May 19, 1947 (20th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal


Thank you.
Montreal Matin, Lundi, 5 mai, 1947 Evitons les "chinoiseries"
Nos grammairiens se sont montres tres injus-tes a 1'egard des Orientaux quand ils ont permis que le mot "chinoiserie" servit a designer toute demarche, manifestation ou reglement inutile.
Mais nous n'y pouvons rien et, a maintes reprises, l'occasion nous est fournie de nous plaindre de "chinoiseries" particulierement de "chinoiseries administratives". Celles-la sont abondan-tes: jamais, probablement, n'y en a-t-il eu
La plus recente, c'est M. Jean-Franqois Pouliot, depute de Temiseouata, qui l'a signalde alors que deux petitions presentees par un groupe de ses commettants risquaient d'etre

raises de cotes, parce qu'elles n'etaient pas redigees dans les termes precis exiges par les reglements.
Les e'lecteurs de Temiseouata, en personnes intelligentes, ont abrege. Comme l'expliquait M. Pouliot, "ils ont expose ce qu'ils voulaient en langage simple et tres clair". Or, selon les reglements de la Chambre, e'etait trop clair, trop simple, trop abrege surtout, d'oii l'inter-vention du depute de Temiseouata pour empe-cher que la requete aille tout droit au panier.
Rien d'etonnant que certaines lois et ordon-nances soient tellement emberlificotees, si l'on songe qu'elles sont l'ceuvre de legislateurs ne prisant guere un langage simple et clair et preferant, au contraire, les formalizes sura-bondantes qui compliquent et... embetent.
The Ottawa Journal Tuesday, May 6, 1947 The Form or the Substance
Mr. Jean-Franqois Pouliot, member for Temiseou-a-ta, brought an extraordinary ruling to the attention of the House of Commons the other day. Two petitions signed by hundreds of electors in that riding and addressed to the House were refused consideration, he said, because they did not use the prescribed
"sacramental wards".
The petitions, Mr. Pouliot explained, had to do with redistribution, and were tabled in the ordinary way, but were not turned over tothe Redistribution Committee because they did not conform to ceremonial practice. "They were addressed", said the Member for Temis-couata, "to Mr. Speaker and to members of the H-ouse of Commons instead of -to the Honourable the House of Commons in Parliament assembled". That was the first offence. But worse was to come. The prescribed words "The petition of the undersigned humblyslieweth" were missing, the argument was not divided into paragraphs each beginning with the word "That", and the conclusion omitted the prescribed formality, "And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray". His electors, said Mr. Pouliot, were not strong on red tape, but they had made their meaning
dear and plain.
Mr. Graydon supported Mr. Pouliot's request that the petitions be sent on to their intended destination, and the Speaker -promised to look into the matter. Mr. Graydon's words were very sensible. "We should not be governed so much by the form as by the substance of a petition such as this", he said. "When the common people of Canada decide that they want to petition the House of Commons we should place as few obstacles as possible in the way."
With that doctrine we thoroughly agree. Parliament is the servant of the people, not its master, and nothing is less important than the form a petition to Parliament takes. If it is the honest expression of a group of electors ou a -matter -of public concern, expressed in decent and intelligible language, obviously it should be received and considered, and if the rules interfere then the rules should be changed.
Toronto Daily Star Friday, May 9, 1947 Jean-Franeois Scored That Time
That genial man and Independent Liberal, Jean-Franeois Pouliot of Temiseouata, gets sometimes upon the nerves of parliament. But

Standing Orders
when it comes to an issue of red tape vs. common sense, Jean-Francois is usually on the right side. He was on the right side the other day when he protested the rejection of two petitions which had been forwarded by his constituents.
It is a fundamental principle of democracy that the electors should have no difficulty in making their wishes known to their parliamentary representatives; if not personally, at least by letter. The post office recognizes this and charges no postage on letters to or from members at Ottawa during a session or ten days prior to it. It is also in accord with democratic principles that a group of individuals should have the right to contact parliament as a whole by way of a petition. That their petition must contain certain specified phrases may be a rule of parliament, but it is a rule which should not be too closely insisted upon.
In the present instance, certain electors of Temiscouata wished to protest a proposed change in their riding under the redistribution, and Mr. Pouliot presented two petitions from them to that effect, believing that these would be received and go to the redistribution committee. But they got tangled up in red tape. The rules say that petitions should be addressed to "the Honourable the House of Commons in parliament assembled." These were addressed to "Mr. Speaker and members of the House of Commons." The prescribed words, "the petition of the undersigned humbly sheweth," were omitted, as were the closing words the rules call for, "and your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray." Moreover, the petitions were not divided into paragraphs, each beginning with "that"-evidently a particularly heinous fault. On these grounds the petitions were turned down.
It is no wonder that Mr. Pouliot protested. Mr. Gordon Graydon backed him up and said: "We should not be governed so much by the form as by the substance of a petition such as this. When the common people of Canada decide that they want to petition the House of Commons, we should place as few obstacles as possible in the way of their getting their views tabled in the House. I suggest that we waive any technicalities in this matter and allow the petition presented by the hon. member for Temiscouata to be tabled as he suggests."
Hansard does not record that Mr. Graydon's remarks evoked a cheer, but they should have done so. At any rate, Mr. Pouliot got action. The Speaker explained that "the House is not seized (what a word!) of a petition addressed to the members without mentioning the words 'in parliament assembled.' " The omission of "and your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray," was not so serious. The learned authority "May" agrees that while those words are "generally added," they are not necessary. In any event there was a way out. Mr. Pouliot could move that the petitions go to the committee on standing orders-which he did. And no doubt the committee on redistribution will finally get them.
But what nonsense it is to insist on stilted and archaic forms of expression. One of these days someone will faint if "sheweth" in a petition appears as "showeth", or if a bill is "entitled" instead of "intituled." Let red tape perish!
The Ottawa Journal Wednesday, May 14, 1947 Those Lett"' Rules
The other day Mr. Pouliot complained in the Commons that the house had refused to receive some petitions from electors in his riding, Temiscouata, because they were not couched in the prescribed phraseology. The petitions had to do with redistribution, and their natural destination was the special committee dealing with that problem. Mr. Graydon in the discussion supported Mr. Pouliot's contention that since the desire of the petitioners was clearly expressed the wording of the document should not prevent them from being heard.
This week the question came before the standing orders committee of the house, and it refused to accept the petitions on the ground that they were improperly worded and did not conform to precedent-the reason also was advanced that to let them go on to the redistribution committee would be contrary to the ruling of the present and former speakers.
This time it was Mr. Knight of Saskatoon wha in the standing orders committee, opposed so fine an example of red tape and hampering custom. He took the ground that any citizen should have the right to take his case to parliament, and that antiquated rules should not stand in the way-"the spirit is much more important than the letter."
However the majority were against him, and against Mr. Pouliot and Mr. Graydon. We think it was an unfortunate ruling. We do not know what the Temiscouata petitioners ask, and it does not matter. What matters is that they have something they want to say to the House of Commons and are refused a hearing because of their ignorance of certain formalities set out many years ago.

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