17th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)



I would like to submit that the amendment is entirely in order. In doing so I wish first of all to distinguish clearly between the purposes and the principles of the bill. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) himself noted the distinction between purpose and principle when in speaking on this measure in the house on March 26 he said as reported on page 1809 of Hansard:
In moving his resolution the minister is not supposed to do more than to state the general purposes of the measure. On the introduction of his bill, when asked, as I understand the rules he should, he may give a succinct statement indicating the general purposes of the legislation, and the principles to be crystallized into legislative form.
I draw attention to the distinction which the Prime Minister very properly made, and at that time drew to the attention of the house,

between the purposes of the legislation and the principles to be crystallized into legislative form. The Prime Minister further said as reported on page 1810:
The motion for second reading will involve the approval or the disapproval of the general principle indicated by the bill.
A little further on he said:
But general legislation, upon which the government has determined its policy, is usually submitted to a committee of the whole house.
And the government pursuing the intention therein expressed has in mind I understand submitting the bill to a committee of the whole house rather than sending it to a standing committee. In other words, the government has decided its policy as it is expressed in the legislation, and there is not open for further discussion in committee the question of policy with respect to its provisions as was the case for example in connection with the bill respecting the creation of a central bank. In that case the Minister of Finance made it quite clear that the question whether there was to bo public or private ownership of shares, or public or private control, was a perfectly open matter, something that could be discussed in the committee to which the bill would be sent. But in this case, in the light of what the Prime Minister has said, the government has indicated by its action in not permitting the bill to go to a standing committee, and the reasons given by the Prime Minister therefor, that the principles embodied in the legislation indicate the government's final policy.
At the time of submitting the amendment I was careful to look up Your Honour's previous rulings in the house, to see that the amendment that was moved would be in order. I would like to read the amendment itself and then Your Honour's latest ruling on a question of order in the case of an amendment on second reading, to see if the amendment does not give ample evidence of being entirely in order. The amendment is:
This house, while prepared to support legislation for assisting the orderly marketing of natural products, is unalterably opposed to the enactment of any compulsory measure which delegates to unnamed and undetermined individuals, groups or organizations, sweeping powers over the production and trade and commerce of the nation, and which confers upon a minister of the crown and upon the governor in council unprecedented authority and unusual powers to restrict production, and interprovincial, inter-imperial, and foreign trade as regards both exports and imports, as well as other autocratic powers.
Your Honour in ruling the other evening in regard to a measure before the house, the last I think on which Your Honour gave a

Marketing Act-Mr. M-ackenzie King
ruling, namely that relating to the freight rates bill, drew attention under standing order 75 in regard to second reading to citation 755, as set forth in Beauchesne which is as follows:
It is also competent to a member who desires to place on record any special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of a bill, to move as an amendment to the question, a resolution declaratory of some principle adverse to, or differing from, the principles, policy, or provisions of the. bill, ...
My purpose in moving that amendment was to give special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of the bill, and in so doing I therefore moved an amendment which would be declaratory of some principle which is adverse to the principles and policy and provisions of the bill.
As to what are the principles, policies and provisions of the bill, there can be no mistake, once one looks at the measure. As I have said, the purpose of the bill as set forth in the title is to improve the methods and practices involved in the marketing of natural products and export trade by means of regulation. Regulation is a method, a process, a matter of procedure, not a principle. Regulation is a purpose which all parties in this house hold in common. That is not the principle of the bill, any more than the establishment of a dominion marketing board as such is the principle of the bill. The purpose of the bill is that of regulating and improving production-

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