March 14, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)



No, I do not think we have. I believe that, if my hon. friend looks over the records, he will see that unfortunately we have taken up very little supply on either Thursdays or Fridays. We

Priority of Government Measures
have been trying to get on with the other measures which, as my hon. friend the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) mentioned last evening, we were anxious to get over to the other house as soon as possible. In the latter part of his remarks my hon. friend made special mention of the two measures which we spoke of proceeding with to-day and which were announced last night by the Minister of Mines and Resources as the ones intended for to-day. I quote from page 1624 of Hansard:
Mr. Manion: We have been dealing with
the trade treaty, but the right hon. gentleman has been shelving it for other measures. We have been led to understand since the house opened that they were about to bring in a measure for a defence purchasing board. Why have they not brought it on?
We are now trying to proceed as rapidly as we can with the trade agreement. We are also tiying to proceed as rapidly as we can with the defence purchasing board bill. Those are the two measures which, we feel, ought to be given priority over all others, and they are the two which the leader of the opposition suggested should come on, because of their importance, before other measures. I should like to oblige my hon. friend in every way I can, but I would say this. From the beginning of the session the government has tried to get on with the public business, with the measures which we regarded as the most important. A great deal of time was taken up in the debate on the address and on other resolutions which were moved, but these two measures I have just mentioned are ones which we could not proceed with on that account and are anxious therefore now to proceed- with as rapidly as possible. I think that if we are to have due regard to public business and the rapidity with which it is to be carried on, we should continue with those measures.
May I point out to hon. members, what I believe is well known to them but which perhaps requires emphasis at the moment, that a motion to go into committee of supply means, as my hon. friend has indicated, that in all probability the opposition will then introduce an amendment in the nature of a want of confidence motion, which may occasion debate and which may run on in this house for a week or longer. If that is what the government is to expect, there is all the more reason why, before legislation which we regard as important is again held up because of other matters which the opposition wish to discuss, we should get on with the measures to which the government attaches particular importance. I hope that we shall make sufficient progress this week with the legislation

which is on the order paper in the nature of resolutions and bills which we wish to get across to the other house, to enable us to call for supply at a comparatively early date; but I say to my hon. friend that if we are to get on with the important measures we must take first those which for the present we regard as the most important, and take up somewhat later the matters which we think can be better dealt with at a later stage.
I should perhaps also remind the house of what the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) said to us, speaking on Wednesday, February 14, with regard to the government controlling the business of the house. His remarks will be found at page 918 of Hansard:
Control of the house is always in the hands of the government, and from my recollection that was never more so than it is to-day, having regard to the government's huge majority.

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