April 11, 1945 (19th Parliament, 6th Session)


Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)



The hon. member was
good enough to let me have a copy of his motion before I came to the house, and therefore I had an opportunity to study it carefully.
I must point out that the form of the motion is not in accordance with the practice and usage of this house. It has taken almost the form of a petition and contains references which should be the basis of an argument.
I do not propose to deal with the motion on this ground which might seem to be technical, but I think it would be well that all hon. members of the house should state simply the motion to adjourn for the purpose of discussing a matter or urgent public importance and in effect give as reason that which is contained in the conclusion of the present motion.
On Monday last a motion for the same purpose was moved by the same hon. gentleman, the member for Temiscouata. I dealt with it then simply on the question of urgency as required by the standing order. I came to the conclusion that there was no urgency in the sense directed by our standing order and therefore ruled it out of order.
The present motion is different in form but the conclusion is in effect the same as that moved on Monday last by the hon. gentleman.

Duration oj Parliament
I think the meaning of our standing order has been very well expressed in a statement made by the Speaker of the United Kingdom house which will be found on page 78 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, third edition, citation No. 180:
Standing order 10 of the United Kingdom house, in force since 1882, also provides that a member may propose the adjournment of the house "for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance." On the 13th of April, 1894, a member asked leave to make that motion to discuss "the neglect of the government to take measures for the relief of agricultural depression during the present session." As forty members rose in support of the motion, debate was allowed, but on its conclusion, the speaker said: "I do not think that, under the standing order of 1882, a motion on a subject of this kind, having such a very wide scope, was ever contemplated. What I think was contemplated, was an occurrence of some sudden emergency, either in home or in foreign affairs. But I do not think it was contemplated-if the house will allow me to state my views-that a question of very wide scope, which would demand legislation to deal with it in any effective manner, should be the subject of discussion on a motion for the adjournment of the house, because, if that was so, we might have repeated motions made by the opposition of the day, not so much in the direction of censuring the government for action which had been taken or not taken, for bringing to notice some grievance demanding instant remedy, as in the direction of wishing to introduce legislation on some particular subject. That is not the purpose of the standing order of 1882, and would, I think, cut at the root of the order."
I have no desire and it would be improper for me to deal with the merits or demerits of the proposal contained in the motion. I think I may be permitted to point out to the house that this motion, if adopted by the house, would subsequently have to take the form of a joint resolution of both houses to be transmitted to the United Kingdom parliament. If the statement made in the motion is correct, namely "Whereas the houses of parliament at Westminster will adjourn to-morrow until next Monday, April the 16th, for a long week-end," the question of time would be a very material factor.
It is however my function to deal with this motion only on the ground of the requirements of our standing order, which is in its effect and almost in its words the same as the standing order of the United Kingdom parliament covering such motions, and in view of the statement made by the Speaker of that house, which I have read and in which I concur, I do not think that the present motion comes within the scope of standing order No. 31, and I therefore rule that the motion is not in order because of the lack of urgency. .

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