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


Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal


Here is the report to which I refer, the main part of which I shall read in a few moments. There was also a letter and a petition from his worship the mayor of Squatteck, which will be submitted in due course to the committee on standing orders according to the procedure which has been established. But, sir, there are two points which I desire to consider in my brief remarks. They are the two points which have been raised by the committee on standing orders. This is a question of parliamentary procedure, and I took the trouble to analyse what was said about that matter.
Standing Orders

The rule previous to standing order No. 1 read as follows:
In all cases not provided for hereinafter or by sessional or other orders, the rules, usages and forms of proceedings of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in force on the first day of July, 1867, shall be followed.
That was observed when the rules were amended in 1906. I hold in my hand the Votes and Proceedings of March 15, 1927, and there is an explanation under that old rule which reads as follows:
This rule prevents the house from accepting in unprovided cases the practice followed in Great Britain since the first of July, 1867. There is no valid reason why English precedents, where Canadian ones do not exist, should not be accepted irrespective of the dates at which they were established.
Which means rhat we can go very far back for precedents. I quote again:
The rule goes too far inasmuch as it compels the house to follow the British rules in force prior to 1867. It is somewhat difficult to be governed in any case by the rules of the British parliament as they do not always suit our conditions, whilst there is a better scope for meeting all requirements in accepting as guides its customs and usages.
In other words and according to the quotation I have just given, English procedure and customs and usages where Canadian ones do not exist, shall be accepted irrespective of the dates at which they were established. They offer a better scope for meeting all requirements and they shall be accepted as guides.
May says at page 794:
The right of petitioning the crown and parliament for redress of grievances is acknowledged as a fundamental principle of the constitution. It has been uninterruptedly exercised from very early times, and has had a profound effect in determining the main forms of parliamentary procedure.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica is much more honest than May in that regard. It contains the following: "The political importance of petitioning dates from about the reign of Charles I," who was beheaded in 1649. "The development of the practice of petitioning had proceeded so far in the reign of Charles II, as to lead to the passing in 1662 of an act (13 Charles II, chapter 5) against "tumultuous petitioning", which is still on the statute book . . . And in 1817 (57 George III, chapter 19, section 23) meetings within a mile from Westminster Hall for the purpose of considering a petition to either house of parliament while either house is sitting were declared to be unlawful assemblies."

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