February 9, 1942 (19th Parliament, 3rd Session)


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



The reasons which governed in this matter in the beginning, if they were valid at all at that time, seem to me to be even stronger at the present time, Those reasons, as my hon. friend the leader of the opposition will recall, were that in a war as serious as the present, the attention of parliament could not be given too exclusively to matters pertaining to the war and, what might be regarded as the other side of the same shield, that there should be as little as possible to distract or to prevent the attention of parliament being concentrated upon the war effort. If the motions of private members are to be considered it means that ministers and others must prepare themselves in regard to
a number of questions that at the present time are more or less academic, and in these days the burden on the ministry is heavy enough in connection with the matters relating exclusively to the war to which it must give attention.
I do not wish to say that the government will not be prepared to consider what my hon. friend has suggested, but I am giving to him at once the view that has prevailed up to the present. I think the arguments are quite as strong to-day as they were at the time the decision of the government was taken. And if I recollect aright, the decision was taken by agreement with at least most of the members of the house.

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