February 11, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Well, they do provide an opportunity to place before the public certain views which private members may wish to put forward. However,, the point I am emphasizing is this, that the government in taking its stand in this matter, and in making a request of the house, is not seeking to deprive private members of their rights. It is seeking to gain a high degree of cooperation on the part of hon. members in getting on with the all-important business, the business pertaining to the war. I am sure the leader of the opposition would recognize that fact if, on Monday next, the house were to begin a debate on some of the private members' motions; he would be the very first to say that the house had put itself in a false light before the public. The people of Canada would ask: Why is our parliament at this stage interesting itself in a number of motions which have been introduced by private members, instead of considering the war appropri-tion bill and other important war matters?
After all, what is the extent of the privation? In the first four weeks of the ordinary session hon. members have certain rights on Wednesdays and, I believe, Mondays. But after that government business has precedence.
In this session two weeks have already gone by, and hon. members have been perfectly free to discuss anything they liked, and have been under no restrictions whatsoever. The fact is that they have been discussing what they liked. We have had half a dozen amendments, apart from everything else, to the ' speech from the throne, and on them almost every subject of immediate concern has been discussed by one member or another. In those discussions there have been no restrictions whatsoever.
I do not like to have the impression develop in the public mind that private members have not full opportunity to discuss subjects in which they may be interested. The speech from the throne, we have been told, is lengthy.
It contains a number of subjects, each of which will come before the house in the course of the session. Hon. members may then address themselves to any of these questions.
Let us consider what would happen if we were to proceed now to a discussion of the private members' motions as they appear upon the order paper. The first of these motions is one which relates to measures for the better protection of all soldiers who serve in His Majesty's forces. There will be ample opportunity to discuss those matters on the war appropriation measure now to be proceeded with.
The next one has to do with the giving of clear titles to all soldier settlers who still hold land under contract with the soldier settlement board. That subject will come up under the estimates connected with soldier settlement, and in other connections.
The next resolution is one relating to reconstruction and rehabilitation; developments ensuring employment and opportunities in connection with transportation, and other matters. We shall be dealing at length with the whole question of reconstruction, and any member who wishes to discuss any particular phase of the subject will have his opportunity at such time.
The next resolution relates to the marketing of western Canada's wheat. My recollection is that in every session parliament has taken a couple of weeks to discuss wheat, and opportunities will come at such a time.
Next we find a resolution supporting feasible irrigation schemes in connection with post-war

Precedence of Government Orders
reconstruction. Such irrigation schemes can be discussed when we are dealing with the reconstruction measure.
Another has to do with the development of mineral resources under government control and operation. That, surely, would come up when we are discussing questions related to the resources of our country, and their development.
Finally there is a resolution relating to the prices of agricultural products. At other sessions we have discussed these matters, and ample opportunity will be given at this session for like discussion. And I suggest further that they will be much more effectively discussed when dealing with government measures on these subjects than they would be if discussed under private members' resolutions.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION AND GOVERNMENT ORDERS AFTER FEBRUARY 14
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